There is nothing like Xigera. Of course there is the thrill of living in a luxurious apartment-size suite posturing as a tent, baboons gamboling on your deck and elephants on the flood plains below, but this is something else. An open-air art gallery … showcase of Africa’s design talent … an experiential feast for the eyes … the Tollman family’s ‘love letter to the bush’ – however you describe it, this is not décor as you know it.
On entering you are greeted by one of Porky Hefer’s playful handwoven cocoon-like nests, but you hardly take it in as your gaze is drawn to BronzeAge Art Foundry’s enormous hand-beaten copper lily above the fireplace, and beyond that, the white ceramic Ardmore lamps that anchor theLeopard bar in such an inviting glow. Later, at your leisure, you have time to take in Madoda Fani’s magnificent abstract ‘Woodpecker’ ceramics and the Chuma Mweni tables dotted around the fireplace, Sarah Honmen’s bronze pods and ConradHicks’ floral bowls. To admire the Cecil Skotnes paintings that sit so comfortably, like old friends reunited, with that of Lucky Sibaya.
With 90%of the furniture and furnishings commissioned from 80 of Africa’s best artists and crafters, the camp is rooted in the continent, but every detail – from the lily pads embossed on the bronze floor of your shower, to the choice of Mwena ceramic – is considered, ready to wow a globe-trotting audience.
Food too is superb; house wines are Bouchard Finlayson; service is as you would expect from a Red Carnation hotel. All equalled by the game-viewing. The Tollman family motto is ‘in pursuit of excellence’; after more than half a century of creating some of the world’s best five-star hotels, they sure know how to achieve it.