Sunday, August 16, 2015

Africa Chic

Hello, dear people. I'm back from a long trip to Zambia, where The Hubby and I spent nearly two weeks on a photographic safari in South Luangwa National Park. It's heaven for an animal lover like me--zebras, giraffes, hippos, lions, monkeys, leopards--the works!

We stayed in two posh lodges and three bush camps that were deep in the countryside. They all had a similar, captivating look. I call it "Africa Chic." Here are some examples of this look:

"Africa Chic" uses lots of natural substances: wood, leather, metal, reeds, shells, and stone. The fabrics tend to be canvas or local printed cottons.

The three different bush camps we visited were examples of "glamping"--glamorous camps with cabins or tents that were rustic but also luxurious. Our tent at this camp encompassed a bathroom, bedroom, and sitting room:

A leather-and-wood side chair next to a wood drum table. Great for catching a breeze--or the view--through the tent's mesh windows:

Even a humble dish of washing powder (for hand-washing things in the sink) was elevated by putting  it in a beautiful container. In this case, a milky-blue glass dish:

Our bed in the tent cabin. The mosquito netting isn't just for a romantic look; those are lowered each night to keep the bugs away as you sleep:

These cotton shawls were placed at the foot of the beds in every camp we visited. On the hottest nights, they are dampened, then draped over the sleeper to help with cooling down:

Table settings featured native woods, pottery, and printed cotton cloths:

Brunch on the shady bank of a riverbed with crisp, white napkins and a tablecloth made with a lost-wax-type of technique:

Another leather-and-wood combo, this time with a blue accent pillow:

These side tables looked like adorable aliens to me:

Made of wood, the tables'  patterns are into the surface:

A collection of low-gloss glass bottles was a nice contrast to the rustic woods:

These little things are solar-operated lights--necessary for after-dark lighting since we were off the electrical grid. Instead of just plunking the lights down on the deck to recharge during the day, they were gathered in a handsome oversize trough made of a solid chunk of wood:

One evening near sundown we had a special surprise: Cocktail hour in the middle of a river! (That's The Hubby, with our amazing guide, Fannuel):

I loved these blue lanterns that the camps used. Some were fitted with candles and some burned kerosene. They weren't just for atmosphere; they lit the camp's pathways after dark:

A sink and vanity, carved from a single block of wood, with a natural, undulating edge along the front. The soap dish is carved from wood, as well:

An intriguing collection of seed pods, feathers, and other curiosities in a handmade bowl made a beautiful table centerpiece:

In one camp, the alfresco bar was made in part from a living tree that ran up from underneath the deck and disappeared above the reed thatched roof:

A terrapin shell and some driftwood fill an empty corner:

This was our "closet" in one camp: It had plenty of shelves and pegs to hang our hats and binoculars, plus some polished-wood hangers for clothes:

The shower area in one camp was open to views of a private lagoon where animals came down to drink and roll in the mud:

More bush camps, more beautiful beds:

Colorful native fabrics lined up on one camp's main viewing deck, turning steps into out-of-doors seating:

These wicker chairs were big but light and airy, just right for letting the cool breezes flow through the main gathering spot:

Even the unsightly areas, like the kitchens and laundries, were beautifully hidden under thatch roofs and behind woven walls of elephant grass. That sinuous S-curve on a pole is a solar panel--the prettiest I've ever seen:

A row of Moroccan lanterns atop a wall of niches holding bottles of booze and Moroccan tagines:

Beanbags in colorful local fabrics were a surprise--but a very comfy way of settling in to watch the animals come to the river each afternoon:

More gorgeous fabrics:

The bathroom in one place we stayed was lightly separated from the bedroom by a curtain of wooden beads:

In most of these camps, there is next to nothing between you and the wild beasts that roam through camp at night. This can give some guests the heebie-jeebies, but these handsome iron gates that look like spiderwebs locked out anything larger than a mongoose:

Next up:

The animals we saw!



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