A compact, sustainable, lodge designed to accommodate multiple families, situated in a wildlife estate

2021, Ditholo Game Lodge, Bela Bela, Limpopo, South Africa
Area: 347m²
Project Team: Nadine Clarke, Deandra Farinha


Lodge Booyens Floor Plan
The Clients Dream

Having held partial ownership in a game lodge on the estate the clients were fortunate to pick up a stand at a steal, and so elected to build their own contemporary-style lodge.

The compact lodge would have to accommodate their multigenerational family and be suited to the tourist rental or Airbnb market in the region.  For this reason, we opted for three suites for adults with a shared ‘dorm’ style room for kids which we felt would also be suitable for multiple families sharing the home as a holiday rental. 

The Dream actualised (Design response)

As our other directive was to optimise connection to the bushveld landscape the entire house opens up to the north.

As we were working with a compact footprint, we opted for a design that consists of three staggered volumes to reduce long passage spaces.

An entrance courtyard, which shelters an existing tree, creates an entrance and produces a cooling effect by creating a draft through the living room, which in ‘architect’ we call “cross-ventilation”!

The central living area opens completely onto a generous covered patio to the north via cavity sliding doors increasing the size of the living space. Another existing tree at the edge of the patio was retained to shade the area. As the summer temperatures in the area are high, all existing trees on the stand were protected and the house was designed around them.

The bedroom wings located on the west and east of the living area step forward and back respectively from the living room to create privacy for the bedroom suites. These two wings are identical in area, with slight differences in their layout due to the accommodation requirements. One wing has open storage for games and other items that need to be accessed by rental guests while a locked store for private use is located in the other wing.

Two of the bedroom suites feature outdoor showers and all bedrooms feature external shutters so that one can sleep with the doors open on warm evenings. Shutters also secure the lodge when it’s not occupied.

A small raised splash pool sits slightly away from the building and is accessed via a decked walkway that connects to all parts of the building.

Car parking in the form of a lockable garage for the game viewing vehicle, and carport create a courtyard between the bedroom wing and living space that is the utility yard. 

But is this lodge green?

At Meik we always aim to use best-in-class passive design principles alongside technology to create sustainable, thermally comfortable buildings, that function optimally. This lodge is no different.

A small footprint, north orientation, shutters, deep eaves overhangs to the north, cross ventilation and high-level windows on the south side of the roof that lets heat dissipate, are all passive design principles employed in this contemporary lodge that make it more sustainable.

As the accommodation is used infrequently gas geysers heat water, as solar geysers tend to pop due to a pressure build-up if not discharged frequently. We are fairly sure the home will have a PV power supply due to the unreliable government supply.

Dreaming of a weekend home?

If you like what you see and hear and want to work with us on your home, cabin or lodge feel free to call or email us to set up an appointment to discuss your requirements, and how we can make your dream home come to life.

Nadine: 082 809 1970 || Studio: 011 025 8318 || info@meik.co.za