In the most remote part of the Kruger National Park, in a wilderness previously undisturbed by visitors, lies the vast concession awarded to The Outpost as a result of a groundbreaking agreement between the Makuleke people and the South African National Parks Board. In 1969 the apartheid government forcibly removed the Makuleke people from their ancestral land in order to extend the Park to the borders of Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Project Name: The Outpost Lodge
Studio Name: Daffonchio and Associates Architects
Completion date: 2002
Building levels: 1
Location: Kruger National Park, South Africa
Photography: Elsa Young

The Outpost Lodge by Daffonchio and Associates Architects - Sheet1
Pool side seating ©Elsa Young

In the 1990’s, after the return of democracy in South Africa, the Makuleke people instituted a land claim which resulted in the return of the title of the region to the Makuleke people provided that it remains part of the park. The conditions of the agreement stated that the land must remain in pristine condition with the Makuleke people holding a concession on twelve lodges that could be built in accordance with the Parks Environmental Guidelines for limited ecotourism. Private developers were allowed to commission developments that would be built and managed in collaboration with the tribe.

The work-force involved with the construction and running of the lodges would come from the tribal community. The Outpost is the first lodge to be built in this vast region. The lodge consists of twelve freestanding units, a main building with reception, a restaurant and dining and lounge areas, and an outdoor swimming pool.

The main aim of the project was an architecture that would sit subtly in the striking landscape and would provide luxury accommodation and a compelling relationship with nature. On arrival, visitors are confronted by a long wall, which is entered through a small opening. On entry, visitors experience an explosion of view, with 300 kilometers of the Kruger National Park spread out beneath them. The 12 units are scattered along the long, narrow site, with a one kilometer long raised teak walkway connecting them. The walkway also conceals the water, electricity and phone lines. In order to keep the environment undisturbed the buildings are all raised on stilts.

The Outpost Lodge by Daffonchio and Associates Architects - Sheet2
Pool side ©Elsa Young

The open-plan units, consisting of a bedroom, sitting room and bathroom, have been designed to maximise their connection with the natural surroundings & views. Most of the exterior walls are retractable creating a situation where the separation between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ does not exist. The orientation and positioning of the units ensure that privacy is maintained despite the transparent nature of the design. Cooling is achieved by an environmentally sustainable water based air-conditioning system.

The design and construction techniques used at The Outpost had to be tailored to the reality of an unskilled work crew from the Makuleke tribe and the remoteness of the site. Materials were prefabricated in Johannesburg and transferred to the site. The limited material selection consisted of local timber (teak and meranti), concrete, steel members, pre-painted corrugated-steel sheeting concrete floors sealed with beeswax polish. Workers were trained on site.

Wallpaper Magazine Best Safari Lodge 2003

Lodge Description:
The Outpost accommodates 24 guests in 12 open plan, en-suite luxury spaces cantilevered on a hill overlooking the Luvuvhu River. The private, free standing spaces are inter-connected to each other and the central lodge area by 500 metres of Zimbabwean teak walkway. Contemporary architecture makes use of concrete and steel with state-of the-art retractable, remote-controlled screens offering 180º of uninterrupted views.

The Outpost Lodge by Daffonchio and Associates Architects - Sheet3
Bedroom ©Elsa Young

The Suites
The Outpost’s awarded architecture accommodates 24 guests in 12 stand-alone luxury spaces cantilevered over the Luvuvhu river valley – connected to the central lodge area by a raised walkway. Enjoy 180˚ views of the African wilderness and fall asleep to the open-air sounds of the African night.

The Facilities
Enjoy your evening meals under the stars alongside a crackling campfire. Unwind with a luxurious spa treatment in the privacy of your room. Game drives leave at first morning light and late afternoon. For the adventurous, you can experience the wilderness on a guided walking safari.
The Location

Pafuri is arguably one of the most scenically beautiful and diverse wilderness areas in the Kruger National Park. This 26,500ha concession, belonging to the Makuleke people, boasts nearly 80% of the Kruger Park’s biodiversity. Immerse yourself in the beauty, splendour and stillness.


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