New African-style villa near KNPDecember 10th, 2009 by H&R | Categories: hotels, social, tourism
Villas appear to be a growing accommodation trend, something of a hybrid that combines guesthouse and hotel, popping up in both urban and rural locations. English couple Paddy and Amanda Bond Gunning have rebuilt an old farmhouse in the Lowveld, Mpumalanga and are about to launch it as umSisi House (means “the lucky bean tree”), a new African villa concept.
The property, which features many indigenous lucky bean trees, is a new tourism project in the Jock of the Bushveld Conservancy, close to White River and the Kruger National Park. The villa is due to open mid-January 2010 and aims to attract small groups of up to ten people looking for a private bushveld experience.
“Our objective with umSisi House is to provide our guests with quality time in a space where they can feel comfortable and call their own, but without the limitations of self catering accommodation,” explains Amanda Bond Gunning.
“All menus and personal requirements are creatively planned one-on-one prior to arrival, allowing the rest of the holiday to run like clockwork. We have also established ‘The Lucky Bean Kids Club’ and welcome children of all ages,” she adds.
The design and decor of umSisi House is described as “stylishly African, where classic English meets contemporary African Chic”. It features an open-plan sitting room and dining room with many special pieces incorporated into the dcor. The property also has complete wheel-chair access.
The property has also been developed using “green” principles. They used solar power during the reconstruction of the house, it has its own fresh water springs, they collect rainwater, are planting an indigenous forest, recycle all of their waste, and use herbs and vegetables from the organic garden fertilised with compost from the onsite worm farm.
Other features include large verandas with 180 degree views and a series of mountain trails for exploration. A variety of daily activities are on offer, including game viewing guided by local operators.
The neighbouring village of Masoyi offers guests a cultural experience with a local community and the opportunity to support projects that benefit them directly.
“It’s all about quality time in an ‘at home’ holiday environment, where people can explore the area and do as they please, returning to the comfort of their African home,” says Paddy Bond Gunning, who came to South Africa some 10 years ago.