Batonka Guest Lodge is the latest addition to the very best accommodation offered in Victoria Falls. The Lodge is situated conveniently close to Victoria Falls town and the Falls themselves in a quiet residential area surrounded by beautiful Zambezi Teak forests. It has 22 luxury rooms with a beautifully appointed central entertainment and dining area carefully sited in extensive gardens with generously proportioned swimming pool.
Designer Rae de Leo and Project Manager Brent Dacomb (both families being the owners of the project) approached The African Touch to assist with the design and production of the furniture and fittings for the project.
The building theme is one of an African Homestead with clean lines, light colours to introduce lots of light, and wide generous open verandas to enjoy the idyllic Vic Falls weather.
Rae & Brent sent through ideas for us to interpret. Rae had a clear concept of the overall effect she wanted. It was agreed that for the rooms we would offset the crisp linens with the rich patina of oiled old growth saligna (Eucalyptus saligna) for the beds, bedside tables, luggage racks and mosquito net frames.
In the Dining area it was decided to use Zambezi Teak to give extra depth and luxuriousness to the space. Rae imported upholstered dining chairs from South Africa to go with the beautiful harvested Zambezi Teak dining tables. The sideboards were built from very special reclaimed Zambezi Teak timbers recovered from a bridge built in 1924.
At one end of the generous veranda is the pub. We were given a wall as the pub front, which we topped with a beautiful full length through cut Zambezi Teak tree, securely fastened to the wall with wrought steel brackets that also carry the shelving unit at the back of the pub wall. The cabinetry along the back and side wall were built onsite from saligna. A highly polished brass foot rail finished off the front of the pub.
The opposite end of the veranda was furnished with Morris chairs and special coffee tables built with reclaimed teak and old Batonka doors set into the tops in honour of the Batonka Guest Lodge!
The production run had to be very carefully co-ordinated. As there was no storage space at the Lodge we had to carefully time production of each component so that they could be installed as the rooms became available from the builders. First to be installed were the mosquito net frames. A late change to the design (originally hanging from the roof beams on chains, they were extended so the top frame was fitted snug to the ceiling to make the fan more effective and do away with the top net which is difficult to keep clean from insects etc), meant the frames had to be extended and the factory rose to the occasion working late into the night and over weekends. Next were the vanities in the bathrooms, after which the decorators came in and finished the painting and decorating before we finally installed the furniture.
Similarly the installation and building of the pub and reception areas had to be co-ordinated in the main block with flooring teams, ceiling fitters, electricians and so on. However, all went well and the end result was very pleasing for all concerned, especially the guests that now enjoy the superb facilities of Batonka Guest Lodge!