Kalahari Anib Lodge’s interior design was inspired by the surrounds of the region. As the Kalahari Desert is the largest continuous stretch of sand on the planet, one would think that there is not much to be inspired by. Yet, interior designers from Women Unleashed have found more inspiration than they bargained for when decorating the interior of Gondwana’s beloved Kalahari Anib Lodge.

A big favourite amongst plenty of holidaymakers, the Kalahari Desert covers parts of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. We talked to Melanie van der Merwe about the creative well they drew their inspiration from. Discover how nature has been interwoven with the interior design at Kalahari Anib Lodge.

“Trees, colours, like the colour of grass after the rain, birds – ‘Anib’ means male bird in the local Nama language,” says Melanie upon asking what inspired her. “The most important thing to me and my team was to respect the area. To reflect and showcase the true Gondwana spirit and hospitality, we want people to come, kick off their shoes and become part of the Kalahari.”

It starts with the obvious, like the red sandpits surrounding the two fireplaces in the bar area. Now you can relax, drinks at arm’s length away, while sinking your toes deeper into the ochre velvet. After the sand has been neatly raked, you will see clearly which visitors paid the bar a visit – was it a sparrow, a mongoose, perhaps a bigger animal, or your husband?

Relax at the bar © Gondwana Collection Namibia

Who was the last visitor here? © Annelien Robberts

The Kalahari is home to gemsbok, springbok, ostrich, sociable weavers – so many of them – red hartebeest, eland and many more.

Sociable weavers played a major role in the interior décor. The only time when it is recommended to sleep underneath sociable weavers’ nests is when going to bed at Kalahari Anib Lodge. The reason for this is that if a snake tried his luck up there for some organic, free-range eggs, you might be the unlucky one breaking its fall. Unless you want to look like Medusa, do not stand directly underneath the nest when taking pictures. However, when tucking in at night, you will feel as if you are sleeping underneath a tree without any lurking danger.

Your view after tucking in for the night at Kalahari Anib Lodge © Annelien Robberts

Certain sociable weaver nests can weigh up to one ton in the rainy season. © Annelien Robberts

© Annelien Robberts

The lightshades are another interesting feature and were self-made by the designers – they are a mishmash of completely different lightshades that somehow complement one another. “Balance to me is the ability to take eclectic elements and make it work. Just because they are different, does not mean they cannot work,” says Melanie. Some of the lightshades resemble ostrich egg halves. These were made from recycled yoga balls that were cut in half, with paper mâché from recycled paper on the outside and a coat of copper paint on the inside. When looking inside it, you will recognise the concentric circles typical of a yoga ball.

The use of different lightshades might sound odd, but they complement one another. © Gondwana Collection Namibia

Other lightshades look like bird nests. © Annelien Robberts

The exterior of the bar area © Annelien Robberts

The yoga ball lightshade © Annelien Robberts

© Annelien Robberts

Copper-coloured railings for towels and toilet paper not only reflect earthy elements of nature, but also have a rustic feel to them. “It was a local guy who produced them,” Melanie explains.

Locally produced copper railings for practical uses. © Gondwana Collection Namibia

© Gondwana Collection Namibia

She elaborates that they tried to use Namibian producers and local products as far as possible. “To me, interior decorating is not a shopping expedition; it is about design and development. We asked ourselves, ‘What does the country offer? Its people? The area?’ Throws and scatter cushions were also made by local boere tannies. The furniture comes from local producers. Wool mats were made from karakul wool – karakul sheep are typically from this area. There are a lot of sheep farms in the district.”

Other décor elements play with textures and colours that have been adapted to suit the lodge’s style – everything in perfect harmony with one another – soft and pleasing to the eye. “It was a very stimulating process,” says Melanie.

Colour in the desert © Annelien Robberts

How many natural elements do you see? © Annelien Robberts

On my following visit to the Kalahari Anib Lodge, I became much more aware of elements of the surrounds incorporated into the design.

Come and see for yourself! Book your stay at Kalahari Anib Lodge, and become part of this area and its intricacies.

Author –  Annelien Robberts is an avid wordsmith who turns her pen to all things travel, culture, and lifestyle. She was born in a small town called Otjiwarongo and grew up on a farm nearby. Creativity, nature and animals make her happy.