2 Feb 2017

Travel Diaries #5: The African Interior

Travel Diaries: The African Interior on vickiarcher.com

Talk about a room with a view.

At first the interior somewhat pales as the Kruger Park takes centre stage. As the eyes adjust to the surroundings and the passing parade of Giraffe and Elephant becomes commonplace, I can see the attention to detail in Lebombo’s interiors.

To say I fell in love with these surroundings is an understatement.

Cutting edge design in the heart of the African wilderness is a brilliant achievement. Aesthetically pleasing to the eye with the utmost level of comfort and heart-warming ambience is a brilliant combination. The colours are subtle; shades of grey, taupe and beige to allow the exterior to shine. There are no sharp contrasts as the architecture effortlessly blends with the interior design.

And every, I mean every creature comfort is there to enjoy.

Travel Diaries: The African Interior on vickiarcher.com

Once my eyes settled I took note.

I love a good interior nearly as much as a fashion show and the African style has truly inspired me.

I see similarities with our French decor, a neutral palette to highlight the landscape outside. I have the creams and the beiges well in hand in Provence but I want to introduce some soft and stronger greys to compliment. Basket ware is used everywhere in the African interior; I’m going make those French baskets work harder.

I have resisted the temptation to ship a myriad of baskets home to Provence. How I have wanted to! The container sizes and shapes are so beautiful, not to mention the delicate weaves. I have had to be content with an armful of beaded bracelets; they are slowly creeping up my arm.

The vases dotted everywhere, filled with some wild flora are the prettiest. I can’t tell you what varieties of plant they were but again I resolve to do more of this style at home; to use a multitude of shapes and sizes when it comes to the floral and to try and make use of the wonderful foliage at my fingertips. Olive trees you are in for a haircut.

Travel Diaries: The African Interior on vickiarcher.com

The pottery plates were another beautiful addition to the interiors.

Every dining experience, apart from being dangerously delicious, was served on exquisite pottery.

The sleeping quarters were built to resemble eagle nests. Having never slept in a nest I cannot tell you whether they were successful or not but I can say they were imaginative, supremely comfortable and stunning “nests”. I did feel as if we were perched high up overlooking the N’wanetsi River and the Kruger wilderness beyond.

Travel Diaries: The African Interior on vickiarcher.com

This decor style to merge bathing and sleeping has been a trend I find difficult to work with but in this case the use of grey linen curtains and an over sized mosquito net made the room idyllic.

A retractable curtain separated dressing and bathing and the shower room was either open or closed to the elements depending on your sensibilities.

Travel Diaries: The African Interior on vickiarcher.comTravel Diaries: The African Interior on vickiarcher.com


Wrapped in heavy duty net, the bed felt like a four-poster and cocooned us from the outside world. With a plethora of “nasties” waiting to get me, think Mozambican Spitting Cobras, Black Mambas and venomous scorpions, I was grateful.

This colour palette and interior style is obviously one that works because of its location. We can’t often sleep in an eagle’s nest and nor would we want to. What I do like to do is learn from my new surroundings and take inspiration from them. I am returning to Europe with a continued passion for southern Africa, the wildlife, flora and fauna and the interiors.

I think you can tell, I am having a wonderful time. xv


subscribe for updates from vickiarcher.com

In This Post:



Taste of France

I have a book called “Safari Style” that is nearly 20 years old but everything in it is as fresh as if it had come out today. I have an intricately hand-carved coffee table whose legs I removed in order to carry it home in my suitcase, and two hand-carved armchairs with woven backs and seats, made by the same man in Lamu. They are unique and work with everything because they are so beautiful.
As for mosquito nets, I prefer the kind that stretches from a ring above the bed. It is tied up during the day, and when you undo it, you can know that no mosquitos (or spiders) has gotten inside. In fact, I used to tuck mine under the mattress, so it wouldn’t touch the floor, to further guard against intruders.
A friend told of waking up to see a gigantic spider on his net. Groggily, he observed it, unconcerned, because he was snug inside the net. Then he realized the spider also was inside the net. He escaped OK, but never again let the net touch the floor.


I am glad I had no such intruders!!
I can tell you I walked everywhere with my head looking down and my legs lifting high ;) We saw a Mozambican Hissing Cobra on our way in to the camp from the airport… there was no way I wasn’t looking where I was going!! :)

Our French Oasis

This looks like absolute paradise. I have only ever been on safari in Kenya, never South Africa, although my husband spent several years living there and his brother still lives there. It’s another place on my long list of places to visit!

Vivienne Ghyoot

Hello Vicky,
I have been a fan and reader of your blog for years! I loved your books, your blog and your own house renovation as well as that of Petit Bijou! Finally, I have also renovated a house in France, near Uzes, but best of all, you are in my part of the world! I am South African, and love that you like our country (warts and all ), our game parks and decorating style!
One day, my dream is to meet up with you!
Best regards, Vivienne


There is so much to see, Vivienne.. so much beauty in your landscapes.. I can’t wait to explore… Today I am in Cape Town.. and ventured out to Babylonstoren… What an incredible place… but more about that tomorrow.. :)

Catherine Baudet

Thanks for this lovely post Vickie- very interesting to see this African interior and it is so different to the usual seen in Australia and America. I love the subtle tones and simple shapes and the colours are amazing! Form follows function!


I always hoped you would get to one of the Singita camps one day – I knew you would love them!!! Xx


‘Serene’ comes to mind while looking at the pictures. It must be difficult to leave such a beautiful area.


Just a small correction: The snake you referred to is usually called a Mozambique SPITTING Cobra. If cornered it may spread its hood, however its main defence, is like their name implies to spit its venom.


Loved reading about your African experiences. I live close to Singita and loved your description of the Lodge I have done styling in their shops for years and have a great respect for Boyd Ferguson the Singita Interior Designer, he is a very talented designer!


Nola.. those shops!! I had to steel myself against so much temptation.. Congratulations, what an incredible job you do…
The beaded bracelets got under my skin though… and maybe on my wrist ;)

Anita Rivera

What GORGEOUS interiors, Vicki! The natural woods and fibers with the toned down neutral colors are a blend of the European hues I love with the feel of nature. What a great trip this has been for you!


Nothing like sleeping under a mosquito net! In Brisbane summers as a teenager I grew up sleeping under one. It felt so sheltering and safe – and lovely to see my room and the view from the window through the fine mesh. When we were young my Mum always used to tuck the net in under the mattress as she was saying good night. Later when living in Sri Lanka we always slept under nets year round – but they were to keep out the mozzies as we rarely got snakes in the house – or spiders.
Like the clothes in your wardrobes! Best wishes, Pamela


Dear Vicki
As a born and bred South African who is terribly proud of our creative talent and our African interiors and decor I am delighted that you share my enthusiasm and am thrilled that you loved your safari experience.


Dear Vicky, I am a loyal reader of your column, but I don’t get your emails anymore in my mailbox. I rally miss them. The only way to see you daily valuable information is going to your website. I tried to subscribe again but it says I am already subscribed. :( Have a lovely weekend.


Hello Ana,

I have updated for you and you should start receiving all my emails now :)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Alexandra Shulman : Having The Eye on vickiarcher.com
Alexandra Shulman: Having An Eye