It was almost two years ago that the idea to rebuild Serra Cafema first came up. We’d been discussing the camp, and after heavy rains had damaged some of our property, we felt that it was time for a rebuild. To add to this, the camp was now 13 years old, good motivation for a new look!
We’d initially mulled over whether to stay on the island or to move the camp to another area. During our discussions we all agreed that the unique feature of this camp is undoubtedly its location right on the Kunene River. Further to this, our guests had also shared some thoughts and they felt that it was important that the water, island and trees were incorporated into the rebuild. These discussions certainly justified our decision to rebuild on the island and stay in the spot that we so love!
At the beginning of 2017 we appointed an architect and interior designer to help us with this project. The decision was made to reuse and recycle as much of the existing material as possible, from the wood and decking to the interiors. Our aim was to retain our light camp footprint and bring in as little as possible – making sure that none of our existing materials would go to waste.
And so in January 2018 we began the process – what we have named, ‘The Great Serra Cafema Rebuild.’ Our timeline has meant that we have only five months to complete the build. That said, it’s a challenge that we are very excited about! Building materials were trucked in at the end of 2017 and at the moment we are feeling optimistic that all should go according to plan.
All building items are procured locally in Windhoek and these materials are then transported on flatbed trucks to the small town of Kamanjab, where our trusty builder Bertus picks this up for the final drive to the camp. The total driving time (excluding stops for fuel and much needed sleep) is 21 hours! By the time our last guests had left Serra Cafema in early 2018, Bertus had managed to bring in enough materials to begin building right away.
Carina Losper, Area Manager for our North West Region (which includes Serra Cafema), along with a few trusty helpers, left for the camp on 11 January to start the packing-up process. The team started with the back-of-house and the store rooms. They managed to complete this in a day – 35 boxes later… Carina managed her planning incredibly well and this process went very smoothly thanks to the team and their dedication to making sure that the entire camp was packed up (as carefully as possible) with speed! The last guests left on 15 January and they were barely over the Rocky Pass when the first chainsaw started!
Various staff will be monitoring the building progress so we will be able to keep you updated on how it all comes together!
Written by Jennifer Fourie