With its picturesque natural surrounds, alluring aesthetic and commitment to sustainable living, Morukuru Beach Lodge in the Western Cape is the epitome of a luxurious off-the-grid retreat
Situated on the coastline of De Hoop Nature Reserve lies Koppie Alleen, a secluded spot known for its white sand dunes, limestone cliffs, abundant fynbos and prime whale-watching. It’s an idyllic slice of paradise and, with Morukuru Ocean House 1km away, a fitting location for Holland-born owners Ed and Anka Zeeman’s 100% off-the-grid addition to the Morukuru Family.
‘This site has the most magnificent views of the dunes and is very close to the beach. These two factors influenced how we went about getting the project off the ground, and we incorporated as much glass as possible to take advantage of the setting,’ they say.Building Morukuru Beach Lodge with the same principles of sustainability, eco-design and environmental sensitivity as Ocean House was essential for the Zeemans, so they called on architect Nick Plewman and Dutch interior designer Janine Feikes-Butter, with whom they’d worked on the previous property. Known for his sustainable approach, Plewman used local materials throughout the lodge, sourcing stone from Bredasdorp quarry and recycled railway sleepers from Caledon for the structure’s façade.
Inside, a two-storey circular wall is the central point around which the building’s five suites – each with its own private balcony, sitting area, fireplace and statement chandelier by Riaan Chambers – revolve. ‘It’s important to create little nooks where people can relax,’ says Feikes-Butter. ‘To achieve this, we used single chairs that can be moved around to form separate areas.’
This clever use of seating is especially apparent in the bar, where a black leather Songololo sofa by Haldane Martin winds around the space, acting as an arresting element while also providing a comfortable place from which to admire the sweeping sea views. Here, Constance Guisset’s large Vertigo pendant lights create a graphic silhouette on the wood-panelled ceiling, while patterned scatter cushions and armchairs add a monochrome geometric touch and speak of Feikes-Butter’s love of textiles.
Wood merges with stone in the en-suite bathrooms, whose water is drawn from a natural borehole and heated by pellet burners. ‘Morukuru Beach Lodge is 100% off the grid, which means we need to be extremely aware of our resources,’ say the Zeemans.While the bar’s palette is predominantly black and white, yellow bursts draw the eye and connect the space to the designer’s overarching scheme. ‘I like colour, but it’s important to create harmony between the inside and outside,’ she says. ‘In the bedrooms, I’ve used combinations of yellow, green and blue to reflect the environment and the flora and fauna. In the dining area, I concentrated on marine hues to emphasise the colour of the sea.’ She’s also echoed Beach Lodge’s surrounds through her inclusion of natural textures: from mats on the floors to baskets on the walls, there’s a plethora of organic woven additions that result in a tactile aesthetic with an inherently South African feel.
Maximising natural light was of particular importance when designing the lodge, especially considering its off-the-grid status, and Plewman included expansive glass windows that simultaneously flood the interiors with light and frame the vistas beyond. Ambience is achieved with a selection of custom fittings that rely on electricity generated from solar panels on the roof, while fireplaces and pullet burner boilers provide heating.
‘We know that our livelihood is derived from our natural surroundings, so we’re very conscious of how we impact on the environment,’ say the Zeemans. ‘At the lodge, water’s drawn from a natural borehole, our gas cooking comes from a Biorock system and we buy most of our produce from nearby farmers. We believe that investing in green and conscious building is the future and a must for all hospitality operators.’ morukuru.com
Photographs: Greg Cox Production: Jeanne Botes
Shop the look of this nature-inspired property here. The owners of Morukuru Beach Lodge give us their tips for living sustainably here. Plus, read 9 Inspirational South African Stories of Sustainability and Beazley Designs of the Year 2018: Sustainable Design next.