Two nights ago we introduced our guests to the much anticipated and talked about “Bush Bar, located deep within the thickets of the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve. When guests arrived at our sublime and carefully selected spot, hearty laughter and exclamations of delight could be heard reverberating through the land. Plenty of pomp and ceremony ensued while guests swilled their wine and sipped their craft gin. Our rangers have been hard at work constructing the ultimate authentic and rustic bush bar, and their efforts have finally paid off! We launched the bar, created a video and did a shoot while our guests eagerly participated.
There were no inaugural speeches, but talented videographer Kevin MacLaughlin filmed the bush bar construction, set-up and final execution. Photographer Em Gatland was there to document every moment on camera and tried her hand at stylising the set for the shoot. This Bush Bar will now be Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp’s “special” sundowner spot, a place to form strong bonds with fellow guests and celebrate golden hour, the time of day that has become synonymous with safari living. Watch the video, ogle over the images below and read how this special spot came to be. And finally, don’t forget to tag #BackAtTheBar when next you visit!
Over the past few months, in between guiding duties and the daily grind of bushveld living, rangers have been hard at work constructing the ultimate rustic bush bar. They carefully selected the spot for the bar, which is located on a slightly elevated and safe area above a drainage line. Drainage lines are the ideal place for leaopards to hide out and other wildlife to den their young, which makes it all the more exciting. Our expectations are high!
Step one, after selecting the spot for the perfect bar, was to clear the area of debris and obstructions. Elephants are the natural carpenters of the bushveld, so our rangers decided to get in touch with their inner pachyderm and get clearing. From the primitive chopping of wood to the hard labour and final construction; everything was beautifully executed. During the heat of summer, the boys sweated it out and laboured hard to get the groundwork done.
Step two involved the actual construction of the bar, a more creative and practical part of the job. Wood from fallen trees was used for the base of the bar, keeping the idea in mind that the bar is an extension of its surrounds – not an intrusion. Gnarled, misshapen branches give the bar a sculptured look and feel. The bar is supported by wood and strips of wire knitted together to prevent wildlife from smashing it to smithereens!
The top of the bar, where we rest our glasses and goblets of wine, is a flat piece of wood made from the same material as the signage. Adjacent to the bar is the “chill out” circle, complete with wrought iron structure designed to hug a roaring fire.
Step three is where the style and decor comes into play. The bush bar, being at the mercy of the elements, needed to be kept as sturdy and simple as possible. But simple can be classy – after all, less is more. The decor, the styling and the array of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages were (and will be) brought to the area prior to guests’ arrival. We don’t leave the drinks at the bar for fear of stumbling upon drunken honey badgers while on drive and lilac-breasted rollers wreaking of rum.
When the Bush Bar “special” sundowners is set-up, you can expect an array of sundowner snacks to accompany the drinks selection. Camp chairs are placed around the campfire and your choice of drink will be served at your request.
Before the launch, it was vital to set up the bar area and create an ambiance. Lanterns with soft lighting were used to enhance the gentle colours of the sky at sunset, while colourful impala lilies adorned the bar and quirky beaded artwork hovered over the bottles on display.
The Nadias, the rangers and rest of the team served our guests, encouraged banter and ensured there was a consistent flow of merriment. Overall the response to the Bush Bar was phenomenal and we’re looking forward so showing future guests this spot for a special sundowners evening. We’ve even kept up to date with current trends and served an array of local and international craft gins, tonics and elite whiskies! There was also fine wine and other drinks on offer. Em Gatland offered to help with the alcohol selection for the shoot, as she is partial to a fine dram or two.
Swanky bars in crowded city centres adorned with flashing lights and inflated prices don’t hold much appeal to those with a wild spirit and deep connection with nature. This sundowner spot is for the wild spirits of Africa, those that connect with nature and who enjoy a tipple in the bushveld. The brainchild of the Sun Destinations’ directors, this bar encompassed in dramatic scenery is going to be “the” spot to relax.
Bottoms up ! And don’t forget to tag #BackAtTheBar on social media when you next visit.