Located on the magnificent Plumari Private Game Reserve at Askari Game Lodge & Spa, and ringed by the breathtaking mountains of the Magaliesberg, Ukuphila is set to become a leading destination for Gauteng investors and bush enthusiasts alike.
Giuseppe Plumari, CEO of Steyn City Properties and owner of Plumari Private Game Reserve has a dream: to create and share a space where families can take time out from the bustle of Johannesburg and experience the glory of nature together. It’s a dream based on his own experience as a young father, when he would bring his children to his farm, the Plumari Private Game Reserve to have a break from city life.
The establishment of Ukuphila, a development presenting 75 luxury homes in three well- appointed camps, has brought that dream to fruition. “This is a first,” says Plumari, noting that the 4 000ha reserve is one of the only Big Five game farms in Gauteng. What’s more, at only an hour’s drive from Johannesburg, Ukuphila is easily accessible, even for those who can snatch only a day away – holidaymakers would have to drive for at least three hours to experience a game viewing destination offering an experience of the same quality. “What makes this place truly special, however, is the fact that most Big Five reserves in the area don’t allow children. In contrast, Ukuphila is all about family. We love the fact that children will learn about nature here; hopefully, we will play a role in nurturing a passion for conservation amongst the next generation of South Africans,” says Plumari.
He reports that careful thought has been given to the planning and construction of the new private bush camps at the game reserve so that it has minimal impact on the land. This pertains to the aesthetic of the homes, too: DBM Architects, who were charged with creating a look and feel for the homes, have applied their ample experience in lodge design to come up with an organic, earthy style which sits softly on the soil.
DBM Architects’ Wynand du Plessis explains that the design takes inspiration from the Transvaal farmhouses of old, which have been reinterpreted in a more contemporary manner. “Ukuphila’s homes aren’t drastically different from the charming old houses in surrounding towns like Hekpoort – think thick stone walls, corrugated iron roofs and wraparound stoeps,” he comments, “but the use of modern materials, like exposed timber trusses and rough-hewn wooden beams, freshens the look.” The design is not only ideal for the environment; it’s also particularly well suited for the climate.
The homes have been positioned to ensure prime views and privacy and may be configured to suit each homeowner’s specific taste. Thus, although architectural guidelines are in place to protect the integrity of the estate and the environment, certain elements may be adjusted; homeowners may select their own colour schemes, for example, and may specify the number of rooms.
The homes – which measure up to 360m² on erven of up to 1 125m² – are designed around a central entertainment hub with open plan kitchen, dining room, lounge and bar. “This forms the core of the house, making for special family moments,” Du Plessis says. The hub opens out onto a wide veranda which is literally part of the bush, thanks to the absence of fences and gates. Again, homeowners can customise this space with the addition of a fire pit or infinity pool.
The bedroom pods, separated from each other by courtyards, lead off the entertainment hub. Each boasts its own separate entrance, outdoor shower, en suite bathroom and wooden deck. The modular design of the hubs is a special feature, making it possible to isolate part of the home – perhaps to be used by different families holidaying together, or maybe to be rented out to other holidaymakers, creating a passive income stream for homeowners.
The homes are found in three groups of 25, in small nodes especially chosen for their sweeping views. The sites – Kudu Creek, Thorntree Hill and Magaliesview – have their own singular character and atmosphere, since the sheer size and diversity of the Plumari Private Game Reserve means that it is possible to experience many different types of vegetation and scenery during one game drive.
Although game drives are one of the major attractions at this one-of-a-kind reserve, other pastimes are available. Outdoor activities such as target and clay pigeon shooting are on offer. A world class equestrian centre is planned, while Poplar Country Village – another future attraction – will feature a microbrewery and artisanal food market. A breeding programme, established for such rare species as golden wildebeest, adds an extra dimension to an already special destination.
Guests will, moreover, be able to enjoy the four-star facilities of the luxurious Askari Game Lodge, located on site. These include a restaurant, pool and spa facility and, for those who have to mix pleasure with business, a fully equipped conference centre. The property also has its own chapel, making it ideal for weddings. Another highlight is the Plumari Museum, with exhibits tracking the history of the area, from the earliest inhabitants of the Magaliesberg to the brave Voortrekker Boers who established the first farms in the region.
The presence of Askari Game Lodge is significant for another reason, too: it is possible for homeowners to add their bush homes to the lodge’s pool of accommodation, providing yet another avenue for revenue.
“This place has always been a haven for my family, and we are looking forward to sharing its peace and the wonders of nature with others who love the bush as we do,” Plumari concludes.
Press release issued November 2016 on behalf of the Plumari Group by Marie Yossava | Grapevine Communications | http://www.grapevinecommunications.co.za
For further information, contact Daniela McCormick on 011 431 4092.
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