An exciting new architectural and eco-travel trend pioneered in the US and Norway – that blurs the lines between the indoors and the outdoors – has made its way to the southern tip of Africa.
In collaboration with a team of South African designers, technical experts and engineers, two young French entrepreneurs have created the country’s first ever floor-to-ceiling mirrored glass cabin that allows guests an immersive connection with nature while ensuring their privacy.
Constructed over the past six months on a private fynbos mountain reserve close to Cape Agulhas, with sweeping vistas of the Overberg farmlands and Swellendam mountains, the new ‘Sky Camp’ mirror cabin features silver laminated safety glass, which reflects 38% of UV rays for maximum comfort and energy efficiency. The cabin accommodates two guests.
The cabin’s sustainable design ensures effective ventilation and temperature control, with insulating glass that is energy-efficient, while preserving the panoramic views of nature by day and the African sky by night.
The French founders of the Sky Camp concept, Chloé Guesnet and Alexandre Rab, came up with the idea following an internship in South Africa during their final year of studies at the Business School in Strasbourg, France.
“We fell in love with the country, its landscapes, culture, and people. COVID significantly delayed our progress, but we never gave up on our dream to create something unique that celebrates South Africa’s incredible natural beauty, innovative spirit and supports the local economy. Our goal is to cultivate activities in collaboration with local partners and utilise local products to minimise our carbon footprint,” said Rab.
The couple chose the Aristea Private Nature Reserve as the location for the country’s first Sky Camp as it combines mountain fynbos conservation with a working honey farm.
The reserve forms part of the Napier Mountain Conservancy which is home to one of the world’s rarest plants, Erica recurvata.
Chris Nicklin of the Aristea Private Nature Reserve, said: “Sky Camp is an exciting extension of the growing interest in ‘api-tourism’ (also known as honeybee tourism) which offers visitors a unique experience directly related with nature. The southerly tip of Africa is an epicentre of the unique Cape honeybees’ habitat, where the bee and the fynbos have co-evolved in a special relationship over many, many millennia.
“The Sky Camp project enables us to fund the removal of highly invasive alien vegetation to allow the fynbos to regenerate, and once again provide the bees with their natural forage, which is rapidly disappearing in so many other parts of the Cape.”
Sky Camp is currently rehabilitating hiking trails. Currently, a short 20-minute hike is accessible from the cabin. This hike will lead travellers to a viewpoint overlooking Aristea. Additionally, a second loop hike is available.
The next available hike will be longer, allowing travellers to see the tip of Africa from the mountain top.