An iconic villa was recently revealed in the Namibian desert, like an oasis of sophisticated calm discovered on a barren journey through the wild. The Nest is a work of art, built with a web of stories woven together by synchronicity. That same synchronicity left me happily stranded at the villa with the visionary responsible for establishing the surrounding Namib-Tsaris conservancy and unwittingly writing the story that was to weave The Nest. Here is my version of that story, a very humble attempt to share the magic….
First there was a marriage and the shared dream of moving away from the chaos of the city to settle amongst wild things on a conservancy in the Namibian desert. An ideal tract of land was sought and found through several serendipitous twists and turns. With such dreams, nature can be a harsh teacher, leaving one person to carry the dream alone. But such is life and the story certainly doesn’t end there.
On a camping trip with artist Porky Hefer, the owner inadvertently created a collaboration of creative minds from which the concept of The Nest emerged. Porky’s original vision of ‘nest pods’ married with the owner’s habit of upscaling, and a shared vision was born. Porky fleshed out the concept and created architectural drawings to guide the builders towards actualising the beautifully unusual structure.
Hand-drawn plans in hand, Porky and the owner were left with the challenge of finding a builder capable of pulling off a cutting-edge project in the middle of the desert. Hmmm. He spent three years searching for that mysterious person, only to find she lived next door to him and he knew her all along…kind of like a modern version of the girl-next-door, but with the mixed blessing that she did an exceptional job, then let him down. That was the end of her story, but only the beginning for the villa.
With the shell of The Nest complete, it needed exceptional interiors to complement the ambitious architecture. Being presented with a portfolio of experienced designers, the proprietor worked solely on instinct, choosing to collaborate with an aspiring interior designer with virtually no experience. His choice turned out to be well informed, as the designer had precisely the character needed to happily live and work in isolation for weeks at a time.
Throughout The Nest journey, conservation work remained the true passion of its founder. Fences came down one after the other, opening corridors for wildlife to roam freely, searching for sustenance. Seeing the land as ideal rhino habitat, funding was sought and never found for the introduction of one of our planet’s most endangered species. Leopard are tracked and slink elusively amongst surrounding rocky outcroppings. Zebra are daily visitors to the resident watering hole, but the giraffe introduced from the neighboring conservancy are a little less loyal, and often wander. The vision is to restore all species inhabiting the land a century ago – another modern day story of time travel, and no easy task.
In order to support the Namib-Tsaris conservation initiative, The Nest opened its doors to luxury travelers in July 2018. The owner and the photographer enlisted to capture the villa fell in love with each other. A former restaurateur came to re imagine his life as a father and spiritual teacher. And a solitary travel agent ended up stranded there for one of the happiest weeks of her life.
So the story continues….
The Nest @ Sossus is available for exclusive use bookings starting 1 May 2019. The villa booking includes private 5* chef, butler, all meals/drinks, and an incredible variety of activities. Rates on average are NAD 17,000 per person per night and a 3 night stay includes a free balloon flight over Sossusvlei.