Tag Archives | British Colonial Style

British Colonial Safari Style: Jack’s Camp

As promised, the ultimate example of British Colonial Safari Style. I’m looking into prices for my left kidney and playing the lotto this week. You never know your luck!!

Jack’s Camp, Botswana.  

Jacks Camp, British Colonial Safari Style

The response from those who have been there is always the same: first your question is echoed, ‘Jack’s Camp?’ followed by a reflective pause –  ‘It’s different.’ And there they leave it, the difficulty of describing it hanging in the air like a half-built bridge.

Wow, is all I can say.  The story behind Jack’s Camp, as from their website, Uncharted Africa:  ‘While on a trapping expedition in the Makgadikgadi Pans during the 60’s, Jack Bousfield stumbled upon a site that so captured his imagination, he set up camp under an acacia with the unshakeable expectation that others would feel the same…The choice of such a striking locale, owed much to his original taste for the savage beauty of a forgotten Africa where he lived until his tragic death in an aircraft accident in 1992. As a homage to the vision of his father, Ralph, his son, and his partner Catherine established Uncharted Africa Safari Co starting with Jack’s Camp which was refurbished at the beginning of 2003 – in a traditional East African 1940’s safari style.  Ten green roomy and stylish canvas tents with en-suite bathrooms and indoor and outdoor showers (for those who want to feel the Kalahari breeze on their skin) have been fashioned in classical style and are set into a palm grove creating an oasis of civilization in what can be the harshest of stark environments…Persian rugs underfoot and cool cotton sheets form a striking contrast with the rugged wilderness viewed from the comfort of one’s own verandah.’

And refined comfort, it is indeed. Who would mind taking a dip in the middle of the Kalahari under these gorgeous tents….

Jacks Camp, British Colonial Safari

Jack's Camp, British Colonial Safari

Jack’s Camp takes the safari-style recreational activity seriously – who’s up for a game of billards under tent? Love the ‘saloon’, dotted with campaign style-furniture, even campaign-style bar!

Jacks Camp, British Colonial Safari

All ready for afternoon tea – love the mixture of persians, wood, and busy fabric-lined walls.

Jacks Camp, British Colonial

All set-up for supper – how more colonial can one get? Lanterns serve as only light source – that and the red Kalahari-sunset.

Jacks Camp, British Colonial Safari

All set-up for breakfast – love the crisp white linen, silver water jugs doing duty as make-shift vases. And how gorgeous are those Deyrolle-style scientific prints?

Jacks Camp, British Colonial Safari

The ‘mess’ at Jack’s camp. Taking queues from the great colonists – scientific prints, books, amazing bush finds – see the ostrich eggs & plume, tribal art and amazing Peter Beard photographs on the walls.  

Jacks Camp, British Colonial Safari

One of their other camps – San Camp – have a look at the more basic campaign style furniture – butlers’ tray doing duty as drinks table, camp-style cupboard and those amazing steel-frame beds. I really love how they’ve managed to marry the traditional San colours, with the more traditional fabrics – referring to the pillow roll at the top of the beds.

Jacks Camp, British Colonial Safari

Dark furniture, classic officers’ campaign chest, tribal art, and subtle references to its English heritage – love the red ticking bed canopies and floral print ottomans. A true colour & pattern mishmash marriage made in heaven!!

Jacks Camp, British colonial Safari

Jacks Camp British Colonial Safari

 Not even the bathrooms where overlooked in terms of making it completely campaign-style authentic. Even the campaign style loo! Love the bits of traditional english paneling….

Jacks Camp, British Colonial Safari

Your outside shower – solar-heated, under an acacia tree. Does it get more perfect than this? I think not.

Jacks Camp, British Colonial Safari

Jacks camp, British Colonial Safari

Jacks Camp, British Colonial Safari

pic credits: 1,2,4: internationaltravellermag;  3: go2africa; 5: nextadventure; 6,13: afar; 7: cntraveler; 8: unchartered africa; 9: blacktomato; 10, 11: wildromanceafrica; 12: hotelsandlodges; 14: benchinternational; 15: blacktomato


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Decoding British Colonial Style: Part 1

I’m busy reading E.M Forster’s  A Passage to India and find myself day dreaming of balmy days & breezy nights, sipping G&T’s on checkered floor verandas filled with & big potted palms and deep comfy cane sofas…. Just a perfect setting for another post on our  ‘Decoding’ instalments. This time up: Colonial Style.

Seeing this is quite a hefty topic to tackle, I’ll be breaking it down into the relevant Colonial Styles, ie. Spanish, Portuguese, French and Dutch. But first up, we’ll be ‘de-coding’ British Colonial Style. Where did Colonial style originate? Colonists of course, are to be thanked for this style and it all starts with where their flag gets planted!

Colonial architecture is an architectural style from a mother country that has been incorporated into the buildings of settlements or colonies in distant locations. The colonists built a settlement that synthesised the architecture of their countries of origin with the design characteristics of their new lands, creating a hybrid designs.

But of course, it is much more than that. It is the fusion of food, fashion, lifestyle and sometimes love, that brings forth something beautiful and unique but always with a little mystique and a touch of the exotic….

British Colonial Style

So as we know, the Brits were quite good at the flag planting game, and can possibly considered the leaders of the pack, whilst gathering some exotic jewels in their crown such as South Africa, India, Jamaica, Kenya, West Indies, Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe) and Singapore. Although all of these countries have since received independence, the colonial influence still lingers and makes for something really special.

What is find specifically interesting, is the blending of British influence of the coastal- and island colonies, compared to that of the inland colonies, in terms of colour treatment and furniture choices – it always seems to be ever so subtle and never forced, just the perfect mixture of formal Britishness and with an air of relaxedness the relevant colony brings to the party. A true match made in heaven.

Coastal British Colonial Style

As with all of the Colonial styles, most were born out of  a sense of practicality, rather than aiming for a certain style. Weather conditions played a big part in forming the style, taking in consideration that these exotic coastal regions had their fair share of extreme weather conditions –  torrential rain storms, typhoons, humidity & heat waves that would make many a  pinkish Brit want to hitch a boat ride back to the Big Smoke.

What elements can we consider to be traditional for describing this style?

Dark Floors & -Furniture

Of course it makes more sense to use locally available wood, such as teak & mahogany, to manufacture furniture, but still paying homage to its traditional British roots – furniture was still fairly formal & traditional in style, but carried elements in the form of carvings of the colony of origin.

British colonial style, bedroo

source: Pinterest


Also aptly called ‘hurricane shutters’, something the colonists adopted from the locals. Not only brilliant for privacy, but also for controlling harsh sunlight, but still allowing a natural breeze, definitely required for those stifling hot days and nights. And they are on permanent storm duty,  for when required. Not to mention the architectural value they add to any house – always beautiful.

internal shutters, british colonial

Architectural Features

High rafter ceilings – to help combat the heat!

Wide porticos/verandas – no other way the pinkish Brits could cope – always dotted with locally manufactured cane furniture, mostly painted white, or otherwise left untreated.

Cool flooring – think screed floors, beautiful mosaic or classic black & white checkered tile flooring on verandas.

british colonial, veranda, floor, cane furniture

source: pinterest

Dealing with the heat

White on White

Wall treatment, linen, slipcovered furniture, you’ll find mostly in white or shade thereof. Another way of helping with the stifling heat and to keep rooms feeling light, airy & ‘breathing’  – and to keep mozzies at bay. What is prettier than a mozzie net draped bed? Also of course plays off lovely against the dark floors and furniture. How gorgeous are these candlewick covered bed throws and Mosquito nets by Thom Sheerer?

Bedroom, British Colonial, four poster

source: Stylecourt

Ceiling fans

Beautiful to look at and what better way to fall asleep, with that ‘swoosh swoosh’- sound above your head. You’ll love it, the mozzies not.

India Hicks, Hibiscus Hill, British Colonial

India Hicks, Paddle Fans, British Colonial

source: hibiscushillharbour island

Bring the Outside In

Potted plants, ferns, a lovely orchid or bowl of local fruit, can be even prettier than a bouquet of flowers – and way more fitting in its environment – and will last longer. Promise you, your rose bowl would not live through the afternoon, but your curated bowl of pineapples, will definitely see you through the next days’ lunch – before it gets chomped up and becomes lunch.

India Hicks, British Colonial, tropical fruit

source: hsn.com

plants, inside, palms, india hicks

source: houseandhome

Embrace Natural Textures

Think baskets, woven grass carpets (perfect for dealing with sea sand) and cane furniture. Grasscloth-covered walls – just the best! Get the beach on your walls, without the hassle of dealing with the sand.

Its these elements, that truly brings this style to life for me. And the most obvious – readily available, cheap and practical. Ever tried getting sea sand off a persian carpet – I’m just saying…. grass cloth walls, british colonial

peacock chair, british colonial

source: Lonny 

How gorgeous are these grass baskets used as lampshades? Danish fashion designer, Marlene Birger’s beach house on St. Barth’s.

Marlene Birger, kitchen, grass, british colonial

source: flickr 

Cabinet of Curiosities

Set your inner Jacques Cousteau free – collect interesting found items – shells, driftwood, momentos – anything that tells your story. It not only creates interest, but makes the most beautiful ‘tablescapes’. Or try it as a wallpaper in a guest cloakroom. Anything flotsam and jetsam would work! And we all sometimes get stuck with the odd-no-talking-dinner-guest – at least you’ll have something to talk about – or pour yourself another Gin, if all else fails……

cabinet of curiosities collage, British Colonial

source: left: therovinghome, top right: pinterest, bottom right: moonandtrees

Take your Colour Queue from Nature

What shade of blue there is not to like? Don’t forget about the sorbet colours – love the coral pinks, and any, any shade of teal. Use it in unexpected places – soft coral on walls in a dining room, or a strong teal in a guest cloakroom. Always makes for a lovely surprise and contracts beautifully with all the white-on-white shades.

teal, dining room, british colonial

source: apartment theraphy

Coral pink walls, british colonial

source: the glam pad 

Plant your Flag

I just love any old flag, the more tattered, the better. Display it somewhere unexpected – in a nice frame in a bathroom, on a scatter pillow…… set your inner-colonist free – planting that flag lends character and charm and the more unexpected its place, the better. Union Jack, Colonial Style, flag

source: the dust jacket attic

Flag collage, british colonial, union jack

sources: left: pinterest, top right: lonny, bottom right: etsy

Nautical Elements 

Well you got there by boat after all? Bring some nautical elements inside – rope, ships window as a bathroom mirror, mounted antique telescopes, model boats – anything that says ship and sea.

nautical inspiration moodboard, british colonial style

sources: left pic: remodelista, top right: decor4all, bottom right: housebeautiful

Next post up: I’ll be taking you an a tour of a colonial that managed to tick all of these style boxes…..in bucket loads!

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