Cheetah Plains owner, Japie van Niekerk’s, Plains House villa vision has been conceptualised from inception to completion by renowned South African-based architecture and design firm, ARRCC.  The aim to create sophisticated structures that manage the difficult trick of being different enough to stand out above traditional luxury lodge design, yet still blend respectfully into the surrounding environment, has been perfectly achieved.

Natural materials complement the shuttered cement with feature walls of hand-packed mica, panels of rusted Corten steel, stone and wood, helping it sit comfortably amid the idyllic bushveld scenery. To create separation and to help preserve the large trees on the site, ARRCC fractured the buildings to better fit into the landscape. From the central gym location, the main villa structures fan out, each containing a generous wine gallery, open-plan lounge, dining and bar areas which overlook a breathtaking pool deck and boma.

Named Mapogo, Karula and Mvula after famous wild cats that have been a significant part of the history of this area, each structure has four Private Guest Suites evenly split either side of the main area, all placed far enough apart to be completely private. To enhance the experience of being in the wild, the voluminous roofs are cantilevered so that the massive glass doors can glide fully open, giving guests a seamless interaction with the bush that surrounds them.

The long lines in the formal lounges are softened by the sweeping bend of a substantial fireplace, with ample use of organic materials evident in the furniture and fittings. Apart from the stunning array of South African art on the walls and sculptures that are carefully placed in and out of the buildings, some of the decor pieces could be individual artworks themselves. Many were handcrafted by local artisans in collaboration with interior designers ARRCC and Okha.

Pierre Cronje made each impressive dark dining table from a single slice of heavy leadwood, keeping the natural shape of the tree, inserting brass inlays in the cracks and placing it on curved golden plinths. Over this hangs a playful chandelier of a cascading rise of glass, hand-blown bronzed bubbles by Martin Doller, making you feel as if you’ve dived into champagne. The beautiful drinks bars were carved from solid travertine blocks by skilled hands.

A sophisticated, innovative eco-luxe safari experience for the modern age, the luxury Plains House villas at Cheetah Plains provide a sensual backdrop to your private safari experience. The imaginative, honest architecture is complemented by restful interiors that seamlessly invite the outside in. The muted design palette which comprises warm, natural elements is energised and lifted by the handpicked decor pieces and curated artworks by notable African artists.



Each Plains House villa, not unlike a contemporary gallery space, has been personally and passionately curated by Cheetah Plains owner, Japie van Niekerk. Pieces by acclaimed masters are often thoughtfully placed alongside current and emerging talent.

We are proud to have our Plains Houses provide a platform to showcase Africa’s artistic talent, and love to share these visionary creations in the Cheetah Plains collection with guests from all over the world.


This internationally renowned South African artist’s pieces are unmis­takably dynamic, and captivate the viewer with their power and an almost magnetic allure. The vibrant splashes feature the distinctive “Mccreedy Blue”, a trademark element of the artist’s oeuvre, a colour that Mccreedy associates with intelligence, unity, stability and power.

Mccreedy has exhibited around the world and his works form part of collections in Russia, the USA, China, Switzerland, Germany, Britain, Australia and South Africa. Although Mccreedy has made his home base in Switzerland, evidence of his South African legacy permeates his art. As a committed conservationist and environmentalist, it is fitting the Mccreedy’s work finds its place in the heart of the South African bush.

Most notably, Conor’s impressive depiction of the Mapogo Brotherhood lion pride, which anchors the formal dining room in the aptly named Mapogo House. Additionally, a characteristically abstract diptych defines one of our Private Guest Suites at Karula House, which we have appropriately christened “The Mccreedy Suite”, in the impactful works’ honour.


Angus Taylor is known for his powerful, often monumental, sculptural works made from materials from his immediate environment.

Although he references traditional South African crafting techniques, his works are unmistakably contemporary. Taylor’s craftsmanship, bold and visionary approach and his original use of materials has resulted in many ambitious public and private commissions around the world.


As an artist who gleans inspiration from nature’s lessons for mankind, Eloff’s work captures the power, grace and beauty of his subjects.

Eloff’s concern for wildlife is well known and is demonstrated both in his work and in the various projects he supports. While his work is constantly evolving, Eloff looks to the natural world for direction, exploring the relationship between man and beast, and teachings on universal balance.


Sibiya was born in KwaThema, near Johannesburg. He was trained and worked at the Artist Proof Studio Gallery, where he has also worked on large scale linocuts for several leading artists, including…

…William Kentridge, Diane Victor, Norman Catherine and Colbert Mashile. Rich stylistic detail and textures mark Bambo Sibiya’s linocuts, drypoint and lithographic works, which give insight into masculine identity and community on the streets of Johannesburg.


An alchemist, scientist, magician and artist, Gail Catlin has produced pieces that have enchanted many. Her work features in art museums, exhibitions and collections in France, Russia, Germany, Dubai, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Italy and South Africa.

Her innovative forays into the use of liquid crystal lend her pieces dynamism, as the substance allows her work to shift and react to temperature changes, producing a live pictorial surface. Catlin explores the artistic possibilities of this medium, making her work vibrant, exciting and fascinating to the observant viewer as the colour, sheen and reflectivity react to a given moment.


This eco-artist produces vibrant pieces using recycled materials, the medium of pigment ink on cotton paper being especially favoured.

Such is the appeal of her work, that it is found in collections in Australia, Dubai, Israel, Spain, the USA, the UK and South Africa. The complexity of Gluckman’s art draws in the viewer, unconsciously prompting a cellular memory to respond to the artistic fluidity and intricacy of the scene. The tension between mass production and handcrafted artefacts, order and chaos, direction and randomness is provoked by her pieces.


Renowned South African sculptor, Gert Potgieter, has spent a lifetime perfecting his craft and mastering his unique skill.

Using his unusual base of steel, Potgieter has developed the rare method of metal modeling, which calls for metals to be welded together around an armature to form his compelling structures. While the specific subject of his various sculptures varies, all express Potgieter’s comment on the social issues and challenges of our time.


Zimbabwean born artist, Greatjoy Ndlovo, has won the hearts of many visual arts enthusiasts, as his artwork revolves around emotions and expressions.

The visual artist, who uses abstract realism and gets inspiration from socio-economic influences, has exported many of his artworks and is a favourite of international collectors.


Jacob Hendrik Pierneef was one of the most prominent South African artists whose modernist and geometric style revolutionized South African art in the early 20th century.

Most of his landscapes were of the South African highveld, which provided a lifelong source of inspiration for him. Pierneef’s style was to reduce and simplify the landscape to geometric structures, using flat planes, lines and colour to represent the harmony and order in nature. This resulted in a formalized, ordered and often-monumental view of the South African landscape, uninhabited and with dramatic light and colour.


This South African artist, painter and sculptor has achieved international recognition, with exhibitions in Helsinki, New York, London, Miami, Monaco, Hong Kong, Germany and South Africa.

He is renowned for his monumental portraiture on canvas, often featuring the Cape Malay woman. The fragmentation of identity is epitomized for Smit by this South African subject. He holds that this subject reflects the complexities, ambiguities and perspectives of self, viewed through a historical lens, in dialogue with our contemporary, global existence.


While his comic book series (a South African superhero series, KWEZI) accounts for some of this success, his more serious artwork has also earned him much acclaim.

Mkize uses oil paint on canvas to explore issues of African identity, focussing his brush strokes on skin and eyes to convey the spirit and complex nature of his subjects. The emotive power of his pieces gives tangible voice to the artist’s goal of preserving, exalting and communicating the unique African identity of his subject.


This multitalented South African artist has been constantly evolving, using a wide range of materials and art forms as his creative juices take hold.

While he has produced sculptures, stone and wood-carvings, furniture and many disparate and varied pieces, Cheetah Plains is privileged to enjoy the Banking Eagle as it hovers over the swimming pool. This piece appears to challenge gravity, as well as the strength and resilience of its material. The power, grace and beauty of the predator is seemingly delicately poised, with its balance, movement and shadows all attesting to the natural wonder evoked by the subject.


Johannesburg-based artist Mandy Coppes Martin’s belief that “nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect” applies to the realities embedded in her work.

This innovative artist incorporates silk, shifu and hand-crafted paper in her work as she explores spaces and the interrelatedness of the natural world and humankind. In mastering her medium, she has studied the hand papermaking techniques practiced in Japan and Europe, and uses these skills to comment on the contradictions, fragility and paradoxes inherent in our relationship with our surroundings.


Nigerian-born, Olatunji relocated to South Africa in 2009 and has enjoyed significant success in recent years for his arresting pieces.

His medium of choice is collage using recycled paper as he believes this medium allows him to convey intimate emotion, light and shade, and ultimately, capture beauty. The textured surfaces create subtle nuances of colour, light and movement, serving as Olatunji claims, ‘as a means to heal the soul’.


Solomon Omogboye is a humble, contemporary impressionist painter born in 1982 in Lagos.

His style in painting is like woven long linear strokes of colour, or light. Lively paintings of figures are characterized by energetic bold strokes layered in thick patches on canvas to depict playful expressions of human anatomy.


Although Russian-born (1913), Tretchikoff made South Africa his home from 1946 until his death in 2006.

Tretchikoff has many claims to fame, not least in rivaling Picasso for art exhibition attendances or producing one of the best-selling art prints (Chinese Girl – popularly known as The Green Lady) of the twentieth century. While Tretchikoff worked in oil, watercolour, charcoal, pencil and ink, he is probably best known for his works turned into reproducible prints. His oil-painting technique is known as ‘impasto’, using thick layers of paint, creating textured, raised surfaces often best viewed from a distance.

The Cheetah Plains art collection is an ongoing and evolving project, which frequently sees new works added and commissioned. We are proud to also currently showcase pieces by Azael Langa / Marti Kossatz / Frieda Lock / Janko de Beer / Robyn Field / Jan Tshikhuthula-Makhulu / Sizwe Khoza

Architecture Design & Art Information PDF