How two adventurous “bird nerds” found a fitting nest

You don’t have to spend a lot of time with Johan and his exuberant wife, Lardine Vermeulen to understand why they chose to build their dream home at Likweti wildlife residential estate near White River.

Johan, a filmmaker specialising in documentaries is no stranger to the Lowveld. He grew up on a game farm near Komatipoort and the Kruger and has always treasured the gift of nature. Lardine is an accountant in White River. She is passionate about cooking, meals that is, not books and is a master baker according to Johan. She loves attending to the vegetable boxes in the courtyard where she grows her own herbs and vegetables. The vegetable boxes were incorporated in the house’s design and are irrigated by means of a rainwater harvesting system.

The couple built their first house in Nelspruit but after two years of city living, they sold the property and ventured on a journey to find tranquility.

They looked at various nature-and-wildlife estates between Nelspruit and White River but jokingly admit that they left the best for last. After exploring Likweti and driving through Likweti Plains, the second phase of this development, they found themselves on a picturesque stand surrounded by hills and boulders. The captivating views and natural seclusion created by the topography of the stand told a story which resonated with them, they were home!

The young, but determined couple fearlessly took on another building project, this time taking inspiration from nature with the bushveld as their backdrop. The unique 3-bedroom dream home was planned and designed to harmoniously blend into the natural layout of the stand. No mature trees were removed, and the house is surrounded by Lowveld bushveld, creating the perfect self-sustained natural garden. When the wall of aluminum doors are opened, nature is invited in and is greeted by earthy tones and natural materials.

It is apparent that Johan and Lardine are at home in nature (pun intended), always looking for an excuse to spend time outdoors. With all that Likweti has to offer, it is a picture-perfect fit for the couple’s lifestyle. The Vermeulens love visiting the Kruger National Park and are birding fanatics. They confidently refer to themselves as “bird nerds” and the birdlife at the estate was a big drawing card. Johan is currently busy with a documentary about birds which focuses on the history of ornithology (the scientific study of birds), as well as various bird conservation initiatives in South Africa.

You can follow his exciting journey here: Johan’s Instagram profile

Johan and Lardine Vermeulen at the Ujabule lookout point at Likweti wildlife residential estate

All photos by Johan Vermeulen.

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