A Rondavel house, is an African-style hut known for its compound shape based on a cylinder (walls) and a cone (roof).
This type of conical hut originated in Africa, owes its name and meaning to the Afrikaans word rondawel . Although their construction has evolved, influenced by westernization, they are still considered as houses of indigenous settlements.
Rondavels houses can be found in southern African countries, include: South Africa, Lesotho (where the hut is also known as a mokhoro), Eswatini, Botswana and others.
Construction of a Rondavel House
The rondavel is usually round or oval in shape and is traditionally made from materials that can be found naturally locally.
The walls are usually built with stones and wood. The mixture of union of the different components of the walls, can consist of water, sand, earth or combinations of these, mixed with cow manure.
The floor of a “traditional” rondavel is built from a mixture of dung (manure) to make it hard and smooth.
The roof of the rondavel is formed on a structure of tree trunk poles, which have been collected and cut to the appropriate length. The roof covering is thatch sewn to the posts with grass rope.
The roofs usually have a notable inclination, thus facilitating the rapid evacuation of rainwater, which falls on their ephemeral and flimsy materials.
The process of completing the straw can take a few days or weeks, if done by a skilled craftsman.
The stitching is done one section at a time, starting from the bottom to the top. As each section is sewn, it can be worn down and aged to form a completely weather resistant seal.
In different areas, there are small local variations in wall height, ceiling pitch, and overall finish.
The walls can be detailed, painted or decorated in a more elaborate way, or simply left undecorated.
Rondavel Houses Today
In recent times, with the availability of modern construction materials, the appearance and construction of rondavels has improved.
Currently they can be found with concrete foundations, built with cement or brick blocks, cement mortars and / or roofed with corrugated metal sheets.
Although the traditional Rondavel house did not have water, current, electricity or other modern comforts, currently this TYPE OF HOUSE can be found very well equipped, adapted to offer various ACCOMMODATION SERVICES and tourism, even in small African countries.