The Sound of Silence (Londolozi African S.T.A.R)

We sit in absolute silence gazing into the hazel eyes of a 5 ton elephant cow as she carefully and methodically uses her trunk to pick up dead pieces of wood, placing them to one side. She then proceeds to eat the grass previously hidden to other grazers. Moist, soft and green, she rumbles in delight! The scene unfolds bit by bit. I glance down at my watch and realize we have been here for 45 minutes and still not one word has been spoken. I slowly start the engine and we roll forward heading for a raft of hippo that are stirring in a watering hole not too far away. Words would have added nothing to the remarkable experience we had all just had.

Silence…It was incredible.

You see, we are on a silent game drive! A drive to help one reach a state of wordlessness. A drive to force one to leave behind polite, trivial conversation and get embedded in what is happening in front of you; to get you to start living in the NOW! This is all part of a relatively new, yet ancient thinking.

'Tracking Your Life' in Action

'Tracking Your Life' in Action by Rich Laburn

Once a year Londolozi Tree Camp plays host to the STAR group (Self Transformation Adventure Retreat). This extraordinary 5 days under the African skies is hosted by Life coaches/authors/motivational speakers Martha Beck, Koelle Simpson, Boyd and Bronwyn Varty. People travel from all over the globe to come and attend this meeting of magical spirits. It is part of a way to take safari to a completely new dimension. Each drive has an ‘objective’ to help steer people to a level of engagement.

Clockwise from left: Koelle, Bronwyn, Boyd and Martha

Clockwise from left: Koelle, Bronwyn, Boyd and Martha by Rich Laburn

Tracking is a central theme which we follow throughout the week. Drives are often interrupted by hoping off the car, finding animal tracks and following the spoor on foot! The goal is to find the animals; but ultimately it is the art and skills of tracking which are pivotal. Later on the processes applied out in the bush are used to help people to ‘track’ their lives and find raw fun and enjoyment. To remove all the clutter and track down what really makes them tick as an individual.

Tracking Your Life

'Tracking Your Life' by Rich Laburn

From a guests perspective it is a life changing experience. People arrive burdened by difficult pasts, heavy hearts or confused states and leave glowing and with a sense of purpose. The energy is incredible! I consider myself exceptionally lucky to be one of the guides for this experience. To listen to Martha Beck speak is an honour! I learn massive amounts about both myself and human nature. I get to do things that differ from the everyday guiding experience – I get to be part of an envelope being pushed to new levels from all directions!

Written by: Adam Bannister

Filed under Life

About the Author

Adam Bannister

Guest contributor

Ranger at Londolozi Game Reserve

View Adam's profile


on The African STAR Retreat 2011

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Bridgette Boudreau

Stellar post Adam! What a treat it was to have you as our guide.

Here’s to crossing the river without the rover my friend.


Denise M.

Adam…what a lovely post. It was a magical experience indeed. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and love of the land and its inhabitants with us….you rock 🙂

Rich…the B&W of Martha and the coaches is brilliant


Thanks Denise, that’s very kind of you. 🙂


Adam thanks for such a great write up on the STAR! Having you as a guide on it really adds magic, thank you!

Simon Max Bannister

All too often we shy away from the power of the moment, get lost in the future and past. Never actually now. In myths and legends it has long been said that creation comes from nothing. Silence is truly golden.

Mele Andru

Deep Simon … maybe this is meant human beings . Nothing new under sun …

Stephanie Hamilton

Sincerely enjoyed your post. I have had the pleasure of meeting Martha and can only imagine the magic of the retreat. Please keep up the good work of connecting us with nature.

jane broughton

Hi Adam, I think I should have just asked you to write my story for me! that was great, took me right back to that peaceful moment with the elephant and yes, how time flew. Thanks for the wonderful part you played both as guide and all-round superstar member of the Team on the STAR. Jane

Tam Weber

Adam –
Outstanding! Took me right back to the experience of that silent game drive.
I can’t imagine the STAR without you as one of the guides. I am very thankful to
have met you. Tam

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