The African STAR Retreat 2011
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.
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.
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.
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