I am told that the first time I came to Londolozi I was eighteen months old. We were fortunate enough to see a pride of lions and my excitement levels were running so high that I screamed to alert my mom (who was sitting right next to me) at the sight of them. I gave everyone, including the lions an enormous fright at which point the ranger had to rush us out of earshot of the lions and the other guests. This was much to the amusement of Dave Varty who has never let me live it down to this day.

Majingilane crossing

We were very fortunate to see a member of the Majingilane coalition crossing the Sand River at Taylors Crossing on a cool, rainy morning
f5,6, 1/100 sec ISO640

Despite my behavior that day I have been back many times since and am proud to say that I have never done the scream thing ever again. In fact that early fear has given way to a deep passion for the wilderness and soul comfort of the African bush.

When I was in high school my family and I would occasionally travel to Londolozi during school holidays to stay with our friends the Vartys. From those trips I remember balmy winter days, lying in the sun alongside a waterhole fringed by giant Albizia trees. The waterhole had huge waterlilly’s floating on its surface. I remember Boyd Varty plucking them out of the brackish water and showing my sister and I how to use the stems of these water plants to make straws for our illegally obtained gin and tonics.

Hippos - LTA

Hippos play fighting at LTA dam
f8, 1/2000sec, ISO 1000

Around the fire at night miles from where I lived in the hustle of the city I felt myself finally home. In the evening call of a nightjar I heard a sound that seemed to whisper directly to me, this is when I knew I would someday live here.

This was my first attempt at "Star Tracking" the full moon was rising in the distance creating the extra light in the background, I will probably try to avoid capturing an image like this during full moon in my next attempt. f18 ISO 640, shutter release open for 20 minutes

This was my first attempt at “Star Tracking” the full moon was rising in the distance creating the extra light in the background, I will probably try to avoid capturing an image like this during full moon in my next attempt.
f18 ISO 640, shutter release open for 20 minutes

My mom was one of the first receptionists at Londolozi.  She remembers her time there with such joy.  That even as I sailed along a true city girl I always knew that I would someday end up there… That idea finally manifested itself when I turned 21 and moved myself from the slickness of my Cape Town varsity days to the middle of the Lowveld. Here is where my love affair with the African bush and its people came to life.

On game drive

Beautiful clouds contrasting the blue sky
f13, 1/500 sec ISO 320

I have had the rare privilege of working in a little peace of heaven and meeting some of life’s greatest people. I have always believed that you never truly know your life’s purpose until you have spent time in the African bushveld. Being immersed in these wild places has meant that I form part of a small group of very blessed people in this world.

Croc at the causeway

A crocodile awaiting easy prey
f5,6, 1/1250 sec ISO 400

My Londolozi journey has taken me through the camps as a camp manager and now onto sales where my sole purpose is to entice people to experience this place that so many of us call home.  Despite traveling the world to achieve this there is no other place I look forward to coming back to more than Londolozi.

Ximpalapala youngster

Ximpalapala youngster descending a fallen tree
f14, 1/640 sec ISO 1250

Over the years I have developed a passion for photography and I hope to be able to share the way I see the African bush to you with the help of my trusty camera. Albeit it wont be as regular as some of the other posts I do hope you will enjoy looking at these pictures as much as I enjoy taking them.


This dragonfly was perched on a branch in the late morning light.
f4, 1/3200 sec ISO 250

A Woodland Kingfisher

A Woodland Kingfisher with an early morning glint in its eye
f5,6, 1/400 sec ISO 1000


The hairy caterpillar was following the afternoon sun rays on Granite Camp deck
f4, 1/500 sec ISO 1250

Written and photographed by Jacqui Hemphill

About the Author

Jacqui Marais

Head of Sales

Jacqui joined the Londolozi team in December 2007 as a camp manager, a role which she more than ably filled for the next 3 years, before departing for Johannesburg in 2010. Little did she know that over a decade after joining the organization, ...

View Jacqui's profile


on Home away from home!

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Geri Potter

Absolutely gorgeous photos (I especially love the Kingfisher!) and well written! We hope to revisit Londolozi in the near future; your prose make it very difficult to wait! Looking forward to future posts!

Jacqui Hemphill

Thank you so much Geri i appreciate the compliment… And we really look forward to your next visit!

Wendy Hawkins

Oh Jacqui that is beautifully written & the pictures are outstanding! Thank you for sharing these and I wish you many happy years in the wonderful bushveld that I also love so passionately! Your star-tracking pic is stunning, full moon or not, so I am now looking forward to the one when there is no moon??

Jacqui Hemphill

Thank you so much Wendy for your kind words! I will be sure to attempt “Star Tracking” again and post the result here… Watch this space!

Evette Hartig

Jacqui, beautifully written and the photos are outstanding. I look forward to reading more of your posts. It never ceases to amaze me how many truly talented people there are at Londolozi.

Jacqui Hemphill

Thank you so much Evette…

Henry Smith

Wow – love your photos, Jacqui.

Jacqui Hemphill

Hope to see you soon Henry!!


Jacqui, thank you for sharing your little piece of paradise. I am sure that after I visit SA, I will leave a piece of my soul there when I return to my home. I have dreamt of going to Africa since I was old enough to read and look at pictures in our National Geographic magazine. I would read them until they fell apart.
I believe I will feel I am home when I touch the soil in the bushveld. How fortunate you are to be a part of that small number who call it home.

Jacqui Hemphill

MJ you will most definitely leave a piece of your soul here in Africa… Looking forward to hearing your stories of your trip! I remember those National Geographic Magazines and i too used to read them for hours… Thank you for following our blog we hope to entice people to our paradise and share in the everyday joys!


So well done my friend…great pics I am blow away on how far and fast you have come…keep going!!! love your work xxx

Karin MacLarty

We were with you on that first 18 month old game drive Jax and it will forever be ingrained in our memories. Happily, like you, the Londolozi connection remains strong and true.
A beautifully written piece. Your pics are stunning.
Love Karin.

Jacqui Hemphill

Karin i am so happy to see that both you and Ian read this blog as it reminds me of the many happy holidays we all enjoyed together… Hope to see you soon!!

Rod Hemphill

My darling you have truly become a “child of Africa” – I do love you so.
Well done I am very proud of you.
Your loving Dad

Herbie Rosenberg

Having finally experienced Londolozi just a couple of weeks ago, I can truly relate to your beautifully written story. It was also really great to have met you and your team in the office and then to have worked with you during our meetings at Indaba. I will promote and market Londolozi to the Ozzies and the Kiwis with renewed passion. Your photography is world class!! Cheers, Herbie

Jacqui Hemphill

Thank you for the note Herbie it was wonderful meeting you too and i look forward to working with you going forward!

tidi modise

Some amazing pics. Great work

Ian MacLarty

Jackie as Karin has said we were there that day and lovely as your description of events is, I have to say that you flatter your behavior dramatically – but you were very small! You also have omitted to note that you were not on a Londos vehicle but rather on one of a near neighbour in their very formative first few months. (They enjoyed reciprocal driving rights at the time) There were 13 of us on the vehicle at the time – mostly because your Mum was desperate to show your beloved nanny a lion and lets just say that one thing lead to another. For me the best part of the event was to see the expression on the faces of the genuine Londos guests, not only when you let out that ear splitting scream but when Roger, the ranger on the day, reversed at pace into a lone Knob-thorn in his haste to remove his caterwauling guests from the scene. Fortunately, as you mentioned the lions had booked out, as this latter event saw most of the 13 passengers get off the vehicle. I have retold this story so often that I can remember each moment to this day. Lots of love Ian

Jacqui Hemphill

Ian you have blown my cover!!! I had to flatter my reaction that day somehow, however i think your rendition of the actual events was very accurate indeed…Thank you for setting the record straight!! I am pleased to hear that my behaviour that day has provided some great dinner time stories, trust me Dave has also dined out on it a few times at my expense… See you both soon hopefully! Jax

John Holley

Amazing shots Jax!


Awesome photos Jax… Nearly as good as your dance moves….

alistair swartz

And the ankle will testify to that.

Thalia Milton

Atmospheric photos and a moving description – thank you! My trip to Londolozi lazt year was unforgettable and I hope I can come again one day – you are so privileged to be part of it!


Absolutely stunning! Your pics as always are amazing.


Fabulous photos, great passion.
Wonderful to see how your creativity has blossomed since the art group days!


Being away from home right now and reading your blog made me remember how much I miss being away! Thanks for that, see you soon!

Lindsy Marais

Loved it Jax! Absolutely stunning photo’s and love the way you write!

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