“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions” – Karen Blixen. 

Today is World Rangers Day, a day especially dedicated to honouring the men and women who work tirelessly to protect our parks, reserves and wildlife. Many rangers have difficult and dangerous jobs that see them fighting to save threatened wildlife species in the poaching onslaught that continues to raise its ugly head with increasing alarm.

This day is not only to honour our wonderful rangers, past and present, but also to thank our trackers. It is thanks to the efforts of these teams that we get to witness incredible sightings and it is their knowledge that enriches our experience. A safari is not the same without their guidance. At Londolozi we are fortunate to have a dedicated team who set out at first light and return after dark to bring you closer to the untamed bush.

These are Londolozi’s conservation heroes and we salute each and every one of you.

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The 2014 Londolozi Ranger and Tracker Team. Photograph by Elsa Young.

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Two of our female rangers seen in the front. From left: Talley Smith and Jessica Boon. Photograph by Elsa Young.

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The 2013 Training Team have become an integral part of the rangers team.

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Mike Sutherland is never far from his camera. You’ll recognise Mike from his many beautiful photographs showcased on the Londolozi blog.

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Kate Imrie is Head Ranger at Londolozi, the woman behind the management of the rangers team. Photograph by Elsa Young.

Rich and his guests.

Richard Ferrier and his guests.

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Daniel Buys plans to check an area as the sun sets. Photograph by Mike Sutherland

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Game Ranger, photographer extraordinaire, writer and campfire singer – the one and only James Tyrrell.

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Simon Smit sits up to enjoy a herd of buffalo drinking at the end of another dry winters day. Photograph by Mark Nisbet

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Ranger Greg Pingo, Tracker Andrea Sithole and guests await the emergence of a pack of wild dogs from out of the mist and dust.

Its all in the details.

Three of Londolozi’s most senior trackers, from left; Judas Ngomane, Richard Siwela (head tracker) and Jeremiah Hambana. These masters of the bush combine over 100 years tracking experience between them. Photograph by Elsa Young.

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After following the tracks of a female leopard and her cub through the Summer bush, Mike Sithole eventually spotted the two high on a fallen marula tree in the distance. One can clearly see how excited Mike and James are at the discovery, as they rush back to the vehicle to take the guest in to see the leopards. Photographed by Kym Illman

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Tom Imrie won the 2013 Safari Guide of the Year competition making his Londolozi family very proud.

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Ranger Josh Lee and his guests enjoy a close-up sighting of the Tsala Pride. Photograph by Gary Tankard.

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Londolozi Tracker, Life Sibuye, on a cold winter’s morning. Photograph by Mike Sutherland.

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Mark Nisbet and his guests enjoy a spectacular winter sunset. Photograph by Mike Sutherland.

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James Tyrrell and Peter Fleck are in the final stages of preparing for a 250 km run across Madagascar to raise funds for the Good Work Foundation. We are immensely proud of all the training they have done and Londolozi has proved to be ideal training grounds!

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Ranger Don Heyneke looks on with Sean Cresswell seen in the background. Photograph by Mike Sutherland.

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We could never tire of misty winter mornings like this.

Bennet in his characteristic hat!

Bennet Mthonsi in his trademark hat!

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Rangers Sean Cresswell, Don Heyneke and Mike Sutherland discuss their sightings of the day around a glowing campfire.

Tracker Mike Sithole getting ready to head out into the bush.

Tracker Mike Sithole gets ready for an afternoon game drive.

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Sandros Sihlangu and his guests enjoy a cheetah sighting.

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The Power Team: Renias Mhlongo and Alex Van Den Heever.

The men behind the sightings, two of Londolozi's trackers take a rest after tracking the Tamboti female and her cub.

The men behind the sightings, two of Londolozi’s trackers, Richard and Freddy, take a rest after tracking the Tamboti female and her cub.

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Talley Smith has spent many years in the bush doing what she loves most.

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A photograph from the ‘archives’ – the ranging team of 2011.

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Londolozi Ranger Alfred who is also known affectionately known as ‘Alfie’

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Another from the archives: Londolozi Ranger James Hobson leads his guests on a bush walk.

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Rex Miller, a ranger who used to work with us at Londolozi, still visits us regularly as a freelance guide.

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Many of you will recognise the face of well-known tracker Elmon Mhlongo.

Lucien and the Tamboti female. (Note Derrick Joubert in the front row.)

Lucien Beaumont and the Tamboti female.

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Chris Kane-Berman  perfectly framed in this photograph by the stilt-like legs of a giraffe.

We couldn’t possibly include every single ranger and tracker in our blog post today but we would like to thank you all.

Happy World Ranger Day!

Written by: Kate Collins

Photographs supplied by: Londolozi Rangers.

Filed under Life Restoration

14 Comments

on Our Conservation Heroes

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

marinda drake
Guest

Had fantastic experiences with the rangers over the years. Learned so much about the bush from them.

From Luddite Lodge
Guest

Campfire singing isn’t obligatory I hope? Haven’t had a good Kumbya in years and want to keep it that way.

Arden A. Zalman
Guest

If I was 50 years younger I would fulfill a wish to be a ranger. You have no idea how admired & respected you all are. Oh, to be young again, but at least I can spend a week next month with you.

Kristine Dong
Guest

My life is better knowing Alfie and Euce over the last two years. Their intelligence is astounding, their love for their jobs is inspiring, their smiles are infectious and their friendship means more to me than words could ever explain. I am counting down the days until I return to the place I love, but moreso to the two people I cherish. Today we celebrate you, but in reality you are in my thoughts, prayers and especially in my heart 365 days a year!

Wendy0210
Guest

God Bless you all today & everyday. Please be safe & carry on enjoying what you do so well & keep us happy with the photies!

Jan Baldwin
Guest

We were delighted to see that Tom Emri received safari guide for 2013, because we would have voted unanimously for him in 2008, after spending time with him at Londolozi. He and Kate are a fantastic team.

Happy Rangers day!

Jan and Doug Baldwin
Now in Seattle, WA

Barbara Miki Mall Sanders
Guest

happy tracker’s day to all, but especially to Trevor and Richie our exceptional team!

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest

Great photos of some of the best in the business! Great to see Richard Ferrier again who guided us in 2010 along with Oxide, but we missed Melvin and Milton, our 2013 team! Next year – well, who knows, but we’re sure they’ll be special! Happy World Rangers’ Day to all of you!

Jill Grady
Guest

Happy Ranger and Tracker Day to the absolute best in the world! Thank you so much to Mark and Lucky…you gave us memories for a lifetime and we were so fortunate to get to spend 5 days with you both last September. We hope to see you both again in 2015!

Salvador Dogi
Guest

Thank you to Nsato and Finn for the most amazing safaris day after day! Stevie and Gary

Caroline Schulze
Guest

Happy Rangers & Trackers Day to all of you. You’re the best. Keep it up. It’s thanks to dedicated people like you that we can still see so much unspoilt bush and wildlife.

Ryan James
Guest

Great team. Amazing pics 🙂

Brian C
Guest

Thank you to all Trackers and Rangers. Your expertise can make the trip of a lifetime for people around the world… and then there is preserving the wildlife!

Leticia Dyson
Guest

Gracias Don and Judas for making our trip/safari so wonderful!!!

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