Christmas eve is a special time at Londolozi. It’s a time for us to come together as one Londolozi family and celebrate the traditions of Christmas, albeit with a slightly different, bushveld flair. This year was no different as each of Londolozi’s five camps were transformed into individual wonderlands of festivity, light and merriment.

Around the world, at the heart of most Christmas celebrations is the meal, where we not only enjoy good food, but we enjoy the company, the stories and the pageantry of it all. At the centre of this year’s Christmas Eve celebration was the incredible food that Chef Anna Ridgewell and her team put together. While each camp put their own spin on the feel of the evening, the menu remained simply sophisticated across the board. Watermelon Gazpacho, followed by Rock Lobster was the perfect start to a balmy evening along the banks of the Sand River. To follow was grilled Duck Breast with a Cherry and Balsamic Sauce and Fillet of Beef with a Mustard Hollandaise. To wrap up the evening’s dining, we could not go without a flaming Christmas Pudding, which each camp presented with flair on the deck, while eager eyes gazed into the bright blue flames.

Keeping with tradition, Pioneer camp was decked with hints of silver, trophies, pincushions and simple yet elegant touches of light. The Pioneer Camp team hosted a family affair, where the pre-dinner proceedings saw Tayla Smith, Don Heyneke and Garrett Fitzpatrick being awarded with ‘The Green Jersey’, a daily award that the Pioneer guests gave out to the most deserving members after a day on Safari – testament to the fact that at Londolozi, family is the most important thing.


The buttery light at Pioneer Camp shone through the pincushions at the welcome drinks station.


The Pioneer deck was simple and elegant.


Tayla, Don and Garrett receiving their ‘Green Jersey’ award from the Pioneer guests.


The Pioneer Team ready and waiting to serve their delicious spread.

The feel at Founders Camp was also one of family celebration. With Christmas jazz oozing out into the navy blue night from under the roof of the deck, and a buzz in the air, the Founders team (Cry Sithole and Helen Rivett) created the perfect night in which to relax, connect and enjoy the delicious cocktails that they had on offer for their guests under the African sky.


The welcome drinks were flowing, along with the jazz music, as the guests arrived into Founders Camp.


The Christmas Eve tables were complimented by the royal blue sky.


Founders deck a-glow with lantern light.


Founders Chef Sipho delivering his festive Christmas Eve menu to his hungry guests.

The Private Granite Suites was an elegant affair accented with silver and the scent of fresh berries that you would have found in the delicious welcome drinks – the creation of Granite Camp Manager, Graeme Gullacksen and his team, who made sure that Christmas Eve at Granite Camp was as classical an affair as always.


The understated and stylish Granite Camp deck welcomed guests back from Safari.


Silver tones accented the evening.


The Varty family and the Granite Camp team posed for a quick photo during their Christmas Eve walk-around from camp to camp as they wished everyone love and light for the evening.


The Granite Camp Chefs, Sarah and Lindiwe who took care of the fabulous food that exited the kitchen.

At the heart of Londolozi lies Varty Camp, and Christmas Eve was no exception. You could feel the energy of the evening resonate out from under the old Jackalberry Tree. The deck was adorned with lanterns, and strings of fairy lights made the traditional Schwe Schwe glow a glorious ruby red. Varty Camp managers Rob Crankshaw and Will Ford made sure that the vibe was no less than extraordinary at all times.


Strings of fairy lights lit up the deck giving it a ruby glow.


The Varty Camp Butlers who added to the festivities of the evening with the humour and grace that they bring to the team.


The maestros of the Christmas Eve dinner on the deck- The Varty Camp Chefs; Amy, Grace and Liveness.


The old Jackalberry was adorned with lanterns.


Electric blue flames from the Christmas pudding mesmerised guests across the lodge.

A Leopard cocktail of passion fruit and sparkling wine awaited guests on arrival at Tree Camp, which gave way to the famous Tree Camp deck that was lit up with lanterns, candle light, wire baobab trees and red candy canes. The swish of a black bow-tie donned by Tree Camp manager Phil Selwyn-Smith was the cherry on the top of an intimate Christmas Eve dinner for the Tree Camp guests.


Candle light streaming through the trunks of the Tree Camp baobab trees.


Leopard Cocktails welcomed the Tree Camp guests to an intimate Christmas Eve dinner.


Phil Selwyn-Smith, Tree Camp Manager, pours his welcome drinks… looking smooth in a black bow-tie.


The gate-keepers of dinner- the fabulous Tree Camp Chefs; Sendri and Thoko.


The Christmas Giraffe watches over the proceedings at Tree Camp.

If you tore yourself away for a second from the festivities of the night, and walked quietly along the camp walkway, you would have heard the melodies of the Londolozi Ladies’ choir wafting along as they travelled from camp to camp sending lyrical wishes of goodwill and cheer.

While each camp hosted it’s own version of Christmas Eve, there was not doubt that the overriding feeling across the lodge was that of fun, relaxation and festivities, and in our opinion, we couldn’t ask for more on the eve before Christmas.

From the entire Londolozi Family, we wish you all a wonderful Christmas!

Written and photographed by Amanda Ritchie – Photography Studio Manager 

About the Author

Amanda Ritchie

Marketing & Photography Manager

Amanda joined the Londolozi team early in 2015 & immediately took the Londolozi Studio to an exciting new level. Her unflappable work ethic & perfectionism are exemplary, & under her guidance the Studio has become one of the busiest areas on Londolozi. The ...

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on Christmas Eve- Londolozi Style

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Sergey Gorshkov

Merry Christmas my friends!

JB Holston

Merry Christmas from all of our family to all of yours! Our time with you was a tremendous highlight of 2015….. thank you!

Mary Beth Wheeler

Magical! Merry Christmas to you all from San Franciso!

Judy Guffey

Tears this morning because I miss Londolozi so much. Thanks for all the photos.

Al Kaiser

Merry Christmas from Hong Kong. Wish I could have been there. See you soon in 2016!


What a lovely set up on the african sky, merry christmas to all

John Rolland

Merry Christmas, Amanda, all the best in 2016! Like your Lightroom comments.

Loretta Z

Merry Christmas from the United States, and the happiest of New Years!

Jill Grady

Merry Christmas to everyone at Londolozi!

Kim Sams

Beautiful post, stunning photos! Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! Can’t wait to return!

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