Over the last month there has been a constant flow of children through the Londolozi Cubs Den. Children from Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Australia, Belgium and Holland.

All these children shared common ground in their destination to South Africa – Londolozi.


Shadrack Mkhabela leading some children on a Cubs Den expedition into the bush. It’s in fun moments like this that the learning takes place.

It was amazing to see how children at first shy to meet each other soon became good friends and by the end of their stay were swapping email addresses and laughing with one another on the back of the Land Rover.

It was activities in the bush that bridged the gap from shyness to confidence; opening up the door for friendship between these children.

One example of this was when we went track moulding. We had a family staying with us from Abu Dhabi and their son was fascinated with animal tracks and loved asking his tracker, Innocent, if he could please sit in his “office” (the trackers seat).


Innocent Ngwenya, a Londolozi tracker that inspired these youngsters to track. Innocent has a real love for the small tracks and is brilliant at identifying many species of birds, amphibians and insects just from the tracks they leave behind. Photograph by Helen Baillie

When we went track moulding during his stay he was in his element, looking for tracks suitable to be filled with plaster of paris. When we arrived at a small pan to look for tracks he stood up and with a broad smile and said to the other children, “Come guys, I will help you find the best tracks”. The next thing there were eight happy children following Innocent, eyes glued to the earth, chatting excitedly to one another.


Shadrack Mkhabela helps a Londolozi youngster to find tracks in the moist soil. This soil is the best for track moulding because it holds the shape of the track so beautifully.

Plaster of paris mould of a lion track found that morning.

A plaster of paris mould of a lion’s track that we managed to find with the help of Innocent and his young team of tracking enthusiasts.

By the end of the activity all shyness was forgotten and friendship had taken its place. On the way back to camp that morning I overheard several of the children asking each other about the schooling, sport and cultures of the different cites and countries they each lived in and they were all making plans to stay in touch. It was wonderful to see how an excursion into the field and their experiences at Londolozi, not only opened these kids minds to the natural world but also broke down barriers and opened up the opportunity for lasting friendships to be formed.

Filed under Cubs Den

About the Author

Josephine Benecke


Josephine grew up on a farm just south of Johannesburg, which exposed her to open spaces and encouraged her to develop a love for nature at a very young age. Later she attended the Diocesan College for Girls in the Eastern Cape where ...

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on Making Friends on Safari: What Happened When We Went Tracking

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Issy Francombe

Hello! I came to Londolozi recently, and I enjoyed it very much! I’m 10 years old and I went to the Cubs Den activities. They were so fun, and we went track moulding as well. Jo, who was in charge of the Cubs Den was so nice, and my brother and I were so excited every morning to hear what activities we were going to do. We also made some friends, and at first we were all very shy, but eventually we started to talk, and make friends. Thank you for such a wonderful time Londolozi!

Amy Attenborough

Thank you Issy! We so enjoyed having you and look forward to featuring your amazing story on the blog soon too! Hope you had fun in Mauritius.. Best regards, Amy


What a wonderful way to make new friends!

Jill Larone

Great blog Josephine! What a wonderful learning experience for the children, in both tracking and the cultures of different countries. I’m sure it was a time they will never forget.

gerard gaynor

Very nice the children are our future and the future of welfare of wildlife to come 🙂

Guido and Dina van der Groen

good to see Innocent , he was our tracker in Ngala tented camp with James Souchon 2 yrs ago !Our kind regards to this famous tracker!

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