What I have come to realise at my time at Londolozi, is the appreciation that every visitor has for the outdoors. This appreciation goes hand in hand with a sincere love of animals. When we are in the bush it feels as if our worries float away like a petal in the wind. The hustle and bustle of one’s normal lifestyle gets thwarted by the roar of a lion when drinking your early morning coffee. The disquietude of getting in your car and driving off to work takes a back seat for a couple of days. The outdoors is like one’s happy place where everything just seems to happen in slow motion. When one adds the relaxation to the potential to see some of the most majestic animals in the world, the outcome is often breath-taking.
We recently had visitors to Londolozi that fitted the bill, and all they wanted to do was to get away from their arduous lifestyle. The first afternoon we were fortunate enough to track and find a beauteous female leopard. This set the tone. The next couple of days were the most quintessential time I had ever spent with anyone else is the bush. Their genuine admiration of animals and the euphoria displayed by them in each sighting just cemented my thoughts on why more people come to the bush to shrug off the listlessness of their day to day lives.
A sighting that we had with elephants epitomises this point. We had been fortunate enough to be in a couple of sightings with elephants. Approaching these pachyderms is something that should always be done with caution and one needs to know the signs the animals give you if they do not welcome your presence. We realised that these particular elephants were content and we approached… The herd then proceeded to walk past the vehicle within touching distance. One of the guests could not contain her feelings, and as I turned to smile at her, she had tears literally streaming down her cheeks. Elephants have an aura about them which when first encountered can lead to an incredible upwelling of emotion. Whether it be their size, their generally placid nature, or the fact that when you look into their eyes you know that they are working you out at the same time, they can humble even the most accomplished safari-goer.
Emotional experiences like this can potentially be brought on by any animal or situation when in the bush; the only part of the recipe you need to bring is a true appreciation for them, the space they inhabit, and what their continued existence represents. Not just for a visitor to Africa, but for all of us.