I write this blog with mixed emotions. The joy of my memories made at Londolozi, especially in the Cubs Den, and the sadness of having to bid farewell to the Londolozi family. A family so beautiful, kind, caring, creative, compassionate, innovative and inspiring.

Months from now I know that I will look back at these moments with the fondest of memories. Memories that will be so vivid in my every day life because they are all etched with the valuable lessons and skills I have learnt and gained from all the children who have filled the Londolozi Cubs Den with light and laughter.


This Tree of Life, which stands proud in our new Cubs Den, signifies the growth and importance of children. Their hand prints, some small and some big, bring an array of personalities, bright colours and stories to a tree that was once bare against an empty wall. This tree will now live and continue to flourish with every visit of a child to Londolozi. I, like the tree, have grown and gained so many valuable lessons from these children.

They have taught me the importance of asking questions as well as how to open my eyes. They have shown me how things that are an every day phenomenon to some, such as seeing an impala or riding in the trackers seat, can be sheer joy to others. They have shown me what a radiant smile or a warm chocolate chip cookie can do and encouraged me to be creative with the natural resources that Mother Nature provides. I have learnt to truly live in the most wonderful playground a child could dream of. She provides river sand to build castles, fresh water to fill the moat, a wonderful array of grass species to make turrets, drift wood to add bridges and smooth colourful stones to make doors and windows with. I have spent my days learning to cast and untangle fishing lines, create the perfect plaster of paris mixture for a leopard track, make s’mores to rival the best as well as how to step back and notice the beauty around me at all times. I have also learnt the importance of listening intently to a 10 year old about his love for galaxies and his theories of space and aliens because you never really know what you may learn.


A track that we later filled in with plaster of paris. The moulds made from this then become favourite barges to race in the water of the Sand River.


Fishing, which used to be a foreign concept to me is now something I do almost daily. It’s become an activity I have truly learnt to love.

These children have shown me the beauty that every stage of life brings and holds. Although they are young, they are able to illuminate the joy of having a family, the love of a grandparent, the deep bond and loyalty between siblings and what laughter does to a once quiet room.

Above all they have taught me the importance of dreaming, the art of patience, the beauty of things large and small, the value of curiosity, how we should embrace our lives, the joy of being a child and the never ending awe of what Mother Nature has to offer and teach us all.

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 What I Have learnt From a 5 Year Old

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Just beautiful Jo Jo. You have brought so much joy to us over these few month. You are a bright shining star and we are lucky to have you as part of our family.

Jill Larone

Josephine, I’m sure you leave with a lifetime of special memories of your time at Londolozi. It sounds like the children learnt a lot from you too. Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts on your time spent with the children in the Cubs Den.

Bronwyn Laburn

JoJo you are a one of a kind magic soul- thank you for all the JOY!!! xxxx


Sorry to hear you are leaving Londolozi. I hope the next journey in your life will be as rewarding as this one has been.

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