Thirteen percent of people worldwide actually like their jobs. That’s according to Gallup.com, a polling organization in Washington D.C.

13 percent.

That’s a terrifying statistic. Moreover, Gallup extrapolated on that number to say that 77 percent of people worldwide don’t feel a sense of passion for their work, find no connection to their employer and spend their days doing anything other than driving innovation or moving their company forward.

What on earth would this, then, have to do with safari, you might ask?

It has everything to do with the fact that I have found a job, and a place to live, that I am truly passionate about through safari. Coming from a corporate career, I was firmly planted among the 87 percent of other people who didn’t like their job. The best part of the week was 4:30pm on a Friday afternoon where I could rush out of the office and live my life for two days, before returning on Monday morning, wishing the week away.

Fast forward to March 2017, where it took Rob (my partner in crime, life, photography and a fellow employee) over two hours to leave Londolozi. We were heading out on leave for a few days and thinking that it would be a slow drive out to civilization, we had no idea that the bush was about to offer up a spectacular morning of photographic opportunities – some of which we had been speaking about that morning as we packed the car.

Rob and I never willingly go anywhere without our cameras. In fact, most often, we have a set of accompanying lenses too, just in case of varying photographic opportunities. We had worked a longer cycle than usual, and were looking forward to a bit of time off. As we leisurely made our way out of the staff village, we spoke about how green the bush was, and how great it was to see so much grass for the animals. We nattered on about how the landscape had changed so much since the drought, and how ‘lekker’ it was to see everything flourishing and doing so well.

As we rounded the corner out of camp, we came across the first of what was to be many unexpected sightings that morning – all of which would remind us that, while we needed to go off on leave, we absolutely loved where we lived, and counted ourselves lucky that this was ‘work’.

The first sighting of the morning – a relaxed giraffe feeding just outside camp

Thinking that the giraffe was just a parting gift from the bush, I snapped a shot with my iPhone. We continued around the corner and chuckled as a family of warthog scuttled across the road – their tails in the air, and their quick little legs kicking up dust behind them. We remarked about a handsome pair of male impala that stood and stared at us, as we paused to appreciate their understated beauty… our shutter button fingers beginning to itch. As we rounded the next corner, we spotted the now famous family of ostriches against a dramatic overcast sky. At this point, I could hold on no longer and asked Rob to stop the car.

A car with a view – my Nikon D750 and 80-400mm lens poised and ready

I dug in the boot of our car and retrieved my camera case. Catching onto what I was up to, Rob was soon at my side getting his camera out, too, as we silently both understood that this was turning into a bit of a game drive!

My first shot of the now famous ostrich family. An overcast sky and a bit of de-saturation in post production allowed for a moody capture of the scene

Coming in from left field, this ostrich (and our proximity to it) allowed me to capture some interesting detail

When you’re extremely enthusiastic about photography, like Rob and I are, it’s very difficult to stop taking pictures. But, alas, we did, and we carried on in the direction of leave. 30 seconds later, I shouted for Rob to stop! Thinking there was some kind of an emergency, he slammed on the brakes and we skidded to a dramatic halt… all to get the perfect, un-interrupted view of a relaxed European roller. I took a photograph of a European roller on our very first drive into Londolozi when we first arrived in early 2015, and so this shot almost paid homage to the journey we’ve been on since then.

While glancing up to review our photos of the roller and grin happily at each other, we excitedly poked each other and quietly shrieked with delight as we noticed a pack of sidestriped jackal pups bouncing out of the bush next to us and trotting right in front of the car. It’s fairly rare to see jackals during the day, with such a clear background, and so, as you can imagine, the shutters were firing on all cylinders.

Shutters firing…

Thinking that they would dart off into the bush and that we’d only get a couple of photos, we were delighted to follow this pack for about a kilometre along the road as they darted in and out of the grass, scavenging for bits and pieces to feed on. I was particularly pleased with the accurate sense of journey I managed to capture with these shots as we, quite literally, journeyed with them down the road.

These jackal pups were extremely relaxed, and paused every now and then to turn back and have a look at us

I love the sense of journey that the winding road in the distance gives this photograph

An inquisitive stare, and an unusual angle due to the lower position in our civilian car

Darting in and out of the grass on either side of the road, they would occasionally pause to check on the location of the rest of their pack

Darting through the grass, playful in flight

While we sat and watched, unbelieving of our luck, I turned to the right and saw a lone elephant bull gently feeding in the long grass. I had wanted this shot for ages, as previously we had seen such a barren landscape.  It was a novelty to see an elephant feeding in the long grass, with only its trunk and head exposed.

Feeding in a sea of grass, I had wanted this photograph for ages – grateful for the end of the drought.

As we continued out through the reserve, marvelling at how great the photographic opportunities had been, we chatted at the speed of light about our morning. We hadn’t seen big cats, but our sightings were perfect for us, who are always grateful to see the smaller side of the bush. We were slowly navigating the the bumps in the road in our very low-slung sedan car when Rob exclaimed how great it would be to see another elephant with the beautiful horizon ahead of us. And then, as if in return for our gratitude for everything we had seen that morning, the bush answered us again, and we stopped and spent time with another lone bull elephant feeding… in the exact position that we had hoped for.

An overcast sky, a beautiful horizon and a relaxed elephant made for a great final shot of our morning safari

 

By the time we arrived at Newington Gate and glanced at the clock, it had been 2 hours since we pulled out of the staff village earlier that morning. Two hours of wonderful, simple appreciation for our surroundings. I can happily, and without doubt tell you that, since moving to Londolozi in an effort to go on an adventure two and a half years ago, I now belong among the 13 percent of people in this world who love their jobs, love their surroundings and who truly enjoy what they do each day. The mere fact that it took us 2 hours to leave the property is testament to the fact that this is where we belong. Being a part of the Londolozi family gives us an opportunity to Live Guided, to pursue our passion, and to live a life that others may only ever dream of. I’m one of the lucky ones, that’s for sure.

About the Author

Amanda Ritchie

Creative Hub & Marketing 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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16 Comments

on Photographic Journal: When Being at Work is Better than Going on Leave

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Senior Moment
Guest

Super photos, especially the penultimate Elephant photo

Amanda Ritchie

Thanks so much! As you can tell, we were happy with the opportunity ourselves 🙂

Jean.
Guest

THANK YOU, A BIRD! More please.

Amanda Ritchie

So glad that you enjoy the birds, Jean! Follow Rob Crankshaw’s blogs for LOTS of bird photographs. We actually put some up in today’s blog post: http://blog.londolozi.com/2017/06/09/the-week-in-pictures-287/ I hope you enjoy them!

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest

What a fun blog, Amanda! You are, indeed, lucky to have found your Londolozi home!

Amanda Ritchie

We are indeed, Mary Beth! Thank you for the comment, and love to Bob as well!

Wendy Hawkins
Guest

Great pictures Amanda! Yes I don’t think I would ever want to leave either, if that was my working day! Thanks for sharing & enjoy your days off 🙂

Amanda Ritchie

Thanks for the comment, Wendy. It really is a pleasure sharing our world… it’s almost hard not to!

Jeff Rodgers
Guest

A beautiful post . . . I particularly like when you write, ‘…who are always grateful to see the smaller side of the bush.’ After almost 20 years of coming to Africa on safari, I am always incredulous when guests go on and on about ‘the Big 5.’ They are missing so much by not wanting to spend time with the little critters . . . termites, lion ants, millipedes and of course the ever-interesting dung beetles. Our Rangers at Londolozi have always done a magnificent job of stopping to see the ‘little’ things. And then it is one to The Hub for Alice in the past and now Kylie to make good images, great.

Amanda Ritchie

I totally agree, Jeff!So glad that you enjoy the small things, and notice them. They make this life that much more rich!

Sheryl Schroeder
Guest

How do I get a job at Londolozi?! I’ll pack my bags right now.

Amanda Ritchie

Sheryl, all I can say is that this place pulls you to it 🙂 We didn’t plan to be here, and yet here we are, 2 and a half years later. You never know where the universe will take you! The lessons is to be open to whatever opportunities come up for you. Thanks for the comment!

Irene Nathanson
Guest

I understand your gratitude for where you live and what you do. You are very fortunate. Thank you for sharing

Amanda Ritchie

Thanks so much Irene, we are fortunate indeed. I can’t imagine going back to the city now!

Jill Larone
Guest

Amanda, what an amazing life you and Rob have!! It would take me two hours to leave also, if that is where I worked and lived — you’re both so fortunate!! Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures with us.

Amanda Ritchie

Thanks so much Jill. I really mean what I say when we feel lucky to live here!

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