The juxtaposition of our human lives and the wildlife here is always a fascinating one to look at.

While events in the world come and go, the birds, bees, Leopards of Londolozi and all its other wild inhabitants continue on as normal.

Such is the case on Christmas Eve, when Londolozi holds its traditional Christmas celebrations. Nyala look on with a distinct lack of concern as camp managers scurry past carrying decorations and extra lanterns. The francolins that roost in the Jackalberry tree that grows through the Varty camp deck still utter their evening contact call, not worried that there is now a 12ft tall wooden giraffe where there wasn’t one a few days ago, and that its adorned with fairy lights! The Flat Rock male leopard, patrolling the Sand River below, may notice some extra hustle and bustle on the camp decks above, but he still gives off his guttural territorial call as he passes by.

While the predators continue on their way and the herbivores hunker down for the night, vibrant scenes of family, joy and laughter were taking place in the separate Londolozi camps. With lanterns hanging everywhere, twinkly lights and candles providing a beautiful warm glow, and everyone fully in the festive spirit, the Christmas Eve dinner was a fantastic way to start winding down the year.

Good conversation and story telling were shared by guests and staff alike through a delicious 5-course meal, with the revelry continuing until past midnight in some cases.

As the last Amarula cremeauxs were finished and people started filtering off to bed, stillness descended on Londolozi. Only the distant roar of one of the Birmingham males could be heard, far off to the east.

Wishing everyone the Merriest of Christmases!

Lanterns add just that extra touch of romance to an already romantic setting…

Phanuel Ubisi, Tree Camp Butler, hangs the last few lanterns around the Tree Camp Deck.

Granite Camp, Londolozi’s smallest deck, was the scene of a wonderfully intimate dinner, all aglow with candlelight, and of course watched over by the ubiquitous Christmas giraffe!

(L to R) David Dampier, Londolozi ex-ranger turned Head of Finance, who joined past guests of his for dinner, Victoria Hughes, Granite Camp Manager, Robbie Sithole, Granite Camp Butler, and Pete Thorpe, Granite Camp Ranger.

Granite Camp from the other direction, looking back towards the entrance. With the Sand River only a few metres from the deck, the sound of hippos snorting providing a constant background ambience through the evening, good food and good company, who could ask for a better Christmas Eve venue?

The Pioneer Camp drinks station looked spectacular, and wine and bubbles flowed freely into the night.

The entrance to Founders Camp, with guests enjoying a festive Christmas drink with their rangers before settling down to dinner.

All set up and ready to go! This year’s colours were a traditional Christmas combination; maroon, gold and navy blue, with an African cinnamon stick twist and lots of sparkly lights.

The second course of the evening was a rum cured salmon, dijon mustard, caviar and samphire, yarrow and ice leaves.

Each of the Londolozi camps has its own sense of Magic…

Orange and sage marinated duck breast on asparagus risotto with a pea and mint puree and cherry glaze.

Pioneer Camp Deck. Whether Christmas Eve or any other night, a dinner spent under the African sky is something truly special.

African spiced beef sosatie on a chargrilled wrap with courgette and celery slaw, wilted spinach and garam masala yoghurt.

Executive Chef Anna Ridgewell, with Pioneer Chefs Liveness Magiba and Mandla Sibiya apply the finishing touches to their prep work.

Executive Chef Anna’s Londolozi Sunset; Amarula cremeaux in a chocolate macadamia pastry case with salted caramel and gold dusted berries. Anna loves a sparkle!

Ntando Khambule and Anna Ridgewell share a laugh at the end of a successful evening.

Filed under Cuisine Occasions

About the Author

Anna Ridgewell

Executive Chef

A lodge like Londolozi, although famous for its wildlife, is about far more than just that. The superb culinary experience which awaits every guest at Londolozi is thanks to the continued efforts of Anna, who has been instrumental in the development of new ...

View Anna's profile

16 Comments

on Merry Christmas From Londolozi!

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Marinda Drake

Anna everything is just stunning. The decor, food, table settings, beautiful. A wonderful festive season to you and the Londolozi family.

Anna Ridgewell

Thank you Marinda – hope you and Des had a great Christmas as well.

Jennifer Ridgewell

How lovely it all looks! Lucky Londolozi guests and well done to the amazing team who made it possible. Menu looks stunning and not a Turkey in sight! Happy Christmas everyone and Happy fulfilling days in 2018.

Anna Ridgewell

Thanks Jen!

Vin Beni

Merry Christmas Anna!
MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Our friends still marvel about our Sarasota Bush Dinner. Your Christmas photos remind me of that magical evening.
Be well-have a happy new year-can’t wait to see you again next year!

Anna Ridgewell

Dear Vin & Michelle! Merry Christmas to you all too. Hope you had a lovely day and yes, counting down to seeing you both in 2018 🙂

Joanne Wadsworth

Truly Londolozi makes the holidays a magical place to celebrate the holidays. The attention to detail in every aspect exceeds any expectation hoped for! In turn, wishing each of you a a joyous Christmas and a new year filled with hope and genuine happiness!

Anna Ridgewell

Merry Christmas Joanne

Denise Vouri

Thank you for such a luscious report. I was salivating from the beginning and wishing I was there. Cheers to you all and with good luck, I hope to see you all at Londolozi in your spring of 2018.

Anna Ridgewell

Thank you Denise – we look forward to seeing you in 2018!

Callum Evans

Merry Christmas to all at Londolozi, hope you all had an incredible day!!!

Anna Ridgewell

Thank you Callum – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too.

Michael & Terri Klauber

Anna et al, It looks like you had a wonderful Christmas celebration! We are organizing our kitchen and restaurant at Michael’s On East for similar celebrations today. We hope to celebrate the holiday with all of you at Londolozi some day! Our guests are still enjoying the Londolozi-inspired menu you created for us on your last visit! We wish everyone at Londolozi a Merry Christnas and magic in the New Year!

Anna Ridgewell

Dear Michael & Terri – Vicks and I toasted to you on Christmas Day! Hope you have a fabulous new year and look forward to seeing you soon!

Carolyn Whitaker

Merry Christmas, to all of Londolozi! 💖

Anna Ridgewell

Merry Christmas Carolyn!

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