I’ve written a lot of stories during my time here but I’ve never been more stumped with what to say than with this one. How do you write a final story to a place that has meant so much to you, to a place that has changed your life?

So instead, with a full heart, here is a tribute to all the things Londolozi has given me.

  1. An extended family – A Tribe:

I think many of us carry an ancient longing for a simpler life. For a time when we lived in small villages and community members really knew about and cared for each other.
Londolozi is a place that answers this aching feeling for so many. And it isn’t reserved for the staff of Londolozi alone. Making our 90th birthday videos was one of the most eye-opening experiences for me because I began to see how guests and staff were saying the same things.

This is a place where the lines between friends and family become blurred.

Luckily it is also a place where people send roots deep into the ground and connect with one another and when they disperse all over the world, that sense of tribe and community remains anchored here. Thank you to each and every one of you around the world, some that I have met in person and others online, who add to this family in your own special way.

Just some of the Londolozi family in the village on a 2020 Vision planting effort. It is a beautiful thing to have been part of a community that gathers together with such big smiles and warm hearts to better the place that they live in.

2. Fun, fun and then some more fun:

Whether it was coming around the corner to find Will Ford dressed in a lion onesie and awkwardly clinging to the arm of a tree for guests who were desperate to see tree-climbing lions, or watching Duncan MacLarty inch a chocolate biscuit down his forehead during a round of Londolozi’s version of Minute to Win it on the Granite Camp deck, tracking a leopard with Elmon Mhlongo, or laughing hilariously from our very stuck position in the Sand River with James Tyrrell, my days were filled with joy.

Londolozi is a place that realises we are the best versions of ourselves when we are at play and it celebrates the creation of fun at every level. Basically knowing how to have fun is a job requirement here and so many of our guests keep coming back for this exact reason. You can’t help but love it.

Will Ford, nestled into a tree on the banks of the Sand River, waits to give guests their dream sighting of seeing a tree climbing lion. The willingness to go to extreme lengths to create memorable experiences for our guests always made for crazy, fun moments like this.

3. An understanding of the healing power of nature:

I worked at other safari lodges for five years prior to Londolozi but there is something truly special that sets this place apart. I think one of those reasons is Londolozi’s intention to be a space for the healing of the natural world as well as the human spirit. Below is a poem by Wendell Berry called the Peace of Wild Things. For me, it sums up what so many people come to Londolozi for and describes the relief I experienced whilst being cradled in nature’s arms here.

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Londolozi Game Reserve

Watching a herd of elephant on foot with a group of guests. It was these walks that gave me some of my greatest connection moments to this land and its animals. There really is no purer way than to be with these animals in silence and stillness.

4. Extraordinary wildlife encounters:

A few weeks ago I was out in the bush on my own photographing a Mopane Pomegranate tree for a blog. I was away from the vehicle and crouched low, burying myself in the gorgeous yellow flowers with my macro lens. Something flickered in my awareness and I got the distinct feeling I was being watched. I lifted my head and lowered my camera and looked up to see the Nkoveni female leopard standing barely 10 metres away watching me. Because I was low to the ground and distracted, she must have felt unthreatened by me and so I remained in my crouched position and waited to see what she would do. She simply lowered her head and continued along her desired path, passing right by me as I sat completely awed.

The Nkoveni female as she passes by, unperturbed by my presence. It was a completely astounding moment.

6
Nkoveni 2:2 Female
2012 - present

A young female that lives to the east and south of camp. Easily recognised by her 2:2 spot pattern she is often to be found in Marula trees.

U
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32 sightings by Members
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Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Lineage
Sunsetbend
Identification
markings
Timeline
55 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
2 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist

There is something quite extraordinary that happens here between man and animal. It’s the sort of behaviour that rests on a foundation of deep trust that has taken years to build. I have been astounded daily by the moments these animals gift us with and will miss the lessons they have taught me through their pure presence. From the marauding hyenas who steal forgotten shoes from outside my room, to the elephants who always watered me with relaxation and the lions who kept us guessing with their ever-changing dynamics, I am immensely grateful to have been welcomed into the lives of these wild creatures.

Photographing a giraffe as it feeds in the Sand River during the drought. Typically this is a habitat that giraffe will avoid as the dense brush provides lots of cover for predators like lions but during the drought these animals had limited browsing options. One of the joys of working in the bush for so long is watching the amazing ways these animals adapt and change their behaviour according to their environmental conditions.

5. An obsession for trees:

OK, that’s not one hundred percent correct, I’ve always had a love for trees but it is one of the things that sold me on Londolozi. On my very first afternoon here, ranger Greg Pingo drove us to the beautiful Leadwood forest in the north of Londolozi and I knew that I would stay. If you have an appreciation for these beautiful space holders then it will add a whole new dimension to your safari. I have been profoundly nourished by the inherent wisdom held in these often under-appreciated beings.

A view of some guests being led through one of Londolozi’s Leadwood forests. The size of the people in the photograph compared to the trees gives you a sense of their size and the wonder they induce.

6. A love for yoga:

I think Londolozi is a space where you begin to move from a place of serenity, something I’ve found so true of yoga too. I’m not sure how any yoga class will ever match up to practicing on this deck surrounded by warm afternoon sun, Jackalberry trees, elephants, the monkeys that mimic us, nyala and close friends.

A yoga class takes place on by far the best yoga deck I’ve ever practiced on. The only possible complaint would be that you may become distracted by all the wildlife passing by.

7. A remembering of our belonging to land:

In our highly-globalised and rapidly shifting world many of us have forgotten the importance of place. Londolozi reminded me of this and called me to start listening not only to the animals and trees but to the land herself. It is a remembering I will carry with me forever. As Sharon Blackie says in, If Women Rose Rooted:

“In these times it’s not enough to awaken ourselves, to find our community: the world is in need of restoration, and each one of us is challenged to do the work of collective change… The journey we need now is a journey of collective re-enchantment – a re-animation of the Earth. It’s time to become native to our places again. It’s time for women to shrug off the yoke of the patriarchy and reclaim our native power. The power that is the Earth itself speaking… Listen now to the land’s long dreaming. Do you see what it’s dreaming? It’s dreaming you.”

An aerial view of the Sand River weaving through Londolozi.

8. Friends for life:

There really isn’t much more to say here. It’s an amazing privilege to live with your friends. I’ll miss these times with every single one of you. Thank you for broadening who I am.

A group of friends squeeze the last bit of fun out of the day as the sun sets behind them.

9. Being part of the Creative Hub team:

Working with this incredibly creative team and being one of the links between Londolozi’s remarkable story tellers and our ever-growing online community was such a privilege. I learnt so much and am very grateful that I now too will be able to get my daily dose of the wilderness through this beautiful, innovative and authentic platform.

Below are the results of two of my favourite projects. James Tyrrell, you’ve set the benchmark when it comes to legendary colleagues!

 

10. A wild life:

But can’t you hear the Wild? — it’s calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There’s a whisper on the night-wind,
there’s a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling… let us go. – Robert Service, Call of the Wild.

I have always sought out wild places and Londolozi is one of those. Not only in the sense that you can have encounters with lions and leopards but that it reminds you of and encourages you to connect to your wildest, most authentic self. This is a place that dares you to ask and seek out what that means for you.

Me rushing across the causeway to film the Tsalala Pride before they cross the Sand River. One of the greatest gifts Londolozi has given me was not only getting to know the animals and this wild place, but getting to know myself better too.

11. A desire to circle back:

Londolozi has to be one of the hardest places to leave and that seems to hold true for guests who visit for four days and rangers who stay for ten years. It is a place that becomes a part of you and you it. What I leave with though is a deep sense of gratitude for the miraculous way that life leads us, for the people and hearts it brings us to, for its magical lessons and for its wildness.

Thank you Londolozi for giving me the opportunity to grow bigger in the bigness of the whole.

Involved Leopards

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

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About the Author

Amy Attenborough

Media Team

Amy has a rich field-guiding history, having spent time at both Phinda and Ngala Game Reserves. This diversity of past guiding locations brought her an intimate understanding of different biomes across South Africa, and she immediately began making a name for herself as ...

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65 Comments

on The 11 Things Londolozi Gave Me

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Marinda Drake

Amy I am going to miss your beautiful blogs that touched my heart. It was so lovely to have met you. I wish you luck with what lies ahead in your path.

Amy Attenborough

Thank you Marinda! Have always appreciated your enthusiasm for our work. Keep well and wishing you and Des many more wilderness adventures!

Irene Henkes

Oh Amy, this is a shock!! Hope you will be well and enjoying your time, wherever you are heading for…….

Kari Pearson

What an amazing last article Amy – I have followed you for years and the Londolozi blog has been a part of my daily readings. I would love to follow my passion for the bush at Londolozi. Wishing you everything of the very best for your new adventure. Take care

Eve Eaton

What a privilege spending time with you and getting to know you! You are amazing and I look forward to whatever new adventures await you.

Amy Attenborough

Eve, what on earth am I going to do without Broadway in the Bush?!?! Such happy memories with you. You’re a legend!

Ann Seagle

Amy, u have been a wonderful teacher. Thank u. Ann Seagle

Ann Seagle

Amy, u have been a wonderful teacher.

Amy Attenborough

Thank you Ann, that’s a beautiful compliment. Have so enjoyed engaging with you on the blog over the years. Much love

Teresa Flory

I visited Londolozi in 2015 and for the year before I went and ever since, I have made reading the Londolozi blog part of my daily routine. I look forward to the day that I return to Londolozi. Amy, you write so eloquently with so much knowledge and insight and I will truly miss your work. I hope you will continue to use these gifts in your future endeavors and wish you all the best. Thank you for brightening my day and teaching me so much about wildlife and myself.

Amy Attenborough

Thank you Teresa. What fabulous words to be taking with me on this new journey. I hope your return to Londolozi comes soon. All my best!

Darlene Knott

I am sure Londolozi will miss you too! Where are you headed next?

Amy Attenborough

Thank you Darlene. The first part of the adventure starts in Cape Town but from there I am not sure yet. Will be continuing to track the joy… 🙂

Darlene Knott

All the best!

Alice Ross

Amy I have followed your blogs since Trev & Erin worked alongside you. Am sorry but I don’t remember if you were at Erins bachelorette but want to wish you Gods blessings on you for wherever you are headed but I believe there’s not too much that can beat the wonderful camaraderie and friends made at Londo’s. We will miss you…..

Amy Attenborough

It’s true Alice, they’re friends that last a lifetime! Thank you for the kind words. Love to you and Trev and Erie too!

Mary Beth Wheeler

Thank you, Amy, for all your thoughts today and all your contributions to making Londolozi my ‘Aftican Home!’ Much luck in your new life adventures!

Ginger Brucker

My heart skipped a beat when I read this. I have been so fortunate to attend two STAR’s and have been the grateful recipient of your knowledge, spirit, heart and thrilling game drives. Thank you for always giving so much of yourself and sharing your own journey. Love this beautiful tribute. I look forward to hearing what your next adventure is and hope our paths may cross again. Much Love.

Amy Attenborough

Thank you Ginger. It has been so special getting to connect and adventure with you during those STARs. I hope that life is continuing to break your beautiful heart wide open:) Hoping our paths cross again too.. xxx

Jazz Doc

Amy, your blogs have been one of my favorite and most welcomed happenings in my e-mail box. truly. Such great images, wonderful stories and a terrific sense from you of belonging to what you were ensconced in. Godspeed to you and best wishes in everything you do. You will be missed.

Amy Attenborough

Thank you so much Jazz!

Callum Evans

A perfect story Amy!!! So sorry to hear that you’re leaving Londolozi, am going to miss all your posts!!

Lucie Easley

I am fairly new to reading about Londolozi. I have read your blogs with wonder and appreciation. You have introduced me to so many new interests and seeing Londolozi, and nature, through your eyes calms the soul and gives me hope for the future. I am sad that you are leaving as I will miss your words, but as you move into your future, I wish you the very best. You will always make any wild place home. Safe travels.

Amy Attenborough

Thank you Lucie! Such kind and re-assuring words to set off on this new journey with. Straight to the heart. I hope the blog continues to bring you many gifts. All my best. xxx

Callum Evans

Definetely one of my favourite posts! I can’t believe that the Nkoveni Female walked right past you while you were on the ground!! Had a brilliant leopard encounter barely three weeks ago in Mabuasehube when we found a leopard lying behind our showers 10 metres from us. He was completely unpeturbeb by our presence as we stood watching it! Still need a good leopard photo though!

Amy Attenborough

How fabulous Callum. I know how much you were hoping for a special leopard encounter. That sounded magical!

Callum Evans

It was so incredible (and we’d also seen lion and cheetah that same day too)! Plus I had an even more incredible sighting of my first ever wild dogs (a 30 strong pack) in Moremi!

Denise Vouri

Oh my, your final essay brought me to tears. Whilst I’ve never met you, through your words, I feel I know you. Your stories are inspiring, informative and fun to read. The decision to leave such a magical place could not have been easy, but whatever is in your future I hope gives you the same joy. Keep well and know you will be missed.

Amy Attenborough

Thank you so much Denise, what a beautiful compliment. Your engagement and support on the blog has always been so appreciated! Wishing you everything of the best! xxx

Patricia Johnson

Amy, my friend, thank you for all the gifts you have share we me, one of them is your love of connecting with people, animals, and nature. I know we will connect again somewhere even if just in memories. Thanks and lot of love in your next adventure!

Amy Attenborough

Thank you so much Pat. I’m so grateful for all the special moments I got to share with you. You’re a beautiful soul! Keep writing 🙂 So much love to you. xx

Robert Shelton

Amy, you are so spot on! We only spent 4 days at Londolozi in 2012 and it has called to us ever since. We have always felt connected to that spot because of people like you who, through your photographs and words, continually conveyed the richness of all that is Londolozi. This blog has always kept us enchanted and we will sorely miss your beautiful photographs and stories. Thank you. Thank you. Be well and God bless.

Amy Attenborough

Thank you so much Robert! It’s so special to know that you have been reading and enjoying the blogs and that the wild is still making its way into your home from a distance. Wishing you continued enchantment…

Pam Chandor

Great farewell blog, Amy! Will miss you when we visit Londolozi in June. All the best to you!

Amy Attenborough

Thank you Pam! I hope you have a magical stay!!

Jenn Anderson

Amy…thank you so much for every word & picture that you’ve contributed to these blog posts! They inspired me, moved me, & always stoked the longing in my heart to one day actually EXPERIENCE, rather than just read about, the magic of Londolozi. I was hoping to be able to say “thank you” face to face, but I guess this will have to suffice 🙂 I wish you all the best, and I’m confident that everything you do will continue to add beauty and a passion for wildness to a world so desperately in need of them! <3

Amy Attenborough

Thank you so much Jenn, that really is such a beautiful message. I too hope that you make it to Londolozi some day soon. To have got such a strong sense of it through the blog means that it is a place that would truly touch you should you visit in the flesh! Keep seeking the wildness 🙂

Andy Johnson

Great post. Best of luck on your continuing adventure Amy. Robert Service…..nice!

Amy Attenborough

Thank you Andy! So glad that I got to guide you again on your last trip. And yes, thank you for the wild inspiration 😉 Who knows, maybe see you States side on our next adventure!! Lots of love to you and Pat

Samantha Hamilton

Amy,
What a wonderful, smart, funny, and talented girl you are! I am so lucky to have spend a few visits getting to know you. Your contribution to Londolozi and of course this blog is immeasurable. I will miss you on the blog, and you when I next visit Londolozi, but I wish you all the best and know you will be successful in all you do. Good luck you wonderful human!

Amy Attenborough

Thank you so much Sam! What a beautiful message. I have loved connecting with you on all your trips and will miss seeing you. Trusting that our paths will cross again though. Hopefully around a Londolozi boma fire some day 🙂 xxx

Lewis Schneiderman

Hi Amy, Although we have never met i have enjoyed reading your blogs. I will miss them. You really said it right. Londolozi is magic. I wish you all the best with whatever endeavor you choose.

Jill Larone

Amy, I will miss your beautiful blogs and incredible pictures. I wish you all the very best in this next journey in your life.

Amy Attenborough

Thank you Jill. I’ve always appreciated your support and engagement on the blog. Much love

Ursula Jorch

Amy, I’ll never forget the solo game drive you took me on to the leadwood forest, where you showed me an abandoned leopard den and porcupine quills, and you persisted until you found a leopard…an amazing drive. Wishing you all the very best!

Amy Attenborough

That was such a special drive Ursula – remember it like it was yesterday. True treasures! I’m so glad you remember it too! Much love

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