Londolozi has always taken much pride in its family values and its involvement with the surrounding communities. The hard work put in by the early pioneers and founders was passed down to future generations, who remain at Londolozi today. The Sithole family is one of these families and have been proud and loyal employees of Londolozi since it first began. Today, many proud holders of the Sithole name remain.

Two-tone Sithole was the first of the family to work at Londolozi during the pioneering years. Two-tone was one of Londolozi’s earliest trackers and worked hand-in-hand with the infamous Winnis Mathebula. They were known for their courage and uncanny ability to read all of the signs of the wilderness and there is not a single tracker at Londolozi today who has not heard of Two-tone Sithole.

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Two-tone Sithole was one of the first trackers at Londolozi and together with Winnis Mathebula (pictured above), would track lions where few dared to go.

Two-tone’s nephew, Spook Sithole, joined Londolozi in the 1940s as the camp cook and stayed here until his retirement. Cry Sithole, Spook’s son, tells the story of when his mom and dad went fishing. “This is my favourite story about my dad”, says Cry, while he chuckles under his breath. Many years ago, before Cry’s birth, Spook had some free time during the middle of the day and decided to go fishing down at the Sand River. Spook had caught many fish at a secret, favourite spot. On this day, he had decided to take his wife along to partake in the day’s fishing. To get to the spot, the two had to cautiously cross over a few boulders that were above the water to get up onto the northern bank of the Sand River, where there was good shade and deeper pools. Spook surveyed the water up ahead, looking for a series of boulders that he and his wife could safely step across. Spook went first, stepping from the first boulder and onto the second. Before he knew it, the second boulder had started to move as a rather irate hippo bull popped its head up only to find a shocked Spook Sithole standing on its back. Spook immediately jumped off the hippo’s back and scrambled back to shore as the hippo thrashed around in the water trying to buck off its intruder. Spook grabbed his wife by the arm and the two climbed up to the safety of the riverbank. Needless to say, there was no fishing that day. At the time of writing, Spook is now 82 years old and only a few months ago I saw him walking with his cane as he went for one of his first trips to the optometrist, a testimony to his resilience.

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Spook Sithole was one of Londolozi’s first camp cooks. While fishing down at the Sand River, Spook and his wife had a close run in with a hippo.

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If only we could know what these eyes have seen. Spook Sithole goes for one of his first eye tests at Londolozi.

Cry then proceeded to tell me his story. Based on his ability to keep majority of the village awake at night, Keys Mathebula affectionately gave the newborn Cry Sithole his name in 1977, and it has stuck ever since. To his father’s excitement, Cry joined Londolozi in 2000 and began working in the gardens, which he maintained immaculately until a year later, when he moved into camps to become a butler. There he became known for making the best cappuccinos in the morning and cocktails in the evening. Cry continues to tell a story of a curious baboon that took a swig of sherry that he had decanted to welcome his guests home from game drive with. “He sat up in a tree and barked the whole night”, says Cry. Cry’s hardworking nature and willingness to succeed led him on to become the camp manager of Founders Camp, where you will find him today. And if you don’t find him there, you will find him on the soccer pitch. Cry is arguably the best striker at Londolozi and is lightning quick. In fact, at the annual Christmas soccer match, where the Londolozi rangers and camp managers take on Londolozi’s own soccer team – the Londolozi Leopards, cry is one of the few that ensures us a fighting chance.

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Cry Sithole is the son of Spook and is now the camp manager at Founders Camp. When not making his guests feel right at home, Cry can be found sprinting past his opponents on the soccer pitch.

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A young Cry Sithole presents his guests with a glass of sparkling wine to welcome them. Before being a camp manager, Cry worked as a gardener and a butler.

The Sithole name lives on at Londolozi in all departments, Mike Sithole follows in his grandfather Two-tone’s footsteps and is a tracker well known for being able to spot a leopard in a thicket from miles away. Elmon Sithole works as a chef at Varty camp, a position he has held for 30 years and carries with him what he learned from his uncle Spook. Together with many other families at Londolozi, the Sitholes continue the work of there forefathers and will hopefully pass what they know onto the future Sitholes to come.

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Mike Sithole carries on the work of his grandfather Two-tone and now tracks with Nick Kleer. Together the two passionately track and photograph leopards at Londolozi.

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Elmon Sithole carries on the work of his uncle, Spook, and has been a chef at Varty Camp for over 30 years.

Filed under Wildlife

7 Comments

on The Sithole Family – Three Generations At Londolozi
    Debbie and Frank Kohlenstein says:

    Thank you. Loved reading about Cry and his family history at Londolozi. We enjoyed our conversations with Cry about soccer while at Varty Camp.

    Mary Beth Wheeler says:

    Love the Sithole stories!! We got to know Cry and Mike at our last visit – Cry pours a mean glass of wine and Mike sees animals where no one else can!! Looking forward to seeing them next year!

    Judy Guffey says:

    This had made my day! Every single blog is fun to read. This one…what can I say? I love Cry. Hope we can be back at Londolozi before too log.

    MJ Bradley says:

    How wonderful to honor Two-Tones and his family. It is people like that make Londolozi what it is! Thank you fir sharing their story.

    Bev Goodlace says:

    Thank you Shaun for the insight in to the family histories of the wonderful people working at Londolozi. Very special people who keep us coming back every year. As Judy says, we love Cry. Looking forward to reading your next article.

    Michael & Terri Klauber says:

    There is no greater welcome at Founder’s Camp than the one we get from Cry! Can’t wait to see him again in 2017!!

    Wendy Hawkins says:

    Wonderful story of this amazing family! Long may they be present at Londolozi

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