There is a great grass paradox at Londolozi.
When you leave the Varty Camp Deck and head for the carpark along the beautiful wooden walkway hugging the bank of the Sand River, you soon find yourself crossing a neat lawn to get to the landrovers.
You climb into the car and head for the bushveld, soon to become lost amidst the March high grass.
Do you see the paradox?
Both grasslands are pleasing to the eye. One vista costs a fortune to visit, the other a fortune to maintain.
Humans have journeyed a long way with grasses. The arrival of grasses onto the planet hastened the evolution of mammals and the cultivation of grass which began in earnest 10 000 years ago has catapulted man into the civilised era. Within the grass families 9000 species are mankinds staple diet (corn, wheat, rice, oats, barley and rye). Bamboo, reed and thatch keep us warm and dry and you can throw sugar, molasses and by association alcohol into that pot of comforts too.
If your distant ancestors could see you in your suburban gardens, they would roll in their graves the moment you fire up that lawnmower and treat your lawn to a haircut. Chasing away all those tasty grasshoppers, I mean really!
The suburban gardens are in reality a symptom of the trouble that mankind has found itself in. We’ve civilised ourselves to the extent that we treat the spaces around our homes with an aesthetic pleasure rather than stuffing it full of food. With the pressure on our dwindling resources and free spaces, coupled with the slow rejection of inhumane farming methods – I wonder if there isn’t a radical change to our suburban gardens in the making. Think about it… why couldn’t your garden could host a few hens and a milk cow. Peas scrambling the pickets and once you’ve dispatched the roses your potatoes and tomatoes might really take off.
We will of course have to relabel our food: free range, organic and suburbia!
Natures last outposts requires mankind to take a step or two backwards. Redeploying some of the manicured spots around your house in order to do a little local farming will alleviate some of the pressure on the wild.
Don’t play with your food; let the grass grow.
Written by: Tom Imrie
Filmed and Photographed by: Rich Laburn