As head of the Londolozi Online Media & Marketing Department, Rich Laburn has brought our special place in the African Bushveld to the rest of the world, through setting up an informative, professional, visually appealing and user-friendly platform. But don’t let his computer skills fool you: this wildlife enthusiast is still a ranger at heart.
Having trained in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Rich worked as a ranger at Phinda for 2 years. There, he honed his wildlife photography and filming skills, eventually deciding to return to the city to pursue a career in media. He lasted about 5 months until accepting a position back in the bush, at Londolozi!
Despite his clear talent in editing, Rich never trained professionally: he has taught himself how to use all the various computer programs associated with piecing together the productions he creates. The patience and time he takes to try and teach the rest of us these skills are testaments to his excellent teaching demeanor.
Rich takes a hands-on approach to the bush lifestyle. Whether it be hopping in a Land Rover to film the latest episode of wildlife drama, running the local marathon, or strumming his guitar with guests around the boma, he is not just a face behind a computer screen. He has plenty of bushveld adventures to tell about.
For example, recently Rich was bitten by a Mozambican Spitting Cobra while out in the bush one day with friends. Usually snakes are shy of people, but in this case the perpetrator slithered closeby unnoticed, and bit Rich’s foot. He moved everyone else away, and only once he knew they were safe did he inspect his own injury. The diagnostic symmetrical puncture wounds were a terrifying sight: cobras have a neurotoxic venom which attacks the nervous system and is, most of the time, deadly within the hour. Rich remained completely calm for the traumatic few hours when we symptomatically treated him, and was very lucky that it turned out to be a dry bite – venomless, and therefore only superficial.
Rich’s synch with nature is epitomized by the footage he took of the Tutlwa female and her cub a few months ago. The youngster was and remains extremely shy of people and vehicles, yet Rich’s patience and gentle energy allowed him to approach the animals enough to get what is still the only footage we have of them. He is truly someone on par with the rhythm of nature, with a sincere passion for wildlife as well as an excellent photographic eye.