The Londolozi 2012 journey began with the mighty Sand River bursting its banks on the 18th January reaching the highest levels of flooding in 12 years. The Founders Camp deck partially collapsed and the water began flooding through the front doors of rooms 2 and 3 of the Private Granite Suites and we knew for certain that another year in the safari business had just begun.
The Londolozi family to a man and woman stood four square, shoulder to shoulder carrying guests to safety and furniture to high ground, proving that in times of adversity it’s the spirit of family that, when tested, is not found wanting. As the waters subsided, the operations kicked seamlessly back into action with rangers and trackers going the extra mile to take care of our guests. The incredible Londolozi leadership team, unruffled by this “natural event” sent a message far and wide to the trade and our guests that it was business as usual and that all was on track at Londolozi for good safaring in the year ahead.
The floods forced the closure of the Private Granite Suites and Founders Camp yet, in 10 short weeks from flood day, both camps were refurbished, restored and reopened demonstrating the old adage that from adversity, in Africa, comes opportunity.
Just days later, through an incredible series of coincidents, the CEO of T-Systems South Africa, Mardia van der Walt Korsten, learned of the Good Work Foundation’s (GWF) vision to create the first ever digital learning centre in rural South Africa. Eight months later, following her amazing support and that of her company T-Systems, GWF had transformed a banana shed in Hazyview into a sophisticated high tech digital learning centre, offering access to world class digital education for both young and old living in the region.
This converted shed, was officially opened by Minister Trevor Manuel and this occasion was also attended by the CEO of Deutsche Telekom Germany, the Minister of Education Mpumalanga, the Minister of Economic Development Mpumalanga, many senior managers from T-Systems South Africa, Bayethe Nxumalo head of the AmaShangaan Tribal Authority, representatives of Nkambeni Tribal Authority, Pastor and Mrs Mahaule, our landlords and partners in the venture and many other associate pastors, teachers, community farmers, students and future students.
It was a remarkable gathering representing a kaleidoscope of cultures and backgrounds that could only be found together under one roof in this vibrant and emerging South Africa. Politicians, multi-national corporations, traditional leaders, youth leaders, religious leaders, teachers and engaged citizens had all come together with a common purpose; to bring opportunities and new possibilities for addressing the digital divide… indeed a South Africa “Alive with Possibilities”. How exciting for us, the Londolozi family, to see the GWF propelled into the stratosphere…dreams really do become reality.
During 2012, the South African Government’s Department of Environmental Affairs significantly advanced the, once crazy idea, that a Corridor of Wildlife could be built from the Kruger National Park, in the east, to the Blyde River Canyon, in the west, allowing wildlife to once again roam free in the foothills of the higher rainfall mountain regions of the lowveld. Although progress has been slow, history has taught us that it took from 1896 to 1926 for the Kruger National Park vision to navigate the politics of the day and become a reality. In 1948 the idea of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park was muted and by 1992 it became a reality.
In 1984 Londolozi made the suggestion to the then South African Government, that they should consider the removal of all fences between wildlife in the Mpumalanga lowveld region. By 2004 the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Valli Moosa, did just that and, together with his counterpart from Mozambique, tore down the fences between the two countries and so created the largest transfrontier park on the planet.
From these lessons of the past we learn that conservation has its success stories as long as one is patient. As the world’s consciousness grows ever stronger, we sense a migration from the science of conservation to the philosophy of Restoration. Watch this space as Africa leads the world from the Age of Information into the Age of Restoration and indeed, within the next decade, the dream of a Corridor of Wildlife to the mountains may become a reality.
And so continues the Londolozi journey …a journey without ending …. since the Varty family returned to their roots at Londolozi in 2007, we have been working steadily to redefine the safari experience and we now look forward to a time which lies ahead where we begin to embrace the intangible benefits of the Economy of Wildlife; a uniquely conceived Africa partnership between people, land and wildlife, each working harmoniously to the mutual benefit of the other.
We are mindful and incredibly grateful for the wonderfully tumultuous year that was 2012. We are thankful to each and every one of you for the extraordinary support you have given to Londolozi and for your vital contribution to this “journey without ending”. We thank also our loyal friends in the trade, past and present guests and most particularly those who, year on year, return in increasing numbers on their annual safari pilgrimage to Londolozi – their family home in Africa.
And so, in accordance with tradition and in appreciation of our strong and enduring association, without further delay, for your own personal enjoyment, for the fourth year running: The amazing… the incredible… one of a kind… not yet seen before on screen… cinematic master piece… THE 2012 LONDOLOZI CHRISTMAS VIDEO… starring ‘The Christmas Journey’. We send to you all our heartfelt season’s greetings and best wishes for a wonderful 2013. May our “journey” together continue and may we have the chance to welcome you once more in 2013 down the bundu road.
ENJOY and THANK YOU.
With much love
Your Londolozi Family
“Now in 2030 we live in a country which we have remade. We have created a home where everybody feels free yet bonded to others, where everyone embraces their full potential. To reach this vision we have to believe ourselves capable of creating a new reality, not some distant fiction. The work has to start now”.
Trevor Manuel, Minister of the Presidency for the National Planning Commission