Our gift to you this year is a little different….an “immersion” into the summer bushveld to bring you closer to the magic of the wilderness.
(Best viewed at full volume)
2013 was an extraordinary year for Londolozi!
Busy camps, many returning friends and great guest responses have been the hallmark of 2013.
Chris Kane-Berman and his remarkable operations team continue to deliver daily Londolozi magic and, although it has been our busiest year ever, the Londolozi family has responded to the challenges of ensuring that our guests enjoy fully their time with us and leave wishing to return.
We have had the great honour this past year of hosting a multitude of honeymooner couples, some milestone wedding anniversaries, and a variety of annual multi-generational family pilgrimages to Londolozi. In one case, a family spanning four generations from 80 years old to 8 years old spent a week together in Pioneer Camp which they called their “Home in Africa”.
We also honour our Ambassadors who return year on year and in some cases have been guests of Londolozi for over four decades. May these moments of magic continue into 2014 and beyond.
The exceptional wildlife viewing continues as nature, our enduring partner, delivers endless unusual and unexpected experiences.
Increasing interest is being shown by our past and our future arriving guests, who are now regularly (daily) making use of the Londolozi Blog to keep track of the births, deaths, dramas and sweet moments that is the Londolozi wildlife experience. During 2013 we have marvelled at the fun and enjoyment that we are now having as we interact daily with the global Londolozi tribe. African campfire storytelling is rebirthing as the online digital era explodes.
At Londolozi we have responded to this growing trend by offering our guests an interactive “in studio” photographic experience in which guests and rangers report on the day’s events and critique pictures taken. Hours are spent in dialogue as pictures are touched up, final edits discussed and large canvasses printed, which record the guests memories of time spent close to the animals in 6 million acres of wild wilderness.
We have also made available in the Studio a comprehensive range of superb photographic equipment which guests can hire, thereby saving them the need to carry bulky equipment across the world. The response has been amazing, particularly with our returning guests who are making use of this convenience. The studio at Londolozi also offers, to past and future arriving guests, sneak previews into life at Londolozi, with a range of over 7 new e-books already available in the Londolozi e-library. These books are hugely interactive, extremely informative and very entertaining.
Boyd Varty recently completed his manuscript entitled “Cathedral of the Wild – an African Journey Home”. This book will be released in the USA in March next year. Boyd also finished off the year in early December when he spoke at TED Women in San Francisco on the subject of Ubuntu. His presentation started 30 minutes after the passing of our beloved Madiba and so Boyd was able to use this auspicious occasion to honour and dedicate his presentation to our great former President who embodied all that is Ubuntu as an example to the world for a more inclusive, gentler approach.
Kate Groch, CEO of the Good Work Foundation (GWF), also spoke earlier this year at a TED conference in Edinburgh. Her subject was “rural education closing the digital divide”, which informed some of the great strides we are making in promoting, within the Londolozi family, the notion of continuous learning as a core value.
It is, therefore, with great pride that we can reflect and celebrate the graduation of 60 learners from within the Londolozi family over the past year, all of whom have applied themselves over and above their full time employment by registering for a variety of online courses at our digital learning centres. We salute each and every one of these graduates who have made the choice to advance their own education. This trend grows ever stronger as young South Africans embrace their future in recognizing that it’s cool to be educated and increasingly we are seeing the next generation take charge of their destiny and becoming digitally literate.
In the same vein we are delighted to celebrate this year’s Christmas with over 1000 learners regularly attending various courses at the Hazyview Digital Learning Centre and its satellite affiliates. GWF has formed a close alliance with Stanford University and together they are developing the “classroom in the cloud” concept. Good Work Foundation is certainly delivering on its promise of providing access to world-class education for rural South Africans.
We salute also the Tracker Academy which, during 2013, recorded 16 more graduates, all of whom have gone on to secure full time employment in the safari industry. During the year, two of the Tracker Academy graduates excelled themselves when they travelled to the Pantanal in Brazil and assisted the owner of the Caiman Ecological Refuge to track and habituate wild, free ranging jaguars. Caiman is the first privately owned jaguar sanctuary in Brazil and the visit by these graduates demonstrated the power of education and skills training as a passport to wider horizons of opportunity.
As this wonderful year draws to a close we reflect with sadness and celebration the passing of our icon leader Nelson Mandela and with love and humility we send to our friends and trade partners around the world our heartfelt Christmas greetings.
Looking forward to seeing you at Londolozi in 2014!
Written by: Dave Varty
Filmed & Produced by: Rich Laburn