My name is Raphael Klabin and I am from Brazil. This is my second time here at Londolozi. The first time I came with my entire family and in this the second I came with a group of friends with my father. Back home in Brazil, we are also passionate about conservation and about showcasing the wilderness to visitors from around the world. My father started the Caiman Ecological Refuge in the Pantanal, during the 1980’s and since it began we have been committed to conserving the wild species that exist there. We are also committed to working with the ranchers in the area to establish better relations between cattle ranching and wildlife conservation.
During my most recent experience at Londolozi, we had an amazing time and it was inspiring to see how the lodge continuously improves and evolves its offering. Both times that I have visited Londolozi, Mother Nature has received us with open arms. Coming from Brazil, I am passionate about the Jaguar and big cats, so visiting Londolozi was incredible owing to the wonderful leopard and lion sightings we had during our stay. Each day after the next, the safari became more incredible and the leopard got better and better. It was not only nature that received us with open arms, but the staff and people as well. Back at the lodge we encountered many magical moments such as the candle lit dinners, sunset drinks stops, late nights in the boma, watching wildlife from the deck and from the plunge pool in my room.
As soon as my father and friends left, my real journey started here at Londolozi. I started my 1 week internship learning about the inner workings of the Londolozi experience. From the moment that they left and I began working behind the scenes I truly encountered the soul of the business for the first time. Tammy, the beautiful operations manager, took me by the hand and showed me my schedule for the week I was here and at that moment I knew that I was going to have a brilliant time.
My main focus was on service, experience and understanding how to work in harmony with the people who live at Londolozi. Inside the office, sometimes your forget you are in Africa, but as soon as you put your head outside you almost always bump into one of the many nyalas, monkeys or bushbucks moving through the camps. Knowing that a pride of lions or a leopard could move through the camp at anytime was at first a little bit scary, but then it became an exciting element to my everyday work.
Over my days here, I have met amazing people and the experience I have gained will be immense in helping with my own journey as I start working back home at Caiman Ecological Refuge in the Pantanal.
I know I will remember this place and the people for my entire life and I can say that Africa and Londolozi have a captured a piece of my heart.
Written & Photographed by: Raphael Klabin