“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being part of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with each other instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles, and the instruments through which we shall be able to do all of this, will fit in our vest pockets.” – Nikola Tesla, 1926
If he really said this 89 years ago, then wow. Wow, wow, wow!! Global communication and digital media still boggle my mind. The fact that they are so prevalent in modern day society, pretty much defining the age we are living in, makes people take them for granted without even beginning to comprehend the physics and technology behind them.
But to be able to foresee the world operating like it does today from a point in time in which jet engines were still more than a decade away from coming into practical application, the Great Depression hadn’t properly begun, and a tiny wildlife reserve called Sparta next to the Kruger Park had just been purchased, is a phenomenal bit of insight. Nikola Tesla was truly ahead of his time in this regard.
I find it wonderfully ironic that in the same year Tesla made that bold claim, Londolozi came into being. Frank Unger and Charles Varty, hacking through virgin bush with a string of local porters, trying to forge a path to the Sand River, were more isolated than most of the world’s population can appreciate or has experienced these days. In case of emergency, their best option would have been to despatch someone to run back to the railway line, kilometres away and have him attempt to flag down a passing train… if one even happened to be coming past. Telling stories of what they would have seen and experienced would have had to wait a month until they got home to Johannesburg, and that journey would have involved two trains and a two day hike. Photos of the trip? 35mm film had only been introduced into stills photography the previous year by Leica, and any pictures taken would have been very much a hit-or-miss affair. And Frank and Charles would have had to wait a good while to get them developed, processed and printed. To have friends or relatives see them, photos would have had to have been sent on the mail ship, and a recipient in London would have waited maybe three months between the time the photo was taken and the time they finally viewed it.
My, how the times have changed! These days, guests on safari at Londolozi can beam fabulous images of what they are seeing around the world, at a push of a button. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube… whatever the platform, instant communication is revolutionising the safari industry. The leopard stalking a herd of impala can become an instant celebrity if its following is big enough. Lucien Beaumont’s video of the Mhangeni Pride interacting with a porcupine last year was viewed almost four million times on YouTube!
Whether we like it or not, the digital revolution has redefined the way we view the world and the way we operate, and we thought we’d celebrate this by showcasing some of our most popular Instagram posts of the last few months.
While going through them, take the time to consider just what happened from a technological point of view as they were posted. Images from game drives or back in the lodge were sent around the world, instantly, to be viewed by whoever was interested, on a tablet or device that let them view a pin-sharp picture. The photos could have then be re-shared, liked, emailed, or any number of options, and the person who sent the original picture could have in turn received instant notification of someone liking their shot. Within minutes, hundreds of people would be intrinsically linked to that single moment in time.
Like I said, it boggles the mind!