There are a number of people who visit Londolozi having never been to South Africa before, let alone other natural areas where wild animals roam free. We as guides therefore have a responsibility to not only show our guests the beauty of our environment, both big and small, but also to educate. Educate about conservation, the protection of natural resources and the importance of social upliftment and development. It is a feeling of immense reward when guests leave Londolozi with a greater connection to wildlife, which can profoundly impact their busy daily lives back home.
Experiencing particular events for the first time is something that people face every day, be it a moment of adversity or a positive, rewarding occurrence. For most of our guests, each sighting is seen as an enormous privilege and appreciated as such.
Occasionally however, when guests view certain sightings for the first time, it is something so rare and special that they become the envy of all rangers. If it’s your first visit to the African bush and you witness something very rare, it is understandable that you may return home believing that a leopard making a kill, lion cubs playing with their mother or the Mashaba female and her cub playing in a tree occur on a regular basis. However, this is certainly not the case.
From a ranger’s perspective, it is an incredibly rewarding and incredible experience when we witness something for the first time. I have been fortunate enough to have had the pleasure of experiencing two such events in the recent past.
Viewing lion cubs has been something that has eluded me throughout my life, including my almost 18 months at Londolozi, so you can begin to imagine my excitement when I heard that the Tsalala pride were secreting cubs in the beautiful Manyelethi River in our northern territory. All I wanted was a glimpse. Even a flick of a tail would have sufficed! Let’s call it beginner’s luck, but my first ever sighting of lion cubs turned out to be one that will be difficult to replicate.
An amazing aspect of working at Londolozi is that no day is ever the same, with the prospect of new experiences quite literally around every corner. In addition, seeing something unique and extremely rare – a first-hand glimpse into the wonders of nature – is something that all rangers strive for. One such event occurred only a few days ago; seeing lions in a tree. It was a sighting that I had only ever dreamed of.
The rarity of such witnessed events need to be cherished wholeheartedly by immersing oneself in the moment and appreciating not only the animal being viewed, but also the circumstances surrounding that particular sighting. As in all facets of our lives, when experiencing something for the first time, look at it from a more holistic perspective, taking into account the numerous variables and factors surrounding that isolated event.