What I have come to realise at my time at Londolozi, is the appreciation that every visitor has for the outdoors. This appreciation goes hand in hand with a sincere love of animals. When we are in the bush it feels as if our worries float away like a petal in the wind. The hustle and bustle of one’s normal lifestyle gets thwarted by the roar of a lion when drinking your early morning coffee. The disquietude of getting in your car and driving off to work takes a back seat for a couple of days. The outdoors is like one’s happy place where everything just seems to happen in slow motion. When one adds the relaxation to the potential to see some of the most majestic animals in the world, the outcome is often breath-taking.
We recently had visitors to Londolozi that fitted the bill, and all they wanted to do was to get away from their arduous lifestyle. The first afternoon we were fortunate enough to track and find a beauteous female leopard. This set the tone. The next couple of days were the most quintessential time I had ever spent with anyone else is the bush. Their genuine admiration of animals and the euphoria displayed by them in each sighting just cemented my thoughts on why more people come to the bush to shrug off the listlessness of their day to day lives.
A sighting that we had with elephants epitomises this point. We had been fortunate enough to be in a couple of sightings with elephants. Approaching these pachyderms is something that should always be done with caution and one needs to know the signs the animals give you if they do not welcome your presence. We realised that these particular elephants were content and we approached… The herd then proceeded to walk past the vehicle within touching distance. One of the guests could not contain her feelings, and as I turned to smile at her, she had tears literally streaming down her cheeks. Elephants have an aura about them which when first encountered can lead to an incredible upwelling of emotion. Whether it be their size, their generally placid nature, or the fact that when you look into their eyes you know that they are working you out at the same time, they can humble even the most accomplished safari-goer.
Emotional experiences like this can potentially be brought on by any animal or situation when in the bush; the only part of the recipe you need to bring is a true appreciation for them, the space they inhabit, and what their continued existence represents. Not just for a visitor to Africa, but for all of us.
Beautifully written Werner. It is an incredible experience, spending time in the bush with these beautiful animals. It is very emotional, looking into their eyes and knowing that they are wondering about you too. It brings life into focus and makes you realize what is really important. It’s quite a humbling experience that I also found was life-changing. Thank you for sharing your great write-up and stunning pictures with us.
That person he writes about could have been me. I asked on our first game drive to see a Giraffe. We turned the corner and there one was. Only half hour later, we came up close and personal with a beautiful leopard and I took my first successful wildlife shot (one of 1500 on my trip. I went overboard and still haven’t managed to weed through them all). While we were at Londolozi, there were hundreds of elephants and we were surrounded by them on multiple occasions. It was simply a dream come true. I thought close encounters like this would be scary. They were the opposite. I can’t imagine a happier moment than the many ones we experienced out in the wild with the animals. Breathtaking, really.
I usually dream about work at night (sad, I know). When I returned home, I remained on safari every night as soon as my head hit the pillow. It was (and still is) literally the stuff of dreams. My safari was just the coolest thing I’ve ever done. I can not wait to be out there in the “real” world again. The African bush is by far the best escape from the crazy lives we live. Thank you for making it possible.
This sounds like me, eh James T? I literally could not help but weep from a full and open heart each day in the bush. That’s why Londolozi will always be my heart’s home.
My elephant moment: 2012 with Talley and Freddy. Just the 3 of us in the vehicle. Breeding herd slowly surrounded the vehicke. Freddy on the tracker’s seat caught it all on video with my small video camera. I sat motionless and mesmerized. This was the last drive of a 10 night stay. Brought tears to my eyes.
Wonderful blog, Werner
Sounds like me too! I was touched by the grace and majesty of Londolozi and the wildlife. As soon as I set foot on Varty Camp I started to cry. It just hit me like a ton of bricks. That set in motion a whole bunch of other times where the amazingness of the animals would again make me cry with joy. I remember looking through my binoculars at a Cheetahs face and start to cry. In awe of the grandness of nature. I will never forget this. This experience changed my life and I will be back soon!
Big pleasure Jill! I always say animals have a certain level of intelligence that we do not understand. They do not need to be taught what to do, their innate intelligence leaves one dumbfounded