“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.” ~ Unknown
When I first arrived at Londolozi I had no idea what to expect. Little did I know that it would very quickly become a place where I would be able to combine a love of the bush with a passion for photography and a fervour for working with people. The Londolozi Studio gives me the opportunity to spend time with guests, hearing about their experiences and getting a glimpse of some of the incredible sights that they are exposed to out in the bush. We look through the highlights of their days and memories and then we immortalize them onto canvases that they take home as a souvenir of their exciting and unforgettable trip. All the ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over these beautiful images usually leads to one of the most commonly asked questions; whether I ever get the chance to get out myself. The answer is absolutely yes! When the stars align and we’re lucky enough to have an afternoon off and a willing ranger, we get to go out on what we call a ‘staff bumble’, the words you really want to hear at the end of a day.
It’s an opportunity for a group of us to adventure out and enjoy the beautiful place that we live and work in, a big part of why we have all chosen to be here. It’s also an opportunity for those of us that have the inclination to capture some of this magic through a lens and I take full advantage of every chance I can get to wipe the cobwebs off my camera. There’s something about the bush that speaks to every one of us in one way or another, whether it’s the gentle whisper of sitting quietly in amongst a herd of elephants or the vociferation of a lion cub being harassed by its sibling. I’ve picked out a couple of photographs that have spoken to me from the last few weeks of adventures and hopefully they’ll say something to you too.
One of the Matimba males looks up after drinking from a muddy pool. With little water around animals are a bit less discerning about where they get it from.
We were lucky enough to spend some time sitting with a herd of elephant while they quietly went about eating around us.
There’s something intensely thrilling about watching a storm roll in over the Sabi Sand. It creates a buzz in the air that’s quite tangible. The pressure drops, the wind picks up and then you inadvertently end up running for cover because you’ve spent way too long getting caught up in capturing that moody shot of the lightening.
Watching any tiny creature is usually an adorable experience but these two lion cubs were particularly special for me. They spent hours romping with each other and occasionally even trying to take down their significantly larger mother.
After a few tries at staking out a cluster of beautiful Aloes flowering in camp, this Scarlet-chested Sunbird eventually made an appearance. After sitting patiently I was eventually able to capture this close up image.
With a kill stashed safely nearby, the Nhlanguleni female kept a watchful eye on a circling vulture, attempting to find its next meal.
One of the Tsalala cubs rolls in some foliage with its sibling. It’s hard to believe that in a few short years, this tiny animal will be hunting large game.
On a recent ‘bumble’, James Souchon, apparently one of Londolozi’s most agile rangers, gave us his best rock dassie impression on top of Ximpalapala Koppie.
A young hyena investigates the vehicle. It seems to me that there is so much curiosity in those eyes.
Shaun D’araujo scans the surrounds from the top of a rocky outcrop. Notice his trusty tools of the trade: a knife, rounds and of course, a GoPro.
Even the slightest movement or sound nearby catches the eye of these curious and observant youngsters.
Spending an afternoon out in the bush is sometimes more about the company that you’re in than what you see.
The Mashaba female feeds on an impala ram whilst keeping an eye on a hyena lurking below.
At the end of the day there’s nothing like the magic of a bumble, time spent in the bush with friends, absorbing how lucky we are to be in such a wonderful place doing what we love. You realise you’re one of the lucky ones when your passion and your career are one and the same.