I am Londolozi!
Not in the arrogant sense but because I am who I am because of Londolozi.
I arrived at Londolozi on the 1st of October 2010. At 20 years of age I was green to the world but eager to make my mark. To guide in South Africa you have to be 21 years old, and being just short of that there was not a huge amount that I had to offer the lodge at the time. Thankfully due to my determined work ethic and vast enthusiasm they kept me on, albeit keeping me busy with some rather ‘interesting’ tasks until I was old enough to become a guide.
At the time I thought Londolozi was going to just provide me with an opportunity to become a ranger at one of the most prestigious lodges in Africa and that would be it. I was very wrong.
Londolozi became my family. From the first welcoming smile to the last goodbye tear, the people of Londolozi (staff, guests, and legacy of those from the past) continued to provide me with laughs, tears, support, and most importantly, memories. They became my family in a way that I never knew possible.
I discovered my priorities. I had very little knowledge of who I was and who I wanted to be when I started at Londolozi. The place has such a strong culture however, that as a young man I was exposed to a deeper understanding of how the world should be, living in a community with different cultures and religions, business aspects, and family. It tested my resilience and resolve at times but in doing so gave me opportunities to learn and grow.
I made friendships with people from different demographics, cultures, religions, and ages, all of whom had a different perspective on every aspect of life. This not only challenges the way one thinks but offers alternative opinions. This can be difficult at times because you have to sort through all of that and form a code of ethics and values from all that you have been exposed to. What a privilege it was to learn from a man who had been working as a tracker for almost double the length of my life. These are the relationships that I will cherish and that have helped guide me in my early adult life.
Being a guide is something that I would recommend to any young person looking to experience life. I was exposed to the natural world in a way that left me vulnerable. It was during these times that I learnt to pay attention to the detail as well as the big picture. During training, a Londolozi guide has to walk the roads of the reserve alone. You start at 6 am and end at 6pm after walking a prescribed route which by the end of the week may be in excess of 40km a day. The purpose of this is not only to learn the extensive road network but also to test your knowledge and understanding of the environment around you, and to give you a better feel for your place in the scheme of things in the bush. Whilst this was one of the more memorable milestones of mine it was also extremely stressful. This was the first time that I had been in the bush alone and all the decisions rested on my shoulders. I choose to tell you this as I feel it epitomizes what Londolozi does for its people. It pushes you to learn and understand what you are capable of and helps you to become a stronger person.
Along with all of these strengths, Londolozi taught me the subtle arts of life. How to interpret the wilderness to guests, how to create excitement yet remain calm, and most importantly how to love. Londolozi allowed me to meet my fiancé, Candice. This place nourished our love and created a space that allowed us to truly understand each other. As such we formed a lifelong bond and we are engaged to be married at the beginning of next month.
In parting I would like to say thank you to all the people that made this part of my life possible. My family at home in Johannesburg who gave me the support and love I needed to go after my dreams. I might mention that in visiting Londolozi many times they became as much apart of the extended Londolozi family as I did.
To Chris Kane-Berman for allowing me the opportunity to start at Londolozi and then encouraging me to grow along the way; a true role model. To Chris Goodman for being the most incredible mentor. Those countless discussions and moments of advice mean more to me than you know, I would not have made it without you. To Tom and Kate Imrie who are out in the world with their kids on an adventure; thank you for the friendship. The two of you are an inspiration to both Cands and I. To the rest of the Londolozi family, you are the most incredible people in the world and we are privileged to have been able to be a part of that.
Lastly to the Varty family; what you have created here extends so much further than I am sure you originally dreamed. Londolozi has touched the souls of countless people around the world in a life-changing manner, so thank you for that.
I encourage all those who have the opportunity to experience this magical place, both guests and staff alike, to embrace all that it has to offer. You will leave with such happiness and gratitude that you had the opportunity to visit.
Filed under Life
Gonna miss you D-Buys and Cands!
how lovely and heartfelt.
Danny, what a great testament to an amazing 6 years! Makes me flippen jealous! Good on you mate!
Good luck on your next adventure Dan! We will miss your wit, knowledge and expertise on our next visit to Londolozi! Enjoy!
Brian and Kitty Kenna
Beautiful Daniel! I wish you the best of luck in your new venture with Candice
Dan, you were my guide when I came to Londolozi with a Nat Geo group in Nov 2014. The experience was wonderful thanks in large part to you. I returned the following year and will do so again in April. Thank you for inspiring me.
Good luck Dan, I wish you well! No more touch rugby accidents wherever you go next!!
Another Londolozi posting that brings a tear to my eye – a tear that acknowledges that I share in the sentiment. It is a magical place. Best of luck to you and your fiancée.
Well done and all the best!
Aloha. Be well and embrace this next step in your life together. Londolozi has left an indelible imprint on my heart since 1981. Magic place…magnificent people.
Good luck, Dan. We wish you much success. You were our Ranger on our first visit to Londolozi – unforgettable
Very nice farewell, Daniel! Best of luck to you and Candice in your future endeavors, and don’t forget you have friends in Bermuda and (sometimes) Colorado!
Congratulations Daniel and Candice on your upcoming wedding. I wish you both a lifetime filled with love, good health and happiness. I’m sure you will take with you many happy memories of your time spent at Londolozi.
TO DAN & CANDICE,
DAN, I HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF HAVING YOU AS MY RANGER IN THE PAST, AND HAVE SUCH GOOD MEMORIES OF THAT.
I WAS ALSO SO INCREDIBLY TOUCHED BY YOUR HOSPITALITY ON MY VISITS TO LONDOLOZI. DESPITE YOUR OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES, YOU ALWAYS TOOK THE TIME TO MAKE CONTACT AND TO JOIN ME FOR DINNER.
I ALWAYS APPRECIATED THAT OF YOU AND CANDICE.
LASTLY, BUT BY NO MEANS THE LEAST, CANDICE I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR HAPPY SMILING FACE, AND FOR THOSE MANY WONDERFUL MASSAGES!
ALL THE VERY BEST TO YOU BOTH AND I WISH YOU BOTH A LIFETIME FILLED WITH LOTS OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS TOGETHER.
KIND PERSONAL REGARDS,
Best wishes. You made our safari so special and memorable that we returned the next year as we’re glad to see you that time as well. We will always remember our first trip over. Congratulations on your next steps. If you come back over to Texas make sure you let us know!
We were privileged to have you, Daniel, as our ranger during our first ever trip to South Africa and Londolozi almost exactly one year ago. Jane, Erin and I loved the experience. Between you and Jerry our tracker, we experienced wonders we never expected. Your rich knowledge and advice made our animal encounters unforgettable, from seeing Mashaba female leopard and cubs, to the wee elephant baby guarded by her sisters and aunts, to the tailless lioness trying to teach her young male pride to hunt. An experience that defies description, as you have so well explained. We will miss you when we return but wish you and Candice a life filled with love and fulfillment. The invitation stands that if you and Candice are ever in the States we would love to have you visit us in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Daniel: We’re so happy to hear that Candice is now your fiancée, but also disappointed that you have left Londolozi. You and Richard were with us when we were at ?ondolozi in 1913 as part of the Edward Jones group. Now Paul and I are returning in September of 2017, and I was hoping to request you as our Field Guide once again. Our best wishes to you and Candice for a lifetime of happiness and love.