The year 1926 is etched in our history when the forefathers of Londolozi first arrived to pitch their tents in the shade of a thousand year old ebony tree on the banks of the Sand River. And so 90 years later, in 2016, it seems fitting to celebrate this historic event and a remarkable nine decade love affair with this land. As part of our 90th birthday celebrations we produced a three part online tribute to Londolozi, her land, her animals and her people. The response has been overwhelming and we thank you all for your generous contributions and participation.
2016 not only marks our 90th birthday but is also 10 years since the family “returned to the front door” to resume operations. It is, therefore, with great pride and joy that Shan and I, on behalf of the owners of Londolozi, express our sincere thanks and gratitude to our remarkable New Generation Management (NGM) team who, ably led by Stoff Kane-Berman, have created a Londolozi which is incomparable, emotional, fun-filled and enduring and which continues to reinvent daily the guest safari and game viewing experience.
2016 also marks the birth of a new vision for the future called Project 2020 which is the bringing together of ancient wisdom, modern technology and nature at the convergence of new behaviours, new technology and a desire to live lightly on the earth. At the heart of this project are the Londolozi ideals of becoming a Social Enterprise with the intention to make a more meaningful contribution to an emerging and transforming South African society. Many of the projects are already underway including the establishment of a community-owned wildlife corridor, support for the Good Work Foundation’s multi digital learning centres and the continued investment and vigilance in ensuring that Londolozi remains a safe haven for rhino devoid of incursions from poaching.
South Africa during 2016 held local elections and once again proudly demonstrated to the world our high functioning and vibrant democracy. It has been fascinating to witness within our country a growing civil voice demanding transparency from our political leaders and we are, therefore, pleased that our reputation as a friendly, warm, safe and hospitable country, offering world-class holiday adventures endures. In support of these perceptions we continue to experience unprecedented numbers of visitors to our shores and, in the wake of this emerging transparency, we are also experiencing a new spirit of delivery and co-operation throughout our country. In this regard, Londolozi has been given unprecedented support from the local government authorities, from the leadership of South Africa National Parks and from neighbouring land owning communities, all of whom have showed renewed commitment to supporting wildlife based programmes which are resulting in the beneficiary land owners and neighbouring communities in the region becoming fully integrated into the economic benefits that flow from the potential of the Economy of Wildlife.
In alignment with these developments during this year, we witnessed the explosive growth of the Good Work Foundation’s (GWF) digital learning campuses which now reach in excess of 5000 students and have expanded to include two new satellite operations adjacent to Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve. Another digital learning campus will be commissioned in 2017 and you are urged to visit the GWF website to be inspired by this remarkable movement which continues to gather momentum. We recognise and honour Kate Groch, the CEO of the GWF, for the unbelievable strides that her organisation has made not only in achieving a sustainable partnership with the Mpumalanga Department of Education but also enabling many young rural learners a real opportunity at life. To witness learners of all ages being exposed, under careful guidance, to the possibilities of digital learning is indeed an inspiring window into South Africa’s true potential. Incredibly GWF won the national Pricewaterhouse Coopers Empowerment of Women in the Community Award this year in partnership with T-Systems South Africa.
At Londolozi for 2016/2017 we have adopted the philosophy of deep not wide meaning that despite the many demands being placed on us to expand Londolozi, we are in fact continuing to look inwards in search of innovative ways to further improve our guest’s experience. To add to the improvements we made this year, being the Cubs Den, Gym and Yoga Deck, we plan soon to begin a very careful upgrade of Varty Camp which should begin during the first half of 2018. In honouring where it all began, we wish to be careful with the improvements in order to, in no way, change the character of this “grand lady”.
In closing, despite the troubled world which surrounds us, we are all inherently connected to one another and to the planet we live on. We at Londolozi live in gratitude for the stillness and natural beauty which surrounds us and for the harmony which exists within our broader family across all cultures, genders and religions. We trust that this peaceful existence will continue to prevail for the years ahead despite what may be happening on the broader canvas of the world’s political stage. South Africa and Londolozi will remain a safe harbour for the discerning travellers to revisit, rejuvenate and to restore.
Wishing you all a very happy Festive Season.
With Grace & Gratitude,
The Londolozi Family