Thirteen percent of people worldwide actually like their jobs. That’s according to Gallup.com, a polling organization in Washington D.C.
That’s a terrifying statistic. Moreover, Gallup extrapolated on that number to say that 77 percent of people worldwide don’t feel a sense of passion for their work, find no connection to their employer and spend their days doing anything other than driving innovation or moving their company forward.
What on earth would this, then, have to do with safari, you might ask?
It has everything to do with the fact that I have found a job, and a place to live, that I am truly passionate about through safari. Coming from a corporate career, I was firmly planted among the 87 percent of other people who didn’t like their job. The best part of the week was 4:30pm on a Friday afternoon where I could rush out of the office and live my life for two days, before returning on Monday morning, wishing the week away.
Fast forward to March 2017, where it took Rob (my partner in crime, life, photography and a fellow employee) over two hours to leave Londolozi. We were heading out on leave for a few days and thinking that it would be a slow drive out to civilization, we had no idea that the bush was about to offer up a spectacular morning of photographic opportunities – some of which we had been speaking about that morning as we packed the car.
Rob and I never willingly go anywhere without our cameras. In fact, most often, we have a set of accompanying lenses too, just in case of varying photographic opportunities. We had worked a longer cycle than usual, and were looking forward to a bit of time off. As we leisurely made our way out of the staff village, we spoke about how green the bush was, and how great it was to see so much grass for the animals. We nattered on about how the landscape had changed so much since the drought, and how ‘lekker’ it was to see everything flourishing and doing so well.
As we rounded the corner out of camp, we came across the first of what was to be many unexpected sightings that morning – all of which would remind us that, while we needed to go off on leave, we absolutely loved where we lived, and counted ourselves lucky that this was ‘work’.
Thinking that the giraffe was just a parting gift from the bush, I snapped a shot with my iPhone. We continued around the corner and chuckled as a family of warthog scuttled across the road – their tails in the air, and their quick little legs kicking up dust behind them. We remarked about a handsome pair of male impala that stood and stared at us, as we paused to appreciate their understated beauty… our shutter button fingers beginning to itch. As we rounded the next corner, we spotted the now famous family of ostriches against a dramatic overcast sky. At this point, I could hold on no longer and asked Rob to stop the car.
I dug in the boot of our car and retrieved my camera case. Catching onto what I was up to, Rob was soon at my side getting his camera out, too, as we silently both understood that this was turning into a bit of a game drive!
When you’re extremely enthusiastic about photography, like Rob and I are, it’s very difficult to stop taking pictures. But, alas, we did, and we carried on in the direction of leave. 30 seconds later, I shouted for Rob to stop! Thinking there was some kind of an emergency, he slammed on the brakes and we skidded to a dramatic halt… all to get the perfect, un-interrupted view of a relaxed European roller. I took a photograph of a European roller on our very first drive into Londolozi when we first arrived in early 2015, and so this shot almost paid homage to the journey we’ve been on since then.
While glancing up to review our photos of the roller and grin happily at each other, we excitedly poked each other and quietly shrieked with delight as we noticed a pack of sidestriped jackal pups bouncing out of the bush next to us and trotting right in front of the car. It’s fairly rare to see jackals during the day, with such a clear background, and so, as you can imagine, the shutters were firing on all cylinders.
Thinking that they would dart off into the bush and that we’d only get a couple of photos, we were delighted to follow this pack for about a kilometre along the road as they darted in and out of the grass, scavenging for bits and pieces to feed on. I was particularly pleased with the accurate sense of journey I managed to capture with these shots as we, quite literally, journeyed with them down the road.
While we sat and watched, unbelieving of our luck, I turned to the right and saw a lone elephant bull gently feeding in the long grass. I had wanted this shot for ages, as previously we had seen such a barren landscape. It was a novelty to see an elephant feeding in the long grass, with only its trunk and head exposed.
As we continued out through the reserve, marvelling at how great the photographic opportunities had been, we chatted at the speed of light about our morning. We hadn’t seen big cats, but our sightings were perfect for us, who are always grateful to see the smaller side of the bush. We were slowly navigating the the bumps in the road in our very low-slung sedan car when Rob exclaimed how great it would be to see another elephant with the beautiful horizon ahead of us. And then, as if in return for our gratitude for everything we had seen that morning, the bush answered us again, and we stopped and spent time with another lone bull elephant feeding… in the exact position that we had hoped for.
By the time we arrived at Newington Gate and glanced at the clock, it had been 2 hours since we pulled out of the staff village earlier that morning. Two hours of wonderful, simple appreciation for our surroundings. I can happily, and without doubt tell you that, since moving to Londolozi in an effort to go on an adventure two and a half years ago, I now belong among the 13 percent of people in this world who love their jobs, love their surroundings and who truly enjoy what they do each day. The mere fact that it took us 2 hours to leave the property is testament to the fact that this is where we belong. Being a part of the Londolozi family gives us an opportunity to Live Guided, to pursue our passion, and to live a life that others may only ever dream of. I’m one of the lucky ones, that’s for sure.