In the village of Londolozi, Christmas means that our landscapes are filled with new life and blessed with summer rains to restore a thirsty land. Christmas is also a time for reflection on the year that has been and a chance to witness the endless ebb and flow of the greater Londolozi family: babies, birthdays, bushveld celebrations and banquets, surrounded by lions, leopards and lizards, all basking in the arms of nature.
During 2017 we have been honoured to welcome to our camps on the banks of the Sand River, more guests from more countries than ever before. Indeed, it was during 2017 that South Africa was identified as one of the top 10 most safe and attractive destinations in the world. This sentiment is being reflected by unprecedented growth in travelers from many emerging nations to our shores. Added to this we are witnessing a growing number of South Africans with aspirations to discover their own country, meaning that tourism and hospitality are once again finding their rightful place at the center of society, with South Africa emerging as one of the globe’s friendliest nations.
This growth in the number of visitors to our country means that Londolozi continues to find itself as a pathfinder for change and the creation of new opportunities in this growing and vibrant industry. Since our humble beginnings four decades ago, we have always been at the forefront of outward creative conservation. This has always been in the knowledge that expanding the amount of land under wildlife best serves the needs of the people who live in the rural parts of our country. Indeed over the years we have borne witness to many such projects and can with pride look back on the demonstrable benefits, both social and economic, which these projects have bought to the people of our region. It will, therefore, not come as a surprise to our long-standing friends and guests that, once again, Londolozi finds itself as a catalyst for new possibilities! We set an intention nearly ten years ago for a Kruger-to-Canyon corridor, and we see the very real chance of it coming to fruition in the next few years. The aim is to connect the Blyde River Canyon (the largest ‘green canyon’ in the world, due to its subtropical vegetation) to the Limpopo Transfrontier Peace Park as one contiguous landscape, allowing the free movement of wildlife from the bushlands to the mountains. Londolozi is a conservation vision lived for 91 years now and will continue long into future.
As part of this grand vision, the Good Work Foundation (of which Londolozi was the founding patron) will be in support of establishing many satellite learning centers at strategic locations along the proposed corridors, thereby providing access to world-class education for the thousands of learners who live in the villages adjacent to the proposed corridors. Indeed, during 2017, the first such pilot project was commissioned in the village of Justicia and already over 1000 students are in attendance. The Good Work Foundation, in partnership with many of the lodges in the Sabi Sands, has co-created a vision that by 2020 they will reach every student living in the villages adjacent to the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, estimated to be in excess of 26 000 learners, all of whom will have access to world-class digital education.
It is therefore with a degree of satisfaction and joy back home that the Londolozi family is able to continue to be of service, whilst embracing a new way of being in the world. We were privileged, during 2017, to bear witness to the many returning guests as they discovered their own transition towards a new way of being present in nature. We trust that as this new trend gathers momentum, we may see many more of you back at Londolozi in the coming year. For now though, we extend to all our friends around the world best wishes for harmony and connection over the festive season and for peace around the world during 2018.