The juxtaposition of our human lives and the wildlife here is always a fascinating one to look at.
While events in the world come and go, the birds, bees, Leopards of Londolozi and all its other wild inhabitants continue on as normal.
Such is the case on Christmas Eve, when Londolozi holds its traditional Christmas celebrations. Nyala look on with a distinct lack of concern as camp managers scurry past carrying decorations and extra lanterns. The francolins that roost in the Jackalberry tree that grows through the Varty camp deck still utter their evening contact call, not worried that there is now a 12ft tall wooden giraffe where there wasn’t one a few days ago, and that its adorned with fairy lights! The Flat Rock male leopard, patrolling the Sand River below, may notice some extra hustle and bustle on the camp decks above, but he still gives off his guttural territorial call as he passes by.
While the predators continue on their way and the herbivores hunker down for the night, vibrant scenes of family, joy and laughter were taking place in the separate Londolozi camps. With lanterns hanging everywhere, twinkly lights and candles providing a beautiful warm glow, and everyone fully in the festive spirit, the Christmas Eve dinner was a fantastic way to start winding down the year.
Good conversation and story telling were shared by guests and staff alike through a delicious 5-course meal, with the revelry continuing until past midnight in some cases.
As the last Amarula cremeauxs were finished and people started filtering off to bed, stillness descended on Londolozi. Only the distant roar of one of the Birmingham males could be heard, far off to the east.
Wishing everyone the Merriest of Christmases!
Lanterns add just that extra touch of romance to an already romantic setting…
Phanuel Ubisi, Tree Camp Butler, hangs the last few lanterns around the Tree Camp Deck.
Granite Camp, Londolozi’s smallest deck, was the scene of a wonderfully intimate dinner, all aglow with candlelight, and of course watched over by the ubiquitous Christmas giraffe!
(L to R) David Dampier, Londolozi ex-ranger turned Head of Finance, who joined past guests of his for dinner, Victoria Hughes, Granite Camp Manager, Robbie Sithole, Granite Camp Butler, and Pete Thorpe, Granite Camp Ranger.
Granite Camp from the other direction, looking back towards the entrance. With the Sand River only a few metres from the deck, the sound of hippos snorting providing a constant background ambience through the evening, good food and good company, who could ask for a better Christmas Eve venue?
The Pioneer Camp drinks station looked spectacular, and wine and bubbles flowed freely into the night.
The entrance to Founders Camp, with guests enjoying a festive Christmas drink with their rangers before settling down to dinner.
All set up and ready to go! This year’s colours were a traditional Christmas combination; maroon, gold and navy blue, with an African cinnamon stick twist and lots of sparkly lights.
The second course of the evening was a rum cured salmon, dijon mustard, caviar and samphire, yarrow and ice leaves.
Each of the Londolozi camps has its own sense of Magic…
Orange and sage marinated duck breast on asparagus risotto with a pea and mint puree and cherry glaze.
Pioneer Camp Deck. Whether Christmas Eve or any other night, a dinner spent under the African sky is something truly special.
African spiced beef sosatie on a chargrilled wrap with courgette and celery slaw, wilted spinach and garam masala yoghurt.
Executive Chef Anna Ridgewell, with Pioneer Chefs Liveness Magiba and Mandla Sibiya apply the finishing touches to their prep work.
Executive Chef Anna’s Londolozi Sunset; Amarula cremeaux in a chocolate macadamia pastry case with salted caramel and gold dusted berries. Anna loves a sparkle!
Ntando Khambule and Anna Ridgewell share a laugh at the end of a successful evening.