“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
Waking up while it’s still dark to pack the car by torchlight. Egg mayonnaise sandwiches. A whole tub of sweets to keep the travel boredom at bay. Getting lost in the excitement of an airport and the shiny duty-free shops. The exhilaration of paying for something with foreign money. Learning a few words of a foreign language and then watching a local’s face light up when I use them in the perfect context. Playing ‘eye-spy’ for hours on end. Collecting tiny souvenirs to take home. Long, lazy afternoons playing board games. Perfecting my card playing tactics. The smell of sunscreen. The sting of a summer sunburn. That feeling of being exquisitely exhausted after a long day of laughing, experiencing new things and reconnecting with loved ones. These are just a handful of wonderful things that remind me of the unforgettable family holidays that I got to experience as a child.
For me, a family vacation was about experiencing new cultures, different foods and new sights while spending quality time with my loved ones. It was all about stretching my imagination and feeling the thrill of the unknown – right from when I was a little girl through to traveling as an adult with my family. The memories that I have of long afternoons in Tuscany, wandering the streets of Paris, seeing Big Ben for the first time, flying down a ski slope in Austria, catching Tiger fish off of a tiny fishing boat in the Okavango Delta and camping out all day on the beaches of South Africa are some that I’ll have my whole life.
In reflection, the greatest gift my parents could have ever given me was the opportunity to travel with them, and to be exposed to new places, cultures – and to not only see some of the great landmarks of history but to experience the varied cultures that surround these countries as well. These are the things that our family will reminisce about forever, and that remain some of the most important experiences of our lives.
In my mind, there is no greater investment of either time nor money than to travel with family.
Having lived here at Londolozi for four years now, I have been lucky enough to witness and spend time with many wonderful families who have come to visit us. By travelling to Londolozi, they have opened up experiences that they – self-proclaimed – will cherish for the rest of their lives as they have been so transformative for their families. A great many of these families have come and visited Londolozi’s Pioneer Camp, and have shared some of the things that they loved so much about their stay … things that certainly compete with the likes of Disneyland and Big Ben! The wonderful thing about Pioneer Camp is that, because it has only three suites, exclusive use is easy and very popular for multi-generational families. The feeling of ‘having something all to yourself’ is possibly one of the most luxurious, and I feel that just because you’re traveling with the whole family shouldn’t mean that you have to skimp on luxury if you don’t have to. Pioneer Camp is considered one of the most luxurious family camps in Africa… here’s why.
The camp has become symbolic with beautifully lit lanterns that cover the deck, old-fashioned and romantic hideaways that tells stories of adventurers and the luxury of feeling like home away from home. Ralph Lauren wallpaper paired with antique maps, kuba cloth, herringbone tweeds, and crystal chandeliers give this camp a stylish African twist. Still situated under thatch roofs, the camp itself is perfectly laid out for both inclusion and privacy. Probably one of the most versatile camps in Africa, it’s three luxury suites – each with their own lounge area, plunge pool and river view – are perfect for either private use by couples (if you’re traveling just the two of you, and don’t bring the whole family along) as well as multi-generational families of six to twelve people. Suites are linked by glass sky walkways creating interconnected family units, giving everyone the freedom to come and go as they please while remaining connected as a family.
While the idea of journeying to distant lands with the whole family is very exotic, the occasional pang of home-sickness can get you while travelling so far from home. Pioneer Camp is the perfect antidote, offering all the creature comforts of a private, luxury safari home, and the perfect place to spread out and enjoy time with family.
One of the defining features of Pioneer Camp is the private interactive kitchen, creating an informal, ‘help yourself’, ‘put your feet up’ kind of feeling. While spending time with the Pioneer chefs as they prepare a simple, yet sophisticated meal, watch each dish being prepared especially for you, and then enjoy a family meal around the long table in the kitchen – just like you would at home. But, this home away from home has a serious twist… At Londolozi, instead of sleeping in as you would normally do on a Sunday morning, you’ll be up at dawn, tracking the big five, and then home in time to get your pictures edited in the Photographic Studio, after a walk around the Londolozi Living Boutique to pick up a gift or two, and then off to yoga or The Healing House for a bit of R & R.
On return from the day’s adventures, however, the private indoor and outdoor lounges provide secluded spots to enjoy a good book, to battle it out over a board game, or to perfect your card playing skills. Whether inside, next to a crackling fire in winter, or out on the covered outdoor lounge on a hot summer evening, you’ll find a perfect spot in which to reconnect.
Being secluded doesn’t mean you or your family have to be removed from the exciting activities on offer. Children are welcome at Londolozi from the age of six and Pioneer Camp is often filled with Granny and Grandpa, Mum and Dad, boyfriend and girlfriend and some grandchildren to round it all off. When we find ourselves with this type of family visiting, one of the best features of the camp is that the Cub’s Den Program kicks in with a variety of adventures for enquiring, energetic young minds. Track molding, arts and crafts, baking, photography, tree climbing and more… the list is endless.
Pioneer Camp is the home of many stories of adventure from a bygone era. Steeped in the early history of Londolozi, the camp honours the first pioneering families – hence it’s name. The Varty and Taylor ancestors traveled to Londolozi on foot, by rail and wagon over 90 years ago, making this the first of many wonderful family holidays at Londolozi… a tradition that remains to this day.
Set on the far western corner of the lodge, nestled under the shade of 500-year old Ebony trees, and with a 180 degree view of the lush Sand River, this camp carries a feeling of nostalgia and authenticity- like a wonderful safari hat – full of character, charm and the atmosphere of tradition all around you. I think it is this quality that, when imagining my own family coming to visit and staying at Pioneer Camp, makes me drift off… both reliving old memories and dreaming of the possibility of, one day, making new ones for myself in this luxuriously private safari home…