“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 Tigerfish 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.
The true gift of travelling
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.
Our Luxury Private Family Villas – having it all to yourself
Having lived here at Londolozi for almost 6 years now, I have been lucky enough to witness and spend time with many wonderful families and groups of friends 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 Homestead – in my opinion one of the top luxury private family villas in the Kruger Park – looking for privacy and exclusive use of a home in Africa, and have shared some of the things that they loved so much about their stay.
The wonderful thing about Pioneer Homestead is that, because it has only three suites, private and exclusive use is easy and very popular for groups of friends travelling together and 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 Homestead is considered one of the most luxurious private family villas in Africa… here’s why.
Our Luxury Private Family Villas – Room Features
The homestead has become symbolic with beautifully lit lanterns that cover the deck, old-fashioned and romantic hideaways that tell stories of adventurers, and the luxury of feeling like a private family villa – a home away from home. Ralph Lauren wallpaper paired with antique maps, Kuba cloth, herringbone tweeds, and crystal chandeliers gives this camp a stylish African twist. Still situated under thatch roofs, the camp itself is perfectly laid out (See the Camp layout here) for both inclusion and privacy. Probably one of the most versatile camps in Africa,
It’s three luxury suites – each with its own lounge area, plunge pool, river view, and separate child-friendly room- 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. View the camp layout here.
Pioneer Homestead offers all the creature comforts of a private luxury family villa – I would go so far as to say that it gives the feeling of a private safari home. It is the perfect place to spread out and enjoy time with family. If you need to work remotely, this private homestead is fully equipped with fast fiber internet connections in each suite, allowing you to work, even from the middle of 6 million acres of African Wilderness.
One of the defining features of this private luxury family villa 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.
Sunday morning at Londolozi are special
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, as well as the private lap pool and deck area, 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, out on the covered outdoor lounge on a hot summer evening, or in the cool water watching elephants amble past, 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 Homestead 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.
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 the Pioneer Homestead, 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…
Learn more about Family Safari
At Londolozi, we’re about sharing. Sharing experiences in the sun. Sharing incredible moments with the animals, in the nature. And of course, most importantly, sharing moments with those we love, our family. Over the years we have accumulated extensive experience in family safaris. That’s why we’ve written several articles dedicated to family on our blog. We’ve listed these articles below, so you can enjoy all our expertise on the subject.
- A Family Safari In South Africa ~ 10 Reasons Why You Need To Go
- Why every family should have a safari trip in their bucket-list
- An African Family Safari Experience
If you want to know what family safari is at Londolozi, check out our Family Safari experience page!
Filed under Camps Relais and Châteaux Safari experience Trade Travel Wildlife
The times we have stayed at Pioneer Camp are among the most beautiful, most special safari experiences we have had in 20 years of travel to Africa.
Pioneer Camp was where we stayed for our honeymoon earlier this year. It was amazing. I never wanted to leave.
I was a guest on my own at Pioneer in 2010. Booked in by &Beyond so had no idea what I was in for until I stepped through the door. Unit 3 bigger by some measure (I’m sure) than our 930 sq.ft. home in Hawai’i. It was unforgettable. I walked through the rooms with my video camera and have the memories forever. Varty and Found
Lovely blog Amanda. Pioneer is probably my favourite camp. It has got that true safari style feeling.