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Michael Harmon

Guest contributor

Michael found his first Londolozi track as a sophomore in college when he picked up Boyd Varty’s Cathedral of the Wild. In it, Michael saw a place that embodied his childhood fascination with the culture and warmth of Africa and knew he had ...

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on Varty Deck Dispatch: Elephant Afternoons

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It is always one of the best experiences, watching elephants from the deck or from your room. It is amazing how quietly they move. Lovely blog Michael.

Master Tracker

Lovely. One afternoon at Londolozi (I was the only guest with the ranger that day) I just sat on a granite boulder by the causeway and watched this family of elephants. It wasn’t the most dramatic of sightings but it just drew me in, amazing feeling. Spent hours doing this, when another Land Rover turned up, it almost spoilt the moment. The guests just saw three or four elephants, when the young girl looked slightly bored I pointed out the baby elephant that was very close – it made her day

Love the leopards, but an encounter with a single elephant is indeed magical and unforgettable!

Michael – this is an awesome blog – I like elephants too. We saw herd in Londolozi when I was there with my granddaughter and her parents, 2017.

A lovely blog Michael. Ellies are probably my favourite African animal. Just watching the young ones always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. I love to watch the herd protecting the younguns and the other members from any perceived danger. They truly are intelligent and loving animals. Thank you for sharing with us.

Senior Digital Ranger

All I can say is,.. WOW!! AMAZING!

This article makes my heart sing. Wishing I could sit amongst the gentle giants. Thank you.

Looks like I’ll take a wander to Varty Deck on my next trip…. love the Ellie’s….but then, I love all of the inhabitants of Londolozi!!

I can really identify with the feeling of sheer joy bubbling up inside in the presence of elephants. Whether laughter or tears… sheer joy.

Your article brings tears to my eyes as memories of that upwelling of ancient happiness floods my mind. Just being in the African bush at peace with the wildlife brings a feeling of utter contentment. Circumstances dictate that I can no longer be there but I remind myself that I have been privileged to have once lived there.

Michael –
Your description of full body elation took me back to our visit to Londolozi….thanks for sharing and reminding me of the feelings experienced in Africa.


Michael, Thanks for the reminder of the special connection we all have with the elephants. Terri is still a bit wary of the elephants after a huge male stopped by our vehicle several years ago riding with Byron to sniff her up and down! It was an encounter never to forget. We agree that the Varty deck is a wonderful place to immerse ourselves in the amazing surroundings of Londolozi!

Senior Digital Ranger

There are three parts to my typical day at Londolozi: morning game drive, afternoon game drive, and wandering the path connecting Londolozi’s five camps in the hours between morning drive and game drive. On game drives I’m all about the big game, but I make more contemplative time for the smaller game during these mid-day walks— birds, butterflies, monitor lizards, tortoises, and those blue skinks you see all over Londolozi’s sidewalks. My last visit May 2018 I saw the resident Nyla’s and vervets around camp just as the author describes. The passing elephant herds past my deck is more of a memory of my first visit during the drought May 2016. Looking forward to a 3rd visit in May 2020.

Elephants are one of the most unique, intelligent, gentle, loyal and fierce aninals on earth. I love them and appreciate your shared experiences up close and personal…..I may turn green with envy! Lol….

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