It’s almost been a year since I started at Londolozi and there a few things that I have a better understanding of now.
The biggest by far is the feeling of community. Everyone refers to the family feeling at Londolozi, but there are a few people in particular that make that feeling truly come alive.
My role as a camp manager means that I interact with many of the different Londolozi departments on a daily basis. Housekeeping, laundry, gardening, maintenance… you name it. It is essential to have good channels of communication with all the teams but what counts the most is the individual relationship you have with the team members.
One man in particular needs special mention here: Colbert Mdhluli, Varty Camp Butler.
Colbert represents the Londolozi values in so many ways. Always putting the team first, Colbert never fails to have a wide smile across his face. His knowledge of languages is amazing; Shangaan, isiZulu, Afrikaans and English are all part of his repertoire, but where he really excels is his mimicry of bush sounds. His Scops Owl call has had many a ranger grab for their binoculars to try and find the bird, and his impression of a hippo often comes echoing out of the tea room during breakfast service.
Colby has worked at Londolozi for over 20 years. He has met Nelson Mandela, countless international guests, guides and camp managers but he still makes you feel like you are the only camp manager he has ever worked with.
I’ve learnt many things in my year here, but some of my favourites are from Colbs:
You don’t have to use words to communicate.
An ice bucket from behind the bar makes a great drum for choir performances.
Saying ‘Why not?’ in a deep voice and then laughing makes any task easier to handle.
Thanks Colbs for the lessons and I look forward to learning more from you in the year to come.