About the Author

James Tyrrell


James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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on The Dog Ate My Homework! (Londolozi Version)

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Barn swallows are considered a blessing here and we wait for them every year. The declining number of this species is a worry among conservationists. A swallow’s drop is surely a lesser concern than a lost pair of shoes but as there are animals that do that -well, they are real scavengers! That’s a good point I think- hyena clean all.

Lovely blog James. It is a privelige to live in the bush, with all the little “mishaps”. It is a privilege to be able to experience nature every day. Even if it is just in the garden. We live in a wonderful country with so many wild places around us. I just thought about it this morning how fortunate we are. We are truly spoiled for choice.

Master Tracker

Nice post, I think you left out the bit about having a ten mile run scheduled for the day afterwards … 😀😀😀😀😀🥺🥺🥺🥺

James, I loved the monkey steeling the apple🤗🤩😘

Reminds me of a fox which appeared every morning for 2 weeks, curled up on our front steps. Despite our weak efforts to get it to leave, it remained. We left for work from our garage, and when we returned from work each day, it was gone, only to reappear the next morning. Getting rid of it consumed our daily conversation, until one day it did not appear-gone forever. We missed it and felt bad about its departure.

Hello James!
So good written! Thank you for sharing!

Senior Digital Ranger

You’re brilliant, James. You nail your ideas every time you write them down. Thanks. (The dog Shelby nipped my slipper again this morning. Naughty dog, but the chase to retrieve it makes me laugh, and I certainly believe it makes Shelby happy, too.)

Love this post, James. Well written and all too true.

Senior Digital Ranger

What a good piece James, especially during these difficult and dark times. You have shown perfectly the glass half empty/full approach. And yes, you all are blessed to be in the environment you are at Londolozi, and we are blessed having your tales told with the additional joy of wonderful photographs you all take. I remember, on a holiday from the UK at Ingwelala, when my son not only lost his new takkies to a thieving hyena (much to his fury, as for the trendy 16-year-old they were ‘the’ top takkies money could buy and were never seen again), but in the same raid we lost a plastic chair – someone must have wiped their braai-hands on the arms of it and it was all too tempting for the hungry hyena. We did get the chair back, with it’s mauled arm-rests and I think it is still at Ingwelala as evidence 20 years later!

I expect that even hyenas suffered severe indigestion after devouring your shoes. We too have on occasion shared a meal with a monkey!! Interesting! Sorry about your shoes. Victoire

it’s not a problem having your shoes stolen by hyenas provided you’re not wearing them at the time! Seriously, you’re spot on, James – we all need to step back at times when we’re getting irritated, and get things back in proportion.

Lovely thoughts in that post James. I find the same thing happening sometimes. The old “I don’t want to go to work today”… Now followed by how lucky I am to have a job. Or,” I don’t feel like pizza for dinner again” … Now followed by at least there’s food on the table. We really have to count our blessings!

Perspective is everything. Our refrigerator broke a couple weeks ago, and we had to spend half the day getting a rental and salvaging food while we set up appointments for repair. In the middle of my irritation, I reminded myself that I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to have our fridge break in the first place. If that’s the worst casualty our family faces during this pandemic, I won’t complain.

Loved the story and your talk with yourself! We should all be more mindful of the blessings and less mindful of the aggravations! We all are guilty of the reverse! 🤣

Londolozi is a special place

As always, a wonderful and insightful essay by James Tyrell. How lucky he is that I am an 80 something old woman, or else he would be in real. danger from a human animal rather than the local wildlife. And that I’m in California, so no need for his worrying about stalking! All jesting aside, thank you, James, for your always amazing photography and writings. Kudos also to your compatriots. all very talented.

Life would be indeed much duller without the animals around us.Here it is not hyenas that steel shoes but foxes. They take them to their youngsters to play with. The last baby swallow is still sitting in its nest, calling for the parents to feed it. In two weeks’ time they will be gone and I can clean up the mess they left on my balcony. That means, autumn and winter are coming and we will look forward to springtime to have them back with all their birds’ droppings and – lovely to hear again – their high pitched cries.

Very beautiful blog James! How lucky we are to live in an environment to allow us to have these “problems”!! Humbles us all in one way or another!

Digital Ranger

👏👏👏 Well said, James!

A thought provoking blog James. Sorry about your shoes and hopefully you won’t make the same mistake again. I think that you are not alone in your thoughts right now. Look behind you, there is a long line of people in the same predicament. This virus has turned people’s lives upside down and many unfortunate souls have perished at its hands. Really when you come to think of it, no matter if we are rich or poor, we really are very blessed in one way or another. I hope that in the not too distant future you will be able to welcome guests back to Londolozi and regain some semblance of normalcy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Be well and stay safe all at Londolozi.

Digital Tracker

What a great article! Love it, so well written and so very true! Thanks for sharing.

Visceral reflections that resonate with much of life; stories to treasure! Thank you

Beautifully written James. The last 3 lines of the penultimate paragraph expressing my sentiments entirely. I was fortunate to spend 40 years as chef onboard some magnificent sailing yachts but there were times, when preparing for guests at an uncomfortable angle, in rough sea, when I wished that I was back in the bushveld…miles from the sea. How lucky I was to have an ‘office window’ that changed all the time, to experience far away places/people and enjoy the most incredible sea life. Still I’ll trade places for the bush, even if we continue to enjoy sailing in our retirement 😜. The grass is always greener…

Senior Digital Ranger

watch carefully , maybe tomorrow you will find a hyena with your shoes on ! Grateful that he doesn’t have to walk through the mud barefoot 🙂

Senior Digital Ranger

Good morning James! .. While I am reading this blog a day late, your writing has none the less brought fun and laughter, as well as pondering the need to surrender to what is, .. for all that it is and all that it is not right now amidst the present of things.
I too, can so relate to the day’s not so pleasant episodes,” as the roof in my office has been leaking for the past six months with no clue as to where or what is causing the leak! There have been so many days that I just want to get up and leave, or not want to come home, upon having to see the problem. – As you say, “the imperfections are the good stuff.” They point to accepting life on life’s term s with humility, while at the same time, being able to feel relief and gratitude for having a roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in at night. –
It’s also comical in thought to think how animals in the bush bring memories to mind, similar to how our domesticated pets (in America) pull off antics such as one of my cats (years back) climbing up my chest and stealing my baked potato from my fork while I was eating it! (the little scoundrel had a fetish for baked potatoes!) .. or one of my kitties peeing in our shoes. Universally, we accept animal behavior due to our love for them, no matter where or what kind of environment it is. The zany things animals do is what brings smiles to our day, while being our emotional salvation.

James, this is one of the most meaningful and deep posts we have seen you write! All from the “problems” you encounter in your days at Londolozi! The truth is, you have taught us over the years, that just being in the company of the incredible wildlife at Londolozi is truly one of the most magical experiences on earth! Thanks for continuing to share your stories!

Senior Digital Ranger

To be able to even have the conversation w/yourself is a blessing. We just had to evacuate our home for 8 days because of fire threat in California…just a week before that we were saying how tired we were getting of having to stay at home because of the pandemic… how fast things can change… there is no place like home… so grateful to have one to go back to! And I also have shared my breakfast w/a monkey at Londolozi 🐒… great writing… brings us all back to what is important ♥️

James I so enjoyed reading this story! It felt very insightful and reassuring. I agree with the idea of us taking things for granted, or being impatient for the next bit of exciting adventure waiting for us… instead of taking time to enjoy the little moments of joy, however simple. Your swallows reminded me of our turkey… Living in Brisbane there are loads of Bush turkeys around. We have a regular turkey who pops round every morning, we have named him George. He is a real gentleman , and patiently sits on our outside mat to wait for us. We give him some bread and he eats frantically before the crows get it…then he settles down in the sun next to our black cat. This has become our morning ritual. It’s something that could be ignored , or not have any attention paid to it, but when George doesn’t turn up ,even my kids get worried… until we hear his familiar ‘clip clip’ announcing his arrival along the pathway… these are simple reassuring pleasures indeed! Thank you for sharing!

Great story and perspective!

If I had my shoes, which are not cheap, taken and eaten by my local “dog”, I would at first be very annoyed, and then think it was funny, and if it happened to be a hyena, I would be very glad it had found the shoes and not me! Wendy M

Senior Digital Ranger

Really beautiful blog James, thank you. My absolute passion has always been the bush and wildlife photography. Sadly I’ve spent all my working life in corporate jobs; advertising, marketing, logistics blah blah blah… so this has only ever been a hobby for the most part. Funnily enough the arrival of Covid coupled with Boyd’s very meaningful treehouse podcasts started to make me question why I’m not doing what I love which has resulted in a resignation and total shift in direction. I would consider it a great privilege to one day complain that my shoes were stolen by Hyenas 🙂

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