About the Author

Jemma Thorpe

Londolozi Creative Hub

Jemma grew up on a farm in the Midlands Meander in Kwa-Zulu Natal and studied at the University of Cape Town. With little bush experience but with many hours of au pairing, teaching English and forming a love for travel, Jemma found herself ...

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on A One-on-One with Shan Varty this Mother’s Day

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What a wonder mother Shan is, she had to bring up her two kids with no electricity, no running water, no doctor nearby and no telephone or internet. That will be done and they lived in the bush. Shan is a very strong woman and as she says mother nature taught her a lot as well. She has that mother instinct and it overflows with her family and all who stay and work at Londolozi. She is the backbone to the successful Londolozi it is today. It is worldly renowned and the hospitality that goes with it is out of this world. Happy Mothersday Shan.

The Mother Leopard lineage is a precious work to be proud of! I’m glad you shared it with us together with such gorgeous pictures

Shan, Happy Mother’s Day to a beautiful soul. We love this inspiring story!

The love and learning that you have given to your children (and now your grandchildren!) is a true testament to the wonderful adults they have become. Under what many would consider unsurmountable odds, the unconditional giving and compassion that you have shared over the decades, with your Londolozi family and all who know you is a blessing. You have made an unforgettable imprint on our lives and we thank you! Hoping you have an extra special day! With love, Terri & Michael

Such a great feeling and a wonderful life story. Thank you for being there and making this all happen

Beautiful person. Beautiful words. Wishing you a world of HUGS!

I loved leopard🤗

Senior Digital Ranger

I am so touched by this blog, as the mentioning of the Tsalala Lioness’s life, and what she has endured to raise her cub (after the loss of the other two). The story and energy sunk deep, spreading through every fiber and nerve of my being, infusing strength and courage. The Tsalala Lioness is truly a mentor for all mothers.
You are TRULY a Remarkable woman and mother Mrs.Varty for all that you have brought to Conservation and the Hospitality Industry in South Africa. – You are one to be be grandly respected and revered.
Happy Mother’s Day and many blessings from New Mexico.

Thank you for your comment – the Tsalala lioness has truly been an inspiration to many! I shall pass on your kind words to Shan. We hope you had a wonderful Sunday this past weekend.

A beautiful way of talking about and viewing Mother’s Day. I love it.

Is it true that the Ottawa male died?

A really beautiful blog Jemma and Shan. The words straight from the heart and succinct. I can only imagine what it was like to raise children in the days of no electricity, running water and help close by. However, as it was pointed out, there are many women in Africa who do this today. My own sister married a farmer and went through the same thing. I think it really makes you a stronger and more determined human being in the grand scheme of things. Thank you both for sharing with us. I wish each and every mother in the Londolozi Family a very happy, healthy and safe Mother’s Day. Hugs all around from Toronto, Canada.

Thank you Leonie. It really is incredible what one can do with the resources they have at the time. We are so glad to hear you enjoyed the blog, I hope you had a wonderful Sunday.

Such a beautiful story-Shan, you truly exemplify all that is true and love ( Londolozi)❤️❤️❤️

Lovely sentiments and insights from a truly remarkable woman!

Thank you Jemma for working with Shan to create this wonderful essay. I read it yesterday morning, pondering some of Shan’s responses and then moved along with Mother’s Day here, celebrating with my 95 year old mother, who I also care for. I thought about my mother and how she might have coped living in the wild with no conveniences and I’m fairly certain she would have given up. But Shan didn’t just survive in those conditions but actually thrived, finding ways to live and learn from Mother Nature, whilst raising two children and developing what would become a major Safari destination, offering superior hospitality and stunning game viewing.
I further reflected on her comments about the Tsalala female, finding her strength, perseverance, instincts, and adapting to her circumstances as a new mother, and single at that, to be key for any mother to successfully raise kids. I had hoped to see this amazing lioness during my stay and finally on my last morning, there she was in the golden morning, side by side with her daughter. My heart filled with love and admiration for this beautiful lioness and I was thankful for the time I spent with her.
Warm wishes to all the moms in Londolozi and especially to Shan who made it all possible for all of us guests to spend a bit of time in her world v

Thank you for your comment Denise – I shall pass it onto Shan. We hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day with your mother. We hope that you see the incredible Tsalala lioness on your next visit.

To a most deserving mother of the earth and of child, I salute you Shan. May you continue to enjoy your grandchildren and the splendor of Londolozi that you have mothered for so long! I couldn’t agree more with your choice of the Tsalala Lioness, who has shown incredible determination and love in the face of so many odds.
A belated happy Mother’s Day…every day to you 🙏🏻

Deeply beautiful post. Thanks so much for this!

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