A Nature Reunion Ambassador is an individual from our very own Londolozi Family. Someone who, on a daily basis, interacts with the reserve, the wildlife and the elements and who truly understands nature and how intertwined it is with their being. If you follow us on Instagram you would have seen that we have now introduced to you nine of our Nature Reunion Ambassadors.
We are so excited to be sharing with you our next three Ambassadors. Rivers, Fires and Leopards are the focus for this particular group of the Londolozi Family. Just when we think we have featured all of our Nature Reunion Ambassadors we receive more wonderful tips from members of the family. We hope you are able to take these tips and craft them into your own unique relationship with the natural world.
Here are our next three Nature Reunion Ambassadors who you might recognise from your trip to Londolozi or from the blog…
Greg Pingo, Assistant Head Ranger
“My favourite place to reconnect with nature is fireside. As a ranger, when I am out in the field looking for animals, my mind is constantly filtering through knowledge. Being next to a fire as the day draws to an end allows for me to turn off and really be present.
I find it a lot easier to switch off and attune to the present moment when I am around a fire because, well, there’s nothing else to see! As you focus on the firelight, your surroundings become darker.
This can make you feel vulnerable, and when we feel vulnerable our senses heighten. You become captivated by the crackling sounds, the flickering light, the warmth, the distinctive smell.
Now, more clearly, you can hear the scops owl calling in the distance, a fiery necked nightjar, the whoop of a hyena, the male lions on the eastern break. In the dark, you realize how important it is to be aware of what’s going on around you.
The vulnerability of being in the middle of the wilderness, next to a fire, makes me appreciate my place in nature. ” ~ Greg Pingo
Joy Mathebula, Londolozi Tracker
“My love for the bush started when I was six years old. My mother Nomsa (Tree Camp Chef) would bring me to Londolozi during the school holidays.
Once I finished school, I joined the Tracker Academy and returned to Londolozi as a qualified Tracker in 2015. Now, I am so passionate about what I do. I feel like I connect most with nature when I am tracking leopards, and especially the Mashaba female leopard.
Often the leopard will see you before you see them, and they will run away. So one of the most important things about tracking is being very quiet. I need to listen for the squirrels alarming, oxpecker birds flying above and branches breaking. Getting into this quiet, connected zone is what truly makes me feel apart of the wilderness.
It is not just about the tracks on the ground – I have to be completely aware of my surroundings and so I start to think like a leopard. And then, if we are lucky enough, we find the leopard – wow! It’s the biggest reward. It makes me feel so proud – everyone knows I am like a little kid when i manage to find a leopard, I get so excited!” ~ Joy Mathebula
Christina Fox, Head of The Healing House
When asking Christina how she tapped into her relationship with nature, it was an easy answer for her. We actually didn’t need to ask her, as Christina can often be found by the waters edge at Londolozi, whether it be a stream or swimming in a pool.
“Wild rivers are where my heart and soul truly are at rest and a space where I am able to rejuvenate. I love watching the way the water changes course as it meets the obstacle of my feet and hands. The water gently begins to chart a new course, flowing smoothly over the surface of my skin. The water constantly moving washes away cluttered thoughts and stuck emotions.
During lockdown last year we would seek out small, quiet, shallow pools in the river (after thorough safety checks for crocodiles, hippos and other wild visitors). We would tentatively submerge ourselves in the wild waters- emerging as though we’d been ‘born’ again to the wonder of life.
It is an electrifying feeling to know your feet have walked where lions have recently had a drink of water and to see your footprint dwarfed in the track of an elephant who only hours before found refreshment where you now stand.” ~ Christina Fox
I’d love to share this poem with you:
‘Advice From a River’
Go with the flow.
Immerse yourself in nature.
Slow down and meander.
Go around the obstacles.
Be thoughtful of those downstream.
The beauty is in the journey’ ~ Ilan Shamir