A common question that guests often ask us as camp managers is…
‘what do you get up to in your free time?’
If I were to talk about all the things we do get up to, I could go on forever. But one of the most important things for all of us is trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Fitness and exercise are a big part of the culture at Londolozi. Our individual responsibilities at Londolozi vary but like any job sometimes things get fast-paced or stress starts to build up. These are often the times when I turn to exercise – from runs and swimming to slower movements like yoga or slow walks. It is commonly known that exercise has many benefits for your physical and mental health. It can boost your mood and energy levels, increase your mental alertness, improve your quality of sleep, help maintain a healthy weight and improve your general quality of life. No matter what your job or day might look like, whether it be a ranger driving around the reserve, a camp manager standing on deck, or someone in an office, we all need to move our bodies for therapeutic benefits.
There are many ways to keep active here at Londolozi. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to have Christina Fox offer a staff yoga class where we can stretch our bodies and enjoy the peace and the views from the beautiful yoga deck. There is also a crew that regularly goes for walks around the camp in the quiet afternoons. For those of you who have been on the Village Walk during your stay at Londolozi, you would have seen that our Wallow (pool and fully equipped gym centre) is always occupied as we all work during different hours. Whether it’s early morning for the camp managers, midday for the guides, or afternoons for Vusi Chima, our maintenance man (and probably the fittest man on the earth) the gym is often buzzing with excitement, motivation, and music. While there is something for everyone, my personal favourite is Fitness Friday. Whoever is free on a Friday afternoon gathers in the village for a 2.3km walk/run.
To create awareness for World Hypertension Day in 2017, Londolozi’s resident doctor at the time, Dr Anna, came up with the idea of gathering everyone together to do a walk or run around the Londolozi Camps. Initially, this was just going to be a once-off activity, but the Londolozi Family loved it so much that the following Friday they all gathered in the village again! It has evolved over the years and now is a weekly tradition and a great way to promote healthy living in the Londolozi community.
These afternoons are for everyone; whether you are the competitive type like General Manager Duncan MacLarty who sprints the whole route because “why would you compete if you don’t want to come first” or the more relaxed type who enjoys a mindful stroll, noticing the critters and flowers along the pathway. My favourite days are the ones where even the kids join in. And although 2.3km (1.4 miles) may not seem far to you, I am always impressed by little Harper Goodman (7 years old) who runs the whole thing at an impressively fast pace, encouraging us all to keep going.
While centered around wellness and moving your body, these Fitness Friday’s have also become about gathering and spending quality time with one another while reflecting on the week gone by. Being connected and having fun together is another important value for the Londolozi Family. Dave Varty always says, “work hard, play hard”. So as much as we all love the exercise to get our blood flowing, it is the post-run chat and catch-up that we all look forward to the most. The quicker you finish the loop, the faster you can enjoy a beverage or two and listen to the stories from Chris Goodman which will have you crying with laughter.
These afternoons are weekly reminders to me of how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful environment and solidify how good for the soul exercise is. Surrounded by nature, moving your body, and spending time with your best friends – it is impossible not to feel content and happy. I leave every Friday afternoon in a better headspace and in an even better ‘heart’ space.