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.
Just when we think we’ve heard it all, someone will let us know about a weird and wonderful relationship they have with nature. From eating warm fruit to naming a carved out stick – we are constantly amazed at what the Londolozi Family is revealing to us. It’s been a fantastic way to get to know each other better and to share the magic. As each person describes their Nature Reunion tip, a smile seems to creep onto their faces and then onto mine – there is something beautifully inspiring and warm about the insights into these individuals lives. We hope their smiles and tips get you outdoors today.
Here are our next three Nature Reunion Ambassadors who you might recognise from your trip to Londolozi or from the blog…
Chris Goodman, Land Care Manager
Often checking the reserve for land care issues, Chris can be found out and about on the reserve. It’s on these daily drives that Chris keeps his eyes peeled for indigenous edibles which tempt him to stop the Land Rover. A wealth of knowledge, Chris Goodman is the best person to teach you about the reserve’s botanicals…
My favourite thing to do while driving around the reserve is to find treasures. These treasures are sometimes a vivid, yellow marula fruit or a sour plum. I love the sensation of sinking my teeth into a warm marula fruit which has been lying in the sun.
This might sound strange as most people love their fruit cold, straight out of a fridge, which I agree with for most other fruit. It’s the fruit from the reserve which I enjoy in their most natural state – straight off a tree. The first time I ever tasted a marula it had been lying in the sun and so it has a nostalgic association for me. Bush fruit provides a physical warmth but also an emotional warmth.
The same goes for fresh honey – the best time to try it is as it comes out the hive, warm. I remember being out with Tracker Elmon Mhlongo and finding a Mopani bee hive by Makhotini Dam. I’ll never forget trying this super sweet, warm honey. Food in the wild is warm – this warm sensation is what I love about bush foraging.
I also the love the contrast of temperatures in the bush. Recently I was at a seep-line and decided to dig down to the water. Here the water is fresh and cold, a beautiful contrast to the fruit I had been tasting.
When exploring the wilderness at Londolozi, the sensation of warmth and cold can be found in surprising places. My nature reunion is enjoying the bush as it is, and experiencing each element’s natural temperature.” ~ Chris Goodman
Kelly Odams, Londolozi’s Relais & Châteaux Relief Camp Manager.
“Before moving to Londolozi I would say that I was somewhat disconnected from the natural world and all its many intricacies. Starting here as a Camp Manager, I knew that I would be able to spend more time in the wilderness however, my intention was not necessarily to form a deeper connection with it. Often these things happen subconsciously, when you most need them and without you even realising it.
At Londolozi you are surrounded by people who, on a daily basis, immerse themselves in the land here and have a rich understanding of how the greater system works. This invariably led to me taking an unexpected interest in the nature around me which I have gladly embraced. I cannot believe I’m saying this, but I’ve become a birder! Amongst a few other things, I started to catch myself taking note of bird calls and trying to identify them on the Camp paths as I walked to work each morning.
I began taking pictures of them and recording their calls to send to my boyfriend, Ranger Chris Taylor, for him to identify for me. The real satisfaction came when I started to be able to identify them myself, and so my interest in them began to grow.
I wouldn’t quite consider myself a master birder (yet!) but I certainly look forward to my walks between the camps during the day. It gives me a chance to stop and appreciate the beauty of these busy creatures and their environment, and take a moment to soak up this wonderful wilderness I get to call home.” ~ Kelly Odams
Equalizer Ndlovu, Londolozi Tracker.
”The way I connect with nature is through creating these wooden carving sticks. And I want to start off by saying I am so grateful I can share this with everyone, because I love doing creative things and seeing how happy it makes people!
I took a subject in primary school called Art and Culture where we did many creative projects. The very first thing I remember creating was a knife which I carved out of wood. The teachers were very impressed and said I was talented, but I didn’t take it too seriously until I started working at Londolozi.
I was on a drive with guests one morning and they saw me cutting a branch off of a Russet Bushwillow – which is a particularly straight, hard wood. A few days later, I showed them the tracking stick I had carved and they loved it so much that I decided to give it to them!
I don’t have my stick with me because I keep it on the game viewer so that I can walk with it when I get off to track animals. My stick’s name is Fabiawa, and this one is called Whawha. This is the one that I carved for my friend Innocent Ngwenya (Tracker Academy Trainer) and he decided to name it after his grandfather.
If I’m not busy tracking, it takes me two days to make one of these – one day of carving and one day of sanding and varnishing. But most of the time it takes me a while to finish one, so I don’t sell them – I only give these to people as gifts and it always makes me so happy to see how much they love them. Finding and handling this natural material to produce something creative is my deepest connection to nature” ~ Equalizer
And there we have it – another three Nature Reunion Ambassadors out into the world. If you’ve missed some of this series, make sure to catch up here. We’d love to know your ‘weird and wonderful’ reunions with nature below in the comments below…