Other than my family’s annual camping trip to the Kruger Park over Easter, I did not grow up going to safari lodges. I never took much of an interest in bush-life or activities associated with it – such as birding. However, at the age of 26 I found myself in the heart of the Lowveld. This might not be the most accurate description geographically, but to me it is the heartland because Londolozi is a place that beams with love and life – much like the heart.
I am living (and loving) my bush life so far and am incredibly grateful for the lessons I am learning along the way. So much so that I would like to share them with you!
To look up at the sky
One sunny afternoon, I could swear someone was flying a kite in the Sabi Sands. I could not believe my eyes. But on closer inspection, with the help of my trusty binoculars, I spotted a Brown Snake Eagle with a snake in its claws, and for some reason the whole situation looked the same as a kite.
Since this day, along with my fascination with the night sky, I have always been more conscious and curious of looking upwards- in anticipation of anything out of the ordinary.
Look forward (both physically and metaphorically)
Like most millennials, I too have fallen into the trap of making use of my walking time to be on my phone. However, the Camp path that runs east to west is home to all sorts of animal and plant life – begging to be appreciated. I have started making a concerted effort to look where I am going and have since encountered so many weird and wonderful things since doing so. A Turquoise Longhorn beetle being one of them. I affectionately call this little insect “The After Eight Beetle” which I find rather fitting given it’s colouring.
Trusting my gut
Being surrounded by animals, who are probably the most instinctual beings, I have tried to capitalise on some of the lessons they could potentially teach me as a human being. Being out in the bush has encouraged me to tap into my more natural instincts. By appreciating my surroundings, and the animals in it, I have learnt to take note of my inner emotions and to lean into them more. I am slowly grasping how nature affects your state of mind and how each animal on the reserve has something to teach me. Whether it be the patience of a predator or the determination of a mother – each wildlife encounter can teach you something.
Believe in the signs of life
Prior to my job at Londolozi, my knowledge of tracking was very limited. I have since been very privileged and seen trackers and the art of tracking lead to sightings and discoveries of a lifetime. By witnessing this I have taken some tricks of the trade and attempted to apply them to my own life. Taking note of signs. Taking in all of my surroundings. Making connections where there otherwise would not have been. Seeing the bigger picture, with the combination of all the smaller pictures. As a result, I am now more observant and might I even say, more intuitive.
While on a walk, I was shown the track of a Small Spotted Genet. This was my first experience of actively tracking. On this walk I also collected some new dried flowers and grass to add to my collection. Read my Nature Reunion Instagram Post to understand my fascination with this!
Enjoy the little things
Life in the bush, both living and working, has been splendid to say the least. I have the recurring thought of “How lucky am I” and with this mindset, the smallest of things fill me with joy. From my morning coffee, to my commute to work to mundane tasks like doing stocktake come with little bursts of joy, and to be honest, a huge sense of gratitude for myself, for Londolozi and for life.
I like to look at the above as little lessons from Londolozi, and they are certainly not exclusive to the staff here. In fact, in discussion with most guests, one would find that they too have made the same realisations in their visits and are thus able to take a little piece of Londolozi back home with them. As the saying goes “the most valuable lessons in life cannot be taught, they must be experienced”.
So here’s to: looking up, looking forward, trusting, seeing and enjoying!