Reflective thinking turns experience into insight. – John C. Maxwell.
I’ve always believed in the power of reflection. Reflection usually comes at specific milestones in your life or your career; the turn of the New Year, a birthday, or the anniversary of an important step in your life. So naturally, after reaching two years at Londolozi I sat down to reflect on what I’ve done, what I’ve learnt and to contemplate what lies ahead in this incredible wilderness I get to call home.
What I’ve done
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been. – T. D. Jakes.
Followed my passion
Pursuing a passion is something we’re all told at a young age is the epitome of a professional avenue to take. Working as a Ranger was always my dream and to have reached it will always be something I look back on with pride and joy. Londolozi is a reserve filled with endless possibilities of once in a lifetime wildlife encounters. The sheer size of the reserve combined with the incredible diversity of the landscape supports an almost implausible abundance of wildlife. Each morning I wake up before the sun peeks its head above the horizon and I am filled with optimism and excitement for what lies ahead on the morning game drive. Some of my favourite memories through the eye of my camera are featured below.
We have the unique opportunity to work and live with our colleagues and this allows us to build friendships that would normally take years and years to achieve. The camaraderie of the team at Londolozi is on display each and every day and I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of it.
Reconnected with nature
Walking in the bush is an experience that is totally different to any other. You become a participant and not just an observer. Spending hours upon hours with other rangers, trackers as well as guests where the soundlessness of nature engages your spirit and allows you to connect with nature on a totally different level is something I encourage every guest to experience.
What I’ve learnt
“Time and reflection change the sight little by little ’til we come to understand.” – Paul Cezanne.
What I didn’t realize when pointing my compass towards the African bush was what I was going to learn, not only about the fauna and flora that surround me but about myself and the Londolozi family.
When first arriving at Londolozi I was told about the Londolozi Effect, how it is not something you can put your finger on exactly, but it’s a feeling you get. Time in a place is necessary to get to know the ins and outs of it. I can safely say that two years in, I have for certain not only been able to understand it but also feel the effect this place has on a person. Energy is intangible; it’s a feeling that is sometimes hard to explain yet you know when the energy of a place and the people that occupy it align with the core aspects of your inner happiness. This is Londolozi and the Londolozi family.
Spending hours and hours in the bush with an exceptional tracker, Tshepo Dzemba, allows a ranger and tracker to build a bond that is unlike any other. The acuteness of their senses, to the tracks and signs the animals that inhabit our world leave behind, is a sight to behold and one that allows me the opportunity to be constantly learning and growing.
The friendliness of the Shangaan community is never wavering. Each and every single person you encounter will greet you with a smile that genuinely makes you feel the sense of ubuntu that the community is centred around. Life in Londolozi’s Futuristic African Village gives you a sense of belonging and allows you the opportunity to learn from people from all walks of life. You’re surrounded by exceptional storytellers that weave their words of wisdom around the glow of a campfire.
Ubuntu is a Nguni Bantu term meaning “humanity”. It is sometimes translated as “I am because we are” (also “I am because you are”), or “humanity towards others”
What Lies Ahead
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Direction is important and allows us to stay focused in the present, to ensure our trajectory is correct for where we see ourselves in the future. As part of the journey to becoming a Ranger, we have to write a letter to our future selves one year on from the start of the course. It’s fascinating to read a letter written by you, to you. It takes you back to the moment and allows the perfect perspective of self-reflection, to assess where you are based on where you expected or hoped you’d be. So as I write this blog post I am also writing a new letter to myself. One year from today, I will open and reassess where I am, but I know that it will go somewhere along the lines of embracing all that this incredible place is and what it offers.
If you can find yourself in a situation where you are surrounded by people, guests and staff alike, that inspire you to learn and grow then you are where you should be.