Shannon, thank you for sharing your thought about Londolozi. It truly is a village of people working and helping each other each day creating a feeling which embodies the experience called Londolozi.
Our Londolozi Village is a way of living.
It is not just a place where we reside, it is a movement, a feeling, a connection to the wilderness and her inhabitants. Being part of the Londolozi village is inspiring, educating, and enriching. Here we have multigenerational families imparting wisdom, cultural traditions and experiences onto the next generation of their own family members, and the Londolozi family at large. We have individuals from various backgrounds, ages and walks of life, living in harmony with one another for almost 100 years – lets take a look into the people of Londolozi’s Futuristic African Village.
I have had the extreme privilege of being able to call this sacred paradise “home” for the last three years. During my time here at Londolozi I have fallen head over heels in love not only with the place, but her people too. I have been fortunate enough to live and work alongside some of the most extraordinary individuals and host guests from various corners of the world. Those of you who have experienced the enchanting feeling of Londolozi, may agree with me, if only you could bottle the magic you feel whilst you spend time with us here, take it home with you, open it, and savour that wonderful feeling over and over again, connecting you to your wildest self, or possibly to cherished shared memories with your loved ones.
I have come to realise that, for me, the feeling of Londolozi is all thanks in part to its people. What a lot of guests don’t realise is while in camp you are looked after by a close team who are guiding your experience day to day in our home style of luxury, it in fact takes a village to bring the full power of Londolozi’s magic into being. Many behind the scenes teams go un-met but it is these people who create a lasting impact on every detail that is the Londolozi feeling.
All guests are invited to take a look behind the scenes during their visit with us (something that I highly recommend doing if you haven’t done so already!) to see the inner workings of our Futuristic African Village and all the little cogs that make the big machine that is Londolozi work.
On average there are roughly 4 staff members to 1 guest – a number I’ve found rather astonishing. In the past, whenever I have had conversations with guests and shared this information with them, they can hardly believe it, which has made me think about all the behind the scenes workings that most people only get a glimpse of.
So today, I thought I would take a moment to share just a few individuals and teams that make up the Londolozi staff complement, and some interesting facts which I have thoroughly enjoyed finding out for myself, and that I hope you enjoy too!
For those of you that may have been on a “ferrari safari” game drive, racing after a pack of wild dogs as they bound through an open clearing, will know that our game drive vehicles are quite incredible – from manoeuvring over rocky terrain to off roading over some hair-raising parts of the reserve. One can imagine that the vehicles take quite a beating and the maintenance on them can be rather high. Whether it’s repairing a puncture or ensuring the vehicles are in pristine working condition for the next game drive, our maintenance team certainly have their hands full – especially if the pink pouch has been dished out.
The maintenance team also stretches to the camps and village maintenance. Other than vehicles, the team’s daily duties can vary from anything from repairing solar geysers, to cleaning the lanterns for the following evening’s dinner. Fire light is a very powerful and beautiful part of a safari, we have a total of 640 lanterns throughout Londolozi, which are used for dinner service throughout the camps in the evenings, and I find it quite amazing that each and every lantern is refilled, and glass cleaned daily.
The Landcare and Sustainability team is made up of 9 members. This team has what I would call a seriously diverse day here at Londolozi, as it may entail everything from maintaining the roads on the reserve, managing waste, creating the beautiful gardens along the paths connecting our 5 camps, or developing and implementing cutting edge sustainability methods for a greener future, the list goes on.
Our Londolozi kitchen is arguably one of the happiest places in the world. There is never a time when I have walked into the kitchen, and not heard joyful music coming through the speaker system, seeing each chef swaying and singing along as they prep for the next meal they will lovingly serve to our guests. There are 37 individuals that make up our kitchen team, this includes the camp chefs, and the staff canteen chefs. I am so inspired by this team of talented people, their creativity and warmth stand out through the masterpieces that they create for each meal, and I’d like to think that the joy experienced in the kitchen each day shines through in the meals they serve.
On your next village walk, as you pass the top offices be sure to look out for Mike Ferri, who embodies the phrase “work hard, play hard” being our Finance Manager by profession but secret weapon on the soccer field in passion. As you pass the creche, you will be greeted by the delighted shrieks of the younger members of Londolozi’s family at play on the jungle gym. When passing our staff clubhouse, look out for Cry Sithole who may be manning the Spaza Shop, and he will flash you his infectious smile. As you walk by our laundry building, look out for Lillian Ngwenya, head of our housekeeping department – you’ll hear her before you see her (if you have watched the Londolozi Choir you’ll know she has the most beautiful booming voice). Finally, when walking through Freedom’s Way, keep an eye out for Couny Mabaso tending to the garden’s – I’ve never met anyone with a more infectious passion for their job than her!
What I have come to learn during my time here at Londolozi, is that a collective team is able to achieve much greater success than any individual can. This team is a truly cohesive unit, and functions with a single purpose, accomplishing wonders and creating magic.
“It takes a village” is exactly what I would use to describe just how Londolozi operates. We live by the guiding principle of Ubuntu – “I am because of you”. We share a common goal, striving to become the best version of ourselves during our time here as Londolozi family members. On your next stay with us, I strongly encourage you all to take a look into the behind the scenes at one of our guided village walks – it’s remarkable how much magic there is all around us, and how many magical souls we have here.
Teamwork is at the heart of everything we do here.
One team. One village. One feeling. One Londolozi.
It truly is a very special place, thank you William!