Thanks Jemma for returning me to all that is Londolozi…over my breakfast coffee this morning!!! It’s already one beautiful day!
Isn’t it fascinating how our minds work. We can relive certain childhood memories with the simple trigger of a smell or an ingredient in a meal. Not only can a sensation trigger a memory but it can also evoke an emotion, an emotion associated with that memory.
For instance the smell of pages in a brand new book can remind someone of late night reading. This smell could even bring about the sensation of the soft fabric on the arms of a reading chair and the sense of quiet as the rest of the house is asleep. Perhaps it’s the smell of fresh baked cookies, or the salty beach air that floods our brain with memories of a distinct event or location. In fact, biologically, ‘smell’ runs from your nose to the base of your brain, where it has a direct connection to the area of the brain responsible for processing emotion and to an area linked to memory and cognition. It is believed that this close physical connection between theses regions of the brain linked to memory, emotion, and our sense of smell, may explain why we associate memories and emotions with smell.
While this is the case for smell, often taste, touch and sound can take us back to a beautiful memory and leave us with a sense of nostalgia.
A safari is a melting pot for the senses, fusing African scents, local cuisine, wild sounds, intricate textures with a visually extraordinary setting. Let your senses drift and bring you back to a time when you were on safari…
Welcome to the Sounds of Safari
When one focuses on the sounds experienced on safari, you will realise there are many. Some are more distinct and others are beautiful layers of wild sounds forming a constant symphony during your stay. The wheels of the Land Rover make different sounds depending where you are driving on the reserve, for instance the crunch of river sand goes hand-in-hand with the gurgling Sand River and the rubbing of granite with the rocky outcrops. Sounds on safari often mark a time of day and evoke a respective feeling helping you navigate the safari experience.
For instance the call of a fiery necked night jar and the sound of ice hitting a glass might fill you with that ‘end of the day’ feeling, a time when you feel like a gin and tonic accompanied by a sunset.
The sound of cicade beetles and the ‘clink’ of lanterns have moved your further into your evening , and it’s at this time when a glass of wine and storytelling flows easily. An eerie call of a hyena can be heard in the distance and the fire sparks and crackles – you must be in the Londolozi Boma starting to feel some anticipation for your morning drive. A dawn chorus starts to amplify as you slowly stir for the day before your morning game drive. With the start of the ignition and a monkey alarm call – you know your morning will be an unfolding of wild adventures.
The Taste Of Safari
For those of you that have been to Londolozi, you’ll attest to the fact that safari has its own taste. Familiar favourites such as biltong, rusks and South African malva pudding are must-haves and add a uniquely South African touch to your day.
Then, of course, there is the sundowner debate – what is your go-to beverage to enjoy as the sun dips down after a thrilling game drive? There’s the iconic gin and tonic with an endless array of garnishes, South African craft beers or wine and bubbles. Each with their own unique traits, the perfect sundowner will always be based on personal preference and of course will taste better when in Africa.
The sundowner is not the only beverage enjoyed in a wild setting – there is also the coffee stop.
After an early wake up and exciting morning exploring the reserve, a hot beverage stop is a well deserved and looked forward to. Enjoying the quiet with the engine of the vehicle switched off, the smell of fresh coffee drifts through the air as you hear the delicious sound of a mug being filled. And then there’s an extra layer added to the smell suite, the sun ripened, exotic scent of marula.
An Amarula-Coffee is something to savour with its velvety, rich, nutty-caramel flavour with a hint of citrus. There’s no wonder why elephants are crazy about this delectable fruit.
An Amarula-Coffee with a Londolozi choc-chip cookie surrounded by the African wilderness is a safari moment hard to forget. The culinary journey doesn’t end there, back in camp some of Londolozi’s most iconic dishes await a hungry safari goer. From Londolozi’s breakfast burrito and bagel to prawn tacos, the 1926 burger and chicken prego at lunch, everyone has their Londolozi favourite go-to.
The Scents of Safari
Every moment on safari is accompanied with a scent. A scent to live in your memory and draw back nostalgic scenes from your time on safari.
At different times of the year botanicals carpet the reserve and fresh herby aromas erupt as the Land Rover crunches over sprigs of wild sage and basil, inspiration for our 1926 range. As you wind around a corner a sudden potato-like fragrance makes its way through your nasal passages and reminds you of a home-cooked meal – the potato bush at Londolozi transports you to a calming feeling of home. After spending time at Londolozi you soon realise that each season has its bouquet of scents – marking the change in weather, the new arrival of vegetation and wildlife. In the drier months crossing the Sand River has a distinct scent, a typical African muddy river smell.
When summer arrives, and as moisture hits the dry African soil, the reserve is dispersed with petrichor – a uniquely energetic, earthy smell. As you journey around the reserve, the smell of middens and dung indicate the presence of elephant and rhino, and the familiar scent of freshly buttered popcorn indicate a nearby leopard marking its territory. These smells subconsciously bind to what you are seeing and are imprinted on your memory.
Back in camp, the comforting smell of camp fire and paraffin lamps welcome you into a boma and evoke the feeling of family-time, stories and ancestry. In the summer months, the smell of suncream on your skin as you lie by your plunge pool, floods your body with endorphins as you sink into that ‘summer holiday feeling’. No matter the moment, there will always be a magical scent adding a layer to your safari experience – try notice it.
The Textures of Safari
Have you ever looked at something and had an intrinsic urge to touch it? Maybe it’s the bark of a leadwood tree with its linear grooves, nodes, smooth sections and rough sections. Maybe it’s that breath-taking moment when an elephant walks past the Land Rover and you’re able to get a close up view of the wrinkles in its skin, the mud dried on its back, the shine of its tusks and the thick hair follicles at the tip of its tail. As you cross the Cause-Way you might catch a glimpse of the thick, leathery skin with bony, plate-shaped scales of a crocodile basking in the African sun.
Within the camps one will notice the inspiration taken from nature. From the textured scattered cushions, leather placemats, glass vases, wooden touches and natural treasures such as pods, the Londolozi suites break the boundary between indoors and outdoors.
The Sight of Safari
From sunsets, sunrises, full moons and the Milky Way – the visual scenes on safari will whisk you away to a different world. Of course there are the mighty mammals whose sheer size will have you captivated – but there are also the smaller, intricate living things which you might notice dotted on a leaf or hovering over the river. The kaleidoscopic colours of birds through the African skies alone is enough to enthral you. Panoramic vistas and wild African scenes from as far as your eye can see – are what give you that sense of belonging and a returning home. The shift in the vegetation hues indicate a change of season, while summer brings with her verdant greens, winter blankets the landscape in golden tones.
An African safari – what an extraordinary thing to witness with your own eyes!
How incredible the human body is – that we are able to experience in the same moment through different senses, each enriching and adding more depth to the scene. We at Londolozi recommend going on safari with each of your senses, noticing and understanding how they contribute to a feeling that takes you on a meditative journey, ultimately towards more peace and a sense of wellness and rest.
Thank you so much Suzanne, so wonderful to hear that you have continued to play the Dawn Chorus since June ’20. On your next trip out you’ll have to try some malva pudding! Looking forward to having you in November.