Christmas at Londolozi, as mentioned by Jemma Brewitt in her beautiful blog, Why an African Christmas? is a very different affair. Christmas in the Lowveld is warmth; there’s definitely no need for a roaring fire in the hearth to snuggle up to. Instead, you feel the heat of the summer sun caressing your face as you sway from side to side in the back of a Landover. You gaze about, the peace of the bush suffusing your soul, all thoughts of the fast-paced world we live in pushed to the side for a few precious moments and admire the magic of the bush, the incredible profusion of life, that surrounds you.
You look around you and far on the horizon the clouds build; there’s a lot of energy in the air, the towering cumulus clouds growing, literally before your eyes, bubbling and bulging higher and higher into the atmosphere. Later as the sun sets, you may be lucky enough to see the light show as the static builds in the interior of these clouds, lighting these behemoths from within in spectacular blues and purples, a stunning contrast to the red and gold hues of the setting sun.
Closer to, below these welling giants, a blanketing verdure covers the Londolozi landscape, the backdrop to the stage of life. The greenery is filled with herds of various species of plains game; vast swathes of tawny impalas interspersed with the brindled blacks of the wildebeest; journeys of golden giraffe all-aligned march across the crests; a dazzle of black and white zebra mill about in the rays of the afternoon sun, the ruddy reddish coats of two newborn foals scampering through their midst; a herd of grey and brown giants, the elephants, ploughs serenely through the long grass, their long trunks ceaselessly seeking out forage; the Londolozi landscape adorns itself in the most magnificent ways.
A flash of colour in your periphery, you glance to the side to see a Little Bee-eater whip through the air, turning impossibly on the wing to snatch at a fleeing flying termite alate before returning to a branch to devour its prize. You stop to admire a pair of Klaas’s Cuckoos, their dazzling green back feathers in contrast to the almost luminescent white in the front, but then are lucky enough to witness a moment of stunning intimacy as the male attempts to court his potential mate by feeding her a captured caterpillar. She accepts and the wheel of life turns just a fraction more. And above, the sky-dwelling swifts, ever air-borne skim across the heavens. Everywhere you look splashes of vivid colour dip and dive through the air, and every tree and bush is adorned with fluttering, scampering, foraging avifauna, a birder’s paradise.
Looking deeper still, one can witness life in the most intimate detail. At the macro level, each member of the landscape seems to be vying for the best dressed at the Christmas party. The insects are out in full force, resplendent in their rainbow tones. From the iridescent purples of the dung beetles to the azure blues of the Portia Widow dragonfly, here, the flashing spots of a passing Yellow Pansy butterfly, and there, the deep crimson of a Mozambique Millipede curled up on the tip of a branch, every hue of the colour spectrum is either bobbing or zipping through the air, clinging fiercely to a leaf or crawling unhurriedly through the undergrowth.
And as you drive amidst this scene of utter vivacity, you feel your mind drifting free, free of life’s unceasing distractions, as you lose yourself to that beautiful connection, that subdued-yet-integral bond we have with nature, with our Mother Earth. A Green Christmas may not be what most envision when they think of this particular time of year, but we assure you that you’ll not regret being in the bush to celebrate with us and those closest to you.
Merry Christmas from the Londolozi Family, we hope that you find happiness and contentment wherever you may be, that you are with family and friends and all the good people in your life, and that you find, if even just while reading this, a peace that only the wild places can bring to our lives.