Happy 2023 Londolozi family!
As we roll into January, this is always a time of year when I do my best to find some time for myself to reflect on the year gone by: to reflect on the experiences and growth from the previous year, the lessons learned and any new wisdom gained. It’s a time to write down or manifest any goals I may have for the year to come; but most importantly, dwell on the ‘high moments’ of 2022.
Reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning.
There is no mistaking that there were a number of global highs and extreme lows the world over in the year 2022. But for me, 2022 will be remembered as a year of perspective, self-belief, gratitude and community.
As many of you that have visited Londolozi before will know; there is an indescribably magical feeling exploring this wilderness area and joining the extended Londolozi family during your stay. Having been part of this team for a full year now, I could not be more convicted of the magic of this place, and the power of the bush.
Amongst much change and many lessons learned, unlearned and relearned, I wanted to share a few of them with you highlighting what living in this wilderness area has taught me.
Lessons Learned in 2022
SEIZE THE MOMENT
At the start of January, I got a nostalgic feeling of where I was this time last year… unemployed, uncertain and a little apprehensive. Having recently resigned from my previous job, and with no guarantee of my next (as I had not yet begun Londolozi’s Ranger Program), it is easy to look back now and see how easy it was for a lot of self-doubts to creep in during times of change.
If there was only one lesson learned from 2022, it would be to seize the moment.
I’ve learned that you have to not only grab the opportunities that come your way with both hands but also create your own. It is never too late to strive for something better; something different. If it means getting some dutch courage to step into the unknown, do it!
We often speak about the importance of mindfulness at Londolozi, and its benefits both mentally and physically.
One conversation I seem to have had frequently with a number of guests is about how surprised they are by their fatigue after their first few game drives. This year I’ve learned that being still, fully present and aware can be exhausting when you are out of practice.
When you are on safari, out in the open vehicles, you are consciously alert and engaged. The safari experience invites guests to be fully present for at least seven-eight hours a day. No distractions; just total cohesion amidst the vehicle with a shared goal or intention for each drive.
In the society and world we live in today, it is often tough to find a mere 20 minutes per day to ourselves. So amidst the hustle and bustle of city life, this wilderness area encourages us to slow down and be still. To draw our attention to some of the finer details of our surroundings.
I’ve learned that we could all do with some more daily stillness.
Young inquisitive beautiful female, bordering on independence as of November 2021
I’ve learned to always stay with sleeping animals for an extra five minutes.
Some of my most memorable moments in the bush occurred after thinking that the leopard/lion was going to remain settled up. By practising a little more patience, we were often rewarded with a change in behaviour or activity that made the sightings even more special.
I’ve learned that patience is always rewarded.
FOLLOW THE SUN
This goes without saying – waking up at sunrise every day is a guaranteed ‘first win’ for the day.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
As a guide, there are many variables in our job that are not in our control, and we constantly have to adapt (e.g. weather, animal behavior). In addition, it is inevitable that lion dynamics will change, leopard territories will shift, water resources ebb and flow, and seasons change. The bush has a remarkable way of reminding the team of guides and trackers to never get too comfortable in any given season and to expect the unexpected.
This past year I’ve learned to forgo expectations and embrace unpredictability.
RIGHT PLACE; RIGHT TIME
Here at Londolozi, and those familiar with African wilderness areas will be familiar with the phrase “right place; right time”. We often speak about moments where had we taken an extra minute to leave camp or decided not to stop and watch the impala lambs run around we would have missed the moment of spotting the leopard crossing the road ahead of our vehicle.
And these moments happen over and over again out on safari. As a guide and tracker team, we can do our best to plan our drive, follow up on tracks or respond to any signs in the bush – but sometimes it comes down to simply being in the right place at the right time.
I’ve learned that everything happens for a reason and you are right where you are meant to be.
A dominant male leopard over the majority of the north. He originally took over the 4:4 Male's territory when he died.
So bring on 2023 and all the life experience and lessons that this new year will bring!
of being who you are
& doing what you love
You will align
everything you need
in your life with that energy. – Maryam Hasnaa
I thought I would end off with sharing one of my mantras for this year to come. May 2023 bring out your best and brightest rays of energy!