For many of you that have been on a Londolozi Safari before this will almost be second nature to you, but for those yet to still visit us, here is a little glimpse into what a day on safari entails.
The soft dull hues of first light begin to creep over the horizon breaking the dark starry night sky at about 04h30. With the sun rising not too long after that.
The hippo calls in the river below you as they have made their way back to the water after spending the night feeding. Or the distance lion roars as they announce their presence before they settle in for the day. Perhaps the dawn chorus of birds begins to chatter all while eagerly awaiting the day ahead.
The beauty in the morning gives you a sense of ease as dawn begins to fade as the outside world begins to wake up. Before you know it, you are awake and ready to go as the morning wake-up call rings in at 05h00. Once dressed and set for the day, a delicious selection of tea, coffee and various edibles awaits you on the main camp deck, along with your sprightly ranger.
After a little caffeine fix and nibble, if necessary or desired, we head up to the car park where the trackers are awaiting with a warm “good morning!”. Climbing aboard the vehicle before setting off into the wilderness for the morning Game Drive to discover what antics have unfolded during the course of the evening.
“As a guide and tracker team you try and give your guests the best experience possible with seeing as many different things as possible over their stay. The mornings are exciting as when you head out you try and piece together where the animals had moved throughout the night.”
When heading out on a drive, it is best to set a purpose or intention for the drive which is often guided by our guests’ expectations and what they would like to see. With this in mind, our knowledge of the animals, their behaviour, movement patterns, as well as where other rangers intend on going on their drive, we devise a plan and decide on where the best possible area will be to search for such animals we hope to locate.
The crisp tracks and signs of the animals give the talented trackers clues as to which direction they might have moved in, and guides us to what will hopefully be an exciting sighting.
At some point midway through the drive, we punctuate the activity by finding a suitable place to stop for some coffee, a time to stretch our legs. The morning coffee stop has a selection of teas, hot chocolate, coffee, and if you are feeling up to it; the infamous bush coffee – coffee with hot chocolate and Amarula cream liqueur (a liqueur made from the fruits of Marula trees that often decorate the horizon and likely one you are standing under during your stop).
There are of course some light snacks- rusks, delicious chocolate chip cookies, and dried mangos. Once we have finished our coffee stop we climb back onto the vehicle and slowly meander our way back to the lodge for a decadent breakfast.
Once you are back in camp the butlers and camp managers await your arrival and breakfast is ready when you are. We, the ranger and tracker, say our goodbyes as we eagerly await to see you again in the afternoon. This is now a time to make the most of your gorgeous rooms, spend long days by the pool, enjoy treatments at the Healing House, or visit the Londolozi Living Boutique and possibly edit a few photographs in the Photographic Studio.
After lunch at around 15h45, there will be tea, iced coffee, a selection of other thirst quenching beverages on the deck, accompanied by a delectable cake of the day and fresh fruit. Once the sweet tooth is satisfied, the next adventure into the African wilderness begins.
The afternoon game drive is the perfect opportunity to venture down to the Sand River in search of elephants drinking or cooling off, rhinos relaxing in mud wallows, and many others enjoying the shade of the magnificent trees dotted along the river bank while waiting for the heat of the day to subside. The strong warm summer’s rays begin to waver as the warm golden light of the fading sun illuminates the land. Slowly the sun begins to set over the distant Drakensberg Mountains and oranges and reds begin to fill the sky. Typically, an afternoon game drive is punctuated with a classic sundowner drink and snack.
The day draws to a close and the night sky begins to take shape. The charm of the milky way begins to appear and scatter with twinkles of stars which fill the sky. The predators and nocturnal animals lay in wait until after sunset before beginning their evening activities, allowing for great viewing at night with the magical skies overhead.
You then begin to make your way back to the lodge for a delicious dinner at camp which the Londolozi chefs have lovingly prepared for you.
One of the best feelings about game drive is the sense of how present you are in that moment, as you wander through the different landscapes looking for animals. You never really know what you are going to see and the anticipation of it all is exciting.
Once the night sky has taken shape and the cooler evening air surrounds you we begin our journey back to camp, which is filled with the warming golden lanterns which lead you to dinner. After an evening around the fire, you head to to rest as we anticipate the next morning to do it all over again.