For 97 years, people from every walk of life have been experiencing Londolozi. Each person’s experience is different. And each time someone visits, this place has an effect on them that is uniquely theirs.
How can you explain using words something that can only really be felt, and, in fact, exists in a wordless space of experience? Something that is intangible.
An unseen frequency.
Boyd Varty, 4th generation custodian of Londolozi, author, and wilderness healer shared this with me recently about what he felt the frequency of Londolozi is:
Why does wilderness have such a profound impact on human beings? It’s a question of such psychological and physiological scope that one flirts with an impossible frontier even to begin to try to answer it. At Londolozi it is this meditation on wilderness that has helped develop an ecosystem of experience.
The Londolozi experience cannot be defined by singular activities. Rather, it is the way these experiences fold into each other. Londolozi, like a wilderness, is a relational space where over generations deep ties to the land the animals and each other have been fostered. This long and careful tending is a sacred act, and an act of love. This sacredness infuses the space. Unseen yet felt as if one walked into a cathedral of the wild.
We have watched the incredible healing, transformation, joy and fun that has emerged in the ecosystem of Londolozi. Friendships have been forged and love affairs are born and renewed. Londolozi is a place of stories and adventures. Friendships and campfires. Londolozi has weathered storms and emerged more tightly bound to the ways of nature and community. Bonds forged during countless hours in the bush connect rangers and trackers to the land. The Londolozi camp functions as a Futuristic African Village where the spirit of ubuntu informs every decision.
From the outside you might say Londolozi is famous for leopards and its exceptional wildlife. You might say that it is the land that sets the stage for the magic. We know that it is none of these things and it is all of them. Like a wilderness it is impossible to put your finger on what causes the profound impact that Londolozi has on a person’s life.
One has to sit quietly and contemplate how a human being and a place make meaning with each other.
We don’t try to explain it.
We simply know it as…The Londolozi Effect.
Experiencing Londolozi in her uniqueness is, for me, akin to the way I feel about art. Viewing art is completely subjective. The shape of a line or the texture of a brush stroke can evoke something completely different in two people. Where a piece of art can bring someone to tears, the same piece could no more make the next viewer stop in contemplation. Artwork stirs the soul in a particular way. No two expressions are interpreted the same way. Londolozi is her own unique piece of wild art. The effect that this wilderness, this frequency, has on people is as subjective and emotive. And, as such, each definition of The Londolozi Effect becomes exclusive to each person.
Over recent years, we have witnessed a fundamental shift in the behaviour of our family members and our repeat guests who have come to visit us. Recently someone referred to their annual trip to Londolozi as a pilgrimage – a time out from their busy, everyday life, to recharge, reconnect and be a part of a living model for change. What a beautiful way to describe the Londolozi experience… or as they coined it…#TheLondoloziEffect.
And that got me thinking… what is #TheLondoloziEffect? What do other people feel when they come here? What do I feel when I am here? I wanted to see if I could unravel the unseen mystery that is Londolozi. What is this Londolozi lore? What is this unending campfire story? Some pretty tough questions if I am honest. But, I began this quest with an open mind, an open heart, and a sense of deep curiosity.
Some say #TheLondoloziEffect is a term used to describe the transformative impact that a stay at Londolozi can have on guests. It encompasses the unique combination of luxury, wildlife experiences, sustainability, community involvement, and personalised attention that guests receive during their time at Londolozi. People often describe feeling rejuvenated, inspired, and deeply connected to nature and the local community after a visit. The Londolozi Effect is said to be a lasting and positive change in perspective and outlook.
A friend recently reminded me of the poem by Walt Whitman called Song of the Open Road. It was first published in 1856, 167 years ago, and 70 years before Londolozi was born. The 15-stanza poem is an optimistic paean to wanderlust. Whitman exalts the carefree pleasures of traveling, encouraging others to break free from their stifling domestic attachments to join him. I can’t help wondering what Whitman’s interpretation might have been of this wilderness, and what he could have written about the beauty of the landscapes, the sunrises, the enchanting leopards, and the people that punctuate all that is Londolozi. What would his #TheLondoloziEffect have been?
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune.
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing. Strong and content I travel the open road.
You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here.
Here the profound lesson of reception From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines, Going where I list, my own master total and absolute.
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me. I inhale great draughts of space.
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine. I am larger, better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.
All seems beautiful to me.
Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth. Here is realization,
Here is a man tallied— he realizes here what he has in him,
The past, the future, majesty, love — if they are vacant of you, you are vacant of them.
Whoever you are, come travel with me! Traveling with me you find what never tires.
The earth never tires, The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first. Be not discouraged, keep on, There are divine things well envelop’d.
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.
~ Exerpts from Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman
I think it’s going to take some time to unravel this tapestry. Perhaps we should take the year to explore it. To really get to know all aspects and layers of how a place like Londolozi truly affects people. How it affects you reading this. How it affects those of you who have visited us and have become part of the family. Or those of you who long to return, or yearn to experience this place for yourself for the first time – not just through words or imagery or video, but in your soul. With your feet in African soil.
It’s certainly is an impossible idea that I could fully explain what #TheLondoloziEffect may mean to you. So, perhaps I’ll stop trying to describe it and instead pose the question back to you: What does #TheLondoloziEffect conjure up for you?
I invite you to leave your definition in the comments section of this blog, or email us at email@example.com with a few (or many) words. If you know someone who knows and loves Londolozi, please ask them, too. I would so love to hear your (and their) interpretation of the unseen frequency of Londolozi.
I hope you’ll join us this year on the journey to uncover the many layers and iterations of #TheLondoloziEffect. It will be a journey to remember…