Londolozi is just the perfect place on earth. Being it you going on a safari or a session in the Healing House, everything is just perfect. Everybody seems to be so friendly and helpful and the food looks so delicious. Animals everywhere and Rangers answering all your questions.
Our most recent online adventure has been looking at The Londolozi Effect, a campaign brought to life by people’s feedback and each individuals experiences with Londolozi. This campaign has moved people, guests, staff and alumni alike, into a reflective space. It’s made people think back to that very first time they made contact with Londolozi and how life has unfolded since that point.
For some, the campaign has brought back memories of feeling alive simply by being surrounded by a wild space; for others it’s reminded them of how staff have become family; and for many, it might just be that a new door has been opened to Mother Nature, which was never there before. Whoever you are, and no matter your interaction with Londolozi, whether it be in person or online, you will have your own unique experience with the place, with the unseen frequency, and we have LOVED receiving all your feedback – thank you!
Today I’ve spent some time looking back on my time since meeting Londolozi. I joined Londolozi in 2018 as the Cubs Den Manager. This was an incredible job which would entail me joining a Londolozi guide, looking after visiting families and taking groups of children into the wild. Having rarely visited the bush prior to this, I had little expectations of this new role I had accepted and believed it would be a short venture before I joined the ‘real world’ again. Little did I know what was in store for me as I drove down the dusty track into the Londolozi Village with butterflies in my stomach. Thinking back on this time, I remember being overcome with the warmth of the people and the unexplainable feeling of fitting right in even though I was amongst such a diverse group of people. In a world where we are so often surrounded by large groups of people living in cities or towns, it’s surprisingly rare to feel truly a part of something. This was the biggest gift Londolozi was about to give me, the feeling of being connected to people without having to ‘know’ each other. Simply by being at Londolozi I found that there was this non-verbal realisation that we were family, we were one. It appeared that everyone’s connection to nature had caused an immediate sense of union amongst the people, and this was clearly something missing from my life. Since then, I have realised the incredible power wilderness has over people if they open themselves up to it. Londolozi strips you of any preconceptions and simply allows you to be a person back in nature, a chance to finally connect with your wild self. I love that when I meet past employees or guests today, the mere fact that we have experienced the wilds of Londolozi ties us together in some intangible way – this has been my Londolozi Effect.
Boyd Varty described this so wonderfully:
“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”
Although this was what had an effect on me, for other staff, guests and alumni of Londolozi, it will probably be something very different. We have so loved reading experiences from those who have written to us and realised the experience truly is individual. I have found that the meeting of Londolozi has had profound impacts on people and for others the experience has created smaller, more pocket sized moments of joy. For some, Londolozi has been the stepping stone to a greater cause, for others (in fact quite a few) it meant meeting their life partners, and for many, working at Londolozi has become their life’s work. I know of an alumni ranger who is now a passionate teacher bringing his lessons of the wilderness into the classroom. I know of others whose sole mission now is to bring people to Africa, to share in the magic. I know of a habitat intern who is now brightening people’s day as a Varty Camp butler. I know of a Bermudian lady who visited South Africa many years ago and on her first safari, upon seeing her first leopard, knew she couldn’t return to the corporate world – she was to become the Londolozi Head Ranger. I know of a man who used to look after goats in the village of Huntington, who came to Londolozi as a gardener. Through onsite training he moved into a butler position, then onto Camp Manager and today runs and brings light to the Londolozi Village as the Operations Manager – encouraging individuals to up skill themselves. I know of another man who was determined to do something special and unique. He started by making candles in the Londolozi Craft Centre but his mind was hungry to learn more and through perseverance, he is now the Founders Camp Manager and the Londolozi bee keeper. I know of a man who used to hunt to put a meal on his family’s table. This man turned his knowledge of the wilderness into tracking and graduated at the top of his class. After tracking at Londolozi for many years, he is now one of the head trainers at the Londolozi campus for Tracker Academy. I know of a woman who arrived at Londolozi at 21 to work as the Cubs Den Manager, who later became a ranger. Today she runs the Londolozi Village and is part of our incredible sustainability team, bringing us awards from Relais & Châteaux.
If only I had an infinite space on this blog to touch on everyone’s life stories and their Londolozi Effects… there are far too many. I’m sure you will know many more after visiting Londolozi and hearing them for yourself.
Today I wanted to share a few more remarkable staff ideas on what the Londolozi effect might be…
My journey with Londolozi has been profound in its own way and the wonderful thing is that there are so many other Londolozi Effect stories to be told. Over the next couple of months we are excited to share more stories and ideas sent to us from people all over the world. If you have not already, join us as we try to put into words the #TheLondoloziEffect. We invite you to leave your definition in the comments section below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a few (or many) words.
Thanks so much Valmai for your kind words.