verb. “fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”
I recently used a bit of downtime at the lodge to contemplate a few things that had been occupying my mind. There’s no better space to clear one’s head, or rather to think clearly with no distractions, than the bush. I set off on a drive by myself, warm coffee in hand to watch the sun rise over the Sand River. A recurring theme that I have experienced since working at Londolozi has been the feeling of inspiration.
“What has it been that has inspired me whilst working at Londolozi?”
This is the question that I intended on answering that morning, and a few different themes came to mind.
There is no doubt in my mind that uninterrupted time in nature has the effect of inspiring one’s inner self. Whether it’s watching a mother leopard raise her two cubs to independence, a near-impossible task, or hearing the distant echo of lions roaring at night.
Being able to share my passion with people from all around the world has been a huge privilege for me. South Africa, and the bush specifically have always held a special place in my heart. I feel inspired every time guests take an interest in the history and diversity of where I live and have grown up. I believe that on some occasions I have been able to change people’s perspectives and make a difference, even if it’s in some small way.
More specifically the ranger and tracker team that I am lucky enough to be a part of. I came across a blog posted 10 years ago titled “A Tribute to The Rangers and Trackers.” In this article, ranger Mike Sutherland temporarily directs the spotlight away from the lions, leopards and other animals and onto the team of rangers and trackers. I’ll take this opportunity to broadly introduce the current team as a whole, as well as to provide a teaser of one specific tracker’s story; an example of a truly inspiring story that has had a lasting impact on me during my time here.
Don’t get me wrong, we are a competitive bunch and we take our jobs seriously (which as guests I’m sure you are relieved to hear), but this competitive nature is what, I believe, gives us the edge. We continually strive to better ourselves. Whether it be learning about the intricate relationships in nature playing out before us, or simply giving our guests the most memorable experience possible. We indirectly encourage each other to be the best version of ourselves.
The team currently consists of 45 like-minded individuals (22 rangers and 23 trackers), ranging in age, culture and experience. Some have sought fulfilment through guiding that they weren’t finding through corporate life in the city, while others have taken on the responsibility as their first form of occupation, like me. I am a firm believer that some of the most important lessons in life are learnt from the people around us and can safely say I have learnt at least a little something from every member of the team.
The person from whom I have learnt the most is likely the person I have spent the most time with, Trevor, who works with me as a tracker every day. I have already introduced him and so have chosen to rather look into someone else’s story, it’s a moving one that in my opinion deserves to be shared. It’s a story of dedication and despair, one of heartache along with hope. Stay tuned for the truly inspirational story of legendary tracker Judas Ngomane.
Everyone has their own story to tell, the question is, are you willing to share it? I’m extremely grateful to be surrounded by a team of people that support and inspire me every day. We work hard, but we have fun whilst doing it! So in the interim, here are some photos of the team, past and present, enjoy!