Lessons from Londolozi
South Africa’s Londolozi Game Reserve is an incredible place. cazenove+loyd’s Savannah Varty shares with you a few stories about her childhood adventures there
My love of Africa’s places and people is rooted in my childhood spent living in tented camps across the continent, while my parents made wildlife films. Now based in London, I would like to share with you a few stories about my past adventures.
There is something nostalgic about sitting around a campfire at Londolozi, watching the flames dance and allowing one’s mind to wander. Transfixed, I often find myself contemplating the fact that four generations of my family have gathered in this very same place. My great-grandfather first made the arduous journey by ox wagon to this secluded piece of South African wilderness in 1926, setting up camp along the banks of the Sand River. He was among the first pioneers to venture into this untouched bushveld, which many years later, now forms part of the world-renowned Kruger National Park. Today, the original camp continues to be family run, and has been transformed into Londolozi Game Reserve, encompassing five luxury lodges and offering some of the best wildlife viewing in Africa.
Growing up here was, quite simply, wonderful. Each day offered a new opportunity for adventure, whether it be out on a game drive with my father, enthusiastically tracking and filming leopards for a wildlife documentary he was working on, or simply peeping over the edge of the balcony to view elephants ambling across our garden lawn below. Twice-daily game drives involved endless competitions of who could spot an animal first or identify different birds, trees and habitat types. Dense thickets and rocky outcrops meant a female leopard could be denning nearby, and the chance to view cubs playing was always an absolute highlight.
These lessons in the wild instilled in me an immense respect for nature and a love of the outdoors, as well as a deep appreciation for the sense of community that comes from living in a place such as Londolozi. As a toddler, I attended playschool in the village, learning to speak the local language, Shangaan. Many of the staff have been here since before I was born, and their families before them. These bonds are felt by all who visit, and quite often guests will remark on the profound sense of ‘homecoming’ that they feel when staying at the lodge, some of whom arranged their first safari here with cazenove+loyd more than 20 years ago.
A number have since become regular visitors, which is a testament to the cazenove+loyd team’s expertise in ensuring an unforgettable experience every time. Their passion for travel is evident, and the close relationships that are maintained with lodges such as this truly do make all the difference.
For me, Londolozi is a place that encompasses both comfort and excitement, where no two days are alike and yet everything moves to a gentle rhythm. Life is slower, and time melts away altogether when you find yourself gazing into the amber eyes of a lioness, or admiring the sunset. When night falls, it’s time to return to the camp and gather around the fire, ready to share stories and revel in the events of the day. It is during these hours of laughter, thoughtful conversation and reflection that I am always reminded of just how extraordinary my home really is.