LONDOLOZI GAME RESERVE
SABI SAND GAME RESERVE
About Londolozi Game Reserve
Londolozi Game Reserve is one of South Africa’s original private game reserves. As a leader in the global market of ecotourism, it is also a proudly family-owned business. Londolozi derives its name from the Zulu term, meaning “protector of all living things”. This name personifies our ambitious conservation ethics in our relationship with the natural world. The reserve has received international recognition for its innovative and progressive land- and wildlife-management practices, as well as its productive community involvement.
Our emphasis on conservation and the creation of a village ethos underwrite our commitment to the provision of luxury accommodation, fine cuisine and exceptional service. Londolozi was the first game reserve in the world to be awarded Relais & Châteaux status in 1993.
The Game Reserve is situated on the banks of the Sand River in the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. This latter forms part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, an ever-expanding conservation area that currently comprises six million acres and incorporates the famous Kruger National Park.
About Us: It’s a feeling…
Londolozi’s powerful combination of geography and wildlife creates its special ambience, which returning guests refer to as the ‘Londolozi feeling’. Wildlife roam freely in the indigenous vegetation, offering spectacular game-viewing opportunities and an authentic wilderness experience.
Breeding herds of elephant and buffalo are plentiful, while white-rhino and lion concentrations count among the highest recorded on the African continent. Yet it’s the leopards of Londolozi that have hailed us international acclaim and lie at the heart of the true Londolozi experience. Over the course of more than four decades, a unique relationship has developed between our rangers and trackers and the wild leopard populations. Intimate leopard sightings are regular occurrences, offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience to guests.
At Londolozi we regard every safari as a journey that captures the senses and awakens the spirit. To have an encounter with wild animals in the African bush is to discover an essential truth about ourselves and our world. All of us at Londolozi, who are fortunate to experience this unique lifestyle every day, wish to afford our guests the opportunity to ‘live this feeling’ with us.
The Varty family values encompass every aspect of the Londolozi service offering: our personal touch, commitment to conservation, the lasting ambience of simplicity and elegance and the warm welcome that awaits our guests upon arrival are unrivalled in the world. We are a socially, economically and environmentally responsible business that reflects the life’s work of a family-owned and -run operation built on solid foundations, as well as a century of exploring new frontiers, exceeding expectations, and embracing all who cross our threshold.
True to its name, Londolozi has become a haven that instills hope for a better collective future. It represents the aspirations of a planet of vast open spaces, where wild animals and humanity coexist in peace and harmony.
The Londolozi Promise
“During my long walk to freedom, I had the rare privilege to visit Londolozi. There I saw people of all races living in harmony amidst the beauty that mother nature offers. There I saw a living lion in the wild. Londolozi represents a model of the dream I cherish for the future of nature preservation in our country”
– Nelson Mandela
Londolozi is also the most pristine Big Five photographic safari destination in South Africa, and, as such, has always been a model for social upliftment, conservation and land restoration in the country. This unique enterprise evolved from its origins as a pro-profit conservation development model in the mid-1970s – and a blueprint for conservation in the Mandela Government of the 1990s – into the modern-day social enterprise it is today. Its core values of caring for the land, the people and its wildlife, however, have remained steadfast.
We firmly believe that our Reserve is part of a larger movement towards establishing a global-village mentality, allowing for human integration into the natural world, and geared towards the creation of new systems for living. It is our vision over the next decade to establish Londolozi as a driving force of good in the world, with the objective to:
• redefine the essence of the luxury Kruger safari experience in Africa by creating a home in the bush where guests can reconnect with nature, family, friends and their inner selves.
• continue to be of service
• pioneer new systems for living in harmony with one another and the earth
• preserve Londolozi as a safe haven for rhino and other species
• promote and advance the mission of the Good Work Foundation by enabling access to digital, environmental, emotional and English literacy across rural South Africa
• preserve ancient indigenous knowledge and promote our historical heritage
• promote – as a blueprint for conservation and land restoration – an integrated approach to land- and river protection, community upliftment and economic benefit to regional economies
• promote the Economy of Wildlife in alignment with South Africa’s national economic development agenda.
• capacitate young entrepreneurs to become self-sustaining and economically integrated into the cloud- and supply chain of the Economy of Wildlife.
A Family Affair
Londolozi Game Reserve is a unique destination where naturalists, musicians, artists and world travellers combine their eclectic skills to create a symphony of style and a unique experience. It’s an environment in which field guides and trackers evolve into the storytellers of the land. Experience, gained over four generations, have taught us that luxury without ambience is pointless, as true emotional wealth cannot be found in fancy decor.
The Londolozi family comprises of individuals who are passionate about the safari experience. We have core families within our bigger family. We have, for instance, an accountant who plays guitar and a resident artist who captures nature’s special moments and divine essence on canvas. There’s also a filmmaker and a sculptor, not forgetting the sommeliers and the girl from Chicago who simply decided to stay.
Our rangers know first-hand what it is like to sleep in the bush an keep midnight vigil, while watching the smoke from the tiny campfire billowing towards the night sky. There are the elders who share their ancient Shangaan wisdom, and the educators and philanthropists who share a passion for red wine, the African sky and the odd cheroot – and are united in the conviction that a great safari hat is non-negotiable.
Perhaps the greatest intangible in our village is the knowledge that true fulfilment is derived from relationships and friendships, and not from material objects. The sound of laughter reverberates from the kitchens and courtyards of Londolozi on a daily basis; it is born out of the harmonious coexistence of kindred spirits, all sharing a common vision.
Sourced from a diverse ancestral tapestry, these souls are united by their commitment to Londolozi, the protector of all living things. These family members, some of whom are third-generation, work shoulder to shoulder to build a lifelong bond with colleagues and guests alike.
We are the Londolozi family and we know that life’s most precious moments cannot be bought – they have to be lived! This is at the core of what we do. So come pay us a visit!
Camps at Londolozi
All five exquisite safari camps at Londolozi offer luxurious accommodation, stunning views and the finest cuisine. The 34,000 acres of the best Big Five game-viewing vistas in Africa can easily be accessed from all the camps, under the guidance of the continent’s finest rangers and trackers. Our safari camps all have a unique signature and ambience which will appeal to all tastes.
Prices (2018) vary according to availability and the quality of accommodation on offer at the various camps.
The Private Granite Suites are the crème de la crème of the Londolozi portfolio, followed closely by Pioneer Camp and Tree Camp.
Children under the age of 16 are not allowed at Tree Camp and the Private Granite Suites, unless these camps have been reserved for exclusive use. Bookings at Pioneer Camp, however, are open to families and couples alike.
Varty Camp and Founders Camp are slightly bigger and better suited to families and smaller groups. These two camps also cater for children of six years and older. Families can request linked ‘skywalk’ rooms that give parents access to their children without venturing into the bush.
Guests are advised to enquire in advance about camp availability from their tour operators.
The Most Stylish Family managed Camp in Africa
Londolozi continuously strives to transcend and redefine the wilderness experience, and at Tree Camp guests can experience this vision first-hand. Nestled under a leadwood tree canopy, this lodge is a haven of elegance and simplicity.
Tree Camp celebrates more than four decades of kinship with the wild leopards of Londolozi. Guests can spend lazy afternoons on the deck, champagne in hand, watching the elephants at play in the river below. Lanterns illuminate the camp by night, creating the perfect ambience for conversation and relaxation. This exclusive camp epitomises luxury and style in each and every detail of its eclectic decor. The pale earthy tones that connects seamlessly with the African bush outside creates the perfect setting for reconnecting with nature. From the private pools and all-weather dining and contemplation decks (salas), to the Ralph Lauren wallpaper and plaited leather beds, Tree Camp simply offers an unsurpassed experience in African excellence.
The camp does, however, not accommodate children under the age of 16, unless booked exclusively by visiting groups.
The Heart and Soul of Londolozi
The campfire at Varty Camp has been burning for over 90 years, and represents the symbolic heart of Londolozi. Around this fire the Londolozi model was first conceptualized. And since the campfire was first lit, new beginnings have continued to emerge from its warm hue. Around this fire, the world’s greatest statesman, Nelson Mandala, taught us about the oneness of humanity.
Varty camp’s rich history is evident in its warm tapestry of brick paths, dolerite rock walls, waterfalls and tangled vines, which all come together to create simple open spaces with unsurpassed views of the Sand River. The nuances in the camp reflect the owners’ 90-year love affair with this land, which first began when its pioneers slept under the canopy of ebony trees.
Children over the age of six are welcome at Varty Camp. Each chalet has its own private pool, outdoor shower and dining sala on raised timber decks in the shade of an ancient riverine forest.
Guests can enjoy a wide range of activities and spoils at the camp. There’s the gym, photographic studio and the Living Boutique. Guests from the other camps are also welcome to make use of these facilities, as well as of the Yoga Deck next to Founders Camp.
Varty Camp also now boasts its brand-new Healing House – a concept that takes you beyond the spa experience and epitomises the return of wellness to wildness. Bodywork (massage), as well as a wide range of specialised alternative wellness treatments, are available upon request. The charming ‘original Sparta Camp’ is nestled in the heart of Varty Camp, representing the origin of Londolozi in 1926.
Private Granite Suites
A Private River Affair
Londolozi’s Private Granite Suites is a symphony of simple elegance. Its spectacular location is a celebration of the elephants, the big giants of the African continent. It offers an extraordinary and exclusive experience to six guests.
The lodge is flanked by an extrusion of granite rocks, which is echoed in the bold choice of decor material in hues of silver, charcoal and elephant grey. Africa’s raw essence is mirrored in the contemporary elegance of each suite. A sunset river bar and sunken cocktail lounge are suspended above the Sand River where herds of elephants frequent the ancient waterways.
The outdoors blends perfectly with the indoor decor of the suites, creating a seamless integration with nature through the use of large doors and windows which open directly onto the Sand River. Each suite has a luxurious outdoor bath and private, heated swimming pool.
This luxury safari lodge is perfect for the discerning traveller who appreciates life’s finer nuances.
Bookings can be done individually or as a private camp for six guests, making it ideal venue for newlyweds or small groups in search of elegance and exclusivity. The lodge does not, however, cater for children under the age of 16.
Honouring the Past, Celebrating the Present
Founders Camp was built in honour of past guests and the staff who all contributed to the establishment of the Londolozi Game Reserve. Their efforts have developed and refined our common vision over the course of many decades.
Enchanting, intimate and child-friendly, Founders Camp is ideally situated to provide the visitor with an exclusive and intimate view of the hidden secrets of river life. Ten idyllic superior chalets repose in the shade of ancient matumi trees along the banks of the Sand River.
Three of these chalets have been specifically designed to accommodate families on safari, by offering convertible children’s rooms.
The camp’s signature ‘bushveld Bohemian’ style comprises of earthy colours that are accentuated by the wallpaper and handmade cushions to create a contemporary safari feel. Founders Camp utilizes recycled elements of nature in their most natural form.
The camp also boasts the Londolozi yoga deck, a superb sanctuary for meditation, suspended in the arms of a 500-year-old ebony tree. Daily classes are presented in the presence of nyala, bushbuck and monkeys. Allow yourself to be mesmerized by herds of elephants leisurely winding their way through the riverine bushveld below.
The Story of Adventurers of a Bygone Era
‘Pioneer Camp is a symphony of style, bushveld architecture and nature.’
– Dave Varty
Nestled in the dappled shade of 500-year-old ebony trees, Pioneer Camp’s three luxury suites and comfortable ‘bush home’ communal area represent the culmination of four decades of design excellence in the safari industry.
Pioneer Camp is the most secluded of the Londolozi camps. The three private suites have superb river views, making this camp the ideal venue for honeymoons and private getaways. With the emphasis on multigenerational family travel, this adaptable camp can be converted into a private bush home for family groups of 6 to 12 guests. Glass sky-walkways link the luxury family suites.
This lodge is characterized by its clean lines and modern and sophisticated floor-to-ceiling sliding glass panels that offer a perfect view of the wilderness. A sense of history pervades the camp through lovingly restored memorabilia: photographs, silver, crystal glass and gramophones.
Every touch and feature in Pioneer Camp is deeply personal in nature. It is the ideal romantic setting for the adventurous new generation of sophisticated travellers.
Choose from five exquisite camps
Each of the five camps offer travellers a different and unique safari experience. Three of our five camps are part of the Relais & Chateaux group of elite properties, with the Private Granite Suites the crown jewel of the Londolozi portfolio.
Tree Camp and the Private Granite Suites don’t cater for children under the age of 16, unless booked for exclusive use, whereas Pioneer Camp is available to families and couples. Varty Camp and Founders Camp are slightly bigger and perfect for families and small groups. Children of six years and older are welcome.
This diverse variety of camp accommodation available to visitors cater for every budget. All the more reason to turn your safari dreams into reality at Londolozi.
As a gateway to the African continent, its advisable to incorporate your visit to Lodolozi into a more comprehensive African-holiday itinerary. We are often requested to recommend distinctive and luxurious itineraries to other amazing African destinations.
Shan Varty is passionate and knowledgeable about African travel and has designed an eclectic range of tours to assist you in planning your next adventure. Our tours and packages incorporate visits to Cape Town, the Okavango Delta, Chobe, Victoria Falls, Mozambique and the Kalahari.
Our itineraries are divided into ‘Platinum’ and ‘Gold’ packages, and all enquiries can be directed to our preferred tour operators. These two categories cater for a variety of budgets, with prices and rates reflecting the duration of the tour and the standard of the accommodation. 2018 Rates and prices are subject to season and availability.
Since its conception in 1926, Londolozi has always beckoned nature lovers to step into the wilderness and experience true adventure. To many it manifests as a magnetic pull, a beckoning whisper that cannot be ignored.
Many visitors have arrived at our doorstep as strangers and left as members of our bigger family, their safari experience in the African bush forever etched into their memory. Being amidst wild animals and sharing stories around a campfire under a canopy of stars, change one’s DNA forever.
To be a part of this experience transforms you into the artist of your own experience. It allows you to be guided by what you love towards discovering a whole new way of living. We have no room for pretence – it’s simply not in our nature… but we can turn dreams into reality!
As the original South African Safari destination, Londolozi has, over its 90-year history, acquired the expertise of a formidable arsenal of experienced rangers, trackers and naturalists. This diverse team of experts collaboratively boasts more than 350 years of bush experience.
We continue to draw from the considerable wisdom, talent and experience of our team of experts, and have revived the exhilaration of a wild African safari. Our emphasis is on redefining the essence of the ‘Photographic Safari Experience’ by creating even better opportunities for engagement.
With more 16,000 hectares of traversing wilderness to our exposal, each and every game drive is guaranteed to be unique. A tracker, seated on a specially designed chair at the nose-end of the game-viewing vehicle, scrutinizes the ground for fresh animal tracks, while rangers demonstrate their astonishing driving skills through the rough terrain in pursuit of animals, whilst wowing guests with their expert knowledge and relating their unique bush experiences.
Most of the rangers and trackers at Londolozi have been calling this land home since birth, affording them expert knowledge through their deep cultural connections to its fauna and flora. In addition, Londolozi’s rangers specialise in photographic safaris and, where possible, will position the vehicle in such a way to allow for the optimum angle for that perfect shot.
To us, offering an exceptional once-in-a-lifetime experience in wild Africa, is our passion. We firmly believe that modern technology can be utilized to facilitate and personalize this engagement with the bush. In doing so, it provides for a unique opportunity to witness the superior intelligence and astonishing energy at play in this great African theatre.
Londolozi has been an enduring campfire success story spanning over 90 years . . . Authentic and original, the Protector of all Living Things.
Mission Statement 1976:
“To demonstrate the economic viability of wildlife and to show that man and wildlife can work to mutual benefit”
Since founding Londolozi Game Reserve in 1976, the mission of the Varty family has been to work tirelessly towards establishing a conservation development model that sets the benchmark for social upliftment, wildlife protection and ecological best practice. To this end, the Londolozi model was instrumental in becoming the blueprint for conservation and tourism policy in the Mandela Government.
The Londolozi model also provided the founding principles upon which foreign investors of reference committed themselves to the establishment of Conservation Corporation Africa in 1992. This company, now known as &Beyond, continues to this day to operate in Africa, India and South America, using the same founding principles of the original Londolozi conservation development model. More recently – since the Varty family’s return to operations in 2007 – the impact of the Londolozi model has evolved exponentially, spreading its original mission statement of 1976 to a wider audience.
The projects that have been initiated since the family’s return, are still grounded in the principle of thought leadership in harmony with future trends. In this regard, Londolozi is well advanced in the development of a blueprint for village life in harmony with nature, supported by modern technology and new systems for living. To visit Londolozi is to experience something far more than just a safari to Africa. The new frontiers being explored in the Londolozi model allow for emotions, passion, participation and consciousness in the belief that there is a growing need among the discerning travellers of the world to reconnect with nature. Londolozi is a continuous work in progress with the objective to come to a better understanding of the fundamentals of this yearning.
As part of its mission to be a driving force for good, Londolozi has been the founder/funder of the Good Work Foundation by establishing training and capacity building campuses and learning centres, forming the Mpumalanga cluster in eastern rural South Africa. This project has been undertaken in partnership with the South African Government’s formal education structures. It is proving to be an hugely successful learning model which is growing exponentially every year. It offers access to world-class education for a growing number of learners in rural South Africa. By 2020 – together with its partners in Sabi Sand and elsewhere – Londolozi will have been instrumental in providing more than 26 500 learners of neighbouring villages of the reserve with advanced digital learning opportunities.
Londolozi continues – through its guests and other influences – to be a catalyst for change in education, with the objective of preparing learners for a third industrial revolution in which individual skills requirements will differ greatly from those of today.
Best practices in conservation have been at the heart of the Londolozi conservation development model since its inception. So much so, that this model has inspired others to create similar safe havens for wildlife, both in Africa and on other continents. Whilst the popular belief that conservation is heading for collapse, a closer examination of the facts suggests that a growing number of safe havens for rare and endangered species are being successfully established worldwide, by utilizing the original principles of the Londolozi model – “Care of the land, care of the people, care of the wildlife”.
Phinda Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, originally founded by the Getty family, springs to mind as a shining example of a success story in conservation, where not only the rare black and white rhino thrive in safety, but the livelihoods of the neighbouring communities have been significantly improved. These beacons of light can be found all over the globe. Another prime example is the Caiman Ecological Refuge, previously a cattle ranch in the Pantanal, Brazil, and now one of the most popular destinations globally to view jaguars in their natural environment. This is an excellent example of how a guest to Londolozi had been inspired to set aside a portion of his land as a safe haven for the endangered jaguar. This model has been gaining momentum to the point where it is still thriving today. We pay tribute to many of our colleagues in the industry who have made extraordinary strides in promoting enduring conservation development models, all of which in some way reflect the original Londolozi blueprint of 1976.
As our South African democracy matures, we continue to present Londolozi as an advocacy model to government, business and community leaders for designing blueprints to advance green frontiers for wildlife conservation. These can be in the form of establishing partnerships linking land, capital and people in innovative ways to the benefit of all parties concerned, whilst preserving South Africa’s unique indigenous landscape. To this end, Londolozi has been instrumental in promoting the vision of a Corridor of Wildlife which will link the mighty Kruger National Park to the Blyde River Canyon. The vision is that entrepreneurs, land owners and learners along this corridor will be able to benefit from the possibilities that a thriving Economy of Wildlife offers the people of the region. This vision is underpinned by the Londolozi working model which demonstrates the continuous social, economic and ecological benefits from partnering with nature.
The importance of ancient indigenous wisdom has, since our arrival on this land in 1926, been honoured and respected. Tracking of Africa’s big cats is entrenched in the DNA of Londolozi, with the specific objective to offer our guests unprecedented viewing opportunities of these great cats.
In recognition of the importance of the ancient skill of tracking, Londolozi supported the establishment of a Field Tracker Academy in partnership with the Peace Parks Foundation. This academy has been operating in the Reserve since 2010 and boasts over 100 graduates, many of whom have established successful careers within the growing safari and guiding industry. Several of these Londolozi graduates have advanced their skills significantly, from tracking and guiding to – more recently – storytelling in the global market.