On Tuesday after breakfast we were invited to join a walk to the nearby Londolozi village which houses a great many of the staff who work at this amazing property. This was a wonderful opportunity to see how the locals live.
The owners of this private reserve have worked hard to build positive relations with the local villagers and have helped to build a solid infrastructure with safe, clean housing, running water and plumbing, electricity, onsite education, distance and e-learning, healthcare, healthcare and AIDS education and childcare.
This would have been a typical residential dwelling back about a hundred years ago.
These structures are maintained for educational purposes only to ensure the history of this tribe is kept alive, passed from one generation to another as well as shared with outsiders.
This is where food would have been stored, elevated to keep bugs and rodents out as well as to provide a cooking space underneath allowing the smoke from the fire to permeate the food above to eradicate insects.
Our tour guide Witness, spoke of his heritage with great passion and pride, sharing the ancient, but now defunct traditions of polygamy, religion and healing.
We got to meet the kids in daycare, ranging in age from about 16 months to 3 hears old. They are learning to count, the months of the year and the alphabet, which they recited for us with pride, followed by high fives all around. Too cute.
We felt honoured to spend a little bit of time learning about the history and culture of the people of this region.
On Wednesday morning it was time to say goodbye to this very special place. It is hard to describe how wonderful the people here are. From the chefs, to the servers, to the camp manager, to the many, many staff members you see and interact with everyday, everyone at Londolozi is truly special.
But I must say a few words about the supremely gifted and generous Milton and Melvin. You spend so many hours with your tracker and ranger, but their jobs go so far beyond sighting wildlife and providing information. They are responsible for your comfort and safety of course, but they truly love what they do and they want you to love their land, appreciate their skills, absorb their knowledge and leave being a little bit changed. They have the very best office in the whole world and they appreciate everything laid out before them. They taught us to slow down, inhale deeply, look beyond what’s right in front of us, listen to the sounds, gaze at the stars and revel in the wonder we have been so privileged to share with them. Farewell dear friends. We will remember you forever.