Something that never fails to move me is the reaction I see when a first-time visitor to Africa steps off the plane and puts their feet on African soil. More often than not they’re overwhelmed by how “right” it feels feel despite never having been here before. Their very first sighting of an elephant brings them to tears and in different ways people explain the same basic sentiment to me – they feel as if they’ve arrived home for the very first time and they didn’t know it was missing until they experienced it.
Africa’s various wildernesses are our soul places regardless of where you’re from. It’s where our earliest ancestors evolved and deep down we have an ancient genetic memory of it that none of us have forgotten even if we’re not fully aware of it. We need to rediscover our place in the world again. The absence of these soul places in our modern lives is a direct cause of a low-level, pervasive homesickness and ennui that we see worldwide. The cure to this depression is to remember where we come from and where we belong and then to visit those places to receive their medicine.
I have just returned from a safari at Londolozi and am bursting with gratitude for my life and for what I get to do. The last two years have been tough for everyone in the travel industry (and for so many others too of course) but I will certainly never take what I do for granted again. The miracle of my work is that I get to see people remember themselves as part of the great tapestry of life and witness the profound impact it has on them and that never gets old. Ever.
You can read everything you need to know about safe travel for your next safari here.
Our guests, who were traveling from America brought with them heaps of wild dog and leopard luck. Wild dogs are Southern Africa’s most endangered predator and they’re estimated to be only about 2 500 individuals left on the planet. These guests were fortunate to see a pack denning at both Khwai Leadwood Camp in Botswana as well as at Londolozi. We saw another completely different pack on two occasions too and had a remarkable encounter where wild dogs, hyena, giraffe and a lion that all ended up in one sighting. Take a look at the video below to watch the action unfold.
This is a prime example of the predator hierarchy in action. The lion had been drawn in by the sound of the wild dogs chattering and the noisy interaction they had been having with the hyenas. Lions are aware of how successful wild dogs are at hunting and this male rushed in, taking advantage of his size, to see if he could steal whatever the wild dogs may have killed. Unfortunately for the lion it was too late and the dogs had already finished their kill. Make sure to listen out for the variety of sounds the wild dogs make in the video as the growls and barks are not as commonly heard.
In the video below you can watch the alpha female suckling her pups and the utter excitement of the youngsters when the adults returned to the den after a morning hunt. This is a totally different sound altogether.
On this trip it seemed we were always in the right place at the right time. On one occasion we headed to an ancient Leadwood forest in the north of Londolozi to practice some midday yoga and on our way home came across a large male leopard who emerged from the bush just as we were coming past. Just as he dropped down into the Manyaleti River and out of view, a herd of elephants emerged and casually wandered past the vehicle. We were also treated to multiple sightings of a female leopard and her six month old cub, amongst other individual leopards too. And on the lion front? Well let’s just say we lost count.
One of our guests, Kathy, was someone I guided at Ngala back in 2014 and in the last few years it became clear to her that she needed to return. Despite a postponement in 2020 due to Covid and the uncertainty of the times, she stayed steadfast. Kathy’s partner, Lisa, hadn’t been on a safari before and was somewhat sceptical about how profound the experience could really be but she trusted Kathy’s adamance to make this trip work and she wasn’t disappointed. This courageous couple were prepared to face the unknown and trusted that we would take good care of them and the result was an easy ride from the moment they left the US to the moment they returned and a complete and utter spoiling from the wilderness. One of the ways in which the couple were rewarded was to was to see this male lion who belongs to the Birmingham coalition. Kathy had seen this exact male with me when he was a youngster in a pride of 24 lions at Ngala. When him and his four brothers reached independence they moved south as a formidable coalition and established their territory at Londolozi, where Kathy was able to see them 7 years later, albeit with a little more wisdom and slightly fuller manes. This is one of the joys of large wilderness areas, like the greater Kruger National Park, where animals are free to move far and wide.
These were kind words from Kathy upon her return home. “The experience at Londolozi in South Africa and Khwai in Botswana was life altering. Not only was sitting with leopards a phenomenal spiritual alteration for me personally, but also, spending time in the bush with Amy as our private guide brought the beauty of nature together with the human connection. Amy has a special talent for bringing the wilderness into focus in ways I have never before seen. I would highly recommend Amy for any travels to Africa. And, even though we were concerned about traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic, we felt very safe and protected the whole time with Amy and her team. If you are debating about traveling with Wild Again, just do it!! You will not regret it!”
We’ve subsequently had another two American groups grace our shores again and enjoy their long-awaited safari (traveling to Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa) and we have many more over the coming months. I am so grateful we are welcoming international guests to Africa again.
If you can travel, we’re ready to welcome you home.