There are so many interesting, incredible, beautiful places to travel and we’ve been lucky and curious enough to travel to many. But where is the best, bucketlist worthy, guaranteed to change your life, trip? For us the answer is easy. Africa. You’ve already seen our Safari Short List and now we declare our stand out best safari lodge in South Africa?…. Londolozi.
Of the 54 countries in Africa, we have visited South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, and Zimbabwe (and Morocco) in some cases, multiple times and each and every safari we have been on has been a joy. There is a definite process of research and elimination in choosing the right one. Our criteria being; exceptional, informative guides, a high probability of animal sightings and interactions, predatory activity a bonus, a private game reserve (so off-road tracking is possible), and understated chic accommodations with an emphasis on understated. There are varying degrees in the standards of the accommodation we have experienced and we have a particular preference now for tented camp. There’s something more adventurous and exciting about being in a tent in the wilderness rather than in a solid structure. Having said that, one of our favourites lodges that we are lucky enough to have returned to four times and associate with warm fuzzy feelings of “happiness”, is in a private reserve in the Sabi Sands and is not tented. It has the most beautiful interiors, unpretentious, yet exuding style with the highest standard of guides, outstanding game viewing, the most beautiful scenery and espresso coffee brought to your room to wake you for your morning game drive. It should be on everyone’s bucketlist and a place to travel to discover and enjoy before you die.
Londolozi Sabi Sands, South Africa. A typical day at Londolozi…
5:30am Wake Up
It’s incredibly hard to get out of the most comfortable bed, cushioning you from that 14 hour flight it took from Australia to get here. Is it all worth it?
The strong cappuccinos and hot chocolates for the kids, brought to the room, help ease the pain.
6:00am Sunrise Game Drive
You meet your guide and tracker and on the road you go. Depending on the time of year it is often so chilly in the morning you rug up and head out on the game drive wrapped in blankets left on the seats of your open air landrover and warm scarves and even gloves are always a good idea.
As you watch the sunrise, your appreciation begins to take flight. The cooler time of day means the animals take advantage of the weather and are often more active, so you are constantly on the lookout for action. Even even when there is not an animal in sight, the beauty of the landscape and the calling of birds is haunting and the myriad of sounds are soon identified by the tracker and guide.
This photo was taken one morning where we witnessed two lion cubs playing while their mother slept lazily nearby.
The exhilaration and exhaustion of it all leads to the need for a morning tea break. We all crave the South African version of Anzac Biscuits, Crunchies. (They are completely addictive and you are generally keen to get back on the road before you eat the entire tin.
Heading back to camp we came across this cheetah having just made a kill, feeding on an impala.
10:00am ish Breakfast
You may stay out a little longer on your game drive depending on what is happening out in the wild, but generally it’s back to the lodge for breakfast at 10ish.
Breakfast is served
Mid-Morning “Free Time”
After breakfast the options are varied. You can keep on exploring and head out for a guarded bush walk, maybe fit some yoga in but more often than not the lure of lying down with a good book is more tempting. The kids get whisked away by the tracker or guide to go fishing if that’s what they want.
3:00pm High Tea
Just looking at the cakes on offer you can see the scales rising, but hey you’re on holidays so you tend to indulge.
3:30pm Afternoon Game Drive
The leopards of Londolozi are well known for their beauty and they never disappoint. A hungry leopard on the hunt is always an experience to behold.
A common sighting, ringbarking by the gentle giants.
Just when we decided that lions sleep too much
our tracker was out to prove us wrong.
Smile, wait something else came into focus! Spot the hyena.
On this safari we were lucky enough to have legendary tracker Elmon.
A common condition on family safaris is the tracker tends to develop a shadow, named Ted.
A guide crush can occur aswell.
Afternoon drinks stop at sunset is the best part of a spectacular day.
Driving back to the lodge in the dark, with the spotlight darting back and forth, after the drinks stop, is fantastic. Then you arrive for dinner. Yes, food is a large part of the enjoyment of the trip and the day does seem to revolve around meals as much as the animals. Our kind of living.
This was the setup that greeted us on Christmas Eve.
It always ends in tears. Saying goodbye is the worst thing that can happen at Londolozi.
GCR HOT TIPS
- Book with agents that know their stuff. We had the recent pleasure of meeting Tin Trunk Safaris recently and we will definitely be booking our next safari with Nella. For deals on International airfares head straight to www.expedia.com
- If you can stay 6 nights do, if not, no less than 3 is ideal.
- It’s worth noting that on this particular trip we went at Christmas time which by common wisdom is not the prime time to explore the bushveld as it is warmer and wetter, as you can see by the green vegetation in the photos. However, it has it’s advantages. Besides the better prices there are fewer people and as our guides always say, the animals don’t go anywhere, they are always there and they always need to eat so you really have an amazing time no matter the time of year you decide to go. The great migration is a different story and your timing is everything, but more on that later.
Worrying about what to wear on safari, answer the call of the wild in natural fabrics, think kahki, beige, lightweight, long sleeves and layers finishing off with fierce accessories. Grab a few lightweight, long sleeve tunics, a caftan for dinner at night and don’t forget a fine cotton scarf for the day and a warm woolen wrap at night. Better still, to travel in style see our post on What to Wear on Safari – The Essentials List
All 📷’s GCR except cover📷 ,bedroom📷 and dining room📷 are from www.londolozi.com
GCR HAPPY SNAPS!