A Beginner’s Guide to Safari: Londolozi, South Africa

Imagine waking up with the sunrise, to the roar of lions, surrounded by lush African plains with freshly baked banana bread waiting by your door and the promise of the most incredible safari tour outside; grazing giraffes, cheetah cubs and herds of elephants only metres away. This became my life for two incredible nights… Welcome to Londolozi, the privately owned, luxury resort in the heart of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, on the outskirts of South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

 

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I was fortunate enough to visit the once in a lifetime safari, Londolozi, earlier this month. If you haven’t ever done a safari – it is something to put on your bucket list – the perfect place to celebrate an anniversary, birthday or just life in general. I can honestly say it was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life. Every day was a complete joy; filled with adventure, relaxation and some incredible food. This is living. This is Londolozi.

 

A Typical Day at Londolozi

 

5am – Wakeup before sunrise. But trust me, it’s not as bad as it sounds. How can it be when you are greeted with a tray of healthy rusks, fruit, tea and coffee? You are then taken to your Land Rover and assigned a very-well experienced guide and his accompanying tracker.

 

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It’s still dark as you commence your first safari journey of the day, lasting around 3 hours. Londolozi is famous for seeing the Big 5 almost instantly (Safari slang for the 5 most dangerous animals on the plains; the African lion, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Leopard and Rhinoceros). Sure enough, we were able to spot the most incredible leopard lying in a tree only minutes into our first safari. I can’t explain how amazing it is to be in the middle of the African desert – surrounded by nature, the sounds of animals – being so far away from the chaos of the world. For the first time in a long time I felt a sense of peace, calmness and a deep connection with the world around me.

 

Halfway through the game-drive you are served delicious muesli cookies with tea and coffee. You are literally watching a herd of elephants as you sip on your tea. Our guide and tracker, Nick and Michael, were so experienced and could spot lion tracks from miles away.

 

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By 9am you are back at the lodge. There are 5 camps at Londolozi – we stayed at Founder’s Camp. You are then served the most beautiful spread of breakfast; homemade granola, organic yoghurt, eggs, freshly baked rye toast and muffins. You eat breakfast while watching baby elephants and rhinos on the front of the lodge – it truly feels unreal.

 

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The middle of the day is spent resting, reading, getting a massage or doing yoga on the deck (watch out for the baboons though!).

 

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You are served a divine lunch at 1pm, full of healthy options. One of my favourites was a Harissa-Spiced chicken salad with broccolini and avocado. There was always a fresh fruit sorbet to end lunch.

 

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At 3pm you begin your second game drive – another 3 hours, which flies by. The night-time drives bring this sense of cosiness, driving under the stars – it’s an incredible feeling. As the sun sets over the hills we stop in a breathtaking spot with a table laid with some of the best gin, champagne, wine and healthy canapés. Again, you spot incredible game; lions with their cubs, a herd of elephants playing in the water or rhinos nestling amongst the reeds by the watering hole.

 

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We return to camp around 6:30pm. Dinner is served in a Boma (traditional African outdoor setting under the stars with an open fire). Think delicious, homemade South African cuisine served in 3 courses, good music and lots of debriefs about the animals with our Ranger. Around 9pm you retire back to your room – ready for another incredible day tomorrow!

 

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Heaven, right?

 

The Food

 

Traditional South African cuisine with a modern twist. South African food is absolutely fresh, tasty and wholesome. At Londolozi you can feel the care and love that has gone into each meal, created by the amazing executive chef, Anna. There was a mix of traditional foods like Biltong and healthy rusks as well as incredibly cooked seasonal vegetables and perfectly prepared meats. The food was truly a highlight. The breakfast is on another level of amazingness.

 

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The Accommodation

 

This is absolute 5-star luxury. The rooms are nothing short of indulgent, cosy, clean and everything you would want from an intimate setting. You are literally right in the middle of the plains – you can even see the giraffes pass by while sitting in the indulgent bathtubs. You also have your own private pool where you can watch the animals pass by – the dream?

 

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The Activities

 

As well as the two game drives each day, we were treated to yoga at midday, massages, poolside chill outs as well as time spent reading the history of the lodge and chatting to the guides in the beautiful lounge areas in Founders Camp – my favourite place to relax.

 

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The People

 

The standard of service is hard to describe. I have never come across kinder, more caring, more experienced people who just can’t do enough for you. Constantly checking up on how you’re going, ensuring that your time is completely maximised. Londolozi is known for their incredible staff. Nick Kleer and Michael – request them.

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The Details

 

Fly from Cape Town to Kruger International Airport. Then it’s a two-hour drive to Sabi Sands, on the outskirts of Kruger National Park.

 

Alternatively, you can fly straight from Johannesburg to Londolozi in a small plane for about 45 minutes. Some people also choose to drive there from Johannesburg.

 

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Tips for choosing the right safari:

 

  1. Look for a resort that has had many years of experience with Rangers – ones that really care about the animals and the environment around them.
  2. Find a safari destination near Kruger National Park. Sabi Sands is the perfect option – the variety of game is known to be incredible.
  3. Choose accommodation that suits your desired activity level – whether you want lots of game drives or more of a relaxing vibe.
  4. Find a resort that will accommodate your dietary needs. This is very important for me as a Nutritionist and an integral part of maintaining balance while on holidays.
  5. Stay for 3-5 nights if you can – to make the most of the game drives. Although we stayed for 2 nights and still saw everything we could ever hope to see!

 

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Wildlife images from Londolozi Ranger, Nick Kleer.

 

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