If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to live in the wilderness, wild elephants walking your pavements, leopards creeping in your garden, monkeys knocking on your doorstep… take a look at these lessons, as told by Londolozi field guide, Bruce Arnott, from his home in the Sabi Sand of South Africa ~ the Londolozi Private Game Reserve.
Living away from the city, surrounded by wild animals, comes with whole new appeal as well as its own set of daily challenges. I have been based at Londolozi for a couple of years now, and looking back over my time here, there are a few important areas in which I feel all people can learn the most, whatever their circumstances and chosen dwelling…
1. People, People, People!
Some of the biggest lessons I have learnt have been from living with, working with and guiding many different types of people. Who would have thought that living in the bush would bring about such a people learning curve?
We live in a village, a community of about 250 souls. Local Shangaan people and others from around South Africa.
Each day we greet about a hundred people and converse with many of them. Living in a university town with thousands of students around as I did before coming to Londolozi was not the same. Here we live and work with the same people. Understanding, tolerance, empathy, compassion… all are traits necessary to the continued happy existence of this community.
And then, of course, guests arrive and further conversations and interactions happen. We spend hours with guests in the bush and then again around the dinner table back at camp. Some of the connections we make with guests are very strong because everyone is experiencing unique things so vastly different from their daily experience back home. People tend to drop their guards. Bonds are forged. From young children to vastly experienced captains of industry, there is a lesson to be learned from each and every guest who passes through the camp gates at Londolozi.
People from all over the world come to visit the land we live on. Africa and its animals attracts people from all walks of life. We wait here to welcome them and then open up the African wilderness in an experience they will hopefully never forget. And despite the fact that it is the wildlife and the immersion in nature that both staff and guests ultimately come for, it is the people who come and go from this magical place that have taught me the most; about life and ultimately myself.