Meaning ‘to protect’ in the IsiZulu language, the first camp fire at Londolozi was lit over 80 years ago, when the great grandfathers of the Varty and Taylor families first pitched their tents on the banks of Sand River.
Generations later, under the care of John, Dave and Shan Varty, that original farm evolved into one of Africa’s earliest safari destinations, and now offers an exciting and unique range of luxury accommodations in the heart of a 14,000 hectare private reserve.
While all the lodging on offer here is very individual in style and atmosphere, each destination shares one thing in common: superb wildlife viewing with a great opportunity to see the big 5 – leopard in particular. Importantly, with such a long history of eco-tourism behind them, the team at Londolozi has accrued an impressively large number of expert rangers and trackers, who between them have over 350 years of guiding experience.
With its Ralph Lauren wallpaper, mood lighting and chocolate plaited leather beds, Tree Camp brings more than a touch of contemporary designer living to the African safari experience. Recently renovated, the camp consists of 6 glamorous private suites, each with king-sized bedrooms, living rooms and spacious en suite bathrooms, while outdoors there are private swimming pools, showers and contemplation decks, perfect for reading and relaxing. Particularly good is the excellent cuisine served up in a dining room built on stilts in the trees overlooking the riverbed.
In many ways the heart and soul of the operation, Varty Camp has more of a down to earth, homely feel, and is a more economical option for a stay at Londolozi. With a relaxed atmosphere and a particular emphasis on the family, Varty features 8 standard chalets and 2 superior chalets, all of which are raised off the ground and set in the shade of towering native trees. All come with en suite bathrooms, private plunge pools and viewing decks which look out to the riverine bush.
Built in the shade of ebony and matumi trees, in a glorious location on the banks of the Sand River, Founders Camp delivers more of a classic safari ambience, with its deep leather couches, mahogany beds and military chests. There are 7 luxury en-suite chalets here, decorated with casual elegance, and each with verandas and private deck areas with great views of the watercourse, particularly at sunset.
While the three very spacious suites here don’t face the river (so you have less chance of seeing wildlife from your room), Pioneer Camp is charming stay. Set in the shade of 500-year-old trees, the camp imbues a bygone era, when the Varty and Taylor families first arrived in this land. Featuring old-English style furnishings, sepia prints and silver teapots, the overall feeling here is one of heritage and history, as well as giving the sensation of staying in a very tasteful, welcoming family home in the middle of the bush.
Private Granite Suites
The 3 gorgeous private suites here offer the most intimate and luxurious experience at Londolozi, and can be booked individually or to make up a private camp for 6 guests. Boasting a striking, modern and tasteful design, the suites all feature large doors and windows, which open directly onto the river, and come with their own outdoor pool.
We have started a small business which attaches monetary value to collecting, sorting and recycling waste. The central waste and recycling depot is run by 3 entrepreneurs, who separate and correctly store aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass (brown, green and clear), cardboard, paper and food.
Economic links have been established with a community pig farmer who collects the waste food on a weekly basis. Which he uses to feed his pigs; which in turn he supplies to our kitchens.
We have pioneered the first electric Land Rover of which the intention is to eventually convert our entire fleet of game drive vehicles to zero emissions, i.e.: Solar powered electric Land Rovers.
Added to this we have also developed a Solar Powered Golf Cart for moving guests and Solar Powered Tractor for waste management, which are solely charged from sunlight and have zero carbon footprint.
Our sustainability programs include an onsite water bottling plant to reduce the carbon emissions of delivered bottled water as well as the plastic production of bottled water. We source our water from a natural spring, purify it and bottle it in recyclable glass bottles. We have seen a reduction of over 70 000 plastic bottles move on and off our property over the 12 months.
All of our staff housing is now equipped with Low-Flo showerheads, which we are testing before we roll out into the guest rooms and suites. These showerheads reduce the amount of water used during showering, without compromising the experience.
We are experimenting with prototype solar-powered geysers in our staff village and a heat pump for heating geysers in one of the guest rooms. These geysers are powered naturally using solar panels and within time will be installed in every room, suite and house at Londolozi. We have also insulated all the geysers to retain warmth and the minimize the use of energy to continually heat them.
Although it is hard to give an exact figure of the reduction of our energy consumption over the last 24 months, we have seen a 33% reduction in energy consumption over the last 12 months.
The Londolozi water management system incorporates the recycling of first user water for second use on gardens and for various food security projects. In the final analysis a very large percentage of the water drawn from the Sand River finally finds its way back into the eco system and ultimately recharging the underground and/or river water reserves.
Water usage is monitored daily at Londolozi and has been reduced from 150 000 litres per day to 105 000 litres per day as a result of the above mentioned interventions.
It is in regard to sustainability that Londolozi is particularly strong given that its core activity is in harmony with nature, promotes bio diversity, and is based on a form of land use which is entirely non-destructive to the landscapes.
Maximizing Social and Economic Benefits
Approximately 80% of our suppliers and services are sourced locally.
Some of the community projects we are actively involved in supporting and assisting with are the Madlala Digital Learning Centre, the Hazyview/Hossana digital learning centre, Sam Nzima school, the Happy Homes pre school, the Dabuka Women’s Co-Operative Toilet Paper Initiative.
Approximately 77.5%. locally hired staff.
Since it was founded in 1976, Londolozi was the first safari lodge to implement the idea of ‘mutualism’. i.e. the mutual exchange of resources between the tourism and wildlife land operations and the surrounding local community. Tens of thousands of people living in the region derive their direct livelihood from the benefits of the wildlife and safari economy.
Supporting Cultural and Natural Heritage
Some of the projects of which Londolozi is currently involved in, include:
1. The motivation, the creation of a wildlife corridor which links the Limpopo Trans Frontier Park (6 million acres) with the Blyde River Canyon (Mpumalanga).
2. The contribution to financing a high level internal security operation dedicated to the protection of the Londolozi and Sabi Sands white rhino population.
3. Participation in the motivation for the establishment of a black rhino population for the Sabi Sand Game Reserve where Londolozi is located.
4. Investment of over 1 Million land a year in wise-land management to support larger herbivore populations.
Londolozi is a Zulu word which means ‘Protector of all living things’.