The last few years have been interesting, to say the least, with the global pandemic in our rearview mirror, we’ve been reflecting on just how the travel industry has transformed over the years. The Londolozi Conservation Development Model has been refined and lived and lived again since our inception. We firmly believe in 3 pillars that drive our nearly 100-year-old family-run and led business: world-class game viewing, an exceptional guest experience rooted in care, and best practices that are sustainable for all.
Thought leader in the sustainable travel industry and long-standing friend of Londolozi, Juliet Kinsman, recently wrote a very thought-provoking piece on the 2023 Travel Trends, where she explores sustainable travel trends for conscious travellers. We are of the belief that a change in behaviour can only come from a profound shift in human consciousness, the Londolozi Conservation Development Model incorporates new systems for living, advancing sustainable technology and wisdom of our African heritage. Londolozi’s conservation blueprint has become part of an emerging global restoration movement that has the potential to set in motion a virtuous cycle of improvements. Improvements from education, raised standards of sustainable living and increased economic opportunities towards the protection of precious ecosystems, to the reawakening of the human spirit back to nature.
When reflecting on Kinsman’s article, I couldn’t help but feel overjoyed to be a part of an organisation that has been following the trends she outlines for nearly 100 years. I was also thrilled to see how journalists, glossy magazines, and the travel industry as a whole, have all stopped worrying about what decorator you use, or how big your bathroom is, and have finally got down to what really matters to us at Londolozi.
As a discerning traveller and member of the global Londolozi family, I recommend you give this a read – it truly is wonderfully inspiring to see what the travel industry is doing across the globe. Let’s take a look at how many of these trends are already well-established in the African travel industry, and here at Londolozi:
1. Dedicated sustainability officers
We’ve always said a sign that any business is taking sustainability seriously is when they recruit for a full-time position dedicated to measuring and implementing impact — not just talking about it. It’s having an in-house superstar overseeing all things eco, and ensuring they walk their talk. As Julie Cheetham sees it: “Sustainability activities are always going to be competing for resources and attention in the hospitality sector, where employees are guest focussed and responding to immediate needs. In my experience, the only way to make consistent progress is to appoint a dedicated resource, whether in a full-time or a part-time role, to champion sustainability, and to work with every team at a property to embed sustainable practices into the way they work. Boards can give mandates from the top, but an everyday champion on the ground makes all the difference.”
Londolozi has an entirely dedicated sustainability team, with Chris Goodman leading the charge. The Landcare team has been operational at Londolozi since 1972, with its sole purpose dedicated to the restoration and care of the land – true eco-superstars! The sustainable practices and systems that this team has, and continues to, put in place have taken Londolozi to new heights. They are ambassadors for Londolozi’s sustainability projects, implementing solutions to solar power, wastewater recycling, decarbonisation, and sustainable village living, all whilst educating our staff and guests on how they too can implement these practices within their own lives. Last year, the Londolozi Landcare team was awarded the highly acclaimed Relais and Chateaux Sustainability Award! What an honour to be highlighted among 579 properties around the globe!
2. Regenivore revolution
“It’s no longer about eating sustainably, which implies a state of preserving what is. A new generation wants food from companies that are actively healing the planet through carbon-reducing agriculture, more rigorous animal welfare policies and equitable treatment of the people who grow and process food. Look for big changes to reduce waste in packaging.”
We believe in reinvesting into our local economy, by providing our guests and staff with food that is of the best quality that is locally sourced and free of excessive pesticides, as well as refusing plastic packaging from suppliers. Right here at Londolozi, we have provided the opportunity for 32 staff members to develop their own vegetable gardens, for both personal use and to sell back to our Londolozi kitchen. We provide a demarcated area and water at no charge. Staff purchase the seeds at cost price and then sell the produce back to our lodge kitchens, which not only generates a secondary income (approximately R10 000 a month), but also, decreases the need for excess deliveries and packaging coming into the reserve. In 2022 alone, half a tonne of fresh produce was produced from the staff gardeners, and if any of you have tried our Londolozi simple salad, vegetables and fresh produce – you’ll know they’re the tastiest, and are lovingly grown right here at Londolozi!
But wait, that’s not all..
Through the Londolozi Ripple Fund, we have established partnerships with four local entrepreneurs who are beacons of light within their community, located only a stones throw away from Londolozi – just on the outskirts of the reserve. Not only does Londolozi provide infrastructure, mentorship and funding support to these wonderful farmers, but we also purchase their goods for lodge use. By supporting our staff gardeners, and local farmers, we have come leaps and bounds in ensuring that the sourcing of our produce is sustainable, refused excessive waste reserve, and with the right level of support, are encouraging individuals to thrive.
Read more about our sustainability projects and plastic free philosophy here.
3. Community-led regenerative hospitality
“One of the most powerful ways to inspire humans who have all they need, to care about other members of our global society in less fortunate circumstances, is to engage them in life lessons through travel. This is especially significant when sparking empathy from people from countries that are most guilty of contributing to global warming by bringing them face to face with the consequences of how their nation’s emissions are exaggerating the climate emergency for those on the frontline”.
In Africa, you are always living in connection, and the Londolozi Village consciousness is alive and well. We live by the guiding principle of Ubuntu – I am because we are. This philosophy is deeply embedded in the Londolozi way. Your stay at Londolozi has far reaching ripple effects for many peoples lives within the communities surrounding Londolozi. As I’ve mentioned, the Londolozi Ripple Fund supports local entrepreneurs, but has also, for many years, supported two NGO’s; The Good Work Foundation and the Tracker Academy. We offer community tours to our guests where we will take you to visit the Londolozi Ripple Fund entrepreneurs, farmers, Good Work Foundation campuses, and Tracker Academy training centre. Seeing the physical impact that your stay has on so many individuals and their families lives is a sure way to bring deep gratitude for our Londolozi family, for being apart of making an actual difference.
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela
Stay in the Ripple
To stay connected, we have established a Londolozi Ripple Fund Impact site where you can follow regular updates on projects and donations as they unfold and follow work that has already been successfully completed. If you would like to receive the Londolozi Ripple Fund Impact newsletter, please let us know on email@example.com
4. Behind-the-scenes tours
“More and more hotels are inviting visitors to go BTS around the BOH – as back-of-house is called in the industry. Compelling since this is where some of the especially fascinating sustainability action happens. Guests are keen to get a glimpse at less-than-glamorous topics of water or waste management and the grunt work that goes into being greener and learn first-hand what goes into being a kinder, cleaner, more considerate business.”
Community is at the heart of everything we do. We invite our guests to take a closer look behind the scenes and integrate further into the Londolozi family, by joining us on a guided village walk tour of our Futuristic African Village. You’ll be able to walk in Nelson Mandela’s footprints, and experience our sustainable philosophies first hand, visit our village gardens and indigenous nursery, solar farm, waste water treatment plant, kitchen, digital learning centre, creche and so much more.
5. Being a good tourist and global citizen
“Being a good tourist means treating somebody else’s home with respect, leaving little in your wake and putting as much money as possible in local pockets. People tend to think about sustainable, responsible travel only as environmentally friendly travel – and, of course, we should support businesses that are kinder to nature. But the economic power of travel is immense, and you control that wealth distribution. Pick accommodation with local owners; they’re more likely to be better custodians and employ local people.”
The Londolozi family is a collection of people who are passionate about the safari experience. We have families within our family, and generations of wisdom shared upon this sacred land under the African sky. Drawn from a diverse ancestral tapestry, these different family groups are united by their commitment to Londolozi, protector of all living things. These family members, some of whom are third generation Londolozi families, work in close proximity with one another, building a lifelong bond with colleagues and guests alike.
We are the Londolozi Family and we know that the most valuable things in this world cannot be bought, they have to be lived. That’s what we do. For nearly 100 years, we have been a small stand alone family-owned and run business – and that will always be true.
6. Geo-arbitrage and wealth distribution through Digital Nomads
Better than bleisure and lisiness — mixing business with pleasure, or leisure with business — is the penchant for decamping to somewhere cheaper to live but still earning in the stronger economy. The reason we’re excited by this, is the benefit to the temporary host country and the associated wealth distribution. Climate justice activists have limiting emissions as their main aim – so anything involving the encouragement of flying seems paradoxical. But visitor spend is a powerful tool for wealth distribution. Especially when you know that the world’s wealthiest one percent who are still travelling — and always will — are responsible for the equivalent of double that of the combined emissions of the least well-off 50 percent of the entire world population. And since a third — a THIRD — of the world’s economies are in recession, contributing to a local economy in need is vital.
Certainly this has arrived, and it is only getting stronger. Said best by Bron Varty two years ago, where she highlights the power of staying in one place for longer.
7. Woowoo hits the mainstream
“Spiritual energy and shamanic sessions are among the predictions from this travel authority. What we love about this spiritual awakening is that part of this is the deepening of a connection with nature. And the more hotel guests care about nature, the more they’ll do to protect the environment.”
The Varty family have lived close to the earth on property at Londolozi for over 50 years, and they are well versed in the healing nature of wilderness. Some people may refer to nature connection was “woowoo”, we at Londolozi consider it imperative to a healthy way of being. For years now, Londolozi has been a leader in re-connecting people back to the natural world. A simple game drive and time on safari can radically shift your mood, sleep patterns, and nervous system (read more about this in the psychology of safari). Safari can profoundly create personal transformation, but there are many chapters to wilderness and with the right guides the learning is infinite. Through our wilderness retreats we have partnered with the world’s leading wellness experts, life coaches, wisdom keepers and shamans to craft exceptional learning spaces that accelerate awakening and allow people to radically shift towards a mission orientated life with a deeper connection to our planet. Our retreat programs run in partnership with the resonance of the Londolozi land and the influence of its wild creatures to support you as a servant of this shift in global consciousness.
For more information on wellness on safari we recommend you read the following:
8. Renewable-run road trips in green-energy-run countries
“The perfect example comes from the electric-car capital of the world, in Up Norway’s historic Discovery Route itinerary, which is a road trip which factors in time with local communities to experience authentic Norwegian culture. “Travel by electric car while following two of Norway’s 18 breathtaking scenic routes. Starting and ending in Bergen, home to one of Norway’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this Scandi odyssey gets you rappelling down a waterfall, off-road biking, hiking and climbing up a ferrata. Gliding in clear waters with salmon one day, relaxing in a floating sauna the next.”
While South Africa navigates its way into finding more solutions to green energy, we at Londolozi have remained ahead of the curve. We have always devoted our time and resources into finding the best solution for sustainable practices, as well as green solutions. One of the ways in which we have done this is by searching for a solution to green game drive vehicles – A zero emission’s safari vehicle – a vehicle which moves guests silently through the wilderness with a lower carbon footprint than a conventional 4×4. The lessons we have learnt over the years have been filled with trial and error, leading us to find the best technology for our conditions, creating a superior experience for our guests on safari, and allowing a closer connection with nature that is not disturbed by the sound of a vehicle’s diesel engine. We are also encouraged that many of our colleagues in the safari industry have gained insights from our learnings and are also on a path to transforming game viewing vehicles. While we have not settled on a solution, we continue to research holding strong to our intention for a fully green fleet by 2026.
9. TikTok is feeding our appetite for the destinations it shows us
Visit our Londolozi TikTok page, and let us immerse you in Africa, showcasing the highlights of what to expect on a safari at Londolozi.
10. Rise of the solo traveller
Travelling alone to Londolozi, you are never alone for long, as you join the family and become part of your African home. For many years, we have seen the rise in the trend of solo travel. All 5 camps poses unique qualities, are versatile to fit any kind of traveller, and contain their own energy – making it a hard choice in your decision of where to stay. For more insights on how to choose your camp at Londolozi, click here.
11. Next-gen family adventures
Londolozi has had generations of families visiting us year after year, and it is not unusual to have someone on their honeymoon only to return only to return on a family trip a few years later. Many families have come and visited Londolozi’s Pioneer Homestead looking for privacy and exclusive use of a home in Africa. The wonderful thing about Pioneer Homestead is that, because it has only three suites, private and exclusive use is easy and very popular for groups of friends travelling together and multi-generational families. The feeling of ‘having something all to yourself’ is possibly one of the most luxurious features of this camp. The camp is perfectly laid out for both inclusion and privacy. Probably one of the most versatile camps in Africa, it’s three luxury suites – each with their own lounge area, plunge pool, river view and separate child-friendly room, are perfect for either private use by couples as well as multi-generational families of six to twelve people. Two suites are linked by glass sky walkways creating interconnected family units, giving everyone the freedom to come and go as they please while remaining connected as a family.
12. Herstory lessons
Our Londolozi women’s circle has been in existence for five generations. The Londolozi Sisterhood comprises a diverse sisterhood of ages, cultures and backgrounds – a circle I feel unbelievably grateful to be apart of. At Londolozi, we know first-hand the influence an empowered, successful woman has on the future of a family, a village, and an entire generation. Throughout our 100 year journey lived, there is strength, love and union between the women that work at Londolozi, and who make up the Londolozi family, and we celebrate the women of the world through our own valiant stories. Guided by the feminine at our core, living inside new models for power and presence, we know it will be women that create the transformation of all ecosystems of life and business that we are a part of…
Read more information on the Londolozi Sisterhood, we recommend you read the following:
13. Emotion-stoking experiences
Robbie Ball said it best in his blog, ” The Feeling of an Unforgettable African Safari“. One cannot prepare for the profound impact that being on a safari at Londolozi will have for you. There is a feeling of deep gratitude for being alive, the unexplainable beauty of nature and her inhabitants, the raw experience of watching a pride of lions hunt, and the harsh lessons of witnessing the circle of life. Safari evokes plenty of emotions for people in many ways – healing, growth, love, gratitude, inner peace, and so much more.
The below video always makes me teary. Ranger Ross Cheshire sings a safari serenade around the fire, this connects me to Africa in the purest way – an emotion-stoking experience.
For more information on Londolozi’s sustainability efforts, we highly recommend reading the Londolozi Impact Report and visit our Londolozi Impact site, where you can stay up to date with the latest sustainability news.
It has been a pleasure to explore the 2023 Travel Trends outlined by Juliet Kinsman and compare them to Londolozi’s efforts. While we still have a long way to go and living sustainably is a continuous challenge in a modern world, we must never stop asking questions and testing ourselves. Each failure, and there have been many at Londolozi, have brought us as a village of great wisdom and learning: three steps forward, two steps back. Our sustainability journey is alive and well, and we will never stop exploring and searching for solutions for leaving as little footprint on the earth, and Londolozi, as possible.
“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” – Chif Seattle