Londolozi’s history is entwined with the history of the Varty and Taylor families, the conservation dynasties that have dedicated their lives to saving a small part of Africa’s Eden. The foundations of the Londolozi dream were built nine decades ago when two friends stood on the banks of the Sand River for the first time in June 1926.
These great-grandfathers of the Varty and Taylor clans established camps on the banks of the river where the water runs clear and the bushveld stretches out to the horizon. The first campfire, set amidst the roar of lions, signaled the beginning of a dream that would grow into one of the most sought-after safari destinations in the world.
For two generations, the family hosted presidents and princesses and sacrificed its wild beasts to the hunter’s gun. This era ended in 1969 when John, Dave and Shan Varty assumed the stewardship of the property. Sharing the dream of a different kind of relationship with the land, they created a blueprint for a new vision of conservation and restoration in Southern Africa.
The property was renamed Londolozi in recognition of the Vartys’ ethic of sanctuary; the name is derived from Zulu and means ‘protector of all living things’. Through the 1970s and ’80s, Londolozi’s guiding principle was to demonstrate that wildlife tourism was economically viable in a land torn apart by racism, division and fences.
The 1990s brought new hope to South Africa and with it an emergent belief in the possibility of unity. Londolozi was able to extend her message of partnership between humans and wildlife across the African continent and to expand the vision of promoting conservation through safari.
Today, we continue to seek out fresh challenges and opportunities, such as the ambitious 2020 Project. The people of Londolozi are as tireless and dedicated as ever in the quest to contribute to a new order of living that is in harmony with the natural world. Our intention in this fresh chapter is to be of service and to create a unique space in the world; it is our wish that visitors, guests and friends of Londolozi are deeply moved by their experience and grow inspired to inhabit the best, truest – and even wildest –versions of themselves.
‘During my long walk to freedom, I had the rare privilege to visit Londolozi. There I saw people of all races living in harmony amidst the beauty that Mother Nature offers. Londolozi represents a model of the dream I cherish for the future of nature preservation in our country’– Nelson Mandela