Londolozi Private Game Reserve, the original pioneering conservation model, was made famous back in the 1970s for its incredible leopard population. This is one of Africa's largest private game reserves, covering a staggering 14,000 hectares of private wilderness in the heart of the famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve.
The Sabi Sands is a privately-owned, 64,000-hectare extension of the 2 million hectare Kruger National Park. Five incredible lodges make up the Londolozi Portfolio, ranging from the more affordable Varty Camp which takes children of all ages to the high-end Relais & Châteaux Private Granite Suites. With six suites surrounded by dense foliage, Londolozi Tree Camp is a small, intimate and romantic camp, offering a relaxed and casual atmosphere, Londolozi Varty Camp is home to the Londolozi Healing House and has eight chalets and four suites.
The five chalets and suite at Londolozi Founders have a contemporary African feel and no shortage of luxury. Londolozi Pioneer Camp offers elegance and seclusion with three suites all oozing a classic safari ambience. Private Granite Suites meanwhile comprises three private suites which offer an extraordinary experience for the exclusive use of six guests.
Exclusive access, open game-viewing vehicles, off-road tracking, night drives and daily bush walks are some of the advantages of going on safari at a Private Game Reserve, and Londolozi is as good as it gets! The backing of a skilled conservation team, dedicated game rangers and experienced trackers combined with unique Londolozi hospitality will ensure that your wilderness experience is nothing short of exceptional! Having partnered with Londolozi since 2004, we at Rhino Africa have a great relationship with Londolozi - it's one of our absolute favourite places to visit. It's fun, unpretentious, luxurious and family-run. The Varty family really do go the extra mile to make everyone's stay super special.
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about Londolozi.
There are several ways of getting to Londolozi Private Game Reserve, each of which has a slightly different cost implication and convenience to take into consideration. Daily flights operate between Johannesburg Airport direct to Londolozi's private runway. This is the easiest and most convenient way to travel to the Londolozi. The flights take about 90 minutes and delivers you straight to the lodge's backdoor. Luggage is however limit is 20kg on these flights.
Alternatively, you can touch down in Kruger Mpumalanga Airport, or Skukuza Airport, and road transfer or "lodge hop" in a small light aircraft to Londolozi. Commercial flights from Johannesburg take one hour, Durban an hour and a half, and Cape Town’s just over two hours away.
For those with more time, self-driving to the Londolozi is a very feasible and enjoyable option. Londolozi is about 6 hours drive from Johannesburg. The road is tarred and well maintained with clean service stations along the way. In fact, the Maputo Corridor means you will be travelling on dual carriageway for most of the way. Fuel is never a problem in South Africa, and you won't get lost with google maps or Waze. Roads are surprisingly well signposted & traffic density is generally low.
Based on your lodge of choice, time and cost, our Travel Experts will gladly advise you on the best way to get to Londolozi Private Game Reserve.
At Londolozi Private Game Reserve the Varty family has refined the menu of activities to include a unique blend of senses and soul, creating an offering of sophisticated style and adventure that has recaptured the subtle essence of the Swahili word for journey – safari.
Londolozi offers spectacular Big 5 game drives in the extensive wildlife area with unsurpassed leopard viewing but this is just the beginning of what really constitutes “the Londolozi experience”. Londolozi is the ideal space to escape from the rigours of everyday existence, to shift into a full appreciation of the moment and awaken the senses. With this in mind, Londolozi has created tailor-made activities to help recuperate mind, body and spirit.
Take your pick, the list is virtually endless; silent wilderness immersions, interpretation and learning, spiritual journeying, adventure, massage, yoga, sound therapy, all-day wilderness trekking, moonlight walks, poetry, theatre, friendship and wide open spaces. Whatever it is you are looking for, Londolozi has it in abundance!
Londolozi Private Game Reserve is a year-round destination, but it remains seasonal. Here is what you can expect to experience through the months of the year.
November through to December: The summer months are hot and humid with either continual rains or very typically afternoon thundershowers which generally clear before the game drives depart. Lots of young animals are born during this time notably the impala lambs, which are beautiful but vulnerable to predators.
January to March: These are normally drier months with very hot days. There are lots of beautiful migratory birds during the summer periods. Early morning drives with early returns to escape the heat are typical.
April: The vegetation starts changing from thick lush green bush to a slightly sparser browning bush during this Autumn period. The temperatures start cooling down at night but daytime is still warm. Potential scattered thundershowers can be experienced in the afternoons.
May to June: Cold temperatures are experienced at night and at dawn during the winter months. Warm clothing is recommended such as gloves, scarves, beanies and insulated jackets. Large herds of elephant are very mobile. The vegetation becomes totally brown and trees start losing leaves. Visibility during drives is enhanced due to sparser vegetation.
July to September: This period is very dry in the bush with very cold night temperatures and therefore chilly during the early morning and late afternoon game drives. Game viewing is generally fantastic and the visibility is good and the game is concentrated around any water source.
September to October: Spring is the height of the dry season boasting hot dry winds and colourless, sparse vegetation. Because the rivers and dams are low high concentrations of game can be viewed at these areas and game viewing, in general, is very good. The first rains may start towards the end of October and the signs of spring and a new wet season are evident.
Whichever season you chose, our Rhino Africa Travel Experts will ensure you are in the best area to maximise your Safari experience.
Here is a rough guide to what to expect on your Londolozi Safari - Times vary based on lodge and time of year, but you are always in for a treat!
05h00: Wake Up! Wake Up! … it’s an early start.
05h30: Meet your ranger and tracker for early morning tea and coffee before heading out on safari, typically on open 4X4 safari vehicles. The best game viewing is to be found first thing in the morning and the anticipation is half the excitement! You could meet a herd of elephants at a drinking hole, observe a herd of shy impala or get up close with a pack of Lion’s…it’s all up to chance!
09h30: Safari vehicles start returning from the game drives and you can enjoy a sumptuous and well -earned breakfast!
11:00: Depending on the season and the rules of the reserve, many lodge’s offer a Safari Walk with an armed tracker. This gives you a chance to concentrate on the smaller wonders of the Kruger National Park such as insects and birds. The tracker will tell you fascinating stories of the bushveld as well as the traditional cultural and medicinal properties of trees and plants.
After your walk, you will have a chance to relax and unwind or enjoy a swim to cool down from the relentless African sunshine.
13h00: A delicious lunch is served. After lunch, there is more time to relax and soak up the splendour of your surrounds.
16h00: As the African sun begins to ease away and shadows start to form across the bushveld, guests and rangers meet for afternoon tea before the evening Game Drive.
16:30: Safari Time! You will head out on your second Game Drive for the day with a majestic African sunset as the backdrop. The animals start to become more active again and the nocturnal animals get ready for their hunting. Your ranger will be driving the vehicle and the tracker is upfront looking out for tracks and spotting the animals.
18h00: As the sun sets the ranger will pick a good spot for a sundowner where you will pause to watch the sunset and enjoy some cocktails and refreshments. A real safari tradition!
18h30: As it starts to get dark, the tracker and guide use a powerful spotlight to catch sight of the animals. The animals' eyes reflect in the spotlight and the ranger and tracker will concentrate on finding the nocturnal animals such as Leopards and sunset hunters such as Lions.
19h30: The timing of dinner is determined by the activities on safari! If there are things happening and lions hunting – your dinner will wait.
A chance to freshen up before dinner.
20h00: Dinner Time. At most lodge’s, there are a number of places to enjoy dinner at the lodge and weather dependant the camp manager will select the perfect venue. Your ranger usually joins you for dinner and the campfire stories have been known to continue into the early hours! The more luxurious lodge’s offer you the choice of having dinner in your room. And finally, you get to retire to your suite for some peaceful sleep before the next exciting day!
Depending on how you customise your safari experience - hire of a private vehicle as an example - you can change up the experience. Our Travel Experts are trained to match the right safari lodge with your expectations, requirement and budget.
No. Londolozi is part of the Greater Kruger National Park, which is located in a malaria area. The most important thing we should stress is that we are not doctors and it is therefore vital that you speak to your doctor about Malaria prevention before travelling to a malaria area. The following information is not intended to replace that issued by your doctor. Lots of travellers who travel to Africa every year and with careful use of prophylactic drugs are able to enjoy a great holiday. The information below is written to provide you with information rather than to put you off!
Rule One: Avoid Getting Bitten
Rule number one of Malaria prevention is that if you don’t get bitten you won’t get malaria. Unfortunately, the female Anopheles Mosquito that transmits malaria is a silent little mossy and doesn’t buzz to warn you of its presence. Mosquitoes can bite at any time of day but are usually their most active at dawn and dusk. Use repellent sprays and wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers in the mornings and evenings. The mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing and it is therefore important to spray Insect Repellant on covered skin as well as non covered skin.
Most of the lodges have screened windows and doors, mosquito nets, air conditioning and fans. These all help you to prevent you from getting bitten, but should not be used on their own.
Rule Two: Taking Anti Malaria Tablets
It should be noted that no Malaria Prophylactic is 100% effective as the Malaria parasites become resistant to the various drugs. It is therefore vital that you speak to your doctor or travel clinic to advise you on the best prophylactic for you. Travellers should remember to take the tablets regularly and continue to take the prescribed dosage of tablets even after they have left the Malaria Area.
Chloroquine, Proguanil and Maloprim: Malaria in certain parts of Africa ( north of South Africa ) have become Chloroquine-resistant and therefore these drugs are decreasing in their popularity and less and less people are taking them.
Mefloquine ( Larium): For many years Larium has taken a bit of beating. It is a very effective Malaria Prophylactic but it needs to be carefully dispensed as patients with a history of psychiatric disturbances can get unpleasant side effects.
Malarone: This prophylactic has virtually no side effects and with a simple daily dose it is becoming an increasingly more popular choice for travellers. In addition, Malarone has now been launched in the UK in a children's formulation and is the first-ever malaria tablet designed just for kids. It is also licensed in the USA, Denmark and is becoming increasingly available in Europe. The children’s version is chewable once-daily dosage that only needs to be started one day before travel commences.
This is the Prophylactic that we recommend – but would urge you to check your personal suitability with your doctor prior to travel.
Doxycycline: This is an antibiotic and for many people, it provides a perfectly good alternative to taking the traditional anti-malaria tablets. However, Doxycycline can make you particularly sensitive to the sun, and the effects of antibiotics on contraception tablets are well documented. Be warned … travellers may return from their holiday with more than a suntan!
Garlic, Vitamin B, Chilli: These are all old wives tails and should definitely not be used as a prevention for Malaria!
Rule 3: Look out for symptoms and complete your course of prophylactics!
If on your return or during the remainder of your trip, you experience any flu-like symptoms (nausea & vomiting, chills, fever, sweating, headache or muscle pain) you should have a malaria test just to be safe. Malaria responds well to early treatment. Remember to complete your prophylactic course - even after leaving a malaria area.
The highlight of any safari in the Kruger National Park is exploring the bush and the wildlife by enjoying a game drive or bush walk. It is an incredible experience to see amazing wildlife in their natural habitat but we do urge you to take note of the guidelines below that will assist in ensuring the long-term survival of South Africa’s beloved Kruger Park.
Some Safari Etiquette Guidelines
Please respect your surroundings and the wildlife by following these guidelines:
• Take back photographs and memories only! Do not remove natural objects (rocks, flowers, plants, etc) from the Kruger Park or any of the reserves. It disrupts the ecology of the area.
• Do not try to attract the animals’ attention by imitating their sounds, clapping, throwing objects or any other means.
• Never tease or corner wild animals, this may cause an unpredictable response and a potentially dangerous reaction.
• The vegetation in the Kruger Park is very sensitive and off-road driving causes erosion. Only go off-road with a ranger and never on your own.
• Remember that you are a visitor to the animals natural habitat so observe the animals silently and with a minimum of disturbance to their natural activities. Loud talking on game drives will frighten the animals away.
• Don’t litter! Besides being distasteful, litter thrown on the ground can choke or poison animals and birds.
• The African bush is very dry, ignites easily and fires can kill many animals. So PLEASE abstain from smoking on game drives.
• Respect your driver/guide's judgment about your proximity to certain wild animals. Don't insist that he take the vehicle closer so you can get a better photograph. A vehicle driven too close can hinder a hunt, or cause animals to abandon a well-deserved meal.
• Always follow your guide’s advice – he is the expert! Don’t be afraid to ask him questions if you are unsure of anything.
• Never attempt to approach a wild animal on foot, especially near your lodge or campsite where the animals have become accustomed to humans.
The history of the Varty and Taylor families – the conservation dynasties who have dedicated their lives to saving a small part of Africa’s Eden – is the history of Londolozi.
The foundations of the Londolozi dream were shaped over eighty years ago when two friends – the great grandfathers of the Varty and Taylor clans stood before mighty Sand River for the first time ever. The vision and potential that these two men saw in the virgin bush has endured over the years with those same granite rocks of the River.
Camp was set up on the banks of the River where the water runs clear and the bushveld stretches up to the horizon. The first campfire was built amidst the roar of Lions, and it was from here that Londolozi evolved into one of the most sought after ecotourism destinations of the world.
For two generations the family hosted presidents and princesses and sacrificed its wild beasts at the mercy of the hunter’s gun. This came to an end thirty-five years ago in John, Dave and Shan Varty’s care. Together the family shared a dream to build a world class destination and create the blueprint for modern day conservation in Southern Africa.
The farm was renamed Londolozi, derived from the Zulu word ‘to protect’. The new name symbolised the family’s aim to provide a sanctuary for all living things. In the 70’s and 80’s the guiding principle at Londolozi was to demonstrate the economic viability of wildlife in a land torn apart by racism, fences and division. The 90’s brought new hope and belief in unity, trust and harmony. It was also a time in which Londolozi was able to send her message of partnership between wildlife and people across the African continent and to expand the dream of wildlife paying for conservation.
The new millennium poses fresh challenges and opportunities and Londolozi will, as in the past, strive to make its small contribution to establishing a new order, one that is rooted in and dictated by the laws of nature.
This fresh chapter is defined by the intention to be of service and to create a place and a space quite unique in the world – so that visitors, guests and friends of Londolozi are profoundly moved by their experiences and are encouraged to become the best 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