My husband and I and our two sons (aged 12 and 17) spent four nights in Londolozi Varty camp in January. I would have spent forty nights if given the opportunity!
Londolozi was our 3rd and final safari of our trip. We had also been to Kapama Karula and Kings Camp. All three were wonderful and each offered different strengths. But of the three, Londolozi was our absolute favorite.
What made Londolozi so special was the staff. Everyone was exceptional. We arrived to be greeted by Jeremy and Simone. Their enthusiasm was contagious and we felt welcome right away. Our waiter, Alex, was incredible. He anticipated our every need before we even knew we had one. He always looked so happy to see us and he had such a cheerful and pleasant demeanour. The Chef, Eric, was simply the sweetest man. Our 12 year old is quite a fussy eater and Eric would consult with us daily to decide on a menu that would make our son happy. Most meals he would deliver the dinner to us personally. I wish I could have taken them all home with me. I am missing them a lot as I type this. Here is an example of how the staff at Londolozi go above and beyond. I had mentioned to Simone that we take big trips every Christmas and that our younger son had lamented that he couldn't remember the last time he had had a Christmas tree. Our last day there, Simone surprised us with a "Bush" tree. Keep in mind that it was now January, and she had taken a large branch and decorated it with Christmas ornaments and underneath there were beautifully wrapped gifts for EACH of us. Another example is my older son had a problem with his camera. The replacement piece would have taken a day to get shipped to camp, which didn't leave us much time for usage. Richard, the Manager, and the staff at the Camera centre asked all staff if they have a similar piece that they could loan us. Incidentally, Richard also has fabulous taste in wine!
Speaking of staff, we also loved our Guide and Tracker. We had Don and Judas and they were so wonderful. We were very fortunate in that we had the jeep to ourselves except for our very last drive. We really got to know Don and Judas and I have such tremendous respect for their knowledge and pride in their jobs. It was a privilege to spend time with them. I also greatly respected the relationship between the two of them. It was obvious that they admired and respected one and another. Londolozi has a very comprehensive training program for their Guides and it showed. Don was extremely knowledgeable and I could have listened to him for hours. Judas has decades of experience and his calm and patience found us many delights. We were so fortunate at Londolozi as we saw everything plus more. The other advantage of Londolozi over the other camps we visited, was that you weren't lining up to see the animals. The Guides at camps radio each other when they find something of interest. At the other camps you would frequently only have 5 minutes to look at something before moving on to make space for the other vehicles. Obviously this can also work in your favour when another Guide radios about something interesting that they have found, but it is sad to have to leave before you are ready. This was not the case at Londolozi. While the Guides did radio one and another, I think we only saw other jeeps a couple of times the entire four day stay. And we never had to leave an animal encounter to make room for anyone. We could stay as long as we liked. Don and Judas were amazing at tracking animals and also at sharing the wealth of information that they had. If you are fortunate enough to get Don, ask him to make you his wonderful hot chocolate mixture with coffee and Amarula.
Another wonderful thing about Londolozi is the amount that they invest in their staff. Tours of the village are encouraged and it was really wonderful. Londolozi has education and enrichment programs for their staff. They also have a daycare/school for their young children. If I didn't have the responsibility of a home and family in Canada, I would be seriously tempted to apply for a job with them!!!
The accommodation at Londolozi was very nice. It was a bit smaller than the other camps that we stayed in, but very well appointed. We had tea and coffee stations and fresh cookies (more on that in a minute). There were large decks with splash pools on both of our cabins. We were fortunate that our cabin could be connected to our son's. The views were lovely and overlooked the river. Frequently we could see monkeys, lizards, baboons, elephants and other grazers. Speaking of baboons... We had such a funny occurrence. We had been warned to lock our doors at all times due to "naughty monkeys". One morning we were enjoying our breakfast leisurely and saw a massive troop of baboons crossing over the river bed. We enjoyed the sight and thought nothing more of it. Upon returning to our cabins, we heard voices. It turned out to be Londolozi staff. As we walked past a side window I could see our tea and coffee station completely scattered across the room. My first thought was that the kids had forgotten to close the door properly but it turned out that all doors had been locked but that the baboons had ripped the sliding door off!! They were very courteous baboons and only took food items, including our bag of chocolate. They didn't touch anything else. Londolozi was so apologetic. Apparently it was the first time it had ever occurred. We felt quite special to have been personally selected by the baboons. Needless to say, everything was restored to pristine condition within an hour. My son had a great deal of fun posting the pictures on Facebook.
The common areas of Londolozi are spectacular and look like something out of a Ralph Lauren photoshoot. I took many pictures to get ideas for home. The dining room is simply gorgeous. All the Londolozi camps are in a row (although not piled upon one and another) You are able to walk between them and take a look at their common areas. They were all stunning. There is a large pool at Varty but I didn't use it as we used our private pools on the deck. There is also a gym and outdoor yoga studio where they offer classes. I was in full vacation mode by that point and did nothing. The gift store is so, so beautiful!! I spent many hours in there. It is huge and filled with treasures. I wanted everything! There is also a small library with a couple of computers for guests' use. I didn't nap during the day as I wanted to soak it all in.
Finally, the food at Londolozi was the best of all the camps we visited. The breakfasts had wonderful buffets set up and then you could order anything hot that you wanted. The lunches were a simple and healthy buffet of mouthwatering salads and cold meats. Simply delicious. For the dinners we had two in the dining room and two in the Boma. The food was terrific in all cases. Everything is fresh and delicious. One night my husband noted there was fresh Scottish salmon on the menu. Being Scottish, he questioned this. Turns out it was fresh and freshly flown out from Europe. Those kind of details show and are in everything at Londolozi.
Londolozi is simply a wonderful place. I am getting teary eyed typing this. I want to go back so badly. If I had my way, I would spend every vacation there. You will love every minute of this magical place where you are treated like family. Hopefully I can get back there in a year or two!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Varty Camp is the home of an African safari holiday. All rooms have private swimming pools framed by timber decks that overlook the riverine bush. The living spaces are raised off the ground and shaded under a cathedral of trees. The camp has a pleasingly down-to-earth quality and the emphasis on family heritage means that children always have a place at Varty Camp.Varty Camp is also home to the original Sparta Hunting Camp, our boutique, the Cardio Vascular Room, Massage Treatment Room and our Library. Guests from all Camps are invited to make use of these facilities. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Londolozi Varty Camp Hotel Londolozi Private Game Reserve
- Londolozi Varty Camp South Africa/Londolozi Private Game Reserve