Mixing Nelson Mandela's Spirit With Navajo + Peruvian Practices, Londolozi South Africa Opens Healing House Spa

Londolozi__2018_Londolozi-Game-Reserve_-Private-Granite-Suites-Main-area.jpg

Londolozi is one of South Africa’s original private game reserves, considered to be a pillar of global ecotourism. The word Londolozi comes from the Zulu word meaning ‘Protector Of All Living Things’. The Londolozi Game Reserve lived up to its name, in the reflections of Dave Varty’s 2013 blog post ‘Remembering Madiba’.

As the helicopter landed in the front of Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa and outstepped Nelson Mandela, I knew that this would be a defining moment in my life. Madiba had been sent by an old friend, Enos Mabuza, to spend a few quiet days relaxing at Londolozi after weeks of hectic media exposure following his release from prison earlier that year.

A rare photograph of Nelson Mandela arriving at Londolozi in 1991.

A rare photograph of Nelson Mandela arriving at Londolozi in 1991.

During these amazing days at Londolozi, Nelson Mandela saw Africa’s Big Five wildlife — lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo — for the first time in his life. The term ‘Africa’s Big Five’ was originally coined by big-game hunters, and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. Today the term is more frequently used by safari operators offering well-heeled tourists glimpses of animal majesty.

It was at Londolozi that Mandela — or Madiba — as he was called with reverence in South Africa and beyond, came to understand the power of the eco tourism safari industry as a development tool. Eco tourism promised opportunity, careers, social upliftment, jobs and education for those who had been caught in the indefensible disaster of the apartheid trap. 

Londolozi is situated on the Sand River it the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park. In 1993, Londolozi became the first game reserve in the world to be accorded Relais & Châteaux status.

This award came nearly 70 years after Londolozi founders Charles Boyd Varty and Frank Unger, came up with a plan to buy an almost inaccessible piece of land on the banks of the Sand River, camp under its 1,000-year-old ebony trees, and run hunting safaris there.  In 1969, Varty’s grandsons Dave and John, and Dave’s wife Shan took stewardship of Londolozi, ditching guns for cameras in an entrepreneurial launch of South Africa’s first photographic safaris.

This Could Just Be The Most Forward-Thinking Wellness Offering in Africa

Writing for CNTraveller, Francesca Syz takes us to Londolozi and the reopening of its most exclusive offering — the three-bedroom Private Granite Suites, positioned perfectly for watching elephants frolic from its new bar, and the 10-bedroom Varty Camp, which sits in the footprint of the family’s original mud rondavels. 

Londolozi has also opened its first spa, the Healing House, and London-based Syz describes it as potentially “the most forward-thinking wellness offering in Africa.” In a story that spans generations Dave and Shan Varty have been replaced by their children Bronwyn and Boyd, who are the newest visionaries behind Londolozi.

Trained by Oprah’s life coach Martha Beck, the duo is heavily impacted by Beck’s belief “that the senses are deadened by desk jobs and smartphones and that you need to learn to listen to your body, the ultimate navigational tool, to tap into your innate wisdom”. Beck struck a deep cord in the modern-day hearts of Bronwyn and Boyd.

Impacted by their studies with Navaho medicine men and Peruvian shamans, sound — long considered to an original healing fix — is at the center of their rituals. These practices render Londolozi’s new spa as a fusion experience of ancient global practices that now harness the energy of the African wilderness. Read on at CNTraveller.

Tiffany Commits To Sourcing Transparency For Diamonds .18 Carats and Larger

Tiffany transparency 11419.jpg

Tiffany & Co appears on AOC frequently, given their significant contributions to wildlife conservation, frequently working with superhuman Doutzen Kroes. Tiffany & Co understands that younger customers have different values from their parents and grandparents, when the topic is inclusivity and responding to our global climate crisis. These younger customers are also concerned about the sourcing of their products in an industry known for some heartless business practices around the world.

Tiffany transparency country of origin.jpg

The Fifth Avenue jeweler has now committed to full transparency around the origins and ultimately the journey from mining to a sale at Tiffany & Co of all of its diamonds (0.18 and larger.

The diamond’s provenance will be listed directly next to the stone in stores, and a unique serial number, invisible to the naked eye, will be laser-etched on the gem’s surface. By 2020, the jewelry house vows to share the entire craftsmanship journey of each diamond, including cutting and polishing workshops in addition to the mine’s location.

“Through transparency in sourcing and craftsmanship, we hope that people will further understand the important journey of a Tiffany diamond, and its positive impacts around the world,” said Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chief sustainability officer at Tiffany & Co.

Israel Proposes Protecting Woolly Mammoth Ivory To Save Commingled Poached Elephant Ivory

WoolyMammothHeader-12018.png

Woolly mammoths are long extinct for a minimum of 10,000 years in most global locations. Initially, many conservationists hoped that the discovery of long-frozen mammoth remains — including their tusks — would take pressure off the poaching of African elephants for their ivory.

It appears that those hopes are now dashed, with an acknowledement that the legal transport of mammoth ivory often moves with its cousin’s ivory as part of the shipment. As a result, Israel has proposed that mammoths become protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, (CITES) closing a loophole in which freshly-slaughtered tusks are transported as legal mammoth ivory. Such a decision would mark the first time an extinct species is listed as protected under Cities.

“They are often intermingled in shipment and retail displays, and are fashioned in a similar style. To the untrained eye it’s very difficult to distinguish between them,” said Iris Ho, senior specialist in wildlife programmes and policy at Humane Society International (HSI). “There is currently no international regulatory regime to track and monitor the commercial trade in mammoth ivory.”

A Move To Make Extinct Woolly Mammoths A Protected Species

Kitty Block, the president of HSI, said in The Guardian: “With ivory traffickers exploiting the long-extinct mammoth so they can further exploit imperilled elephants, nations must unite to end the poaching epidemic and ensure all ivory markets are closed. The time to act is now, before we lose them forever.”

The proposal to protect mammoth ivory needs the support of two-third of parties represented at the Cities conference taking place in Sri Lanka in May. The meeting is expected to be contentious without the ivory discussion because nine African countries are pushing to reclassify the elephants of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe from Appendix II to I, offering maximum protection for the species.

However, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe seek to weaken existing restrictions on their ability to export existing ivory stockpiles, refusing to burn them as Kenya has done. Zambia is also seeking to downgrade its elephants from Appendix I to II, in order to legally export raw ivory.