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

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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.

LVMH Acquires Luxury Travel's Belmond Hotels | Will Bernard Arnault Help Save The Elephants

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AOC awoke Saturday morning to news that LVMH has set in motion the acquisition of Belmond Hotels. “Belmond, a fast-growing company based in London, offers its wealthy customers some of the most opulent travel experiences money can buy in settings like the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro and Orient Express trains connecting major European cities,” wrote The New York Times.

LVMH, the world’s largest luxury company based on revenues from brands like Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Fendi, offered to pay $25 a share for Belmond, a premium of more than 40 percent on the company’s closing price, in a deal valued at $2.6 billion.

The deal emphasized the limitless financial resources available to the world’s very rich customers. as well as the ongoing move away from buying ‘things’ and the growing appetite for ‘experiences’. This transition to the value of ‘experiences’ is pronounced among the entire younger generation, regardless of income, and dovetails well with their environmental concerns over accumulating more stuff.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that Friday’s Porter Edit had a sponsored post from Belmond Africa, based in South Africa and Botswana. The luxury hotel jumping off point gave us an opportunity to update the hot topic of the well-being of Botswana’s elephants, the largest elephant population in Africa and one that has been relatively stable until disputed reports of almost 90 dead elephants hit headlines in September.

One of the greatest conservation challenges in Africa is the cost of upgrading the continent’s parks and employing the resources to fight animal poaching. As many African leaders are quick to note, Europeans, Americans and other armchair conservationists are are more concerned about elephants and lions than African babies. AOC finds it difficult to dispute the assertion.

In October 2018, researchers put a price on protecting Africa’s wildlife at a minimum of $1.2 billion each year.

Our mind is always big picture at AOC — along with connecting dots — so of course the first question that came to mind after reading about the LVMH acquisition of Belmond Hotels was wondering how Bernard Arnault help help save the world’s elephants and other big game.

Conservationists argue that luxury hotels, capitalizing on the beauty and majesty of Africa’s wildlife, simply must become a source of revenue and creative policy making in keeping wildlife alive. LVMH may not have the in-house skill set to sponsor such an initiative, but Arnault’s teams certainly have the financial budget to acquire it.

Tanzania's Selous Safari Company Recycled Their Taka Taka Long Ago With Minimal Footprint Policies

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I've been on the hunt for bamboo tubes used in our GlamTribal jewelry and this gorgeous image from Tanzania's Selous Safari Company is causing me to have a eureka moment! I'm probably finding them to be so scarce because larger bamboo tubes are now being used as straws. 

One of the core values and main objectives of Selous Safari Company is its commitment to have minimal impact on the environment. 

Long before it was mainstream practice, SSC stopped using plastic bags, started using solar power, set out to recycle all their "taka taka" (Swahili word for garbage) and ceased using plastic bottles. Selous Safari Company also stopped using plastic straws… without a firm plan for their replacement.

A bit of creative meditation, most likely accompanied by a delicious cocktail or two on their magnificent beach, produced the answer: Bamboo straws! And NOT delivered by Amazon. REAL, AUTHENTIC bamboo straws. 

SSC's beach lodge, Ras Kutani, on the Swahili Coast has plenty of bamboo, and the creative minds went into high gear. Read their blog post for further instructions.  Here in America, GlamTribal will order our own bamboo straws, treat them with only eco-friendly varnish, perhaps even decoupage them. Who knows what ideas will be inspired by the bamboo straws created by Tanzania's Selous Safari Company!

If a trip to Tanzania isn't in your budget this minute, consider taking a hatchet to your monthly must-haves, buy our woolly mammoth bone, bamboo tubes, black lava pendant and imagine yourself at Jongomero, another Selous Safari Company property. 

Surely, you can give up a pumpkin latte or 10 a month, just to put on your pendant in this splendid, rustic elegance at Jongomero

PS250 Woolly Mammoth Bone Bamboo Tubes Black Lava Pendant w/Earrings
85.00

FREE SHIPPING IN US

Sizing: 24" L to top of pendant INCLUDING bamboo tubes adjusting to 28.5"" fully open w/extender. Plus pendant measuring 2 1/4"L x 2".  Earrings 1 1/2"L

Finding: 12mm antique gold swivel lobster clasp. 11mm antique gold, stainless steel earwire. 4.5” handmade chain extender.

10% of retail price supports Kibera (Nairobi) School for Girls and elephant conservation in Kenya.

Studio-made: unique pendant w/speckled bone tube and elephant charm resting on black lava. Other materials: 1 woolly mammoth bone bead, carved bone beads, specked bone tube, brass mini spacers, bamboo tubes, yellow and black crow bead, twigs, acai bead, faceted tortoise glass, antique gold brass filigree tubes. HOPE and PEACE spacers.

NOTE: I’ve updated pendant with elephant and bee on jumpring, to keep elephant from moving to back of black lava. Ellie still moves but doesn’t get lost.

Handcrafted in America; natural variations and minor substitutions for sizing apply. Statue not included. Pendant shipped in burlap bag w/recycled tissue.

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