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Villages to Visit while at Londolozi and Madike Safari Lodge

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Dec 4th, 2005, 04:14 PM
  #1
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Villages to Visit while at Londolozi and Madike Safari Lodge

Our family, 2 adults, 2 small toddlers, and 2 friends are leaving for South Africa on December 17 for 2 weeks. After a stop in J'burg and Sun City, we are flying to Londolozi for 2 nights and then on to Madike Safari Lodge for 3 nights. We will then spend 4 nights in Capetown. Needless to say, we are beyond excited for our first trip to South Africa. My question is this...are there villages reasonably close to the two lodges (Londolozi and Madikwe Safari Lodge) where we can visit during the afternoons? Anytime we travel, our highlight is to always see and experience how people live in their native environment. Any information or advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Dec 5th, 2005, 04:22 PM
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I think the lodges can arrange such a visit for you. You may also want to consider working with Selwyn Davidowitz, a frequent poster here who runs a guide service in Cape Town, which features a visit with people at their homes in one of Cape Town's former townships. Everyone who has worked with Selwyn has been incredibly effusive in their praise.
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Dec 5th, 2005, 10:29 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I will get in touch with Selwyn Davidowitz right away. Sounds like just the experience we are looking for!
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Dec 6th, 2005, 02:22 PM
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I emailed Selwyn and he is going to take us on his very special township tour while in Capetown. Thank you>
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Dec 6th, 2005, 02:42 PM
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I'm sure it will be great. Selwyn's tours have always received uniformly excellent reviews. I went on a township tour (Soweto) when I was in Johannesburg, and it was extremely enlightening. I was glad I added a day in Johannesburg instead of immediately departing for safari, and I'm sure the township tour from Cape Town will be even more interesting since you'll have the benefit of a local's perspective.
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Dec 6th, 2005, 04:04 PM
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Londolozi has a small village for the African workers and their families. It is worth a visit because you the brief tour includes a stop at the pre-school/elementary school. The children will introduce themselves and then sing to you...it's very touching. I contributed some money to the school during my visit and then mailed the teacher a box of clothing after returning to the States. If you plan on visiting a school, you might take some extra children's clothing or school supplies to give to the teacher for distribution. Just an idea, as the children have very few material possessions and we obviously have so much. You will absolutley love the Londolozi reserve and game viewing...enjoy!
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Dec 6th, 2005, 04:17 PM
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Not to sound mean, but I always thought that people went to the Sabi Sand to avoid (native) Africans. It is just so insulated and is one of the few areas where there are a minority of black guides.

But, in trying to be helpful, I would contact your agent with this question or contact CCAfrica since you are staying at Londolozi and Madikwe Safari Lodge. I imagine a contrived type of cultural experience but I could be totally wrong.
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Dec 6th, 2005, 07:10 PM
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Rocco,
You've been to Sabi Sands on your last three safaris, have you been going there purposely to avoid "native Africans"? Also, I think you're staying at two CCAfrica camps in Tanzania. I think that Lolazahra was trying to ask a legitimate question, it's their first trip to South Africa, and your reply seemed to put them in the wrong for some reason.

Lolazahra, take the village tour mentioned by Girlpolo above, it's just a short walk, so your toddlers may be able to go with you. Unless something has changed at Madikwe since we were there, I don't think there's anything like this available, but you could have your agent check with CCAfrica. It's true that your ranger (guide) at both camps will probably be white (although that's not a given), but particularly at LZ, your ranger and tracker will be very very good.

Hope you have a great trip!
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Dec 6th, 2005, 08:16 PM
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The Village of Lekgophung is adjacent to Madikwe and the community owns the Buffalo Ridge Safari lodge. I will be staying there in March and they are arranging a Village tour for me. As most lodges probably have staff from that community I would assume that Madikwe Safari Lodge could also arrange a tour if requested in advance.

While I have not yet been there I would recommend that people look at Buffalo Ridge, they have a great web site www.buffaloridgesafari.com

I think it is very important to support these kind of community owned ventures. Damaraland Camp in Namibia is this way too and I loved that experience -- a little different than other camps I have been too which made it very special.
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Dec 7th, 2005, 06:27 AM
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Rocco - that's such BS.
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Dec 7th, 2005, 07:28 AM
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napamatt,

Just my opinion. Come on Matt...take a look around the Sabi Sand lodges...curio shops, 25+ lodges and 500+ beds within a very small area, dial out telephones in many rooms, now with Ratray's there are golf carts for those who do not wish to walk to their rooms, etc. I have had white South African managers in Zambia complain to me that it is more of a beauty contest/personality contest when it comes to guiding in the Sabi Sand. So, not only are the white guides favored over all others, but even the good looking, younger and extroverted white guides are favored over white guides that may have great knowledge and experience but that do not fit the profile of a typical Sabi Sand guide. Those are not my words, but the words of a manager of a Zambian camp that I stayed at.

My reply was not meant as a criticism of the original poster. Yes, I am staying at CCAfrica's camps in Tanzania but I do not expect a cultural experience at these places.
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Dec 7th, 2005, 09:06 AM
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I second the notion of visiting the employees' camp at Londolozi -- a wonderful place. You'll have a butler at Londo, and mine was happy to show me around. If you have a digital camera, be sure to take it along -- the kids at the school get a kick out of seeing their pictures on the camera's LED screen.

Rocco's comments seem to me to be preposterous. My butler, my guide, and my tracker at Londolozi were all black Africans (a Swazi, a Mozambican, and a South African). The unfortunate excuse that Rocco is just parroting someone else's thoughts carry no weight with me.
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Dec 7th, 2005, 09:21 AM
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rizzuto,

hehe...were you expecting a white butler?

I have been to the Sabi Sand on three occasions and on all three occasions I have had white guides. On all three occasions (Singita, Vuyatela and Simbambili) there was not even a single black guide or manager (actual manager or asst. manager).

Three visits is not a large sampling but it is good enough for me to form an opinion. Perhaps CCAfrica is better at integration than some of the other companies, and if so, I applaud CCAfrica. I have only stayed at one CCAfrica camp, Matetsi Water Lodge, and I will say that there was a black assistant manager and that my guide, tracker, and, yes, even my butler, was black.
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Dec 7th, 2005, 10:18 AM
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Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica.
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Dec 7th, 2005, 11:41 AM
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Wow what a bizzare thread...The initial poster wanted to visit a village and then it goes belly up with accusations of racism....

The facts: The Sabi Sand attracts young South Africans who are quite simply fulfilling their dreams as game reangers. Employed in the main for their knowledge personalities and interactive skills.

The Sabi Sand draws from the surrounding communiities which, by virtue of South Africas leagcy, have produced unskilled labour as a result of economies and poor if any schooling facilities.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve in the height of apartheid promoted four trackers to Rangers, William Hlastwayo, Raymond Ndlovu, Elliott Mgiba & Frans Sibuyi were as I recall it the first. This was just on twenty years ago. Since then many more of the tracking staff have completed their training programs and have found employment as rangers, camp managers and myriad other management positions. Many of them have found employment in other areas too. William Hlatsway, Lazuras Lekuleni two examples that I know of found their way into the Kruger National Parks management. Oh and on a side note: Willy Hlatswayo was sent by Sabi Sabi to attened an OWLS course in the USA for a summer some years back.

Londolozi started a village in the reserve, which was frowned upon as it presented security issues for the Sabi sand. Mala Mala has never quite been able to embrace SA's new disposition, currently they employ Dixon Mkansi as a ranger.

ALL of the S/Sands properties contribute to the local economy through employment, some our more deeply involved. That is each companies preogotive, it's free enterprise and bottom line driven.

Now back to the original question. Outside the reserve is a charming village in a town called lillydale B. You will find a couple of schools worth visiting where the community will welcome you, as they will anywhere else, however this community is under a ten minute drive from the newington gate (closest to londolozi) so should not be a big issue for them to get you there. What is unique about the school is that it was built and is financed by Reservations Africa, a Canadian tour business.
Check the link. www.reservationsafrica.com and follow the link to the fund raising project for more info.

Someone advised the link to buffalo Rodge, yes when you are there they have an inyterested community and too would be delighted to host you.

Go and make sure you do it. It is an eye opening and emotional experience.
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Dec 7th, 2005, 01:10 PM
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Mala Mala also has a ranger called Bens, who was promoted before Dixon. I think the comment that they have been slow to change is valid, but change is coming.

As for the manager at this camp said...

Most camps I have been to, have subtle and not so subtle put downs of their competition, wherever it may be. In fact this board has had many stories of WS accusing Chiefs of driving to close to Mombo, then Selinda complaing about Duma Tau.

You pays your money...

Rocco - what do curio shops have to do with people avoiding black people?
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Dec 7th, 2005, 01:20 PM
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napamatt,

Nothing. My mention of curio shops was to suggest that by their existence it lent to a more commercialized experience in the Sabi Sand, further removing it from a less commercialized experience. My point being that the more commercialized an area, the less opportunity for what many would consider an authentic cultural experience.
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Dec 7th, 2005, 01:38 PM
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Rocco,
I'm not sure what you mean by an "authentic cultural experience". If you mean more black Africans in their older traditional roles, then I guess as more black South Africans have the opportunity for better education and become doctors, teachers, engineers, and lawyers of course, then that won't be "authentic" enough for you.
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Dec 7th, 2005, 02:01 PM
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brandywine,

A good start would be to see blacks as guides and managers or assistant managers as they seem to be more often in Botswana and Zambia than in the Sabi Sand. I don't know if this is the norm at other Southern African lodges in Kruger, Madikwe and Phinda since I have not yet visited.
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Dec 7th, 2005, 02:24 PM
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I've only been to Londolozi in Sabi Sands, so maybe Sabi Sands has been more slow to change. There are also some very experienced, well educated guides at some of these older Sabi Sands camps that maybe should have a chance to stay on, as many of them love their jobs. I assume (hopefully) more and more of the new guides will be black Africans.
To me, a good start would be that more people are better educated, and that more jobs become available in all aspects, so they would have more choices for job opportunities in all fields, not just the safari industry..

But I still think it was ridiculous to assume that going to Sabi Sands somehow makes one a rascist.
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