Pioneer Camp is situated in the heart of the world renowned Sabi Sands Game Reserve and is one of just five luxurious lodges at Londolozi Private Game Reserve. Of Londolozi's five camps, Pioneer camp is the most secluded, boasting some incredible views of the Sand River.
Steeped in history, the camp's memorabilia tells a story of the lives of safari pioneers from just under a century ago. Ultra luxurious, yet carries all the elements of authentic bushveld living and classic elegance. It's an incredibly private, yet flexible family atmosphere.
Upon arrival at the camp, you are surrounded by a canopy of 500 year old ebony trees, friendly smiles and a sense of warmth and belonging like you wouldn't have experienced before.
It is for this reason, that Pioneer camp remains one of my all time favourite safari camps.
From the moment you arrive, you are met by the camp manager, butler, guide and tracker and immediately made to feel like family as opposed to guests. Walking through the camp, you can feel the history engraved in the walls around you. The attention to detail is simply remarkable, nothing out of place, everything positioned perfectly, adding character to the camp as a whole.
With regards to the safari experience, I believe that there are few better guiding teams in the world. Londolozi perform an incredibly intense training program that breeds confident, knowledgable and extremely capable guides, paired with some of the best trackers in the industry, the safari experience you will have is second to none. The Reserve itself is extremely diverse with a large portion of the sand river running through the property, offering beautifully scenic drives along its banks, to vast open plains and everything in between.
There is no doubt in my mind that by the time you leave Pioneer Camp, Londolozi would have stolen a piece of your heart, not only from the safari experience, but the people too. I believe that it is the people that make or break an experience and Londolozi has found the balance between it all.
The Lodge & Rooms
Pioneer Camp is as it's name would suggest, a celebration of the pioneers of the industry. Each image with a story, a memory, something significant in the tale of Londolozi. Remembering where it all started, I believe lays the foundation for creating what Londolozi as a whole is today. What I really love about this camp is, apart from the history, the fact that it is very open, spacious and welcoming, yet secluded and private. From the moment you walk through the door, you can feel the warmth and energy, and there are very few camps that can instill this feeling, by simply walking through it.
With three interconnected luxury suites, Pioneer camp is small and intimate, perfectly suited for honeymoon couples as well as families that want to take exclusive use of this beautiful camp.
My personal highlights from Pioneer Camp
I was fortunate enough to work at Londolozi for 4 years, and to even begin to describe what I learnt and experienced is simply impossible. Londolozi will always hold a special place in my heart as a place where I believe I grew the most.
I have nothing but extremely fond memories of my time at Londolozi and to pin point just a few highlights is really tough.
But, considering I am in this industry, you may be surprised to know that I am in fact not a morning person at all. I am generally someone who takes time to get going in the morning, with the absolute exception of being on safari, where I am the complete opposite.
A stand out highlight for me is not just a single moment, but my daily routine. My tracker and I used to arrive at camp about half an hour early, we would make coffee and then sit quietly on the deck at camp and listen to the bush waking up. We would try and get an idea of what we could do that morning or what direction we were going to take. Often we would hear the distant roar of lions or the vocalised sawing sound of a leopard as it moves through the sand river. We would try our best to figure out where the sound was coming from, and its moments like that, that I really cherish.
Apart from the intense training program I went through, I loved tracking. Once again, not pin pointing one single moment, but having the ability to get off the vehicle with my tracker, whose friendship I cherished and really enjoyed, and head off on foot in search of whatever tracks we had found was spectacular. Being able to sit back and observe these trackers go about their business was truly remarkable. They were able to see things that no one could, but not only the art of tracking itself, but in the manner in which many of these lessons could relate to real life. These are the memories I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Pioneer Camp in a nutshell
Who should go? Pioneer Camp is ideally suited for a family who want exclusive use of a camp, or couples that are looking for a little more peace and quiet while on safari.
When to go? Londolozi is great all year round, with something different to see depending on the time of year you go. The winter months are the cooler months and the drier vegetation makes game spotting a little easier, however, summer months are vibrant in colour and also the birthing season for animals such as impala and wildebeest, bringing new life to the bush. My personal favourite time of the year is June, July and August, the main reason being that I love the colder months, waking up on crisp mornings and witnessing the golden colours presented on those icy winter mornings.
How to get there: There are two flight options. Firstly, Federal Air connecting directly from OR Tambo International Airport to the Londolozi private Airstrip (roughly a 50 minute flight) followed by a short 5 minute drive to Pioneer Camp. Secondly, SA Airlink connecting from OR Tambo International Airport directly to the Skukuza Airport (50 min flight) followed by a 40 minute transfer drive to Londolozi Pioneer Camp. There is also a scenic road transfer option which will take about 6 hours.
Suggested length of stay: I would recommend a minimum of three nights at Pioneer Camp given how diverse the property is and how fantastic the game viewing is.
Insider Tip: Take a trip up to the creative hub, where you can work on some of your photos and even take home a printed canvas of one of your own images.
Please feel free to get in touch with me directly should you want to know more about this incredible place!