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The name says it, and the camp lives it. Pioneer Camp honours the conservation safari pioneers from a century ago – in its energy, ethos and décor. Standing in the shade of ancient ebony trees along the Sand River, this African homestead honours history while embracing contemporary life. It’s a thread that runs through both décor and details to create the unique offering that is Pioneer Camp. There’s restored memorabilia and photographs, bespoke wallpaper in the bar that showcases the conservation safari pioneers of old. Buildings are traditional and thatched; interiors are inspired by the refreshing style of Ralph Lauren and with unusual Ardmore printed fabrics. Together these create a traditional African safari camp that is timeless and elegant – and evocatively celebrates Londolozi’s arrival in 1926.
The three interconnected luxury suites and central bush homestead are the most secluded and flexible of the Londolozi camps. In its exclusive-use bush homestead persona, Pioneer Camp is ideal for a group of friends wanting to travel together and secluded getaways for multi-generational family groups of six to 12 people. It’s everything you could dream of in a safari camp, created by a family of South African safari pioneers. The Varty family understand the land, the seasons and the wildlife, because wilderness runs through their veins. And Londolozi is still family run and inspired, just as it has been for nearly a century.
With elevated views over the Sand River and riverine forest, the camp has everything a private getaway desires. There’s a lap pool at the central homestead and each suite has its own plunge pool too. The suites are natural, elegant cocoons and two of them are connected by a glass skyway, which allows safe and easy movement between suites at night. The central homestead has a modernistic and open feeling, with its unique Map Room lounge and interactive kitchen. Plenty of fun is had as parents partner with chefs to cook, and kids create meals for their parents. It’s all about quality time together, in magnificent surroundings.
Pioneer Camp simply becomes your private homestead in the wilderness. It has a familiar and homely feeling. The beautiful established aloe gardens are filled with colourful sunbirds when flowers are in bloom, and the allure of unspoiled wilderness is there year round. Reconnecting with nature and oneself is a Londolozi specialty, because here it’s lived every day.
Experiences are tailor made and very personal too. There’s a futuristic African village to visit or the Healing House for a wellness experience using body work. Enjoy a photographic safari and then print images on canvas when you return. Visit the vast vegetable gardens or the Londolozi boutique filled with treasures from around Africa. The Cubs’ Den has a full-time teacher doing activities with children between game drives. Again, the programme is tailor made according to your child’s interests and may include Shangaan lessons, track moulding, catching flying ants, or learning bush lore. This is why guests who first visited Londolozi as children, now return with their own children.
It’s the intangibles that set the Londolozi experience apart from most others, because safari is the family’s legacy and passion. And they understand how to share the essence of wilderness with guests who come from afar to be there. It’s a place for discerning travellers who seek the heart of Africa, with no rough edges.
Reviewed by Keri Harvey
What we love:
Need to know:
3 suites, two of which are connected via an enclosed walkway
This lodge can be booked per room, or converted into an exclusive use, private family homestead for 12, max 6 adults & max 6 children
Each suite has:
1 x king bed (extra length & can be converted to a twin if requested)
En suite with indoor shower & outdoor shower
Air conditioning & fan
Private plunge pool
In addition to the king bed, each suite has an entrance area with a bathroom and a convertible day bed for small children. The lounge area in the suite can also be converted to accommodate a second child.
Children over 6 years are welcome
"Explorer" Lounge, interactive kitchen, lookout deck, breakfast balcony and a full-length lap pool
No Dogs Allowed