What the World Needs More Of

“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.” 

— David W. Orr, Ecological Literacy

We have come across a few of these peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers across Africa and the Indian Ocean. People and places we believe are making the world a more “habitable and humane” home, inspiring us daily in their purpose and dedication and pure love for the natural world and the communities of the continent and its islands.

Below are 19 people and places the world needs a lot more of…

Peacemakers

A person who brings about or promotes peace (the concept of harmony and the absence of hostility; inner and outer tranquility); creators of harmony in nature and wellness in the individual and the greater tribe.

  • Royal Chundu, Zambia

This lodge on the banks of the gentle upper Zambezi River is built on a philosophy of harmony. Peace lies in… the setting, with raised villas and walkways between the trees, to ensure a lighter footprint on the land, and the stillness of being away from it all… The community spirit – with only local Zambian employees, the support of local farmers and fishermen, and village visits to give a true sense of place to travellers and ensure that the community benefits from the lodge. And the practice of sustainable cuisine, in harmony with the earth and supportive of the local ways.

  • Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, South Africa

In the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains, Bushmans Kloof is a natural sanctuary for indigenous plant and animal life. Several endangered species, over 150 kinds of birds, 750 plant species and over 35 species of mammals live in harmony together among the open plains, sandstone formations and towering mountains The lodge works closely with the local school and communities, fostering a relationship of compassion and a more peaceful world. In the spa, guests find tranquility in treatments that marry ancient wisdom with modern expertise. 

Healers

  • Londolozi Private Game Reserve, South Africa

The Londolozi Healing House unites the safari excursion with artful resting, curated bodywork and yoga in the wilderness of a private reserve. Working with wellness practitioners, therapists and wilderness guides, this is a chance to focus on your well-being, to quieten the noise and slow down the hurried world of today, in the name of self-healing and deepening your connection to nature. Read more >

  • Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas

At the centre of this getaway on the white sand of Paje beach in Zanzibar is an Oasis with open-sided treatment rooms, hammams, showers and the soft sounds of tropical garden life that winds around every path. The wellness practitioners have a way of using the spices of the land and intuitive touch to heal body, mind and spirit, furthering the experience and going deeper with sunrise or sunset yoga on the beach, exhaling with the tides and gazing out to the horizon.

Restorers

  • North Island, Seychelles

The story of North Island is simply unique, their commitment to restoration a defining feature of the private island lodge. As part of their Noah’s Ark Project, their goal is to  restore the entire island ecosystem (degraded and overrun with invasive plant and animal species) to its original natural abundance and diversity. It has been one of the most ambitious island rehabilitation programmes ever undertaken by a private company and a handful of NGO partners. Read more >

  • Camp Jabulani, South Africa

It is pure heart that drives Camp Jabulani, in the Kapama Private Game Reserve of South Africa. Under the wing of owner, Adine Roode and with a team of committed elephant handlers and conservationists, the tale of this sanctuary for orphaned elephants is one of the most genuine and inspiring you will hear. It is one that knows no bounds, with their additional work with the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, where rescued rhinos and other at risk wild animals are cared for.

  • Anjajavy le Lodge, Madagascar

A true haven of Madagascan wilderness, Anjajavy le Lodge has been pivotal in the creation of a protected area of Anjajavy, including forest and marine areas, ensuring the rewilding, biodoversity and sustainability of a region under threat. GM, Cedric du Foucault and his team worked tirelessly to restore this north-west peninsula, the land, the animals and the quality of life for the community. In the last nine years, they have accomplished: the scientific reintroduction of aye-ayes and giant tortoises, after extinction in the wild for 700 years; important research on fosa; and the replanting of 400 000 trees.

All in all, “somewhat of a miracle,” says Cedric.

Storytellers

  • Dereck & Beverly Joubert, Great Plains Conservation

Who? Filmmaker, Dereck Joubert, and photographer, Beverly Joubert – National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence, wildlife conservationists and the inspiring husband and wife team behind Great Plains Conservation and its Relais & Châteaux camps in Kenya and Botswana (Mara Plains Camp, ol Donyo Lodge, Zarafa Camp and Duba Plains Camp).

Why? Their deep love for Africa’s wild spaces and beings has led them across Africa, capturing the stories of leopards in the Maasai Mara, Okavango lions, migrating wildebeest, wandering elephants, rhino relocations and the Maasai culture… creating in the last 30 years: 25 films, 11 books, six scientific papers, and several articles for National Geographic magazine, focusing on large predator species. They have received eight Emmys, a Peabody, the World Ecology Award, and in 2009 they were inducted into the American Academy of Achievement.

In Beverly’s words, “A great image should tell a story and start a conversation.” A conversation, in the Jouberts’ case, of conservation.

Read more:

The Way of the Wild Artist – Beverly Joubert – 10 Questions

The Dignity of Dereck Joubert – 10 Questions

  • Peter Tempelhoff, The Cellars-Hohenort

Who? Executive Chef at The Cellars-Hohenort and Greenhouse restaurant in Cape Town, Peter Tempelhoff.

Why? Peter weaves his tales through food – the stories of his own life, journey and passions and those of the region, the Cape and greater South Africa. The menu at Greenhouse presents dishes that look beyond the pantry and into the oceans, farms and orchards of the county for inspiration, sharing the local culture, traditions and flavours with diners. Read more > 

Discover Peter’s recent night of culinary storytelling at Ellerman House here >

Lovers

There are few places in the world where the romance of life, a sense of joie de vivre, is so strong that it manages not only to bring couples closer but also to make individuals fall in love with their own lives, with themselves and with life all over again.

It takes a certain spirit and fire, the kind we have encountered at 20 Degres Sud, Mauritius, and Blue Margouillat, Reunion Island, for instance, over languid meals and fine wines, and yes, long walks on the beach… 

Delaire Graff Estate in the Cape Winelands has sparked the lover in many of us, charmed by the estate’s wines, its vines and gardens designed with the term “Genius Loci” (‘the Spirit of the place’) in mind. AtholPlace Hotel & Villa, Johannesburg, with its Honeymoon suite and Marie Antoinette style breakfast on the private patio, Ellerman House, with the Atlantic Ocean peering through the open door, as we rest under the sheets a little longer, or sip champagne on the terrace.

In its intimate setting on a cliff in the Big 5 wilderness of Nambiti Private Game Reserve, Esiweni Luxury Safari Lodge has gathered us around a campfire to watch the sun go down, while the silhouette of a giraffe passes by and a glass of Moet finds a way into our hands.

At Chateau de Feuilles, Seychelles, lovers are made in a pool on top of the world, looking out over the Indian Ocean’s waters and wishing to be nowhere else but right there, in that moment.

Read more in our blogs:

8 African Experiences to Transform You

The Art of Giving. And Giving Well.

The Importance Of Being Educated

August in the Wild – A Camp Jabulani Ranger Reflects…

Camp Jabulani Ranger, Dohan Scheepers, shares insight into his recent adventures in the Kapama wilderness of South Africa.

Read more on Camp Jabulani’s blog >

“The past few weeks have been incredibly busy at the lodge, as we are now entering into some of the busiest months of the year. We are well into our South African winter, which has been extremely mild and pleasant this year, with the daytime average of approximately 26 – 28°Celsius /80°Fahrenheit.”

“I personally love this time of year, as the sun rises a little later than in summer, which allows guests to sleep in a little longer, if they were to consider doing an early morning game drive. One of the unique aspects of the guest experience at Camp Jabulani, is that guests have the freedom to decide when they would prefer to set out to explore the wildlife, but I always try to encourage them to at least do one early morning game drive with me, as it is my favourite time of the day.”

“We would set off just before the sun rises, to be out in the thick of the bush in good time to experience the first light of the day, with the sun peeking out over the horizon, welcoming us to a new and fresh day in Africa. Listening to the birds waking up, and the mammals stirring, as they vocalise between one another. It is a time for guests to feel the moment and truly appreciate their surroundings, and connected to nature rather than to Wi-Fi and electronics.

“Then to top it off, we stop in a safe clearing, to enjoy a much appreciated hot cup of coffee, or a hot chocolate together, with a delicious muffin or biscuit,  and just enjoy the moment together. Some guests take this time to reflect quietly about their surroundings, and other times, guest are buzzing with questions and curiosity about nature.”

“Africa has a way of touching people on a many different levels, and I love witnessing that, every day with my our guests…”

Thank you for sharing, Dohan. Till next our paths cross…

The Philosophy of Karen Zoid – The Ellerman Sessions

She stands in front of us in the colours of rock ‘n roll. South Africa’s original rock chick, people call her. Black coat, black shirt and black jeans. Brown boots. Endless cords wind round and round the stage at her feet, like the roots of a tree, connecting it all, Karen to her bassist and pianist, the front of the tent over the terrace at Ellerman House to the back, performer to audience.

Musician, Jon Savage introduces her: “a human with such fire, passion, courage and …”

“Integrity,” someone from the crowd shouts out.

“She has fought her way to get to her position today,” Jon says. “Please welcome, the star, the icon, the incredible legend… Karen Zoid!”

Since releasing her first solo album, Poles Apart in 2002, Karen has become an icon in the South African rock music scene. She’s known for her fierce individuality, her “take me as I am” attitude (“Dis my lewe en dis my look”), her ability to speak her mind (“I’m an extrovert. I can keep talking all night”), and her lyrics that range from the light and witty to the deep and soulful.

She has shared the stage with international acts like John Mayer, Annie Lennox, Metallica, Simple Plan, Hothouse Flowers, Seal and UB40.

On stage with her tonight is bassist, Schalk van der Merwe, “Mr Cool in the band, a friend and hero,” Karen calls him, and pianist, Kyle Petersen.

The music begins…

You’re beautiful, you know it’s true
I could go black, I could go blue
You’re beautiful, there are no lies
Only the river, only the sky

She moves from song to song, from one “for all the housewives and dads who take their kids to school” to one called, Big Mouth, written for a drummer she once worked with (“drummers are all weird, women love them, they’re always leaving stuff behind and they sit throughout the whole show. This drummer I had loved complaining, so I wrote this song for him as a joke.”)

Before the next song, Karen stops to tune the guitar. She says the cold has gotten to the strings, but I can hardly feel the chill in the air – not from between the lights and wine and swaying bodies.

“Paul Harris, the owner of Ellerman House, told me that he’s a Rolling Stones fan, so this one is for him,” she says, leading us into a cover of a Stones’ classic, sung by Keith Richards.

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses, we’ll ride them some day

The song reveals the beautiful tone to Karen’s voice – its rich range and diversity – and you realise what it is that has made her stand out in the rock world. It’s also the kind of song that arrests time, has you gazing off into space, pondering everything or nothing at all.

Karen’s eyes close and I sense her losing herself to the tune too, drifting down the tunnel with us. I wonder where she goes to – behind closed eyes – and then she opens them again and she’s back in the room with us. The spell is broken and I see the furniture of her home on stage again.

Before singing what she calls an ode to Cape Town in the winter, Karen explains that it’s her favourite season here in the Cape: “there are fewer tourists, and I write more and feel more creative and inspired in the cold.”

Then there are those well-known lyrics…

And I looked at you
And you looked to me
And I thought to myself
I’ll get stuck in a small room with you
Any day, any day…

Followed by a song for her son, (“If I go, when I go,” she says, “please tell my son this song is for him and play him the track…”) and Toe Vind Ek Jou, about which she says, “I wrote this with Francois van Coke, of Fokofpolisiekar,” the well-known South African rock band. “It’s a love song. I think it did so well because we didn’t try too hard, it was simply Francois writing to one person, his wife, and it was honest, from the heart.”

The philosopher in Karen reveals itself here and there; she admits she sees a bit of herself in Socrates.

“In Alain du Botton’s constellations of philosophy, he talks about Socrates – this guy who drank too much, couldn’t read or write but had strong ideas about things, and he let his wife do anything she liked, and people didn’t like that and they wanted to kill him. But until the day he died, he was at peace with the fact that the world was a mess, different to him, and that people didn’t like him. He didn’t write any of his ideas down – it was Plato who came around after him and did that. But Socrates held onto his ideas and ideals even when everyone was against him and he was willing to die for them. And as musicians, we always end up in places most people don’t and you need to remember to hold onto your inner power as you move through this messed up world. Like Socrates. We musicians are just a bunch of philosophers, conveying our feelings and ideas to the world.”

On that note, Karen chants…

I’m about to go insane
On this lonely aeroplane
Everybody looks the same
On a lonely aeroplane

The band plays a mash-up of song lyrics (“You can go your own way… Take me to the water… I got soul but I’m not a soldier…”) and finishes with Great Heart, by a man Karen calls “the essence of what a South African should be.”

Mr Johnny Clegg.

Before she sings, she adds, “Thank you, Ellerman House, thank you for your support of South African music and art,” reminding us of where we are, and what we’re here to celebrate: not merely the songs of a country, but the stories of a continent. “Your life is a story like the wind, your life is a story like the wind,” Johnny and Savuka sang….

The world is full of strange behaviour
Every man has to be his own saviour
I know I can make it on my own if I try
But I’m searching for a Great Heart to stand me by
Underneath the African sky
A Great Heart to stand me by…

Thank you to Ellerman House and their Head Chef, Grant Daniels, in collaboration with Peter Tempelhoff, Exec Chef at The Cellars-Hohenort, for the delicious cuisine and wine. The Ellerman Sessions are made all the more special with their partners, BMW, Bvlgari and Moët & Chandon joining in.

Take a look at future Ellerman Sessions here.