1989 I made a children's TV series called Bush School. It
was distributed by Disney and showed all over the world.
There were six kids in the show & Shan Varty was their
teacher. Bronwyn & Boyd Varty, Simon & Adam Bannister, and
Tidi & Sizie Modise.
Brownyn recently married Richard Laburn,
and she heads up Londolozi's marketing department. In recent
years Bronnie has taken Londolozi to great heights. Today
she is regarded as a world authority in the marketing of
Boyd continues on his unique life
journey. He trains new game rangers at Londolozi and markets
Londolozi world wide. Boyd recently completed his first book
"Cathedral in the Wild". Boyd's off beat sense of humour
promises to make this book an entertaining read.
Simon Max Bannister is famous for the
words in Bush School "Nampak asks you, please do not
After half an hour with Max in
conversation, you will soon realize that creatively he is
from another planet. In short, he sees the world from a
different perspective from you & me.
Max recently won the Wildlife Artist of
the Year award for a Journey of Giraffe sculpture. In London
he received the prize from David Shepherd.
When I Asked Max to design me a
life-size sculpture of Tiger Corbett, he used flames to
create the stripes of the Tiger. Such is the out of the box
thought process of Simon Max Bannister!
Adam Bannister, after guiding at
Londolozi, has left his comfort zone and spent time
photographing Jaguar in the Pantanal in Brazil.
Now he's doing Leopard and Tiger in India
and is rapidly becoming a world authority on big cats.
Adam is also a world class photographer.
I met Tidi Modise when he was 5 years
old, sleeping on the floor of a 3 metre square hut in
Alexandra Township with his mother and younger brother.
This was at the height of apartheid and
violence was everywhere. Bullet holes peppered the walls of
the tiny room. I was appalled by what I saw and managed to
get Tidi, his mother & brother into a cottage in the suburb
Tidi completed his education and went on
to gain his Springbok colours for Karate.
When I lay in hospital after the
helicopter accident, Tidi & his mother Reginah walked a
considerable distance every day to visit me. It is something
I will never forget.
Today Tidi has his Fegasa 1 & is
considered an expert on reptiles.
At Tiger Canyons Tidi guides guests to
photograph Tigers, edits movies and photoshops pictures for
Tidi has come a long way since the day I
met him in a bullet-ridden shack in Alexandra Township.
Sizie Modise, after spending some time in
the Music and Media industry in Nigeria, has recently joined
Sizie is in charge of books, films and
Sizie is presently formalizing the
Tigress Julie Foundation after gaining experience in running
the Desmond Tutu Diversity Trust. We at Tiger Canyons are
very proud to have her on board.
Shan Varty continues to mother all
aspects of Londolozi. Her organizational skills are
I realize now that the 6 bush school kids
were exceptional in many ways. I feel very privileged to
have watched them all take careers in wildlife.
Many many rangers, guides, photographers
& film makers have told me that Bush School influenced their
lives as kids and helped them choose a career in wildlife.
I would like to thank the following: Paul
& Alison Bannister, Karen Trendler, Lex Hes, Elmon Mhlongo,
who helped me create Bush School & to Tiny Laubscher for
editing it. To Di Riddell for neg matching & Mike Berridge
for sound, I thank you sincerely.
The Jeeps twists and turns through the
heavy bush trying to get a position in front of the male
leopard. Thorns snag the clothes of the guests & the engines
rev in four wheel drive.
Guests shout excitedly to each other
about f-stop & shutter speed. All trying for that one in a
Finally the jeeps are in position, parked
strategically next to the game path along which the male
leopard is moving. Radios are turned off.
The leopard appears, moving slowly,
spraying marking fluid on the bushes.
At this point there should not be a
single human voice. Only the shutter of the cameras should
be heard. At most you should be talking in the softest
The male leopard has been doing this for
fourteen years. You are in the presence of greatness. You
are privileged to be there. Nelson Mandela is just about to
enter the arena. Show the leopard respect and keep quiet!!!
The silent encounter with this
magnificent creature will live with you long after the
photos are forgotten.
The new sign at Tiger Canyons reads as
"The Tigers at Tiger Canyons are not
there for our convenience.
They are fellow creatures trapped with us in an evolutionary
moment of time.
All are on journey of Freedom. Have respect!!
Tread Lightly on the Earth
Those of you wishing to book a Big Cat Safari in 2015,
should do so now as beds are difficult to come by at
Londolozi. Several people were disappointed in 2014 when we
could not get accommodation at Londolozi.
Concert in the
"Concert in the Canyon" has been released on You Tube
for the first song "Cameraman"