Ubuntu - "Humanity to Others"

By Harman Singh Heer | 05 March 2024


There is arguably no greater feeling than standing amidst the endless Serengeti plains in the early morning sun, relishing a cup of local Tanzanian tea alongside a bowl of freshly prepared muesli. From late January to early March, these once empty plains teem with life as millions of wildebeest journey here to give birth. This annual phenomenon is known as the Great Wildebeest Calving, resulting in an estimated birth of 8,000-10,000 wildebeest calves per day and a total of over half a million wildebeest calves by March. And where the wildebeests go, the predators follow, making this section of the Serengeti, during these months, a theatre for witnessing the incredible circle of life.

A newborn wildebeest, under the protection of its mother

A newborn wildebeest, under the protection of its mother.

Ubuntu Migration Camp

During this past January, my family and I embarked on a three night safari at Ubuntu Migration Camp, nestled in a stunning acacia woodland. The mobile camp not only offered panoramic views of the open plains but also an abundance of wildlife encounters. I fondly recall one afternoon in the mess tent, sipping hibiscus iced tea prepared by our waiter Marsele, who taught me some new Swahili phrases while pointing out a tower of giraffes migrating between acacias. As dusk fell, the giraffes disappeared, leaving me by the crackling fire as I looked up at the starlit sky and listened to the sounds of crickets and a distant lion roar, all while thinking to myself how incredibly wild and untouched this place really is.

Ubuntu Migration Camp under the night sky

Ubuntu Migration Camp under one of the most beautiful night skies I have ever seen.

Big Cats

By our second day at Ubuntu, we had already crossed paths with numerous lions (we lost count after 20) and a cheetah. However, the elusive leopard remained a dream, with time slipping away before the end of our safari. Of course I had already expressed my love for leopards to our guide Festo from the outset, unaware of the surprise nature had in store for us.

A lioness and her sub-adult cubs

A lioness and her sub-adult cubs in some beautiful afternoon light.

The next morning, despite the incessant rain that had drummed on our tents overnight, Festo started the search for a leopardess and her cub that had been seen a few days prior. As he navigated through the rich black cotton soil of the woodland, I caught sight of a feline silhouette perched on a tree. “Leopard!” I alerted, prompting Festo to halt the car in disbelief. And there she was, a tiny five-month old leopard cub, peering at us through the branches. Hesitant at first, she gradually eased in our presence, as Festo explained that she was awaiting her mother's return from a hunting expedition.

A tiny five month old leopard cub

A tiny five month old leopard cub looking at me through the branches.

Faith in Humanity

As we departed camp earlier that same morning, I pondered the meaning of “Ubuntu,” to which Festo replied “humanity to others.” This idea resonated deeply as I had already witnessed the staff of Ubuntu embodying it wholeheartedly. Festo’s humanity shone through his incredible wealth of knowledge that he openly shared with us. He also displayed his humanity towards the flora and fauna by always respecting the habitat and space of the animals. Marsele enriched our experience by teaching my sister and I new Swahili phrases each day, while Askari Singoi patiently stood out in the darkness to assist me in capturing photographs of the night sky. Camp manager Frank’s compassion was evident when he drove the rescue tractor forty-five minutes from camp to pull out a vehicle of fellow guests from the mud, as well as when he greeted us at dawn the next morning despite an all-nighter spent rescuing the camps resource truck.

Tractors are crucial during the wet season

Camp manager Frank on a rescue mission.

Ubuntu — “Humanity to others.” It’s an ethos I’ve embraced and one that I want to share with you, inspired by the remarkable individuals at Ubuntu Migration Camp, who go above and beyond to create unforgettable experiences for their guests.

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