Geoff Peck, shareholder
In the beginning I wanted Limpopo-Lipadi to be limitless. I wanted to believe that the possibility of turning a corner and finding a new road or another new animal would never end. The reserve was infinite. In the early days with no map and a seemingly endless supply of unexplored tracks this was easy to imagine. Ok, there have also been other times in my life where I have been called a dreamer.
In the 1986 film Crocodile Dundee, Sue, a New York city slicker, asks bush-wise Aussie Mick if he cares about nuclear proliferation in the world. Mick casts his eye around the Australian outback and declares his lack of concern because it was like two fleas fighting over the dog. Mick sees the universe and its governing time continuum as too big, and that we human beings are bit-part players when viewed at a planetary level over massive timescales. This meant to me that at Limpopo-Lipadi where we are merely temporary guardians to a piece of indomitable Africa.
Then along came Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen, hypothesizing in year 2000 (although I only heard about it in 2013) that man’s impact on the planet was so profound that the age we live in can no longer be called the Holocene. Through human induced climate change, water redistribution, construction (particularly in river deltas), pollution and a continued mass extinction of species that started at the end of the last ice age, we have transitioned into the Anthropocene (the recent age of man). Combined with the shocking decline in rhino, elephant and lion numbers, and with Africa’s human population set to more than double over the next 30 years, my view of what we are doing at Limpopo-Lipadi fundamentally altered.
The world is changing, or more accurately, being changed by mankind such that it will never be the same again, not even when measured at an epochal scale. Thus, at Limpopo-Lipadi, we are no longer fleas observing our dog from a Toyota Landcruiser; instead we are fighting a rear-guard action against an (almost inevitably) disappearing world, saving it for historical, scientific and entertainment purposes, with perhaps a touch of sentiment thrown in for good measure.
Eight days in our glorious Reserve this month reminded me that this way of thinking is insufficient. Amongst excellent viewing throughout, two sightings stood out; the lions at Cabbage Land Dam and two young bull elephants at Mogorosi waterhole. The majesty of these creatures in their natural habitat when viewed in person took my breath away. The lions had just started to devour an eland kill while the elephants drank, bathed in mud and dust, and drank again before scratching themselves on a tree and merging back into the bush. The power and freshness of their movements, the bright alert eyes, and their disdainful manner towards us; for me it was almost spiritual to see them in such robust health. If not already it should be declared an art form.
If we, Homo sapiens, had the opportunity to go back and preserve the dodo bird, woolly mammoth or the American passenger pigeon would we do it? – you bet we would. Saving today’s endangered species is a key element of the Limpopo-Lipadi project, but it is so much more besides. The silence of the bush, the unblemished night sky, and the crackle of a mopane wood fire – this is a place to pour your heart into because it just feels right. Sharing time here with family and friends is beyond precious. Over time this place is redefining who I am. You know when your soul has been touched when there is no more “because”, it just “is”. Passions do not need justification, and I am passionate about Limpopo-Lipadi.
But I’m a busy person and live a long way from the reserve. On average I visit once every 18 months, so it was great to sit down with our general manager Cally and discuss the current situation in person. My appreciation goes to her and the incredible efforts made by so many to keep our Reserve safe. I hope I am reading it right when I say that we are seeing the beginning of the end of the fiscal struggles of the last several years. Cally and I then went on to discuss the possibilities that exist for the Reserve and its shareholders once the financial and governance aspects settle down. The stream of exciting opportunities seem to be endless – including game management, facilities, activities, and even expansion. Perhaps Limpopo-Lipadi is limitless after all….