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Ulusaba: Growing up in the Bush

For most people, spending a few days at Ulusaba is the experience of a lifetime. However, imagine if you were lucky enough to call Ulusaba home. For Taeghan Langdon, General Managers Karl and Llané Langdon's 11 year old daughter, this is an enviable reality. In-between her school work and playing with her friends, Taeghan took time to give us a behind the scenes glimpse on what it's really like growing up in the African Bush and why Ulusaba is the best home anyone could ask for.

Taeghan Langdon on a game drive and Ulusaba watching elephants

Do you really live at Ulusaba? Yes I live at Ulusaba!

What do you see when you wake up in the morning? I mostly see impala, buffalo, zebra, elephant and kudu. On our school game drives we see lots of animals. I've seen lions killing a buffalo and leopard and cheetah too.

What is a typical day like for you? I get up at 10 minutes past 5 every day except Saturdays and Sundays. I'm almost a teenager so on weekends I sleep late. Getting up early is hard, especially in winter because it is still dark when we leave. I go on a game drive to Savanna Lodge every school day. At Savanna, I get in the school car and my driver, Elson, drives me and my friends to school. He has to drive slowly because our Dads say he has to! It takes us an hour and a half to get there. We listen to loud music and dance in the car, even with our seat belts on. On Mondays I go to school and I come home. We get home at half past 3 in the afternoon. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my favourite days as I get to go horse riding after school. Our stable yard is in White River and it takes us less than 1 hour to drive there from school. Then I sleep over at my Granny's house and my Grandpa takes me to school on Wednesdays and Fridays. We do our homework in the car because then we can play when we get home. Sometimes we get so much homework that we can't finish it in the car; then I have to finish my homework before dinner. When I get home from school when I don't do horse riding, I have another game drive on the way home from Savanna. I like these game drives because I also get to chat to my Mom or Dad, whoever it is taking me. My Dad spots more things than my Mom because he is an actual game ranger even if he is the General Manager of Ulusaba. He will never stop being a game ranger. That's what is in his heart.

Taeghan Langdon on a game drive at Ulusaba

What do you like most about living where you do? Seeing all the animals every day and seeing beautiful sunsets.

What's it like having a Mum and Dad who run a place like Ulusaba? It is cool because I get to meet lots of different people and I experience things that lots of kids don't get to do.

What's the hardest or most challenging thing about where you have grown up? Waking up early for school

Tell us your first memory of life at Ulusaba Giving ice cream to the guests on Christmas day

What is your funniest memory of Ulusaba? Having an elephant dung fight with Dad and my Aunty Kim. My Dad threw sloppy elephant poo at Levi and he ducked and it hit Aunty Kim right in her mouth! Then it was chaos and poo was flying everywhere.

Taeghan Langdon on a game drive and Ulusaba taking a selfie with two elephants

What are your most memorable moments? Jumping into the river from the rocks. Going on game drive with Richard [Branson] and when Dad got out to look at leopard tracks, Richard jumped in to Dad's seat and drove away and left Dad in the bush. That was funny!

What was your most memorable game drive? My most memorable game drive was the game drive on my birthday. My Dad took us on a game drive with all my friends. We saw the hyenas fighting over the leopard's food. It was incredible, loud and scary all at the same time! We have a video of it.

Taeghan Langdon with her mum and brother on a game drive at Ulusaba

How has your local community affected you, the way you think, the way you behave, the things you care about? I realised that we have much more than they have and that we have to share our luxuries with people who don't have them. They are so happy with what they have even though it is not a lot. It has made me into a more grateful person to be thankful for all the wonderful things I have. If you have life and people who love you then you can be a happy human being. When it was my birthday, I took a jumping castle to the community. Some of the kids had never ever even seen a jumping castle before. I've had one nearly every birthday.

What do your friends think of your life at Ulusaba? My friends think that I am lucky to live in the bush. Every Friday my friends want to come for a sleepover. My life is different from others because I live in the bush. I have to drive far to get to school, but I think I'm very lucky to live at Ulusaba as I get to go on game drives and swim in the river.

Can you imagine yourself living somewhere else? No, I love the bush too much!

What are your favourite things to do in your spare time and your favourite places to go? In my spare time I like to play horse games and I love to go to Ubuntu deck and read. That is the best place to watch the sunset over the mountain.

Taeghan Langdon riding her horse, Chocolate Brownie

What job would you like to do when you grow up? I would like to be a wildlife vet and a pilot.

What would be your top 3 things for kids to do when they visit Ulusaba? 1) Elephant dung fights 2) Treasure hunts at the lodge with the girls who work there 3) Impala dung spitting competitions

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