During my recent trip to South Africa, I was lucky to road test the brand new Safari Satchel from Herd Of Ubuntu.
For our first proper safari experience at Ndaka Safari Lodge, it was the perfect bag for our game drives. I was super impressed with this bag and others available at Herd Of Ubuntu that I wanted to share this gorgeous business with you.
The face behind this operation is the lovely Camilla, who lives in Sydney. It’s not only Herd Of Ubuntu that keeps her super busy, but she also has 2 young toddlers and an analyst role at a boutique fund manager in the city.
I chatted to Camilla about Herd Of Ubuntu and her deep-rooted connections to Africa. She’s also offered my readers a special discount
What’s your connection to South Africa?
Initially, the connection was through my grandfather’s sister Audrey, a doctor and surgeon who travelled from Australia to live and work in what was Rhodesia. She married a South African and later moved to Stellenbosch where she continues her community support in and outside of medicine at the grand age of 90.
Her twin sister lived not far from us near Canberra when I was young and so I grew up hearing about Audrey’s life in South Africa either through her sister or first hand when Audrey and her family visited. I think it must have planted a seed because for as long as I can remember I’ve had a biological yearning for Africa.
Despite this, it wasn’t until 2008 that I travelled to South Africa for the first time. Twenty-four hours into the journey I was on a game vehicle at Phinda with my mum and a lovely South African couple of a similar age to my parents from Durban. Africa had already crept under my skin by this stage and I was so fortunate that the South African couple took me under their wings immediately, bolstering my knowledge of the South African bush and good scotch in equal parts.
I travel to visit my Durban friends almost annually and through them have extended my circle of friends, including a very precious friend, Kim, from the Midlands who has a son a similar age to my own.
Later during that first trip we travelled on to the Western Cape, where it was around the dinner table with my cousins that I could really hear about some of the truths of South Africa. I wasn’t disenchanted in the least.
And so began my infatuation with Africa. I’ve been feeding my love with travel, good books, and some pro bono work for an Australian consultancy specialising in Australians doing business in Africa and later the Australia Africa Business Council in Sydney.
When and why did you start Herd Of Ubuntu?
Officially in January 2016, but it wasn’t until October 2016 that my first shipment of Nguni cowhide rugs arrived in Australia. From then I’ve continued the Nguni cowhide rugs while also branching into leather luggage items and hand bags.
By 2016 my time with the consultancy and AABC had come to an end and I was searching for something in the Africa space that I could call my own.
While in Howick, KZN in late 2015 I decided to purchase a tricolour Nguni cowhide rug. I didn’t think I would even be able to get it past Australia’s strict quarantine and thought that a lot of other people might think the same way.
The Nguni rugs are fantastic quality and bring so much South African nostalgia with them. So I decided to begin importing them.
What’s the story behind the name?
Londolozi’s Boyd Varty is probably to blame for the name.
His TED Talk was where I first came across the word ‘ubuntu’, but I had seen it in play in South Africa on a daily basis throughout all of my trips.
The compassion for one another of South Africans is really something that should be replicated globally.
What do you offer at Herd Of Ubuntu?
Gorgeous Nguni cowhide rugs and luscious leather bags and accessories in the softest leather.
How do you come up with your designs?
I call upon my love of the African bush and of travel for my designs. I want people to be able to see the world with freedom.
Something I have just released is a new leather satchel for parents of young children. The market for nappy bags doesn’t really cover the space for small, convenient and versatile bags.
I knew that I wanted a bag for nappies, wipes and my purse and keys that I could carry when I had my daughter in the baby carrier but thought, why can’t we make this even more convenient for parents and design it to clip on to the pram?
So with the help of the fabulous team (who never say ‘no’ to any of my ideas), the Mama Africa satchel was born.
How are people reacting to your products?
Herd of Ubuntu gets as much love as I am able to give it, so it’s a bit of a slow burn. But despite this I have been overwhelmed by the support and love that the products receive.
People just can’t believe how soft the leather is until they touch it!
What’s your favourite thing to do when you aren’t working?
I love going a bit wild and when I get the chance we pack up Mandy the Defender and go into the bush, but for the longer breaks I like to head over the South Africa.
We used to travel a bit more throughout Southern Africa, but with the two small children we now usually follow the well-trodden path through KZN and the Western Cape.
Anything exciting coming up at Herd Of Ubuntu?
OMW, I am slowly dying with anticipation for the release of a safari satchel. Reeva’s managed to test it before I have, but it’s currently in Tanzania for a test run by a safari guide in the Serengeti.
Always seeking convenience and calling upon my own experiences, I wanted to design a bag to use on and off the safari vehicle. I was always jumping on the vehicle with arms full of all sorts of things and then scrambling to pull them all together at the end of the drive, so I wanted something you could load up with all the necessities, have within easy reach on the vehicle and quickly grab and go at the end of the drive.
So I’ve been working out what size binoculars people like to use, how big their bird books are, what camera they might use and then thinking about things like lip balm, pens, sun cream, insect repellent, hats and scarves and making a bag that will fit all these things.
Similar to the Mama Africa Satchel, the bag is designed to hook on to the seat in front of you in the vehicle, so all your gear is within easy reach and is not likely to slide around on the floor or the seat next to you while you launch through the bush on your next amazing viewing experience.
I’d love to give back a bit with this satchel too. So while we test out the bag I am trying to decide on a conservation group to benefit from the sale of these bags. There are so many worthy causes that I may end up selecting a few.
Herd Of Ubuntu Discount For Proudly South African In Perth Readers
For readers of Proudly South African In Perth, you can get an awesome 15% off any orders from Herd Of Ubuntu!
Just enter the promo code “ProudlySA” when you checkout and the discount will be applied. Thanks Camilla!
Disclosure: A big thank you to Camilla for letting me road test the safari satchel and for gifting me the gorgeous Matetsi Tote!