“The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa, for he has so much to look forward to.”
I have never known a quote to sum up my love of Africa so perfectly. How I wish I could wind back time and rediscover my favourite continent again. I’m not alone here, there are so many people who have withdrawals from their safari addiction and prefer to spend their lives chasing bush time. There are so many magical moments you experience on safari, it is a shame we can’t bottle them so we can revisit them as needed once we are home again and bogged down with work and other obligations.
FORCES ME TO BE IN THE MOMENT
When in the African bushland I seem to be able to live more naturally in the present. I become immersed in whatever is or isn’t happening minute by minute. Just like mindfulness, yoga and meditation, being more in the moment delivers great benefits to our minds, bodies and souls. I come out feeling refreshed and motivated.
Living in the moment like this means I am genuinely cut off, literally disconnected from the world (provided you don’t connect to WiFi!) and figuratively from my daily life at home. I feel free from all the normal pressures and responsibilities of work and family, it’s like forcing myself to relax. It comes so naturally though, it’s not forced at all. It just… is.
A typical safari day follows my natural circadian rhythm. I get up very early and have very productive mornings, and then I just want to chill out and read books or rest for a few hours in the middle of the day. I then get another burst of energy around 3-4pm, and then I’m usually in bed by 10pm. Combining this with my more mindful existence, and I function at a much slower pace when on safari. This slower pace aids well being and means I have more time for the things and people that are important to me when I do go home.
APPRECIATING THE LITTLE THINGS
Pausing to notice small details and finding joy in simple things is something we often can’t find time for in our frenetic daily lives. This is one of the most calming and genuinely enriching experiences gained from safari.
THE JOY OF BEING OUTSIDE
It’s obvious isn’t it? When on safari, we typically spend more time outside than we would normally. In addition to the benefits of breathing in fresh air and absorbing some Vitamin D from the sunshine, our souls are fed by being much closer with our simpler more primitive needs – food, water, shelter, warmth.
ENGAGING OUR SENSES
For most of us, the safari environment is more multi-sensory than our normal lives. We engage and rely on our five senses much more so than usual, especially when walking and sleeping in the bush. This is more stimulating and calming, and enhances our well being.
FEELING MORE ALIVE
Karen Blixen is known for saying “You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.” Being in the company of big game, witnessing their behaviour and interaction with each other; there is a sense of vulnerability and adventure that makes us feel more empowered. I know that I can certainly feel my blood pumping faster, my heart beating more wildly, myself feeling more grounded. I get a flush in my cheeks, I feel warmer and more calm. Simply, I feel more alive.
Have you been on safari? How did you feel afterward? Where did you go and what was your favourite experience? Let me know in the comments below.