“I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy,” goes the famous Ernest Hemingway quote.
For so many people, being in the bush can be rather addictive and we get withdrawal symptoms when it’s been too long since our last ‘fix’. We have a sense of wishing we could ‘bottle’ the many magical moments we experience on safari, so that we can revisit them as needed when we return to our normal lives.
Tuli Safari Lodge explores why it is that going on safari is so good for your soul.
- Being in the moment – in the bush we seem to be able to live more naturally in the present, here and now, 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 for our minds, bodies and souls.
- Cutting off – living in the moment like this means that we’re genuinely cutting off, disconnecting literally (no WiFi!) and figuratively from our daily lives. We feel free from all our normal pressures and responsibilities. Relaxation comes naturally.
- Slowing down – because our days on safari follow a more natural circadian rhythm and we’re existing more in the moment, we function at a much slower pace. This adds to our sense of wellbeing and means we have more time for …
- Appreciating the little things – pausing to notice small details and finding joy in simple things – something we can’t or don’t always make space for in our frenetic daily lives – is genuinely enriching and calming.
- Being outside – it sounds rather obvious, but when on safari we spend a lot more time outside than we do normally. As well as the benefits of breathing in lots of fresh air and absorbing some vitamin D, our souls are fed by being in much closer touch with our simpler, more primitive needs – food, shelter, warmth.
- Engaging our senses – for most of us, the safari environment is also more ‘multi-sensory’ than our normal lives. We’re engaging (and relying on) our five senses much more than usual, especially when walking and sleeping in the bush. This is more stimulating and yet also more calming, and enhances wellbeing.
- Feeling more alive – Karen Blixen said “You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.”Being in the company of big game, even from the comfort and safety of a game viewer and in the hands of an expert guide, there is that slight element of danger, that frisson of vulnerability and sense of adventure that makes us feel more alive.
- Feeling connected – Being closer to nature makes us more acutely aware of our connection to a ‘greater whole’ – animals, other people, our surroundings, the earth … Research has shown that this feeling of connectedness is vital for our health and happiness.
- Gaining perspective – All of the above helps to put ourselves and our lives into greater perspective, enabling us to take a step back and see things with fresh eyes. “Africa gives you the knowledge that man in a small creature, among other creatures, in a large landscape,” wrote Doris Lessing. Many a safari goer has made changes in their life on returning home!
- Coming home – And then there’s this strange sense many of us have of ‘coming home’ when we’re in Africa (if we live elsewhere) or in the bush. Like we’re tapping in to some deeper ancestral knowledge ….
What would you add to the list? Are you ready for some safari soul food?
Tuli Safari Lodge describes itself as offering ‘safari with soul’. By this we mean that our ethos is to provide an authentic experience: genuine, warm hospitality that moulds to our guests; a holistic safari which encompasses geology, history, culture, astronomy and other aspects as well as wildlife; varied activities to provide a more rounded experience – bush walks, photographic hides and options to sleep out in the bush.