I have been designing and operating travel itineraries to Southern Africa for over 16 years. I have spent time on safari in
many regions on my own, with family, with clients, as a guide, as a tour leader and as a client myself.
It still gives me a real thrill to see what a profound and often life changing effect an African safari can have on a visitor.
And that got me thinking: The world is big and for the travel enthusiast, there are many “jaw droppingly” gorgeous travel destinations to choose from. So what is it about an African safari that makes it so special and has people coming back time and time again?Obviously, seeing animals in their natural habitat is in itself an unbelievable experience. Also, many of the safari camps are so beautifully designed and decorated with accommodations, cuisine, etc that are out of this world. Add the people, the staff and game rangers encountered who are so knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. Oh and of course, the natural beauty of many of the safari locations - just breathtaking.
BUT there is something else. Something "below the line" that is at play.
Many people are visibly moved and sometimes overwhelmed by their safari experience. Many experience it emotionally. I have had people sobbing uncontrollably for no apparent reason on a number of occasions out there in the beautiful African bush.
It begs the question: So what is it about an African Safari that moves people?
Some believe that it is the “rawness” or freshness of Africa that sets it apart from other destinations. I am sure that is a
factor, BUT after many years of pondering this question, it all clicked on a recent sales trip to the USA. It was while driving on a 7 lane highway in a rental, with 4 zillion other people between Long Beach and San Diego, in
California. Daunting it was, but that was when it dawned on me.
This is my take: In a world that has been tamed and manipulated to suit our human "needs", an African safari offers an experience in an environment that is real and beyond our control. We need that. It reminds us that we are part of something bigger and we need to know that. It is not safe to believe that we control the world and all that happens in it.
Money does not make the world go around. The world will continue revolving long after we have left.
In our modern world and specifically in what we term "First World countries", most people live in a largely man made
environment, a material world which has been constructed on top of what is the real world - a concrete jungle!
As a result and without even being aware of it, people end up disconnected from the real world. Primal instincts like survival have become economic, not actual. Pursuit of groceries at a shopping mall using money as our weapon is how we hunt.
Production of consumer goods and service delivery has evolved and have become the driving economic force that in many respects defines our very existence. We have achieved amazing things but in many ways, we often work against rather than with the forces of nature to achieve our goals. Our natural world is bearing the brunt of this approach. But that is another story :)
Africa levels the playing fields. On safari, you very soon become acutely aware that you are a visitor and this is the animal’s domain. You observe, you respect, but you do not judge nor try and intervene. There are scenes of both immense beauty and sadness, but we let it be. The Animal kingdom teaches us a lot about ourselves and about how
things in this world have a symbiotic relationship. Every living organism needs every other living organism. We all need each other, from ants to elephants.
Through simple observation from the back of a safari vehicle or on foot, with the guidance of a safari guide this becomes
glaringly obvious. Safari awakens something that may be buried, but it is part of our very make up, our instinct, our soul! This realization, this connection, this is the thing that hits home and moves people.
Take care and if you would like us to tailor make a life changing safari experience for you, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time