23 Mar The Safari Impact by Martin Wright
When did you last sit in complete quietness outside, and focus on the natural world around you? No technology, no distractions, no scrolling headlines, beeping notifications, phones ringing, and no screen? When did you last step away from the media and current global events to distract yourself with the wonder of our amazing wildlife on this planet?
I feel incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to do just that recently with Heather on a true trip of a lifetime.
33 Years ago when Heather and I got married, we wrote a list of goals and experiences that we wanted to do together. It has taken us a while but this year we have been fortunate enough to be able to tick a big one off the list.
Heather and I were fortunate enough to achieve our dream to go on a safari. I worried that the anticipation that we had held for so long may have put the bar too high but the experiences we had were simply breath taking and enabled us to sit, watch and interact with the natural world in a way that neither of us had never imagined.
Three particular highlights stood out amongst the many we experienced.
The first was on one Monday afternoon, the sun was shining down and our guide parked our jeep, turned off the engine in the path of a herd of elephants, which surrounded us. We were privileged to sit and watch as they ate, fed their young and played together all the while when they were only inches from us. These mighty animals looked at us and carried on interacting as a big family. None of us spoke as the emotions bubbled inside of us. All too soon (after about hour and a half) they decided to move on and left us sitting open mouthed and honoured.
The second was later in the evening when we were getting ready to leave the plains and go back to the main lodge for our supper. But a pride of lions had different plans. Five lions sat by our exit gate, and seemed happy to stay there. Once again, they walked around our jeep no more than inches away. They looked at us, sat for a while and then walked on. We were there with these magnificent creatures in their world, and like the elephants it was as if they were allowing us to be with them.
The third highlight happened on a night safari. We parked on an open plain and our guide turned off the jeep’s lights. The sky opened up to us. It was just awesome (in the truest sense of the word). With no light pollution the sky was so clear that, after over 60 years on this planet it was like looking into the sky for the first time. Every star, planet, constellation was bright and vivid.
While sitting watching a baby Rhino nestle in with its mother who had survived a terrible injury while her parents we killed for their horns years earlier, our guide shared with us that his grandchildren may never get to see a live White Rhino. But he also told us that the poaching numbers have reduced. Programmes like Planet Earth, The Blue Planet, Natural World and Africa go a long way to educate us about how we can appreciate our world. In recent times it appears our awareness of environmental issues is greater. There are more people eating plant based foods, we are trying to reduce plastic use and some endangered species may even experience a growth in numbers.
I realise that not everyone is able to go on safari, but we are so privileged to live on this amazing planet among the beautiful wildlife and nature. Let’s take just a few moments out of the stress of our busy lives and the global events to notice our surroundings and see the joy and fun that can be experienced by all of us from Borneo to Birmingham and back again.