Quite a few people have endeavoured the almost impossible task of putting in words why we find ourselves constantly yearning for the natural environment, even if we haven’t experienced it in years, or ever before.

Jane Goodall says:

“ By living in greater harmony with the natural world, we shall not only help to save our planet from ultimate destruction but shall also improve our mental health and be happier and more fulfilled human beings”.

A first time visitor, seasoned veteran or simply someone that loves the outdoors; all have something in common after they visit the bush. The wilderness adds significant value to their lives. A visit to the wild creates a joy in your inner being; a joy one will never forget, a joy you will strive to revisit for your entire life.

Elephant Drink

The question of why this might be cannot be answered fully, and I guess it’s the intangible aspect that makes it so alluring. The bushveld has the magical ability to concatenate something to your soul one simply cannot expound.

It is therapeutic at its base level.

Something as seemingly elementary as tracking a rhinoceros on a summer’s morning can make you feel more alive than ever before.

The narrative arises with the dawn chorus of birds emanating in the background. The cracks of the underside of the rhino’s foot are still visible in the dew-drenched soil.
As one follows the scuffs and scrapes on the ground, the telltale signs of movement are indicated by soil displacement and strands of grass bending slightly along the rhino’s path; a path that points straight towards a mud wallow. A tingling sensation engulfs your body as you realise you may well be about to encounter a prehistoric creature in its natural environment. Contact with the maker of these tracks is imminent and the feeling overwhelms you.
As you stare fixedly in the direction of the wallow, you see a cloud of vapour rise into the air. The squelching sound of the mud can be heard and the silhouette of the behemoth can be seen through the foliage. There are no words to describe this most rewarding experience.

The memory of the simplest things about this bush life can trigger feelings of euphoria at the most unexpected times…

It may be the smell of fresh coffee at the lodge that promises an opportunity to repeat the experiences of days past.

Or maybe it is the moment you get on the vehicle for the afternoon game drive and realise you have only limited control over what is going to transpire in front of you. You are in the hands of nature. Surrendering yourself

The variables and parameters are never ending.

Even as you return to the lodge, night time presents itself with a candle-lit boma, campfire and the jabbering of others. The days here are just overwhelming in the variety of experiences they present.

And just when you think you have acquired enough stimulation to complete your day, the eerie calls of hyenas comes whooping out of the dark of the night.

To try and point out a single reason why we most miss the bush is an unfathomable task. The wilderness presents itself in so many unique and obscure ways. Along with the the smells, the animals, the sounds and the like-minded people, it creates an environment that, once visited, will leave an imprint on your soul hard to recount to anyone who hasn’t experienced it before.

About the Author

Werner Breedt

Field Guide

Werner guided at Londolozi from 2014-2016, but misses it so much now that he is based down in the Western Cape that he begged to be able to continue contributing to the blog. Look out for his posts on a wide range of ...

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22 Comments

on What We Miss Most About the Bush

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Marinda Drake

Werner this is such a lovely blog and so true. We are fortunate to stay close to Kruger. We are “in the bush” as often as we can. We love camping. The best experience is sitting at the camp fire when all is quiet and peaceful staring into the darkness with the occasional hyena patroling the perimeter, whooping and if you are lucky a lion roaring or a jackal far of in the distance. The call of the scops owl or even a leopard lulls you to sleep. Nowhere are the stars brighter and the sunrise and sunset are just magic. Waking up early. Put your kettle on the gas burner. Coffee and rusks while it is still dark and the camp is quiet. The dawn chorus starting. Toal peace. The bush is definitely the ultimate destresser.

Werner Breedt

Hi Marinda, thank you for the kind words . Your story rings so true. You definitely got me at coffee though!

Judith Guffey

Please keep blogging,Werner!

Werner Breedt

I definitely will!

Victoria Auchincloss

Obviously we miss the safaris and the “next”surprise we find. We also miss being part of the Londolozi family which welcomes us and makes a part of that family. But I think what I miss most is knowledge that here in the bush the world works correctly, without all the anger and shouting that we seem to have deal with on a daily basis when we leave. There is logic and order, and yes moments of sadness, but still the feeling that here all is tight with the world. Vivtoria

Werner Breedt

Nature has a magical ability of putting the pieces of the puzzle together without the need of human intervention. This is why we love it as much as we do.

Denise Vouri

I so agree with your blog about what we miss about the bush. My first trip to Africa was in 1986 and I’ll never forget all of my first sightings – lions, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, elephants,etc in addition to the smells and sounds. I was hooked. I returned 10 years later to RSA, once apartheid was lifted, and continued to experience that which cannot be explained. I’ve returned three more times but have included Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe.

Once someone has experienced the essence of Africa, the game of course, but the beauty of its different countries and the warmth of all of those individuals you encounter who want to make your trip the best you’ve ever had, it is embedded into your DNA to return. I’m counting the days until I can finally experience the Londolozi ethos.

Werner Breedt

Hopefully the next visit will be sooner rather than later. I am glad the blog has reignited some of your passionate thoughts and feelings towards the bush.

Jeff Rodgers

Beautifully written.

Werner Breedt

Thank you Jeff.

Lucie Easley

Werner, it’s been 12 years since my last visit to the Bush. Since I discovered the Londolozi blog, my heart looks forward to being transported back and remembering. And, my heart aches to return once more. You have described the incredible experience so very well. Thank you.

Werner Breedt

Thank you Lucie. Hopefully the blogs will continue to tickle your enthusiasm until your next visit.

Laura Eberly

Well said, Thank you!

Werner Breedt

Thank you Laura.

Mary Beth Wheeler

Very well said, Werner! And it’s why we’re coming back to Londolozi in June for the 5th time…

Werner Breedt

Thank you Mary Beth, I am sure the next visit will be extraordinary.

Christa Blessing

Being in the bush is the most wonderful feeling in the world, I have experienced. Everything is just amazing and enchanting.If I only think of going to the bush, I feel already relaxed. The sounds, the smells, the nature, the animal kingdom, it’s just perfect, or nearly considering the fact that one being has to kill another being to survive (including us)

Werner Breedt

I can not agree more Christa.

Kim Chiotti

Thank you Werner for so accurately describing the feelings that have stayed with me since my husband and I had our first safari experience in two private game reserves in Kruger this past September. My heart fills with memories and my soul has a sweet yearnings for the bushveld and the remarkable animals that presented themselves to us while there. We keep these heartfelt memories alive by reading Londolozi’s blogs each day back here in wintery Toronto and we know that returning to Africa and being back in the bush is a soul healing goal that we will achieve.

Werner Breedt

Hi Kim. Your appreciation for nature is admirable. hope the next visit to the bush is sooner rather than later.

Mj Bradley

What wonderful blog. The feel of the wild, no matter what continent you are on is one of the most invigorating experiences in ones life. Each time I visit the wildness of nature it brings tears of joy and sometimes sorrow for those who see it as nothing more than another asset with to use to line their pockets. Thank you for doing your part in conserving our wild world.

Callum Evans

This blog post really speaks to me! I feel that longing for the bush every hour of every day, even down here in Cape Town! The summer trilling of the woodland kingfisher or the bubbling call of the coucal, a hyena whooping at night, watching an elephant rip up trunkfuls of grass, looking into the eyes of an impala, stargazing, watching the sunrise or the adrenaline rush of a lion sight: all of those are just a handful of the things I miss most about the bush. But perhaps most of all I miss the excitement, the awareness I feel, and how I always feel awake and alive. I miss that feeling, the sense that I’m actually part of a landscape and a greater connection.

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