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.
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.