Spending hours in the African Wilderness is a privilege.
Primitive feelings of our inner, ancient self that we would otherwise never feel are brought to the surface.
Feelings of absolute calm, helplessness, excitement, primal fear – all within short spaces of time.
There are constant lessons that we can take from spending time in nature, through observing the resilience around us as the days and seasons pass. Here are a few of these lessons that I have observed:
1. As the sun sets, so it will rise again.
The new day brings a wash of fresh air over the landscape; birdsongs fill the land with a joyous chorus; and the flowers open themselves again to splash the hills in pastels of colour. There is always comfort found knowing what light lies ahead.
2. New life is to be cherished, as life is fragile.
As much as we wish it were otherwise, life is short and each moment with our friends and family should be cherished. The resilience of the Tsalala lioness pictured above is testament to this point. Having lost her entire pride, she pushed through all odds and managed to survive alone. Then she defied all odds again and gave birth to three cubs of her own. Now one remains, and she instinctively pushes on each day, to ensure the survival of herself and her progeny.
3. We are all individuals that have a place in this world, no matter how big or small we may seem or feel.
The African concept of Ubuntu is relevant here: “I am because of you”. In nature, animals do not try to be anything or anyone other than what they are destined to be. Because of this understanding and comfort in being what they are and fulfilling their specific role, nature is in perfect balance and harmony.
4.Try, try and try again.
This motto is what my father instilled in my sisters and I whilst growing up. If you are knocked down, get up and try again. Eventually you will succeed. This mentality is no better displayed by the predators of Londolozi. Leopards and lions constantly fail in hunts. Hyenas steal about half of all leopards’ kills. No resentment is felt. They simply move on and try again. And they succeed.
5. Play as if nobody is watching.
No animal plays more energetically than African Wild Dogs. Every time they wake up to get going, and every time they meet again having split up, there are elaborate greetings and bouts of play. Adults included! As humans we often care too much about what people will think. Sometimes it’s good to let the guard down and just have a good time!
6.Patience is everything.
Nothing can compete with the patience that the animals and birds exhibit. It is a matter of life and death out here. Leopards are able to wait for minutes on end, with muscles engaged, ready to pounce, without flinching. Humans can’t hold still for very long at all!
Birds like the hamerkop pictured above, or herons, are able to stand frozen at the ready, staring into water, waiting for that split second when they must throw their head and beak forward to catch their aquatic prey. Patience really is a virtue!
Nature will give each of us what we are willing to receive from it. We just need to open ourselves to it, as we are part of it and nature has been and always will continue to be in complete harmony.