“I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy,” goes the famous Ernest Hemingway quote.
For so many people, being in the bush can be rather addictive, and we get withdrawal symptoms when it’s been too long since our last “fix.” We have a sense of wishing we could bottle the many magical moments we experience on safari so that we can revisit them as needed when we return to our normal lives.
Tuli Safari Lodge shared why it seems to be the case that going on safari is so good for your soul.
1. Being in the moment
In the bush we seem to be able to live more naturally in the present—the here and now—immersed in whatever is or isn’t happening minute by minute. Just like mindfulness, yoga and meditation, being more in the moment delivers great benefits for our minds, bodies and souls.
2. Cutting off
Living in the moment like this means that we’re genuinely cutting off, disconnecting literally (don’t connect to the WiFi!) and figuratively from our daily lives. We feel free from all our normal pressures and responsibilities. Relaxation comes naturally.
3. Slowing down
Because our days on safari follow a more natural circadian rhythm and we’re existing more in the moment, we function at a much slower pace. This adds to our sense of wellbeing and means that we have more time for the things and people most important to us.
4. Appreciating the little things
Pausing to notice small details and finding joy in simple things—something we can’t or don’t always make space for in our frenetic daily lives—is genuinely enriching and calming.
5. Being outside
It sounds rather obvious, but when on safari we spend a lot more time outside than we do normally. As well as the benefits of breathing in lots of fresh air and absorbing some vitamin D, our souls are fed by being in much closer touch with our simpler, more primitive needs, such as food, shelter, and warmth.
6. Engaging our senses
For most of us, the safari environment is also more “multi-sensory” than our normal lives. We’re engaging (and relying on) our five senses much more than usual, especially when walking and sleeping in the bush. This is more stimulating and yet also more calming and enhances wellbeing.
7. Feeling more alive
Karen Blixen said, “You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.” Being in the company of big game, even from the comfort and safety of a game viewer, and in the hands of an expert guide, there is that slight element of danger, that frisson of vulnerability and sense of adventure that makes us feel more alive.
8. Feeling connected
Being closer to nature makes us more aware of our connection to a “greater whole” with animals, other people, our surroundings and the Earth. Research has shown that this feeling of connectedness is vital for our health and happiness.
9. Gaining perspective
All of the above helps to put ourselves and our lives into greater perspective, enabling us to take a step back and see things with fresh eyes. “Africa gives you the knowledge that man is a small creature, among other creatures, in a large landscape,” wrote Doris Lessing. Many a safari-goer has made changes in their life after returning home!
10. Coming home
And then there’s this strange sense many of us have of “coming home” when we’re in Africa (if we live elsewhere) or in the bush. Like we’re tapping into some deeper ancestral knowledge.