Going on a safari in Africa was never one of the top things on my bucket list. Sure, it always sounded like it would be cool but there were probably 20 other things that I wanted to do before getting in a land rover and looking for animals.
As I sit here now, I can easily tell you that it was hands down the coolest thing I have ever experienced in my life.
Growing up in the suburbs and living our lives in cities and away from the wild, you become incredibly detached from nature. Rarely did I ever think about these animals and their habitats; my only perception of these animals was what I’d seen in a zoo.
Our lives are so civilized. It’s been quite some time since humans have had to rough it out in the wild and live side by side with these creatures.
One of the miraculous things about experiencing a safari is the fact that these animals pay no attention to the vehicles you are riding in whatsoever. It’s as if you are just another tree or shrub on the savannah to these animals, completely unthreatening in every way, which allows you to get as close as humanly possible.
This is due to the fact that the safaris have been around for decades, allowing the animals to adapt to the vehicles and realize that we are no threat. Just merely a group of people viewing their everyday lives for ourselves.
I can tell you right now that there is no other feeling as pure and as beautiful as watching these animals live their lives in their habitat. Watching in dead silence as they move throughout the trees or drink by the waterbed. It’s a rare feeling that I think everyone should feel at least once.
Before my safari experience, I assumed I would just see the animals lying about, not actually interacting or doing anything active. I think I forgot that these creatures aren’t just put into this landscape for our viewing pleasure, but that they are actually living their lives. Every day for them is a fight for survival, the need to hunt, find water, bring new life into the world.
The biggest indicator of this was probably when we watched a leopard stalk a bush buck. It was incredible to watch this predator following the unassuming prey, hiding in the foliage waiting to pounce.
We were watching and waiting for the circle of life to take effect. Sadly, the bush buck was startled by an elephant only several feet away and managed to escape from certain death (imagine my disappointment).
But it was truly crazy to see nature in its rawest form.
Aside from an “almost kill,” we were lucky enough to experience two lions mating as well as a pack of hyenas ripping apart a buffalo carcass they had stolen from two male lions who were busy having a drink by the riverbed.
If you can’t tell already, it is a once in a life time experience.
We were also very lucky that our two different safari experiences were on private game reserves which allowed our guides to drive the trucks side by side to these animals, regardless of how “dangerous” this said animal was considered.
If you were to be on a public game reserve like Kruger National Park, getting face to face to these animals is nearly impossible since you must stay on the main road the entire time.
Booking on a private game reserve is definitely a more personal and unique experience, compared to just driving through Kruger.
Additionally, a lot of these animals in the African wilderness are endangered, most specifically rhino. I am incredibly grateful to the fact that I was able to see these animals while I technically still can. At the rate that the rhinos have been poached, their numbers are decreasing more and more each year, making it more crucial than ever to experience these animals in the flesh before they are gone.
Another thing that this experience taught me as well, is how simple life is.
As humans, we make everything so incredibly difficult. We overthink situations, drive ourselves into flurries of stress over some of the tiniest things and make our relationships with each other way more complicated than they should be.
Seeing these animals hunt and mate and survive on their own, made me realize that the everyday things I stress about—does he like me back, will I have enough time to get my homework done, do I look okay—don’t matter.
Life is simple, more so for these animals than us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make things simple too.
Going to Africa and experiencing the culture and wild animals for myself was a life changing experience. If you were ever considering going on a safari in the slightest, I can 100% guarantee it will be worth it. Don’t be scared of Africa as a country; there is no place like it in the world.