Grant Reed, of Letaka Safaris, considers what it’s you actually wish to get out of your safari
Over a few years of guiding and information coaching I’ve heard the mantra “the visitor is at all times proper” repeated again and again. However does the visitor at all times know what is true for them?
Lots of as we speak’s safari goers need a “actual African expertise”. By way of their analysis they’re typically overwhelmed with info – which property has the most important tents, probably the most luxurious spa, probably the most spectacular infinity pool, and so forth.
So begins the misguided idea that coming to Africa is all about seeing 5 giant animals and being pampered with luxurious. That is additional pushed by fixed social media feeds and superb wildlife documentaries.
The underside line is that for many friends, when reserving their Africa vacation by way of a revered tour operator or journey agent, the animals and lodging are going to be superior regardless. What’s rather more tough to painting is the precise expertise.
So the typical individual arrives on safari considering that to ensure that their journey to be successful, they need to see ‘the Massive 5’ (a time period that I abhor). Consequently, many guides – having been educated to know and meet the wants and expectations of their friends – will race round on one high-speed radio chase from one sighting to the subsequent, ticking packing containers. However, is that this actually what folks from frantic metropolis and company lives really need from a safari expertise?
Right here lies the crux of the matter: the precise expertise. To date, the whole lot we now have mentioned has been visible. Ask your self, how does the flash of a leopard dashing throughout the highway 300 metres forward of you enrich your safari, or is it merely a field we’re ticking? Absolutely waking at night time with an elephant feeding close to your tent, or listening to the visceral roar of a lion, are far richer experiences?
How do you share the odor of the primary rains or the quiet solitude of an unlimited wilderness in a brochure or on social media?
That is the place it turns into the information’s duty to teach their friends and to present them an expertise they didn’t know they wished. It’s robust to be that information on the brunch desk when the inevitable aggressive boasting of the morning’s conquests begins. When your comeback to “the place had been you for the leopard sighting?” is about “experiencing tranquillity and listening to the daybreak refrain of birds”, you shortly lose their consideration.
However take into account what it’s that brings folks again to Africa time after time? Individuals discuss of the Africa bug. It bites you and also you get contaminated with one thing unseen that makes you wish to return repeatedly.
I’m not suggesting you ignore the Massive 5. However Africa is the birthplace of our species and the overwhelming majority of us have utterly misplaced our connection to the planet. I consider reconnecting with Africa and with nature re-establishes a way of belonging and a way of function, even perhaps of returning house.
After all wildlife is part of this expertise, however I’d urge you in your subsequent safari to take a while to attach, to stroll barefoot by way of the sand and breathe the African mud deep into your lungs.
Grant Reed and his brother Brent are the founders of Letaka Safaris, which affords cellular safari choices in Botswana. In addition they established the Okavango Guiding College.