Safari Guide Hayden Turner Reflects on the Incredible “Safari Live” Experience

Written by Safari Live guide Hayden Turner

Djuma Game Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa – 1150PM

After the day is done, staring into the fire back at camp is my time to reflect and think about the highlights of my day.

I drive around this beautiful place everyday and many things go through my mind: wildlife, habitats, conservation, the future, and the list goes on. I cannot describe the feeling of what it’s like to be broadcasting LIVE to people and how it makes me feel so ‘alive’! To be connecting with viewers as we drive, answering questions and talking to them really makes them part of this adventure… they are why we are here. I really feel like they are right with me, there in the moment… and they are! The viewer and I are new friends, we are experiencing this together LIVE and there is no two ways about it, the connection is real and invigorating.

Today I was asked a question via email from Miss Jackie’s class in Illinois and Gracie (age 6) asked a question – for me to be able to answer that question LIVE from Africa was an incredible feeling and brings me so much joy and emotion, it’s hard to put into words. As a father and outdoor learning educator for children in my other role in the UK, I relish these moments and know that I am passing on the same message that someone has done for me in my childhood… But, to do it LIVE, from Africa, well that’s incredible and what WILD Safari LIVE is all about!

This project is undoubtedly the most exciting and connective TV I have ever been a part of. I feel like I have been given a new lease of creativity and direction with wildlife TV presenting. To think that moments like this could potentially change the whole trajectory of a child’s understanding and value of the natural world by engaging with them in the way is truly magical! If Gracie, her class, or any other person I connect with through WILD Safari LIVE can inspire them to care more about the planet, we are all on a winner! Thanks Gracie… You, Miss Jackie, and your class ROCK! See you on the safari drive again soon!

Don’t miss live safaris every day at 9 a.m. ET on Nat Geo WILD! You can also catch bonus safaris online at!


  1. tina hastings
    rochester ny
    December 2, 2014, 10:28 pm

    I Love the show but as a mother knowin accedents are not called on purposses I have to say TELL THORN TO BUILD 4WALLS BEFOR A WILD ANIMAL EATS HIS DAUGHTER

  2. Antoinette Osuna
    United States
    December 3, 2014, 11:20 am

    I would go to Africa to see the Lions!

  3. Richard Weise
    Memphis, Tennessee
    December 3, 2014, 11:57 am

    The SAFARI LIVE program is a beautiful concept and fantastic program. It’s also a tremendous statement about why animal and plant conservation is so vitally important to our planet. Maybe someday you’ll do a SAFARI LIVE visit to a family-or two-of habituated mountain gorillas, the gorillas Dian Fossey made famous. All the best. Thank you very much.

  4. Marjie Lang
    Charleston, SC
    December 3, 2014, 12:46 pm

    You truly are one of THE most fortunate people and I can see you, Pieter, and the gang are so passionate about this. You are sharing info and moments most can only dream about. I record the show and watch it in the evening after work and I find it very relaxing, humorous… just amazing! Outstanding work. It has renewed my faith in visiting Africa one day! I have gotten people at work and anyone listening to me to check it out as they know how passionate I am about all loving creatures. Are you boring any help, lol if drop everything in a heartbeat for a chance out moment to be a part of what you do… Carry on, Marjie 🙂

  5. cheryl
    December 3, 2014, 1:11 pm

    I really love you guys and I look forward to seeing all the animals. Question though what happens if you have car issues and there’s no one else around?

  6. Ruth
    December 3, 2014, 3:11 pm

    What a wonderful gift this has been to all of us. I must say I wish it would never end. You and Pieter and the rest of the staff have done a wonderful job. I am a retired teacher and I have been a Wildearth watcher since November 2009 and have been to Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. I used the drives in my classroom when I taught and they loved it. These drives are almost as nice as being there. Just missing the smell and the weather. Thanks for sharing your passion with all of us.

  7. ShellyG
    Cleveland, OH USA
    December 3, 2014, 3:33 pm

    I have been loving every minute of every live safari. Your are so excited about everything you find and just love your enthusiasm when answering questions from the classrooms! Keep up the good work!

  8. MJ
    Houston Texas USA
    December 3, 2014, 4:44 pm

    There are no words to describe the feeling of being part of something like Live Safari Drives.. Those of us who were a part of the past WE safari drives, are so very grateful to WE, NatGeo and all involved. You have brought to the TV screen what many of us have cherished for years.. The presenters we have had to date, Hayden, Pieter and Scott are all amazing and make our adventure so exciting and memorable.. Although all things come to an end, it will become a memory that we can replay over and over on the video’s and fall in love with Djuma all over again! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  9. Jill Robinson
    December 3, 2014, 6:48 pm

    For those of us from Africa – we probably get a totally different enjoyment out of these drives. We can almost smell the air, the plants, trees, dams. We hear the cicadas and birds before they are pointed out. We feel the corrugations or the joy of bundu bashing, the mugginess before it rains and then the smell of the earth when it does. The haunting sounds of a lion roar, a rumble of an elephant close by or an alarm call from an Impala. The sensory overload that Safari live provides us, is heaven. Thank you.

  10. dolly
    london, ontario
    December 3, 2014, 7:59 pm

    I feel as if I am on the drives with these presenters,,,, as we see what they are seeing at the same time,,,, plus we can communicate by asking them questions and having them personally answer them for us. I can only watch on the weekends, but thanks to some taping them, I can watch what I miss,,,,,,,,, I have learned so much from them and still have so much to learn. I wish they did not have to end….. the presenters and everyone involved is so fantastic.

  11. Lorene
    United States
    December 3, 2014, 8:33 pm

    More Wild Safari Live please! It would be great to see these broadcasts continue. It brings a very real dream of being on an actual safari a reality for those who are unable to visit in person. I don’t want it to end!

  12. Ann M. Del Tredici
    San Francisco, CA, USA
    December 3, 2014, 9:09 pm

    Hayden, as a viewer of the live safari drives for years–it has been my pleasure to see and hear you on the drives. You bring such a fresh and excited new perspective on the things we see. Your enthusiasm and appreciation for every detail of the wildlife is thrilling to hear–and not the slightest bit corny or phony. We will all hate to see you leave–we want you–and the drives forever! I am learning so much from you–all effortless fun!

  13. Julie
    Oklahoma, United States
    December 4, 2014, 12:22 am

    I am home bound and dont get out of the house very often. I look forward each morning and night to the live safari drive with you. Thank you for bringing Africa to me in Oklahoma. I greatly appreciate the education you guides give to us!

  14. Annette N
    Austin TX
    December 4, 2014, 9:41 am

    You have given me a wonderful gift and blessing. I found the show by accident and now I cannot take my eyes from the joy. Each of you should be so proud of what you are giving the world. Thank you – so very much…..and I love the animals too. Have never been and will never be in Africa – but you are permitting me to share.

  15. Lynn
    Murrells Inlet, SC
    December 4, 2014, 10:59 am

    I just happened to stumble onto your LIVE safari. It’s better than being there and wouldn’t mind watching every day!

  16. Cindy
    December 4, 2014, 11:07 am

    Do you ever encounter dangerous snakes while on the safari tour?

  17. Lynda
    lHouston, TX
    December 4, 2014, 2:46 pm

    love your show…….was wondering if the female hyena was suffering from mange. her coat appeared compromised.

  18. Richard Gustin
    United States
    December 6, 2014, 10:44 am

    What do you see happening to the rhinos in the parks in your area. Is there hope for them in the future? Do they have a future?

  19. Jane Marinello
    Florida USA
    December 7, 2014, 10:21 am

    I’m already having withdrawal. Please do this again soon. One I can’t tear myself away from. GREAT SHOW!

  20. m. wiren
    northern virginia
    December 7, 2014, 12:08 pm

    husband and i went on safari from nearby lion sands some years back, so the coverage looked familiar right away. we loved it. it brought back such wonderful memories of our own adventure. fantastic educational programming that hopefully will inspire others to take safari as well. it was the experience of a lifetime.

    December 7, 2014, 12:14 pm


  22. Diane Sermeno
    Pico Rivera, California USA
    December 7, 2014, 12:29 pm

    I stumbled onto Safari Live because I couldn’t sleep and then for four days purposely got up early to watch Safari Live. Both Pieter and Hayden love what they do and I thoroughly enjoyed all the encounters I got to see – the elephants, rhinos, zebras, giraffes and impalas were breathtaking. My sister and I are planning a trip to South Africa soon. You mentioned temps of 105 to 87 degrees. What months were these tours done? Wish it didn’t end. Your passion has only made it all more important! Good luck to you all.

  23. Lauren
    Adelaide, Australia
    December 7, 2014, 11:23 pm

    I just had to let you know that the impact yourself and WildEarth and the Safari Drives are making are a global thing! It’s been fantastic watching you all and you are making people from all over the world so much more aware!

    United States
    December 8, 2014, 12:12 am

    You are a class act. I enjoyed every moment of Safari LIVE and all the drives. It has given me special memories that I will treasure forever.Thanks from the bottom of my heart. <3

  25. xena
    December 8, 2014, 10:47 am

    I have been on safari…..and have the loved the Safari Drives with Pieter and Hayden and hope they come back on a regular basis, maybe in different African countries….would really love it!!!

  26. Norma Jean Kenney
    Manlius, NY USA
    December 9, 2014, 3:13 pm

    HT you were fantastic. Especially when you came upon the white Rhino. Look forward to when you are on another safari.

  27. Stephanie
    Placentia. Ca
    December 10, 2014, 10:23 am

    Thank you for allowing me to share this experience with my students! It has been many years since I have been to Djuma and I still remember passing that water pump on each drive out!

  28. Frankie
    Massachusetts, USA
    December 31, 2014, 9:50 pm

    My husband and I have been watching Safari Live on demand this week of Christmas to New Years, 2014. Amazing, informative, exciting, passionate drives through the bush. When we retired, our first big trip was going to be a big five Safari! My husband lost his kidneys and got a transplant, but is on so much immune suppressant, his doctor won’t let him go!!! This is definitely a wonderful substitute!!! Love you, Pieter and Hayden!!

  29. Barbara
    Florence, Alabama, U.S.A.
    October 7, 2015, 11:35 pm

    Many of us watching will never be able to travel to Africa and see all of the wonderful animals there, the beautiful landscape, the magnificent sunrises and sunsets,and of course, the mountains. Finding the Live Safari drives 4 or 5 years ago was such an awesome gift from God. I can see first hand all that you Presenters see, hear the sounds, meet personally the wonderful Guides, camera men and others working there. Seeing one, or all of the big five is something I look forward to daily. Pieter and Hayden your, spending time here with us, in the country you love is such a welcomed thing for us. Hope you will stay as long as possible this trip. Thanks so much for all you do.