Its been over a month since I left the Djuma & Arathusa Game Reserves in Sabi Sands, South Africa. Wild Safari LIVE was an incredible experience for me and reflecting on it over the past month has allowed me to understand how many different people we connected with. All backgrounds, in all different stages of life were on a journey with the African bush through this exciting project. Not a day would go past that I wasn’t amazed by the questions, support and kindness of children, school groups, avid followers, and ‘newbies’ all ‘riding’ in the back of our Land Rovers.
When we would be sitting in the vehicles, waiting to for the countdown from 10 to 1: “You are LIVE, you are LIVE,” I would think about so many people around the world and wonder what was “going to be around the next corner” for them today. That was the exciting part: the unknown–no script, just the bush telling the story, and with a bit of luck being in the right place at the right time. The thing that concreted the ‘LIVE’ aspect for me was when you were actually getting questions ‘real-time’ from the viewers and being able to talk with them LIVE from the African bush; it was something else! One of the most exhilarating and emotion packed journeys you could ever wish for as a lover of wildlife.
I remember one day, there was a lady that sent us an email regarding her granddaughter who had some special needs. This wonderful little girl was watching us daily and glued to Pieter and I bouncing around the bush having fun, telling stories, and tracking creatures for people to meet. The grandmother reached out to tell us that her granddaughter didn’t talk–they could could count the days she did speak on one hand. I think from memory she was about 8 years old. Well, the email was to tell us that she hadn’t spoken for many years and as she was watching us at a waterhole, she said “hippo!” It was a milestone for her (and her grandmother).
As I heard this story, I tried to tell it to camera and share with everyone, but something came over me; I had vision of people from all different walks of life, sharing this incredible experience in their own special way… they were feeling the the magic of wildlife with us. (I may have accidentally rubbed a bit of ‘man-chilli’ in my eye at the same time as I told it and had the odd tear in my eye, luckily the camera is behind, so I could get away with it… I think 😉
I was so touched by this little girl’s story, it was hard to look back at camera for a few minutes (until the ‘man-chilli’ subsided).
Seriously, it is something that has stuck with me to this day and just went to show me that all different people of all ages are connecting with wildlife through what we were doing–but it was LIVE!! That was the key!
It seems that science is finding out more and more, that we have a longing to be close to animals. If you look at the cave paintings in Lasceaux, France you will see we have had a connection for tens of thousands of years. It’s a connection that is hard to describe other than there is a mutual bond. That’s the sort of thing we talk about when we describe our pets or livestock, but what about wild animals? What’s the attraction there?
Well I have always believed that the times I have felt most at peace, most relaxed, is when I am in the presence of wild animals. Animals that I never thought I could get near, but after years of these encounters and knowing that as long as you are aware of the animals behavior and space, it’s one of the best places on the planet!
That mutually beneficial and powerful bond continues today, with people and animals connecting in ways that are essential to the health and well-being of both. I love it, I thrive on it, and giving people the opportunity to go on safari LIVE with us is probably the ultimate!
PS…’Man-Chilli’ = guys welling-up but blaming on anything but emotion
Catch more safari adventures online at wildsafarilive.com