Countdown to Safari Live

Big Cat Week is only one week away, and that means the return of Safari Live to broadcast! We checked in with Safari Live anchor Hayden Turner to see how things are going one year after the inaugural Safari Live broadcast, and he shared his excitement and what he hopes to inspire in viewers again this year. 

When you travel to far away lands, become immersed in nature, and share it with amazing people, it does feel a little like a dream. Packed with adventure when you’re there, so much seems to fit in a day… as you leave that environment, the world (your world) seems small again.

When you were younger and you read stories of those distant lands and adventures, it seemed like the impossible. These days, we kind of expect it! There doesn’t seem like there is a place on the planet we humans cannot go these days.

I have had the great privilege of working, traveling and/or living in 43 countries around the globe. I have experienced the incredible cultures and wonderful people, and have soaked up all the wildlife and habitats I could get my mucky little hands on… all thanks to TV and Nat Geo. There is no way this little suburban boy from Sydney, Australia would have ever traveled as extensively as he has without that lucky break 20 years ago. Nat Geo has changed my world.

I used to get home from a trip and say, “Go on, get out there! Just do it!” I urged everyone to just get up and travel, explore, investigate the planet as much as possible. I thought like that up until a year ago, before I had another life-changing moment when I joined Safari Live.

Hayden Turner

The first time I climbed into the vehicle and heard the countdown “Five, four, three, two, one.. YOU ARE LIVE, YOU ARE LIVE” through my earpiece, that was the moment I realized that I was driving the biggest safari vehicle on the planet… along with my buddy Pieter (things have grown since then into an even bigger, better, and all-around brilliant team!). We were taking people on an adventure, they were traveling to that faraway land, they were becoming immersed in nature with thousands of amazing people… it was a dream come true.

I started to get questions through Twitter and email, fed down the earpiece by the directors to me. “Jilly in Kansas wants to know why that elephant is doing that?” or “John in UK would like to know where you lived in Africa” and the list went on. I was interacting with the audience LIVE! It was incredible… and then we would get some questions from children, sometimes sick children, and then I really started to realize what this all was… this was magic… what we  were doing was giving all these wonderful people watching, their daily dose of nature, adventure, and sometimes therapy. A big shot in the heart of what I call “Vitamin N.”

Now I’m not saying it’s not good to get outside and see nature in your own backyard, that’s probably one of the most important things to do on the planet. But as time has progressed and I have had time to process what Safari Live is all about, I have realized that this means so much to so many people on a daily basis. For people that are sick or recovering, for carers and guardians, for children and adults with special educational needs and disabilities… the list goes on. For people that cannot leave their homes as regularly as they would like for whatever reason–I suppose what I am trying to say is that Safari Live is for everyone… everyone that has had their “love-for-nature switch” flicked on in the past, or for some–maybe Safari Live is doing it for them right now… getting them hooked on nature!

Whatever stimulates people to love nature can only be a good thing. Research has shown that being in nature–or even looking at it–improves your health, reduces stress and anger. It not only makes you feel better emotionally, but contributes to your physical well-being.

And we must then pass that on to young people in our worlds too. Young people’s minds are so important to connect with nature (older too;-) and we have to allow them to love nature before we can ask them to save it.

So over the fantastic array of drives, walks, and much more, we have so much in store for you during Big Cat Week on Safari Live. I challenge you to do this for me: change a young person’s world! Sit with them during Safari Live–experience it with them, talk them through it, share it with them, get them to ask a question and see if you can help ignite their love for nature.

If we get them hooked young, we have got them hooked for life! Think about it, we could get thousands of young minds into nature through Safari Live each night and day.

12 months ago, Safari Live changed my world, now let’s change your world, their world.

See you in Africa in 8 days! You never know whats around the next corner!


Safari Live kicks off next week on Friday, November 27th at 11/10c during Big Cat Week.


  1. Lorene Senti
    United States
    November 18, 2015, 7:25 pm

    Hayden, Safari Live has made a huge impact as you know on my daughter Sienna and me. We will be watching and spreading the word. Thank you and Nat Geo for this amazing and wonderful gift.

  2. Rob
    November 18, 2015, 8:35 pm

    Sounds amazing and will have to check it out.

  3. Donna
    Stillwater, MN
    November 22, 2015, 10:16 pm

    Ready for CatWeek, Hayden…as are my 3rd grade students. I have shared WE..stories…tales…facts…for years with each of my classes (except the sad year WE wasn’t on). So many are hooked. What is really cool is that I have/had kids AND their families watching on weekends together! You said it perfectly. WE delivers Africa and nature in it’s truest form. Any time you can interest the young (and young at heart) there are endless possibilities. Thank you and all of WE and NATGEO for continuing to share this adventure for all.