When on safari you normally rise with the sun. This is a very gentle way to wake up. The hollow, fluorescent light of pre-dawn invites the pastel shades of morning to dance across the sky. This is a progressive movement as little by little it builds into something majestic. When ready, you set off in search of beautiful and unusual sightings. When you find something that interests you, you stop and capture the moment. It may be a guineafowl squawking its alarm call, a hippo trotting for the cover of water or a spider suspended in its web. You watch and learn. There is a huge amount to take in. Soon it is time to enjoy a steaming cup of tea or coffee with rusks and appreciate your surroundings.
The sun is still climbing, the mercury rising. It is time to return to camp, find some shade and relax. The fresh air has left you ravenous and for the moment the idea of food occupies your thoughts. Once fed, the next couple of hours are yours. You only venture out again when the sun has started its slow meander towards the horizon. Now is the time to read your book, play games, sleep, write in your journal or just keep a silent vigil. The wildlife guided by their inherent sense of survival are resting too, huddled together in whatever shade they can find. As the heat of the day begins to dissipate, they start moving. You follow closely behind. The light is changing again and the air carries with it the scent of promise. You are alert and excited as you read the land for any signs of life: fresh spoor on the tracks ahead, scratch marks on a tree trunk, a broken blade of grass. Anything to help you predict the movement of wildlife across Africa’s vastness.
You don’t know what you are going to see next. You are visitors in an unspoilt, untamed wilderness where the animals are shy and wild and all around. It is this unpredictability that makes game viewing so exciting. Whatever you do see is a reward for your patience. As the afternoon starts to unfold, you stumble across the unexpected. Possibly a pride of lions waking from their afternoon slumber and preparing for an evening of nocturnal menace or a herd of giraffe grazing graciously on their favourite acacia shoots.
It is getting dark now. The sun is about to move below the horizon and the moon is waiting to rise and conquer the sky. It is time return to camp. Supper will be ready soon. This evening meal is often one of the focal points of the day. You gather around a roaring fire, under the blanket of night, listening to unfamiliar sounds whilst enjoying simple, yet delicious food lovingly prepared in a big, black pot. This is the perfect way to unwind, gazing at the leaping flames, searching for eyes in the darkness, studying the constellations and looking for shooting stars. The conversation is animated. A discussion on where you have come from and where you still want to go or what you have seen and still want to see. Or perhaps you just sit in companionable silence, occasionally glancing at each other with a conspiratorial look. A look that says you know this is probably as good as it gets.
Your bed is calling now and it is time to enjoy vibrant dreams of adventure and discovery and that vague feeling of unease that comes when something goes bump in the night and you do not know what it is.
Life on safari is surprisingly simple and stress-free, and it is waiting for you to experience it for yourself.