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Surely there is no place on earth more associated with wide open spaces than Africa. This vast and varied continent is the backdrop for some of the greatest wildlife spectacles that our planet has to offer. Home to the greatest herds of large mammals, thousands of varied species of birds, unique vegetation and complex inter-species relationships. The skies above her wildest spaces are so littered with stars that it can sometimes feel that one may be no closer to the ceiling of the world and beating heart of nature anywhere else. At times shrouded in myth, even mystery, Africa beckons a curious and wanting spirit. Ready? Make your way!
An ever-changing beauty, gripped by powerful seasons of wet and dry. Each unique seasonal stage presents immense challenges for the continents inhabitants. Survival is the ultimate struggle; avoiding predators, finding food and water, competing with rivals for mates and territory and raising offspring are the focus of life. It is the will to triumph over these daily struggles which connects every wild living thing to us and our very own basic human drive for success and survival. The harshness of the African landscape and its conditions coupled with life's unrelenting will to persevere are the main driving forces behind the growth of some truly intricate adaptations and complex evolutionary enigmas. Certainly the variety of life in all forms is likened to no other place!
For me, time spent immersed in wilderness has always offered an indescribable sense of peace. It's the feeling that you are right where you belong, as a small but meaningful part of a much greater system - most of which is out of our control. The realization that our entire human age is only an infinitesimally brief moment in the history of the natural world. For me and those fortunate enough to visit this place for a time, it is an escape from the daily pressures of the human condition and an affirmation of life and all things living.
Let your senses adjust to the calm of an African night, the apparent silence however is only fleeting. Calls of nocturnal wanderers like hyenas echo out of distant corners, announcing opportunities for allies and laying boundaries for rivals. Or of course the bellowing roar of a lion against the orchestra of nightjars and singing insects, his vocal declaration is brave but even he has mortal stresses and fears to contend with. The sound of rolling thunder brings with it the promise of the first rains as the scent of sweet petrichor fills your nostrils. Change is inevitable.
Man's very origin was evidently on the African savannah; Relics found in caves and deep beneath the soil tell of how thousands of years ago we first walked bare-footed and upright with our families. We gathered our food, soaked up the sun and co-existed with the great herds and their great predators. A visit to this seemingly magical continent reconnects us with something good, something we may feel at times that we have lost. The inescapable power of this place will, if given the slightest chance, capture the imagination and overwhelm the human spirit.
Of the multitude of experiences on offer for a visitor to this place, coming eye-to-eye with an elephant surely must be among the most profound. Their massive bodies and parched skin underlie a capacity for complex emotion and vast social depth. Sentient beings with long-lasting family bonds, rivalling our own in length and loyalty. They educate their young with hard-earned wisdom and mourn the deaths of their elderly with a profound sense of self and a resounding feeling of remembrance. At times even rushing to the aid of another in need of help. They wander vast distances, along paths only made clear by deeply held memories passed down through generations. Gazing into their deep amber-orange eyes, it may be said that they command a silence usually reserved only for mountain peaks, great fires and the sea.
Before setting off on a journey to Africa, remember a few important things. Come with camera, notebook, and an open mind; And be prepared to be changed forever!
Experience world-class wildlife and safari in style at Ulusaba with our free night offer. To add to the adventure, why not combine a stay at Mahali Mzuri in Kenya's famous Maasai Mara and enjoy your own luxury tented suite, all meals and drinks, as well as twice daily game drives.
Follow Liam on Instagram @liamburr_wildlife
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