Feeling alive on game drives
Some images in this article were taken pre-COVID-19.
The wild has beckoned adventurers, explorers and nature enthusiasts for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The thrill of never knowing what lies around the next corner, under the next tree or behind the next bush entices us to always push further.
Going on game drives in a totally wild and completely natural landscape can be likened to the awe-inspiring scenes from Jurassic Park. Strange footprints and telltale signs of animals lie all around us. All you need to do is take a closer look at the ground to know exactly what’s out and about.
Photo by: Donald Fraser
Africa’s megafauna are by far the most sought after when it comes to experiencing African wildlife. The peace and humility you experience when surrounded by the world’s largest land mammal is a connection to the natural world that is almost tangible in its intensity. The tolerance of savannah elephants is graceful and forgiving when they allow you into their space.
Over the course of the past six to seven decades, animals have become habituated to the presence of game drive vehicles and modern humans within their ecological domains. Ethical guiding and encounters have played a huge role in developing safe and comfortable environments for these iconic mammals, where we are able to experience intimate and close-quarter encounters with them for conservation research, without stressing or aggravating the animals in any way.
We are beyond privileged to be able to experience the wilderness in such a connected and immersive way. Viewing animals without disrupting their natural behaviour leads to a more insightful and deeper understanding of just how similar we are. A mother’s love and care for her offspring is as obvious to rhinos as it is to humans.
However, animals aren’t the only part of what makes game drives exciting. Human connection and camaraderie are linked by one commonality – a shared love and passion for something. When you and everyone else on the vehicle are bonded by the same rooted respect and love for wildlife, the relationship between you as the guide and your guests will flourish as much as the plants and animals do!
Ultimately, going on a professional-led game drive is not only about looking at animals. It’s about an immersive, connected understanding of the natural world that exists around us.