Walking on Sunshine – Bush Walks at Jabulani

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Blog by Guest Tamlin Wightman

There were so many fascinating facts that Ranger Ruan imparted on our morning walk through the open bush at Jabulani. He had to remind us of them, again and again, before they sank in. There were simply too many new names of trees that we’d never heard about. The weeping boerbean, tambotie, magic quarry, knobthorn. There were countless explanations for different middens and textures of soil. Our minds were scurrying around like termites trying to grab onto different bits of dry leaves, tree stumps and paper.

When you walk the paths winding through the reserve in Kapama, day after day, when your life is immersed in the natural world of this wilderness, as a ranger, the different sights, sounds and smells become a part of you. Naturally. Like knowing the roads of your own city by heart.

As a ranger, Ruan’s knowledge keeps growing with every new drive, walk, book, interaction. But ours was precarious. Having him as our guide to this new world brought it all to life in the most vivid and real of ways. We were like his disciples following the trail into exactly that… a new world.

What stays with you though, with ease, is the feeling of it all. Of moving, legs and arms swaying in your stride as though there was no danger of a buffalo around each corner. There is a freedom and a strong sense of trust and hope that takes over. And when the giraffe ambles into your path and the impalas leap through the air beside you and the great eagles of the sky soar overhead, you feel all the closer to the world of the ranger. It’s the “walking on sunshine” feeling that people sing about.

For all the trepidation and unfamiliarity, there is a deep comfort you feel on a bush walk that makes you want to skip the game drive altogether, unless of course it’s after a long lunch. Or you spy lions having lunch.

The bush walk reveals a lot about each walker’s character. Feelings arise that you may be unacquainted with. You find yourself awakened to parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed: fierce courage, for instance, that only shows itself when on foot with the wild things. Or perhaps a great capacity for trust. Hiding behind the ranger is surely just a matter of trust, not paranoia?

On our morning walk into the wild, the earth came alive in new ways, but so did our own individual selves.

This is the power of getting out of your comfort zone. The power of connecting with nature. The power of having a ranger who can guide you through it all. This is the sunshine of a bush walk.

Blog by Guest Tamlin Wightman

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