Woman Gone Wild

Travel, photography, adventure

Safari Life Lessons

Nicole Duncan

I jotted down these little ideas when I was posting my images to Instagram. For me they summarise what you need to know about safari life and and ideas to take into your every day. 

Herd in the sunlight

No. 1

Take the time to be in the moment. So many people seemed to be in a rush to tick the big 5 off their lists that they didn’t take time to just be in nature and just enjoy the beauty around them. Too often we rush through life trying to complete tasks instead of just making a point to be present in the moment - take a breath. Look around. 

Curious cub

No. 2

Approach your day with a sense of wonder It doesn’t matter if you’re someplace exotic or walking down a street in your hometown. Notice the sunshine, the birdsong, the hand that is holding yours. Think to yourself what a wonderful world. This little leopard cub was so curious - batting bushes, climbing trees, stalking through the tall grass. We all need more of this attitude to our lives. 

Mother leopard

No. 3

Be patient: On safari patience rewards you because you see animal behaviour that you’ll miss if you just rush to see the next thing. We were with these leopards for nearly an hour. In your relationships and parenting, remember that we’re all doing the best we can trying to survive on this rock going around the sun. The kids wake you up early on a Sunday, your spouse doesn’t load the dishes the right way, and it feels like no one is grateful for your hard work. But this too shall pass and you’ll miss the cuddles and the helping hand. 

Lioness in the sunshine

No. 4

Expect the unexpected and be prepared. With a 33lbs weight limit for all our kit, I ditched half my clothes to add a second camera body so I would have a 400mm prime on one and a 100-30mm on the other. I thought this would cover most things and then I would crop post process as I couldn’t bring myself to rent and carry a bigger lens. Then I threw in the Hasselblad X1Dwith the XCD45 lens at the last minute for street shots in Cape Town - never expecting that I would use it to shoot lions with it on two occasions. Having it to hand meant I didn’t miss the shots when the lioness was under 2m from the vehicle. Better the cameras than an extra pair of tights. The safari camps all had laundry service and style wasn't important. Life can be full of surprises both good and bad but if you’re resilient you can roll with it.

Lions in the Okavango

No. 5

Don’t leave before you leave. Too often I’ve spent the last morning of a trip, packing and “hanging out” so that we’re not late leaving. Really it means that I mope about and feel sorry for myself. Embracing the "don't leave before you leave" mantra has changed it all. We pack adventure into every minute until we absolutely have to go. In the case of Jax Camp Botswana, the result was that we saw the two young male lions we had watched all week turn and face the adult male who was trying to run them off. One of the trip highlights we would have missed if we hadn’t decided to do one last game drive.