A safari is at the top of many a bucket list. And for good reason. It is an adventure; a true broadening of horizons; an education for the mind; and a rejuvenation of the soul.
Fully kitted out in brand new khakis, cameras and binoculars, wildlife and nature enthusiasts from around the world eagerly clamber up onto the rugged Landcruiser, barely able to contain their childlike excitement as they embark on a journey of discovery and amazement. For the next few hours, or days, they will be captivated by nature’s beauty, mesmerised by the most fascinating facts and regaled with stories they’ll continue to tell their own friends and families for years to come.
While on safari, you get to do things you’ve only ever dreamed of. Like listening to the grunting gnus of the Great Migration as they traverse the mighty plains of East Africa. Or riding a horse in the African wilderness alongside curious zebra and giraffe. Perhaps you’ll take to the sky in a hot air balloon and float peacefully over the world-famous Mara River or equally renowned Namib Desert. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the Big Five, perhaps catch a fleeting glimpse of one of the Elusive Eleven, or you might even witness a kill, like something straight out of a wildlife documentary.
Going on safari with an expert &Beyond guide is like stepping into a real-life encyclopaedia that is filled with the most fascinating and unexpected facts about the most curious of creatures, both big and small. You’ll learn all sorts of wildlife trivia, like how the chameleon changes colour, what makes the flamingo pink, why the dung beetle spends its day rolling around in dung, and why lions have black tufts on fur on their tails and the backs of their ears.
You’ll watch in awe as the golden orb spider effortlessly spins its silky, golden web. If you’re patient, you’ll likely see one or two of the Little Five, the pint-sized namesakes of their more widely known Big Five counterparts. You might even learn some age-old bush survival skills, such as how to build a fire, or how to make a toothbrush out of a twig and toothpaste out of ash and water.
The more inquisitive and adventurous safari goers often end up doing things they never even thought imaginable, like sticking their fingers in (dry) elephant dung to determine the gentle giant’s diet or taking part in a highly competitive and always entertaining dung-spitting competition. Yes, you read that correctly. Known as “bokdrol spoeg” in Afrikaans, this is the comical sport of spitting small, hard pellets of impala or giraffe dung. The farthest flung dung determines the overall dung-spitting champion. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
Perhaps one of the most popular “safari classroom” lessons is the amusing collective noun discussion. Did you know that each grouping or ‘family’ of animals, from the tawny tiger and the leaping lemur, to the sleepy sloth and the hefty hippo, has its own, often rather charming, collective noun?
Here are 50 words to use on your next safari … or ‘journey’ … to the plains of Africa, the jungles of Asia or the wide-open vistas of South America. Don’t forget to pack your sense of humour and a keenness for adventure, and join us for a dazzling journey (pun intended).