The dictionary would define a nature walk as the phenomena to move at a regular and fairly slow pace by lifting and setting down each foot in turn, never having both feet off the ground at once moving through the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth.
However is this how I would describe a Nature Walk……..? NO!
When a Roman Gladiator would walk into the Coliseum, his heart rate would increase, his body almost begins to shudder with adrenaline and his eyes would open with excitement. He would never be sure of who his next opponent would be, their size and how long the battle would last, with thousands of bystanders’ eyes glazing upon him.
Every time I take a nature walk I am this Gladiator, I am unsure of what my potential opponent may be, from the ever changing wind, fresh tracks, to the alarm calls of the ever alert monkeys or the unmistakable sight of a potentially dangerous animal. This alertness and continual awareness opens up your senses and allows for you to feel more vulnerable. This, in my eyes, is the best part of a nature walk, to indulge in a sensory overload and to feel incredibly humble and one with nature.
From looking at the smallest insect move in and around the grass stalks to the mountainous termite mounds, talking about their incredible involvements and necessities to this astonishing African Bushveld. We study and look at the most delicate of flowers and local herbs increasing our sense of smell. Every time my tracker, Heaviness, and I walk we try to collect the wild fruits before the cheeky baboons over indulge. This allows our guests to cherish this amazing opportunity, from the now fruiting Sour Plums to the incredibly sweet Marula fruits.
A plant may often just be over looked as being green and having leaves. We then begin to break it down and look at this plant as a medicine cabinet for the gladiators, from producing emetics, eye drops, remedies for fevers and even potential snake bite cures.
We continue down the path of the unknown and start to interpret and look at what may have happened during the nightly antics from hyena, lion or leopard or the movements of a herd of impala through their tracks. This will always allow us to gain and further have respect for the unknown opposition.
Eventually this path leads us back to the always favoured bar where rehydrating with a water, coke, beer or a glass of refreshing wine brings us back to normality. Now this is how I would describe a Nature Walk and would hope to open as many guests eyes to this incredible experience.