As you read the title of this blog, you may be thinking, “that it is a weird oxymoron?”. Well, this may be so, but this is what I have personally experienced on many safaris that I have taken guests on.
How many times have you been on a safari where you are busy watching a leopard walking through the grass, and a short distance away are a few impalas busy grazing in an open area. You’re watching as the leopard displays the all-elusive “leopard crawl”, keeping very low to the ground but still managing to keep its eyes on the prize ahead. The leopard slowly gets within striking range and then… Success! A kill!
So, as this was all taking place, you’ve been snapping away with your camera taking as many videos and pictures as the phone or camera will allow, almost melting the lens because of the high rate of photos being taken. But at the same time, you are kind of watching everything through the camera lens itself and not being present in the moment.
Believe me, I’m not saying that one should not take any photos while on safari, but often you will get back home after a magical experience out in the bush, and perhaps a month or two later you will look through your photos only to find yourself having to really try hard to remember what had happened in every photo. I can say that there have been a few times where I have been caught out like this too while going through my photos, and I have had to stop and think “Where was this? What happened here?”.
So now, on every single safari, I make a conscious effort to take photos, but to also put the camera down for a while and watch what is going on in front of me.
To really take in the moment, I would often suggest to my guests to take fewer photos and put the phone or camera down for a bit, and just watch what is happening in front of you. Look at little physical features, take note of the behaviour of the animal, etc. By doing so, you allow the brain to process what is happening in front of you and thus helping you to remember a lot more later down the line.
I know that for many, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity/dream to come to Africa for a safari, and you feel you need to take as many photographs as possible to show friends and family back home, and that too is okay. All I’m suggesting is that you must try to not miss the moment by capturing it. You will see all these magnificent animals for what they truly are, and your experiences will trump your expectations.