Being out in nature has a wonderfully calming effect on the human nervous system. For most of us, when we are feeling uneasy, anxious or overwhelmed we retreat into nature for a period of time and generally return feeling soothed or rejuvenated. Nature, in her wisdom and perfection, always gives us a higher perspective. She demonstrates over and over again the dualistic cycles of birth and destruction; excess and lack and how everything if given time, returns to balance and harmony.
Right now a third of the global population is on coronavirus lockdown, unable to leave their homes, apartments or shacks to find a place of solace and perspective in nature. Feelings of anxiety and uncertainty is our global connection and we are all deeply overwhelmed.
So, in these challenging time and in the absence of our freedom to go to the park, a river, a forest or on safari we came up with a list of our top ten ways to connect with nature from home.
1. Watch a David Attenborough Narrated Nature Series
David Attenborough’s voice is synonymous with the natural world. It is smooth, deep and reassuring. He has narrated numerous documentary series. Each is a visual feast, sharing insight and knowledge that leaves one in awe of the intelligence and perfection of the planet we live on. We recommend watching any of the David Attenborough masterpieces. Some of our favourites are Planet Earth, Planet Earth II, Africa, The Life of Mammals, The Blue Planet and Blue Planet II. Depending on where you live and what channels you can access, some are available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Apple TV, from your local library or bookshop.
2. Look Up: Cloud Watch or Star Gaze
We have become so accustomed to looking at computer, television or phone screens that the sky and its expansive beauty can elude us and be forgotten. The minute we pause and look up, our view and perspective is elevated. We are reminded that we are a small part of an awesome creation and that if we let go of our overwhelming need to know and control, we will be swept along in the natural order and delivered to a destination that we are unable to see right now. So look up at the clouds, or the stars... let go and allow yourself to dream of a future so beautiful you cannot even imagine it.
3. Look Out: The Window
In the same way that we forget to look up, we also forget to look out. Move around your home and look out each window with new eyes. What do you see? What have you missed? Does the bird, bush, flower or butterfly you brushed off a few weeks ago suddenly shine with renewed beauty and inspiration?
4. Step Out: Into a Garden if You Can
Take your shoes off, even if it is cold, and step out into a garden. Feel the grass or stones beneath your feet. Garden. Get your hands dirty. Plant something new and nurture it. Watch it grow. Tend to it daily. Create a natural haven with what you have and cherish it. If you live in a flat or apartment, why not create an indoor garden? It can be just as beautiful and rewarding. Gardening connects us to the natural world.
5. Go Through Your Safari Photos
If you are reading this blog there is a good chance you have been on safari to Kariega Game Reserve. Now is a great time to reconnect with your photos and videos and transport yourself back to this wild paradise. Perhaps it is time to create a photobook or video compilation.
Remember to enter your best wildlife images into the 2020 Kariega Facebook photo competition. To enter upload as many images as you like to our Kariega Facebook page. You stand a chance to win a two night all-inclusive stay for two people our Ukhozi Lodge. Hurry as the 2020 Facebook competition closes on 30 April 2020.
If you don't use Facebook or prefer Instagram, we also have a 2020 Instagram photo competition for you to enter. This separate competition runs until 30 June 2020. To enter post your favourite wildlife photograph taken at Kariega Game Reserve on your Instagram feed with the hashtag #KariegaPhoto in the caption. You must also follow @kariega.game.reserve. One photo winner is selected each week and all the weekly winners are then reviewed by our panel of judges once the competition has closed. Only one overall winner will be selected and the prize is also an all-inclusive two night stay at Ukhozi Lodge.
6. Get Creative: Paint Rocks or Make a Leaf Collage
Creativity is as healing and soothing as nature. Combing creativity and nature is a winning combination and something that the whole family can get involved in. Paint a rock a day for the remainder of your lockdown. Collect leaves and make a collage. Press flowers. Pinterest is a great source of ideas and inspiration. See what you come up with and share your ideas with us as a comment below or via our social media - Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
7. Soak up the Sun
Find the sunniest spot in your home. Be like a lion and allow yourself at least 30 minutes a day to relax in the warm, nurturing rays.
8. Be Transported by the Sound of Birds Tweeting
Change the alarm tone on your smartphone to birds tweeting. Set an alarm for random times throughout the day and enjoy the surprise and sound of birds. Don’t turn it off too quickly, rather close your eyes for a few minutes and let the sound of birds transport you to an outdoors place that you love to visit. Rest there a while in your imagination.
9. Follow our Kariega Channels
Our Kariega media team are using our creativity to create and share content that keeps you to connected with our Kariega family, our breathtaking wilderness, wildlife and nature. Let us know what you miss about Kariega the most and we will find a way to bring it to you to enjoy in your home. Connect with us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
10. Support a Cause that Supports Nature
Connect with a cause, a purpose beyond yourself, in support of protecting and preserving the natural heritage of the earth.
During May 2020 our Kariega Foundation, in collaboration with UK charity Helping Rhinos, is running a campaign to raise critical funds needed to keep our anti-poaching unit (APU) operational and our rhino well protected. Kariega Game Reserve is temporarily closed to guests and so funding for our conservation projects through the community and conservation levy has dried up. We need your help.
Take part in our special prize draw and be in with a chance to WIN a unique opportunity to name the next baby rhino born at Kariega PLUS a three-night all-inclusive SAFARI for two people on our South African private game reserve. You may even be able to meet the new baby rhino you will name.
Each ticket costs just £10 (in any currency from anywhere in the world) and there is no limit to the number of times you can enter. Enter now. The draw closes on 1 May 2020.
Follow these steps to enter online before 1 May 2020:
- Visit Helping Rhinos Name A Baby Rhino fundraising site
- Select the number of tickets you would like to purchase
- Click ‘Purchase’
- Follow the online check-out process to register and pay online.
Stay connected to the campaign and stay connected to nature.
Put some of these ideas into practice today and make sure you share your experiences with us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We also encourage you to subscribe to our blog so that you can receive updates via email.
While we still have the privilege of being connected to nature, we miss sharing it with all of you. Stay safe and connected.
Image credits: guest Cher Tucker for the mocker swallowtail butterfly, clouds by Rosie Bruce, lion by guide Brendon Jennings and rhino by guide Brett Collett.