1. The Appeal of the African Bush
It is all about Africa – this vast ancient continent full of sights, sounds and smells that mesmerize the soul. For anyone interested in participating on the Bushwise Hospitality course, a natural yearning to immerse oneself in the African bush is an essential prerequisite to maintain motivation and sustain enthusiasm for the duration of the programme. It is amazing how easy it is to adapt and adjust to bush living – the world of cars, street lights, skyscrapers and surburban homes suddenly seems the artificial environment as the growing familiarity with natural surroundings and the rhythm of the bush provides the new reality of daily existence. A more simple and peaceful way of life is the potential of African living as the fabric of nature reaches inside our self and engages the senses to see, hear and smell in an entirely new way. However, the paradox of Africa is the excitement that exists within the core of this peace…the realisation that the unexpected can occur at any time is the reason that living in the bush is so enticing. The peace of a starry night can be punctuated with the howls of hyena, a leopard’s low pitched growl and the feverish excitement of zebra alarm calls all hint at the drama of nature that is unfolding under the moonlight. The story continues with the bright yellow dawn as the African sun gains height in the sky and a new cast of characters, including monkeys, impala, cheetah, and even a few humans, emerge to interact in the fresh light of a new day. In the words of Ernest Hemingway, ‘I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.’
Tim’s Personal Log – I had the good fortune of being able to visit Africa for the first time in October 2013 for a two week period. During this time I gained my introduction to the safari lodge experience in Kafue National Park, Zambia with wonderful animal encounters, and moved onto Livingstone where I witnessed the force of nature that is Victoria Falls. Upon returning to my home in Australia I suffered the worst case of traveller blues that I had ever experienced; the Africa bug had bitten and after weeks of dreaming about Africa every night I resolved to take action. My plan was simple. Discover a way to work and live in a safari lodge in Africa. Fatefully I sat down in front of the computer and googled three words, ‘Africa’ ‘hospitality’ and ‘volunteer.’ Bushwise appeared on top of my search engine screen and after scanning the information on the website it appeared I had instantly discovered my pathway back to Africa. Life was never supposed to be this simple! I did not act immediately but searched around for other options but nothing came close to the opportunity that was being offered by Bushwise. I contacted GVI Australia about my interest in the Bushwise Hospitality Internship programme with a start date in March for a twenty week period. I received an application form which I completed and sent to Bushwise Communications Manager, Rachel Greenwood on 31st December 2013. My last action of the year proved to have the most decisive influence on the course of my life in 2014. A telephone interview with Rachel was scheduled and after a half hour conversation it was evident that Bushwise was my new path. Fast forward to June 2014 and I am currently living and working in a safari lodge in the Limpopo Province of South Africa bordering Kruger National Park. Here I have had three fantastic months of experiences to being substance and reality to what was once a dream called Africa.