Enjoy Nature Alone

Noki, or Dassie Rat, seen on a walk on NamibRand Nature Reserve

I wanted to write this post some time ago. I am a very quiet person by nature, but, on the other hand, I am also sort of a people's person...I enjoy the company of people very much. When it comes to experiencing nature by far the majority of my time in nature has been with others. Having worked as a guide for over a decade, obviously the vast majority of my time was spent taking people out to experience nature in Namibia.

Other than that, I have also been out with birders, and really LOVE the chance to get to learn from some the the gurus (of which I am not one, of course.) I have been really lucky to meet really interesting people in my time, and love every minute I spend with those people in nature.

I have also got out and about with friends...and that is so fantastic. Adventure.

Already, but hopefully more in the future, I enjoy experiencing nature with my two boys. That's very, very special to me. Some of my best Namibian memories are trips to Etosha and the Okavango Delta with my family. The same is true of my growing up years visiting nature reserves with my family.

But I also love getting out alone and do it often. To me it's somewhat therapeutic. Sometimes I have a strong focus on learning new stuff or trying to understand what is happening with changing seasons and animals moving...what are they eating, who is hunting who...that kind of stuff. This may seem strange, but I also do it to keep fit. I get out and sometimes just run on the hills. When I was growing up, I spent hours walking in the desert and when I was studying I spent a lot of time getting out on my own. I love sitting in a bird hide, or hiding near natural water points in dry places and just watching it come alive. I love the challenge of finding new thing, such as new birds for my life list or simply seeing those animals you don't often see because they are small and shy. Nokis (also called Dassie Rats, but that name causes confusion), for example...little rock dwelling animals that really come out when you are still for a long time.

I find that it is these experiences that help you to learn the instinctive things about nature. You develop that much more of an authority of the region because of having experienced it that way. I believe that it has helped me become a good guide and set me apart from a lot of my peers over the years. Perhaps it just set me apart for being a little strange...if so, that's okay.

But most of all, it has helped me develop a strong passion for nature. I have strong feelings about conservation and the environment in general. I get excited about the prospect of getting out and understanding an area, getting to know what is happening with wildlife and the ecosystem in general. I am a total generalist, and enjoy taking in the experience on many levels. It's an important part of me...Frantic Naturalist.

So, I'll challenge you to do the same some time. You don't need to go to the greatest game parks in Africa. You can visit a local nature reserve, get out on a lake or river, or anywhere where nature is found. Go out there by yourself and slow right down, and take it in. Be an observer of nature, and enjoy it.
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Shem Compion said...

As you say, always a pleasure to be out there in nature hearing yourself think. beautifully written, makes me want to get out there now.

Ron said...

You are so right about this, I have been in the woods most of my life and will bring you back to nature quicker than a slow walk through the woods. Great article.

Namib Naturalist said...

Thank you so much for the great comments!

Dale Forbes said...

slowing down is the most hardest thing imaginable when one is used to hectic... but the bliss on the other end of the "frantic-strike" is like nothing else.