During the Covid Pandemic shut-down, at Zoom we often found ourselves daydreaming about travel, and the dream that kept coming up over and over was being on safari. Bryan conducted a quick and casual interview with Joel recently to get at the heart of why a luxury safari is so captivating.
Bryan: What do you like about being on safari?
Joel: I love being pampered at the luxurious safari lodges where we stay, and equally love the unexpected wild animal experiences every day. I have been on many safaris and they are never the same and never cease to amaze me. There is always a new animal species I have never seen before and even the ones that I have seen many times, like elephants, always surprise and delight me with their spontaneous, in-the-moment, way of being.
Bryan: How do you balance luxury with the spirituality aspect of safari?
Joel: They go hand in hand. The luxury aspect of the safari allows me the physical space and comfort to be mentally available and open to the spiritual aspect of a safari. I love good food and wine. That makes me happy and stress-free. Every morning I wake up early, refreshed and looking forward to whatever the wild side of nature has to offer. I have never been on a safari and left disappointed. On the contrary, I always leave overwhelmed with emotion and happy that I am playing my part in protecting endangered animal species around the world. A good portion of the safari dollars we spend goes to animal conservation and awareness. Worth every penny.
Bryan: Do you have a specific time in mind when Spirituality and luxury collided?
Joel: Yes! On my last safari in November, I was enjoying a bubble bath at our beautiful lodge, having a delicious glass of South African red wine, and listening to the birds chirping outside, and I saw in the distance a mother elephant teaching her baby how to use their trunk to grab leaves off of a bush. It was very Lion King, but with wine and bubbles.
Bryan: What is the most incredible thing you have ever seen on safari?
Joel: Hmmm, it is hard to pick one. Last month I talked about the time I met up with a gorilla and our eyes locked. That is one of my best. Seeing wildebeests on the great migration in the Serengeti is another one. Then there was the time that I saw a warthog and a lion locked in battle. Truly amazing. But you know the thing that I always kind of come back to that truly captivates me is being in the bush, and hearing the sounds of nature all around you at night, while you watch millions of stars twinkling above you. It’s majestic and humbling, and makes you feel at one with all around you.
Bryan: Can you have an incredible safari experience if you do a budget trip instead of staying in a luxury lodge?
Joel: I think that any time that you are in nature looking at incredible animals in their natural habitat, it has the potential to be a special, worthwhile experience. So in short, my answer is yes.
But the thing is, these luxury safari lodges are truly creating magic in the middle of nowhere. So to have that bespoke, luxurious, pampering experience where you were dining on incredible food, savoring the most delicious wines, and indulging in huge gorgeous accommodations while wild animals are thriving in their natural habitat right outside your room, it is just an unparalleled experience.