Here are the 6 life lessons I learned while on safari in South Africa. All these photos were taken on the trip, yes I was THAT close. 

 1. Be yourself, everyone else is taken
One of the incredible things about animals that became more evident while watching them roam free in the wild is how comfortable they are being themselves. Never do you see an elephant trying to be like a lion and vice versa. Animals are unapologetically themselves which makes them so wondrous and lovable. The same goes for you. 
2. Respect your surroundings
Our game rangers, Lyle (no coincidence he shares a name with our 8 pound fur baby) and Fanny at &Beyond Ngala Lodge were deeply respectful of the animals and our surroundings. We’d be off-roading excitedly tracking a pack of lions and Lyle would swerve around every bush as not to damage it. After all, that’s a creates food source. When approaching animals the rangers did so gently as not to disturb them. I imagine if we all took this type of care with the Earth we wouldn’t be in an environmental crisis right now. Let’s do better. 
3. Don’t take things personally 
I watched a hyena steal breakfast (an impala) from a mama leopard that had 2 babies to feed. The leopard just walked away because she couldn’t risk fighting the hyena and getting injured. In the wild the animals don’t hold grudges and neither should we. 
4. We all have our niche
When it comes to dining in the wild, the lions make the big kills and the jackals eat the small stuff. Warthogs eat the grass and the giraffes eat from the tree tops. Nobody goes hungry because they practice diversity; the same goes for humans. We’re not all meant to eat, do, think or live the same way. Our differences create interdependence so let’s celebrate them, not discriminate. 
5. Your intuition is your edge
Fanny aka “The Leopard Man” has been a game ranger for 27 years. He can expertly spot an animal’s tracks and lead you right to it. From any where. In the middle of nowhere. Repeatedly. One day Fanny led us to a pride of lions napping under a tree with barely any evidence. He relied on his intuition. This is what creates mastery, combining your knowledge and intuition.  
6. Nature is good for you soul
I was enchanted by how vivid everything was in South Africa. I experienced the blueness of the sky, the vastness of the land, the greatness of the elephants so fully. My mind went offline and I absorbed my surroundings in the most blissful way. I felt my nervous system settle and could be completely with myself for long periods of time without distractions. This feeling has stayed with me and shown me what is possible when we let Mother Nature work her magic. 

I hope this has inspired you to get outside and commune with the Earth and it’s creatures.