The ANLP Game Drive: Discovering Self with Nature

By Muzafaru Ssenyondo        

Sunday 13 March 2022

It was a Friday afternoon when the ANLP delegates went for a game drive in the wilderness of Elgro River Lodge. The game reserve is located on the banks of the Vaal river, occupying over a thousand hectares of land with variety of wild animals. The game reserve has variety of wildlife ranging from the giraffes, zebras, impala and the wild beasts.

Standing on top of the hills, viewing the rivers flowing, was a moment for me to connect with nature, while reflecting on self! I reflected on my past and the future, identified the things I value in life and those that define me. This moment felt refreshing, calm and I was able to talk to myself without external interference of work demands, family requests and all sorts of distraction.

“The game drive was very special to me, since the African sunset has a special place in my heart”, says Inarie, one of the ANLP delegates.

According to science, natural environments have two major benefits for our emotions. Firstly, being connected to nature can lead to stress reduction and mood improvement. Research studies have found a correlation between exposure to natural stimuli, stress and anger reduction, and improvement in self-reported psychological well-being and mental health. It is therefore clear that the environment we live in plays an important role in our emotional state and overall level of happiness.

Connecting with nature: the takeaway

Developing a connection with nature can only benefit us, but how can we achieve this in a world that is increasingly disconnected from it? We don’t need to isolate and live in the mountains in order to appreciate and connect with nature; but we can easily enjoy nature by trying out the following…

  • Taking a walk through parks and gardens
  • Organizing a picnic, or try to meet others outdoors whenever possible
  • Taking up gardening or kitchen garden
  • Growing your own herbs or vegetable patch
  • Getting started with birdwatching
  • Going on a hiking or camping holiday

In life, its often important to connect with nature and reflect. There is healing and refreshment of mind when you connect with nature. To the extent possible, always try to cultivate the natural inclination humans feel towards nature in all its manifestations and let the therapeutic effect of nature improve the quality and enjoyment of your life. Much appreciation goes to the ANLP organizers for having such a therapeutic activity being part of the program.