Wonderful and evocative article reminding me of waking up to see the sun rise in Charara, Mana Pools and Victoria Falls. When for a game drive or catching animals as they awoke too, was all the more amazing….
Article by Amanda Evans, Hills of Africa Travel’s CEO
If you’ve never been up to watch a sunrise in your life, stop everything you are doing and make a plan for it. And I don’t mean if you’ve never been awake before the sun comes up. I’m talking about just sitting and having your own plan to watch the sun rise. And if you’ve never had that experience and want it, there is absolutely no better place on earth to start than in Africa.
The morning African safari game drives are my favorite for many reasons, but the spectacular sunrises are one of the biggest. I am far from a morning person and you’ll almost never catch me up when it’s still dark out, but something about a morning game drive gets me to my feet at 4am with ease.
As my eyes slowly drift open I can already smell the fresh hot coffee headed to my door with some light biscuits and fruit. The chocolate-nutty notes of the coffee find their way into my nostrils and I feel instantly awake. After a few sips of the deep rich coffee, I pop a few pieces of fruit in my mouth. The burst of flavor and intense sweetness give me enough energy to grab my bag and camera and stumble my way through the dark to the game drive vehicle.
It’s quite chilly that early in the morning on the African safari tour and I pull my khaki cotton pullover more tightly around myself and raise the hood to keep my ears warm as we race down the dirt road in search of our first game that morning.
The cold wind pricks my skin through my soft cotton, making me feel totally awake and wide eyed for what adventures await. And ever so slowly you begin to see the honey hues of the son begin pouring over the horizon and spill out onto the African plains. The sun itself is the biggest widest, most radiant sun you’ve ever seen. And even the biggest of clouds can’t seem to contain it. It needs to reach every inch of the land, piercing dense brush or fog or whatever is in its way.
You can literally feel the sunrise on your skin.
As it comes up, the chill in the air begins to fade and you feel your skin relax and open up to soak up the sun. It’s nothing short of marvelous. And, as it rises, it begins waking up all the birds and insects and living creatures of the bush. The birds begin calling wildly to each other, the cameras in your vehicle begin clicking and clacking with people desperate to capture the moment forever and somewhere in the distance – the lions are calling . . . all before 6am or a proper breakfast!
The remaining hours of the game drive are spent following a leopard on a hunt or watching a white rhino and her baby graze in the field, or catching a breeding herd of elephants drink at the watering hole. Not such a dull morning!
To experience all the rawness of nature in such simple ways is not a life experience to be missed. I assure you, if you make it to Africa and you see an African sunrise in the bush, you will be in love before you ever set eyes on your first animal.
Original article – hillsofafrica