Health and wellness have become a big conversation topic in recent years, people are always “on” and connected to some device, whether is WhatsApp, email messages, apps, social media etc.  It is no wonder that holidays are becoming more important to us as an escape from our digitally connected world.  Disconnecting from all the distractions and being in nature are touted as important to relax and rejuvenate your mind and body.

From being in the African bush for 20 years we have learned plenty about the benefits of this lifestyle. Here are our tips for living a healthier lifestyle from being in the bush.

  1. Watch sunrises.

Sunrises are great for a reason.  It has been shown that viewing early morning light soon after waking increases alertness and will trigger your circadian rhythm ensuring you are energised throughout the day and sleepy in the evening. Our eyes are sensitive to the differences in yellow and blues, seen at sunrise.

  1. On sleep.

There is an abundance of studies showing the importance of getting a good 7-9 hours of sleep a day.  Sleep improves mental sharpness, physical rest, the immune system and lowers stress levels and your risk of serious health problems. If it weren’t important to humans, it would have not survived evolution since we are our most vulnerable when asleep!

  1. Sun on skin.

The amount of time we spend out in the field may be harmful to our skin, however, the right balance of exposure to sunlight is needed to maintain a healthy life.  Wavelengths of sunlight absorbed by the skin can improve sleep, alertness, mood and regulate hormone levels.

  1. Vitamin D.

More specifically to sunlight, Vitamin D is an often overlooked vitamin vital to our health. A simple solution to increase its intake is by being exposed to sunshine.  Your body naturally produces Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight which aids the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and promotes immune function.  These have been shown to increase bone density, improve mood and improve the immune system’s defence against certain diseases.

  1. Thoughts on alcohol.

We all like an ice-cold beer or gin and tonic after a day out in the bush, and while it seems that there are no positives to drinking, even moderate amounts, having one or two does have a calming and relaxing effect.  Like most things, just don’t overdo it and you will be good.

  1. Stay nourished.

When embarking on an adventure into the African wilderness, or any unknown terrain, having a well-nourished body is paramount.  Getting a good breakfast is important.  Although breakfast being considered the most important meal of the day was a marketing ploy, we agree.  But, the fatty English breakfast or high glycemic index cereals are not great for a full day of adventuring.  If you want something to sustain your body, oats and berries are a simple great example because it is a good source of sustained energy to begin your day with.

  1. Get comfortable with silence.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Considered an endangered sound, quiet is truly hard to come by but listening to the sounds that are in between can reveal a world unknown to you, increasing your awareness of the treasure the natural world has to offer. Being in the wilderness is the best bet for seeking quiet.
  1. Learn first aid.

Not only is it important to know how to use a first aid kit but knowing what to do in an emergency will give you confidence when you or others are in hazardous situations. There are many first aid courses that are cost effective. These are an optional extra with our field guiding courses.

  1. Learn to read a map/GPS.

Remember doing mapwork in Geography, those skills are lifesavers when the omnipresent Google can’t reach your phone out in the wild. Understanding how to read the landscape around you and knowing where you are on the map will save you from worsening your situation when you’re already lost.

  1. Speaking of being lost.

It happens! Being prepared rather than thinking it will never happen is the key to your survival, think Titanic! Realising that you’re lost floods the body with emotions; shame, shock and fear to name a few.  Being able to control these emotions will help you to think rationally and decide on sound actions to take.  There are many great articles about the psychology of being lost, which we urge you to brush up on.

  1. Get close to wild animals.

Ok not too close, a wild animal is unpredictable and sceptical of your presence. But seeing a wild animal within striking distance will make you feel more alive than most things in the modern world. There are guided walks in most game reserves where you can immerse yourself in wildlife, go for it.


  1. Get uncomfortable.

With our modern and sedentary lives, we constantly seek comfort, and we should feel fortunate that society has progressed to this point.  Not experiencing discomfort can make us deep-seated in our comfort zone, where we don’t fully realise what we are capable of when pushed past our limits.  Knowing what you’re capable of trains the mind and body to be confident the next time you’re in a similar situation.

  1. Physically active.

Staying active is an obvious one we are passionate about.  Like most people, we can’t avoid being desk bound, but fortunately, we spend a lot of time outdoors.  Keeping an active lifestyle not only helps us with being outdoors up to for days at time but does wonders for the body and mind on a biological level.

  1. There’s a saying, “shut up and go walk”.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Again, with our sedentary lives people are mostly sitting, either whilst watching their favourite Netflix show, working at a desk or driving.  Walking slows your mind down and helps you clarify your thoughts, opening your awareness to creativity and problem solving.  Besides, it also keeps you active and outdoors, whether on safari or in your neighbourhood.
  1. Photo Hunting.

Having had several great photographers join our courses to learn how to immerse themselves in nature, we’ve learned from their pure excitement that there is nothing as exhilarating as pulling the trigger and getting the shot. The leopard mid-air, launching up to a branch, or the dust cloud from an elephant shaking its ears. With patience, perseverance and knowledge, the inevitably uncertain journey is successful and the outcome that much more rewarding! Nothing is promised in the bush, but success is that much sweeter!


16. Going on that awesome adventure into the wild void of contact with civilisation? Amazing. But be sure to let friends, family and authorities know your whereabouts and when to expect you back. Your adventures should be safe for you first and foremost.

  1. No routine.

Routine is important but living life spontaneously can open you up to amazing experiences.  When we go out on drives or walks, we leave ourselves open to what the African safari will offer us on that day, which is always a rich experience.

  1. Do what makes you happy.

Whether it be a hobby, an activity or being social, doing what you enjoy gives you a sense of purpose, reduces stress and increases creativity and productivity, to name a few.  We love being outdoors and are grateful our job allows us this freedom daily.

  1. Get out in nature.

We have alluded to this in many tips but being out in nature relaxes your heart rate and muscles, improves mental processes like quietening regions of the brain involved in decision-making. The more we experience nature the more we relieve stress and recover willpower.

  1. Immerse yourself.

We couldn’t only mention being in the wild once! We have implemented the nature immersion method as part of all our field guiding courses. Spear headed by founder/owner of Limpopo Field Guide Academy, Mark Stavrakis, this method reconnects you with nature and has shown to not only have mental and physical benefits on people but creates awareness of environmental issues and increases engagement in pro-environmental behaviour.

Whether you love being in the bush/nature or not these simple learnings will help pave a way for a healthy lifestyle

Stay tuned for more insight and adventures from Limpopo Field Guiding Academy.

All course enquiries:

+27(0)72 625 4709

+27(0)14 007 0621