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  • Writer's pictureRafael Bloch

Reflections after a Month with AGA

Updated: May 1

After a bit of a creative lull, I finally sat down to write this blog post. I immediately put pen to paper and started brainstorming. Quick little anecdotes about birds being able to see within the UV spectrum of light and how hawks and falcons follow the urine trails of their prey. “Elephants are related to dassies because of…”. That’s cool… what else? Maybe the funny, onomatopoeic story about how the Kudu earned name (if you know, you know). Oh, oh, oh! Maybe I can write about trees, maybe the baobab and how it’s actually a succulent, that it’s fire resistant and that they can live up to 2000 years! I mean, wow! Those are all great. What fun facts. But something about writing all of that didn’t make sense to me. Something was missing, especially after 1 month of living in one of the wilder places, the Okavango Delta.

Everything you just read, the cool new facts you can tell your friends about when they ask, “What was Africa like?”- are great, don’t get me wrong, but all of that you can read in a book or even in a blog post.

So, then, where am I heading with this?

Well, some things you just cannot write.

It would almost be a disservice to the raw experience of what living in the bush can conjure up in your soul. Words cannot adequately convey the rich aromas coming from the earth, the smell of petrichor, after the first rain in months on the parched landscape where sweat is the only moisture. And that’s before describing “the rolling thunder across the savannah” as Johnny Clegg once sang, as the storm clouds start brewing. How do you write a blog post about the privilege of being surrounded by a herd of elephants as they communicate through deep and low stomach rumbles, a rolling thunder felt inside of you. Or even the rhythmic pant of your own breath as the heat becomes so unbearable that walking to the fridge to get water requires too much energy.

Maybe I should dive into the esoteric? I could write a poem or haiku? The rhythm conveying feeling better than words can.

“Let nature teach you stillness”, I can write.


“The slow panting breath

Of a lion within us

so primal, so deep.”

Once you’ve made the calls, boarded the flight and touched down in the bush, you begin to peel away the background noise. Your screen time on your phone drops and you begin to distance yourself from what you did not even know to be distractions. You walk barefoot, lightly dodging thorns, towards your new favourite tree and sit down alone to watch a heard of elephants at the waterhole under the dying sun.

And the nightjars start calling.

So too do the hyaenas.

The Scops owl.

With the heat of the day finally simmering down, your soul connects to something real, something so primal, so deep.

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