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  • Don Toothaker

Africa Calling

Updated: Jan 28

We are many centuries removed from the ancient hominids of Africa who were our ancestors. Evolution has greatly changed us, and the quality of our lives, but their DNA is still part of ours. We, as individuals and as a civilization, cannot afford to forget or lose that. Our ancestors survived in the face of great odds; so must we.

Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is unlike any place I have ever been. Last February I was fortunate to visit the Serengeti and that one unforgettable experience has fueled my hunger to see, know, and appreciate more about this wild destination. The vastness of Serengeti National Park and its ecosystem is relatively indescribable. In any direction, wherever you look, the landscape appears to roll on forever. The enormity of this setting, and all of its encompassing nature, leaves you feeling small and weak, but it also awakens something powerful in your soul that has been slowly quieted by the comforts of our current existence. It is necessary, I believe, for us to be reminded, one way or another, of where we came from. Technology helps us, but primal wildness may help us more.

The terrain of the Serengeti varies greatly. The landscape features unique rock formations, forested areas, small stands of trees, tall grasses, short grasses, watering holes, and endless open space that is home to a huge assortment of wildlife. The land itself is impressive, but it is the wildlife, and the ensuing sense of danger and curiosity, that stirs so much excitement among visitors. Life on the savannah is raw, gritty, and wildly exhilarating. Simply put, we feel it and it draws us in because it was once all of ours. Even from the safety of a Land Rover your heart races excitedly, all day, from the constant anticipation of what you see, what you might see, and the obvious reality that you, the human, are far below the top of the food chain here. By the end of the day, back in camp, you are emotionally and physically tired from the ceaseless energy that stems from experiencing the Serengeti. This place is palpable.

At night, laying in your comfortable tent separated from the wild by only a thin layer of canvas and thousands of years of evolution, it would seem expected to worry about or fear what lurks outside in the dark. Nothing could be further from the truth. The mysterious sounds of the night and the sense of genuine wildness are remarkably soothing. The allure of the Serengeti touches something in our DNA that continues to exist in us and we must find ways and places to keep that spark alive and well. Perhaps one of the keys to our survival can be found here in the comforting discomfort of a life better lived.


Photograph What You Feel




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