Good for Mind, Body, and Soul
When you think about taking an African safari, health benefits may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But getting back to nature and having the adventure of a lifetime can feed your mind, body, and soul in a way that’s essential to your health and wellness.
Benefits for your body
Scientific studies support the healing effects associated with being in nature. Research shows time spent in natural surroundings lowers muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure. Many cultures practice a form of eco-therapy; the Japanese call the practice of getting out into the natural world shinrin-yoku.
Exposure to natural light, like the sun on the savannah, provides vitamin D, which improves bone health. Breathing fresh air away from pollutants lowers the risk of respiratory concerns, including allergies and asthma. When we breathe in the fresh air, we also breathe in phytoncides, airborne chemicals produced by plants. Phytoncides have antibacterial and antifungal qualities that help plants fight disease; when humans take them in, bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of a type of white blood cell that boosts immunity.
While a great deal of time on safari can be spent on drives, the additional walking and hiking help keep you fit. There’s also some evidence that being outdoors helps eye health because you look at objects from various distances.
Benefits for your mind
Dr. Lisa Nisbet, a psychologist at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, who studies connectedness to nature, notes, “There is mounting evidence, from dozens and dozens of researchers, that nature has benefits for both physical and psychological human wellbeing.” Experiments reveal that being exposed to natural environments improves working memory, cognitive flexibility, and attentional control.
The American Psychological Association found that being in nature significantly impacts a person’s psychological well-being. It helps with psychological restoration and lowers the likelihood of developing some psychiatric disorders. Being outdoors can also help with mild to moderate depression and anxiety issues. In fact, animal therapy is something many practitioners use to help patients’ emotional and mental health. The thrill associated with seeing elephants, giraffes, and other animals in the wild activate endorphins that increase happiness.
Ornitherapy, the therapeutic effect of bird watching, can help reduce depression and anxiety. With 1,155 species of birds in Tanzania, there are many ways to relax.
Benefits for your soul
If taking a safari has always been on your bucket list, Tanzania is the ultimate safari destination. Humans have an instinctual yearning to be in the wilderness, and even the happiest city dwellers crave nature. Being out on the savannah amongst zebra, hippos, gazelle, brings healing to one’s soul that can’t truly be described but must be experienced. It’s no coincidence that many guided meditations feature nature as a main visualization point.
Six months after the sudden loss of her husband of 29 years in a horrific motorcycle accident, Wanderful Tanzania founder, Susie Langley, realized firsthand how soul-healing a safari can be. “I was still in darkness and feeling my way through most days, doing everything possible to claw my way back to the light,” when she was invited to an African safari by her husband’s friends.
Susie now takes delight each time a guest experiences what she calls a “This is Africa (TIA) Moment.” She says that phrase is “the only one you can find to describe what they’ve just seen, heard, experienced, or felt while on safari.”
During your trip, you bond with fellow travelers (and family members if they come along) as well as the locals. Meeting tribe members puts things into perspective in a way you may never have experienced in your life. “The thing that will strike you is their sheer joy,” says Susie. “In everything they do, there is a generosity of spirit. Even if it cannot be conveyed in language, you feel it deep in your soul.”
Take advantage of the health benefits safaris offer
Drawing on more than two decades of experience, the Wanderful Tanzania team is eager to help you turn your safari dreams into reality. We are dedicated to delivering an experience you will remember forever. Let us guide you through planning your safari so you can benefit from the ultimate adventure. Contact us, and let’s get started.