When it comes to a child’s experience in the African Bush the playing field is literally and figuratively WIDE OPEN…
Children are born with a “loin-cloth” mentality, which is slowly eroded by adult sensitivity. At Singita a child may exercise his or her inherent playful and inquisitive nature in an environment where the exploration of its details requires just that.
Splashing around in a muddy pan in search of frogs
Getting messy making plaster-of-Paris moulds of giant lion pug-marks
Throwing old elephant dung-balls in a dry river-bed
Making a personalized toothbrush from the branch of a bush
Searching for the perfect stick to roast marshmallows over an open fire
Collecting “treasures” in the form of naturally manufactured artifacts. Seed-pods, glassy stones, wild flowers or gnarled wood fragments.
(Michael Hatch with Singita Guide, Shelley, and Singita Tracker, Emmanuel)
For slightly older children the scope broadens towards the honing of primal hunting skills such as making your own bow-and-arrow, archery, or shooting water-filled balloons with a pellet-gun. Making their own special catapult and learning how to shoot it. Fishing with rod and reel, or even wading around in ponds with a piece of shade-cloth and capturing a multitude of tiny fish and other organisms to keep temporarily in an aquarium.
Within reasonable driving access to some of the Singita lodges there are reptile parks where a child may learn about and handle certain snakes and other reptiles. Also there are elephant sanctuaries and animal rehabilitation centers where many magnificent creatures may be viewed or handled in the context of education.
It is not just about patiently and quietly sitting with lions or watching 500 buffalo lazily trudging past the vehicle.
In a World where our natural wildlife areas are rapidly dwindling under the consumptive pressures that human development is placing on them, it is becoming not simply an option, but rather an obligation and responsibility that the curators of this heritage are exposed to it first-hand so as to engender a tangible association with what is truly wonderful about “the Great Outdoors” and its associated wildlife.
(The photo of the hyena cub was taken by our young guest, Michael Hatch – 11 years old, a photography enthusiast – and he takes grand photos. Michael stayed at Singita Boulders Lodge with his family.)