Guest Writer Jenny Hishin Walks in the Wilderness of Zimbabwe
Jenny Hishin is a wildlife photojournalist with a lifelong fascination for nature and over 15 years’ experience working in southern Africa's conservation and safari industry. She loves nothing more than to engage an audience, impart knowledge and inspire an appreciation for wildlife and the environment, and the protection of both. We asked her to take us along with her on a wilderness wellness walk at Singita Malilangwe in Zimbabwe.
Singita Malilangwe’s wilderness walks are an antidote to the digital noise of everyday life, and inspire guests to make an offline connection with their surroundings.
By simply placing one foot in front of the other, breathing mindfully, staying calm and quiet, and observing all that is around you, you restore a sense of wellness and groundedness to your entire being – body, mind and soul. Each step forward in the bush is a step towards inner stillness.
Fine tune your senses
Choosing a wilderness walk is like being at a live orchestral concert rather than listening to a recording. In this environment, you are able to soak up the surround-sound experience, pick up the play between bass and treble, and notice the nuances of each instrument. There’s no distortion from a vehicle’s chugging engine, no dust or chatter. Your senses become fine tuned and your concentration more focused.
You’ll hear a chorus of birdsong, or the distant trumpeting of elephants. You’ll smell the fragrance of wild basil and dried dung. You’ll be amazed at how your Guide and Tracker can pick up the scent of wild dogs or a leopard that’s walked your path hours before. You’ll feel the warmth of the sun, rub your hand over the smooth-sanded surface of a rhino rubbing post, and have the time to hug a baobab. The hidden qualities of medicinal plants will be revealed, and seasonal fruits and berries might be sampled.
On a walk you have the opportunity to study tiny details – such as the patterns of a leopard tortoise's shell, butterflies collecting nectar from flowers, mud sticking to the side of a tree where wet elephants have rubbed up against it, and to look up and see the canopy of crown-shy trees. You can study the genius of dispersing seed pods and the unmatchable palette of lichens on a rock. Watch dragonflies dance and a frog hop away.
Choose a different perspective
The diverse geology at Singita Malilangwe gives rise to 38 different habitats and ecological zones within 115,000 acres of protected land. This means that no matter the time of year there are suitable areas to conduct walks, whether that’s along a sandstone outcrop that offers vistas that no vehicle can, or within a cathedral-like mopane forest scattered with copper and brass leaf confetti.
The walks are led by highly experienced Guides and Trackers. As they lead you down game paths, they’ll share intimate knowledge of animal signs and tracks. The best time to walk is in the cooler hours, especially the morning when tracks are still visible in the early light.
Stand in awe before ancient rock art
You can never predict exactly what you might encounter on a walk but something that is guaranteed while staying at Singita Pamushana Lodge and Malilangwe House is being able to see firsthand the extraordinary rock art here – over 120 individual rock art sites have been discovered in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. Both humbling and fascinating, you will be able to marvel at the paintings, and study the circular indentations of a Tsoro game ground into a slab of sandstone. These sites offer a mirror into our past, the images often symbolic rather than literal – which your Guide will help interpret.
Observe without being observed
While walking there’s always the heightened anticipation of coming across a wild animal on foot. If you come across any animals, especially ‘dangerous’ ones, the goal is to observe them without them being aware of you (and so not altering their natural behaviour). Your Guide and Tracker will ensure that your safety, and the animal’s, is paramount at all times, while deciding when the perfect time to approach or withdraw is, while considering wind direction, sun and terrain…
When you choose a wilderness walk you choose to gain an ever greater respect and awe for the natural word. It is here that one feels ancient rhythms awaken and discovers an honest appreciation for the many instruments in nature’s symphony.
Let nature take the lead
Speak to us about planning a transformative trip to Zimbabwe's unspoilt wilderness here >