As an American and a female, owning a South African hunting safari has its challenges along with great rewards.
From dealing with the happenings in the bush without a Lowe’s or a pharmacy around the corner to learning how to navigate all the nuances of the culture, you begin to realize how much goes into an operation like this. South Africa is a world that is nothing and everything like we see on National Geographic.
We are now in our 8th year of TDK Safaris, and I can tell you that we have learned many lessons the hard way, but for the most part, they have been good lessons all in all. I have had to learn about the African laws, a bit of the language, and doing without Charmin. We experienced the difficulty in getting a business visa, when and how we do permits for simple things like vehicle renewals (truly not so simple). So many things, daily, go into making our camp and my team what it is. I am very proud of what we have accomplished at TDK Safaris, and I am even more proud of my team.
A newspaper, from my hometown, interviewed, and asked: “What is it about South Africa that would make you want to do this.” I never seem to have the right words to express it. But I do tell them that never in a million years would have seen myself doing such a thing. The “why” is a long story, but let’s suffice it to say that it was necessary. The “what” is just as complicated, but it is a feeling of a fundamental belonging, it is an awe-inspiring land, and the people seem to reach up and grab your heart.
The privilege of sharing this experience with our clients is also hard to describe. However, every time our client’s eyes light up when spotting an animal that only occurs in Africa, for the first time, it allows me to experience it again for the first time as well. It’s a place that never gets old that never disappoints, that shows you something new around every corner, that touches your soul. It sounds cliché, but it is true, once you have experienced Africa, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will you be back. No question. You soul will yearn for it, and your heart will long for it, your spirit will need to sense it again.