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How an African Safari Unearths the Ancient Ecological Intelligence We All Have Within

A Zimbabwean childhood rich in nature and seventeen years of experience curating extraordinary experiences across Africa have confirmed something I have always known: that time spent immersed in the wild is the ultimate prescription for the soul. We travel not just to move but to be moved. Unfortunately, travel now is generally unpleasant and cumbersome, leaving no room for restorative rest. ROAR AFRICA removes all the stress, delivering a seamless experience from start to finish, creating space for that stillness we all crave. Decades living between New York and Cape Town, running a team we internally coin the Navy SEALS of travel, has shown me that time is our most precious personal resource. There's never enough of it, and when we suddenly have a few days to recoup, we're too distracted to unwind. The forced surrender of safari is the antidote to all of the above.

There's an unchangeable rhythm to days in the bush: rising to see the fiery orange of dawn streak the sky and falling asleep to the distant roar of lions or trumpeting elephants after an evening of storytelling around the campfire. That surrender to a new rhythm, uninterrupted by the bustle and digital bleeping endemic to daily life, activates that intrinsic connection to nature, a need deeply embedded in our DNA. Suddenly, the mind is calm, the body at peace…our innate ecological intelligence kicks in. Tragically, the western world's obsession with self-improvement, self-optimization, and self-indulgence sidesteps this sacred connection to all living things.

I'm particularly intrigued by nature deficit disorder, a term coined by Dr. Richard Louv. This dearth of exposure to the wild is a barrier to the ecological intelligence we're so hungry for, consciously and unconsciously. It has prompted me to think bigger and push beyond the bespoke trips we know and do so well at ROAR. A breathless urgency to share the wonder of Africa's wild spaces and the tonic this time amongst nature provides spurred me to look within and to reach out to the experts, friends, and visionary thinkers I'm so fortunate to know. Sharing these wonderful and wise characters with our guests is one of my life's great privileges and pleasures.

David Whyte, philosopher, poet, and speaker springs immediately to mind. He, like so many, found himself unable to express the emotions he experienced in the wild with scientific language, turning to poetry to convey the emotion and enlightenment that accompanies the forced surrender of safari. In this untamed environment, everything dissolves, and one can journey within. In a way, the beauty and serenity of the outer landscape triggers the inner landscape. Into the Wild with David Whyte, a now sold-out Kenyan journey inspired by the five elements directly resulted from our shared fervent desire to help others tap into their lost ecological intelligence. Two new 2024 adventures aboard the Emirates Executive Private Jet, The Wildest Safari on Earth and Sand, Sea, City & Safari, continue this theme. We will introduce our intrepid guests to the extraordinary wonders of the wild, the alchemy of re-wilding, and the unbridled joy of discovery, led by the best experts and guides in Africa, many of whom are dear friends.

However, words can only convey so much. You need to see, feel, smell, and sense the wonder of Africa's wilderness and warm, authentic culture to understand this idea of ecological intelligence. After all, Africa is the cradle of humanity. It's where we, as a species, began. Here, our senses are activated; we feel the impact of silence; we are moved by the dramatic change in landscape and appreciate the sudden stillness. When we stop moving, we can be deeply moved. This is the gift that the wilderness gives us when we're given the space to be in it – a gift that stays with the traveler long after they've returned to places where the wild has been depleted. Re-tapping into our inherent nature and ecological intelligence helps us make sense of our societies and planet. It helps us make this once-wild world a better place.


Ultra-luxe safari specialist and A-List travel advisor Deborah Calmeyer launched ROAR AFRICA 17 years ago with a vision to curate conservation-forward journeys across her home continent designed to harness the power of nature. Having grown up on a farm in the Zimbabwean bush, Calmeyer's pioneering family has a 330+ year history in southern Africa. A childhood deeply infused with indigenous culture, adventure, and close daily encounters with wildlife inspire ROAR AFRICA's every meticulous move today.

Calmeyer is uniquely positioned to translate the magical, profoundly spiritual experience only time spent in Africa's last, truly wild spaces delivers for others, facilitating the discovery of peace and purpose. Together she and the ROAR AFRICA team encourage and inspire travelers to experience untouched, remote places first-hand while impressing upon them that this is not only an experience to be consumed but also essential healing for them and the wild. The benefit to humankind is palpable, with positive impact conservation initiatives integral to every journey. Women’s empowerment is also a personal passion for Calmeyer, evidenced by the ROAR AFRICA vision, “If African women rise, wildlife will thrive,” and annual retreats recognizing female leaders in the male-dominated safari industry.

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