A ReWilded Experience

Sam Chevallier, Director, En-route To Zambia

24 June 2016
As this is the First blog, I think its important for me to introduce REWILD; who we are and what we wish to do. The Idea started following my time with SafariLive at Djuma Game Rreserve in the Sabi Sands (bordering the Kruger National Park). I was working as a Live presenter for WildEarth, exploring the landscapes, exposing creatures, sunsets, plants, birds and the like … I am no longer working with them, as I was having issues with my ear. I was sad to leave, but it is important for me to look after my personal health.
On arrival to the Cape, I met up with one of my best friend Alistair Daynes. Ali is an interesting man, who has a love for the world of the conservation – within us, Africa and our oceans. Another friend of ours – Luke Riding, who lives in Durban, is just as excited to bring this idea of exploring wilderness and sharing it with the world. Luke has an incredible energy and gifted with the ability to empathize with both people and place. Together all of us hope to build ReWild whose vision is to help inspire the genius of ecosystems within the Self, for the biggest issue we have is poverty of the mind. Rewilding and invigorating people’s imagination for how they can be their on change maker in the world today may be the necessary step to make.
Rewilding is a concept that I learnt at Schumacher College in Devon last year, where I studied my Masters in Ecological Design Thinking. I was very lucky to connect with a man called George Monbiot. To see something of his work, have a look on YouTube of his clip on how Wolves changed the ecosystem in the Yellowstone National Park. In basic language, we would like to follow up with these deep, intrinsic values of the natural world, and bring them to light within the confused and face value experience we have within these modern times. We hope to not only expose ecological intelligence of individual organisms in ecosystems, but the greater whole. To me sustainability is foundationally based around our relationship with ecology. Exploring and deepening our relationship with the natural world might help us deal with some of the complex challenges of our times. We have just begun our first project through learning and exposing the magic of the Zambia Festival of Action. Here we’re physically planting trees within areas around Livingstone, whilst educating and learning from the locals and Greenpop team around concepts and theories that help us understand Rewilding, such as AgroEcology, Systems Thinking, Permaculture, Gaia Theory, Deep Ecology, etc.
“We hope to not only expose ecological intelligence of individual organisms in ecosystems, but the greater whole.”
The last four days have truly been incredible. I woke up early in Cape Town, Saturday the 23rd of June ready to start an adventure! How exciting it was to get into the large Overlander, with a group of people I have never met before, the day after us the Sprinter left from Cape Town and met us in Johannesburg (it took us 2 days to get there, and 1 for them). I felt like I just jumped into a large pot of ingredients, each individual glowing with their unique, glowing characters. We laughed, we slept, we debated, whilst enjoying the moments of solitude driving through Southern Africa for 4 days. My heart just jumps when I think how grateful I am to be exposed to such wonderful people and places. With all things that are going on the world today, it is a beautiful thing to be immersed within positivity.
We went through two different borders. South Africa into Botswana and then Botswana into Zambia, the picture above is the magical Zambezi River. How privileged I was to be exposed to this beautiful river and the friendly people that worked at the border crossing. Botswana! Wow, this place is incredible. It is so hard to use words to describe this place. Wilderness is something that I seek to experience and explore. Moving into new places is a blessing, as it may broaden ones’ perspective of this planet, Gaia. We saw Elephants, and Sable in Botswana. After working with SafariLive, I have developed deep respect with Elephants, the energy that engages me in their presence is one that is truly empathetic and humbling.
A herd of Sable! I don’t know how aware you are of the beauty of Sable, or how difficult it is to see these animals. I would put it on the same level as when I found a Southern Reed Buck with SafariLive. I was not able to take a photo of them, as we were rushing to the border to get there in time in order to take the ferry over the Zambezi river. If you can imagine, we came around the corner, and in the distance I saw a large male looking, and behind him was a harem of females, standing together with their horns standing backwards and tall with setting sun as a backdrop.
As we crossed over the river we were then met with the rising moon, full bodied and beautiful. Bittersweet experience though, sweet in the sense that I was showered by the rays over the suns reflection off the moon, lighting up the world around me. Bitter because I empathize with all the Rhinos and Elephants out there, as the moon allows for poachers to navigate themselves through these areas. I feel it is important for me to ReWild my senses to the phases of Gaia, in order to have a better connection with all the other beings that inhabit this earth. The more we bring ourselves in the experience of the natural world the deeper we can grow this intrinsic connection and relationship with the other.
We finally arrived at the campsite, with both the Overlander and the Sprinter. The end of one adventure, and the start of a new one. This Project up here in Zambia is truly a great opportunity to sit down with fascinating people from all over Southern Africa, to share and experiment practical applications for sustainability. There will be local and international participants feeding into this project, which will create the space for sharing practices and philosophies surrounding the field of ecology. I am also super excited to learn more about the local ecology that interact with us here, from owls to bugs and birds!

Watch this space over the next few weeks, I will be posting blogs, podcasts and videos around what is happening on the ground here.

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