In the world of civilization, we are surrounded by humans. We have plants, animals and other elements of biodiversity but when in the wild, it’s all reversed. If you want to learn from the forest, the below guidelines will help you:
Mutual Respect –
When we go to the forest, the first thing we need to do is acknowledge mother nature. Even though humans have been around for hundreds of years, nature is much, much older. Respecting every element of the forest kingdom big or small, is essential.
Embrace the sanctity of the forest
Silence is the key when you are on an exploration trail in the jungle. Hampering the status quo between the trees, animals, and humans is never fruitful. If travelling in a group, restrict yourself to alternate mediums of communication. Avoid being loud as it’ll disturb the wildlife and the chances of sighting any birds and animals will plummet. Bluetooth speakers are meant to be played on the beach, in city parks, or at partys, never in the forest. Refrain from playing music on such devices or on the radio. Headphones are a no-no too because you want to be alert at all times. Revel and swing to the music that nature plays for you!
Listen to your guide/expert
It is wise to listen to your guide who certainly knows more about the region than you do. Generally, at Nature’s Nest, you are advised about any adventures you decide to undertake. You are well informed about the region, the trail, the wildlife around. But if you happen to miss out on hearing from them, take initiative and ask. The vast forest might be home for magnificent creatures but it is an uncharted territory for you.
You want to notice the wild to experience it to the fullest. From a big thing like coming across a tiger to a small thing like noticing a peculiar flower. You don’t go on a trail or a safari to see nature, you go to observe, feel, and learn.
Slow and steady enjoys the most
Go slow. Remember, there can be no urgency while traversing a forest on a trail. Pace yourself as you hike through the vegetation. Experienced trekkers and mountaineers have said, “hurry makes you worry” – keep that in mind. If you are going in a vehicle, say on a safari, watch your speed. Respect the wildlife around and drive slow.
Use your senses
Four out of our five senses can be actively used on a wildlife safari or trail, make sure you utilize them. Your eyes and ears enable you to stay aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to bird calls, sound of water streams, groups of animals moving, etc. Keep your eyes peeled to look for movement on trees or in bushes.
Avoid wearing strong smells
Deodorants (deos) and perfumes have a strong smell that can easily be sensed by wild animals. Even bug sprays and mosquito repellants can draw attention to you. Also, while hiking we touch several plants and trees and are unaware of the effect these deos/perfumes could have on them. So let’s be responsible and avoid strong smells of any kind.
It is advisable to wear full track pants or trekking pants and proper hiking/trekking shoes. Shorts, t-shirt, and flip-flops might be comfortable for a stroll on the beach but they wouldn’t do you much good in the wild. If you want to observe animals and birds up close for long durations, it is advisable to dress in camouflage. This increases your chances of spotting wildlife.
Avoid going in big groups
Large groups means a lot of people who all have different behaviors and levels of knowledge about trekking or safari etiquettes. More the people, more the noise as many tend to indulge in conversations, cracking jokes and laughing aloud, and even littering. Be a responsible traveler and explorer and go in groups of 5-6 people at the most for a surreal experience.
Avoid going alone, if new to forests:
If you are on your first excursion into the forest and do know about the do’s and don’ts, refrain from venturing out alone. Look for a group of people you can join or research about planned treks and safaris that you can go on. When it comes to the wilderness, there are too many variables and a lot of uncertainty so make sure you are accompanied by an expert guide or forest ranger.
Know about the forest you are venturing into:
Learn, preferably from a local about the nature and habitat of the forest. Learn about the population of insects, wildlife, different types of trees and flowers, and where you can find water (this one’s crucial!). It will help you prepare well for your journey into the forest.