Awaken your senses at Fathala Wildlife Reserve
It is a well-known fact that in order to experience anything to the fullest you need to utilize all of your senses. At Fathala Wildlife Reserve, we believe that a great Safari experience incorporates not only the sense of sight, but also hearing, smelling, feeling and even tasting. We want to elaborate on the enchanting experience you can have of Senegal fauna, flora and culture by using your all of your senses.
On a game drive at Fathala Wildlife Reserve, you will get to see an array of natural Senegalese fauna and flora species. However, it is one thing to simply spot an animal and tick it off you watch list, for the fun starts when an experienced guide will point out certain visual ques to give insight into the behavior of an animal…even when the animal is not visible! Like a great detective of the natural world an experienced guide may be able to tell whether there is a dominant white rhinoceros bull in the area simply by observation of the habitat. Dominant bulls are territorial and mark their boundaries by defecating in middens and kicking the dung around with their hind legs and by spraying bushes with urine.
At Fathala Wildlife Reserve your ears will be surrounded by fantastic sounds of nature. The very frequency that the birds chirp at and the whistle of the wind through the vegetation will immediately put your soul at ease. It has been scientifically proven that the vibration of natural sounds releases hormones in the human body that reduces stress levels. You don’t even have to know what you are hearing! The difference in the pitch of a vervet monkey call can either mean a friendly greet or a life threatening warning. Vervet monkeys have 36 different types of calls, but they all sound like music (more or less) to the wildlife enthusiast’s ears. An experienced guide will be able to identify the subtle difference between the ‘wrrr’ and grunt when a troop of vervet monkeys spot another troop from the ‘chutter’ during inter-troop conflicts. Similarly, vervet monkeys recognize the warning calls of birds nearby and act accordingly to protect the troop. Listening to the natural resonances may give you a lot more insight into what is happening around you than if you were simply hearing the sounds.
Often not a favorite sense when it comes to experiencing fauna and even flora, smell is a very under developed sense for humans compared to animals. However, a human from 500 meters away in a light breeze can smell the strong goaty odour of a territorial waterbuck bull. Although not very appealing to the human, for a less matured bachelor bull it means to avoid the area at all costs or be ‘voted off the island’. Wildlife guides with a keen sense of smell use scents like these to help track various animal species.
When patrolling the reserve, rangers use scent to pick up signs of rotting carcasses in order to investigate the cause of death. The flower of the Baobab tree exude a rather tart smell, which can be intense depending on the stage of blooming. Some compare it to the smell of carrion and to the untrained nose; it may be mistaken for a carcass. Therefore, smell combined with knowledge can offer insights that would not be apparent using other senses.
There is a yearning in humans to be as close as possible to nature, as was the conducts of our ancestors. It is therefore often hard to fight the urge to want to touch an animal and give it a big old human hug. Unfortunately, we as contemporary humans have longed passed the mark of modern development to be able to approach a wild animal in its natural habitat and physically touch it. We are simply too out of touch (so to speak) with our origin and the mere attempt will be a danger to both human and animal. This however does not mean we cannot experience nature through the sense of touch. Vegetation, soil, rocks and water can pose a highly satisfactory sensory experience. Plants do not mind as much as animals to be touched and you’d be surprised at how different the silky bark of the baobab feels to the rugged texture of the African mahogany. Rangers and trackers readily use all of their senses, including touch to examine the dung of animals to be able to tell whether it has passed by recently in order to track its path.
Taste is one of the greatest pleasures known to man and evidently, Senegal takes flavours to the next level. At Fathala Wildlife Reserve, you are presented with the most enticing cuisine prepared at our authentic inspired restaurant. Senegal boasts with very unique West African cookery influenced by North African, French, and Portuguese cuisine and derives from the nation’s many ethnic groups, the largest being the Wolof. You can rest assured that your taste buds will not be disappointed and go on a tantalizing tour equivalent to the sensational game drive experience at Fathala Wildlife Reserve.