Stay Wild River Child

| Tamlin Wightman

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“Go out, go out I beg of you     
And taste the beauty of the wild.     
Behold the miracle of the earth     
With all the wonder of a child.” – Edna Jaques

The point of taking our little ones with us on our travels is not to tire them out. Not to simply get them out of our hair and definitely not to do so because we’d feel guilty for leaving them at home.

The point is to show them the world. To give them adventures that shape the women and men they become. To give them something to remember, something joyous, something to fill their hungry little brains and create rich inner worlds. To give them something to value outside of the classroom and peer groups – something all of their own.

RC Zambezi cruise

Canoeing down the gentle waters of the Zambezi or the faster, bumpier rapids gets their hearts racing, their happy hormones flowing and their concentration sharp. It’s the same effect when seeing the Victoria Falls thundering before their eyes. One of Earth’s great wonders. The stuff of text books comes alive. Meeting wild animals for the first time, not through a screen but through the magic of the outdoors, changes a person. Even little people.

RC Zambezi sunset

Giving our sons and daughters their own pair of binoculars and putting them in charge of the bird book while cruising along the Zambezi at sunset gives them a sense of purpose, of responsibility and independence. The lessons of the wild. We’ve watched our little guests transform into impressive birders while with us, while side by side with our guides, discovering birds with all new colours and calls to those back home.

Seeing how different people live on a walk through our neighbouring village might take a while to sink in, but it’ll start to affect small changes. The more diversity children experience while growing up, while their walls are down and their minds wide open, the more likely they’ll became the kind of people the world needs more of.

Royal Chundu

Getting their hands involved in the kitchen or having them savour the foods of Zambia, we pass on those lessons about eating from the earth and not a packet or box, about recognising and honouring each ingredient and its purpose and connection to the land.

Walking through the woods of Katombora Island, with the ancient baobabs and jackalberry, the tasselberries, the flittering butterflies and vervet monkeys, we show kids the beauty of the small and the big and all the reasons to protect them.

Counting shooting stars from their deck or falling asleep to the sounds of hippos outside their door, learning to fish and revelling in giant bubble baths in the fresh outdoors, kids learn about something we’ve all known all along – that happiness lies in the surprises of the earth. That out in the natural world, we are never alone.

Read more about the adventures that await your little one’s here, in the Chundu Children’s Club.

RC Birdlife

 

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