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A Natural High


Sometimes you come across companies which are perfectly named and so it is with Natural High, a cutting-edge, adrenalin pumping safari company based on the Wiltshire/Dorset border.

It was set up 12 years ago by Alex Edwards, a self-confessed experience junkie, who started out as a safari guide and bush pilot in Tanzania.

Natural High’s speciality is mobile camps right at the heart of the action whether it’s a riding safari in Botswana, following the migration in Tanzania or island hopping in Mozambique.

The camps may carry a certain degree of luxury – such as sleeping in beautiful embroidered Berber Caidel tents  – but the ambition is to give people in Alex’s words: ‘a visceral connection with the outsideness and an understanding of how wild life really works.’

That means Natural High will go against the grain recommending holidays to Tanzania in the rainy season: yes there’s rain, says Alex, but that means the volcanic plains will be alive with game.

In his early 20s Alex worked as a guide in a remote camp in Ruaha in Tanzania at a time when very few travellers went there.

‘I lived in a little mud hut and woke up almost every night to see elephants walking by. And to me that was it.’

His mission is to infer a love of travel, a sense of journey.

‘A lot of what we do involves the sense of going a bit of the distance, you’ve got to actually travel to understand how a place works. Travelling is about the small things, I think. You start out with an idea of how it will be and you come back with a mosaic of all the little things you didn’t expect.”

Camping in the Moroccan desert, a relatively new venture for Natural High is: 'all about  losing yourself in the Old Testament  landscape.’

Whether you opt for hiking in the foothills of the Himalayas staying with local families, a quad-bike safari in Botswana or beaching on the remote islands off Northern Mozambique Alex believes you should measure your holiday by the quality of the experience.

He talks of creeping up on leopards, being 10 feet from elephants and lions, flying over Lake Tanganyika 6 feet above the water, big, heart-thumping adventures.

“For me it’s about getting a bit dirty and sleeping out in the plains of the Serengeti under the stars with wildebeest walking by. If you get to the best place at the best time then you don’t need to layer it with bling.’

When we met Alex was about to spend 10 days travelling with a nomadic Berber clan while they moved their herd up into the High Atlas mountains. His is the kind of travelling where anything and everything is possible so long as it doesn't involve 24 hour room service, club sandwiches and Wi-Fi.

He talks of a gospel choir festival in Mozambique, bush camping in Zambia's Luangwa Valley, a religious festival in Nepal. It makes you want to pack a backpack and leave it all behind.

 

 

 

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