If we have ever met either in person or virtually you have probably heard that in March I went on a Safari in the Kruger Park in South Africa. I was lucky enough to stay in a Lion Sands lodge in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. The lodge has no electric fences so animals roam outside of your rooms. It’s not every day you can be sat in the bath and watch as elephants walk past!
If you have never done a safari – do not hesitate, do it. Guides walk you back to your rooms at night with a gun as wild animals are all around. In the morning however you are advised just to look around and be alert as you walk to the main lodge for breakfast. The first day we were having lunch and chatting with the lodge manager while watching hippos fight in the river. He was explaining that although hippos are super dangerous, the most aggressive animal is a lone older male cape buffalo. They start to lose their sight and become paranoid and aggressive. The buffalo has huge horns and uses its horn and skull cap to act like a battering ram when attacking.
Our final morning we got ready for our last safari drive. I headed out first, and my partner forgot something so headed back into the room to grab it. In the meantime I had made it up the walkway to start to head to main lodge. It was at that point that I locked eyes with a male buffalo, no more than about 80 yards from where I stood. I cannot put into words the fear I felt in that moment. This thing is massive and looking right at me.
With a high pitch screech, I shouted to my partner that the buffalo was here. I then turned my back and ran for my life, the buffalo started to run but thankfully seemed freaked and ran past our room. I don’t think I have ever moved as fast in my life and my heart was beating and I couldn’t catch my breath. Adrenaline was coursing through my veins and I started to feel giddy and laugh. I had a close call, and once I spoke to our ranger I learnt that I had done everything wrong in that moment
The advice he gave me was interesting and it made me think actually this could be applied to any situation in which fear and anxiety is present, especially sitting your exams
- Keep still and calm – movement can be seen as aggression and cause them to charge. In an exam setting the more you start to fidget the more your nerves can get to you. Keeping still like a rock before you start to answer the questions can help ground you.
- Breathe – when we get stressed our cortisol rises and we take lots of little shallow breathes. Deep breathing can help lower our stress hormone which helps us think more rationally and logically. (Cortisol causes brain fog)
- Make yourself big – in the safari sense, this is to make myself look more threatening and take up more space. For the exam setting this is all about projecting confidence with your body language, sit up straight, chin up, shoulders back – there are studies that show this makes us feel and act more confident. This could help you pass rather than fail. If you are slumped this is the non verbal of defeat – you see it when athletes lose, subconsciously you are telling yourself that you are not confident.
See how I look after you, now you know tips for the exam and if you are every attacked by a wild animal! 🙂