Creative possibilities - religious, spiritual
in the wilderness, bush, desert, creation ...
Integrity of creation experience
Botswana has some of the best preserved natural ecosystems in the world. It offers a unique opportunity to see the wonderful intelligent design of nature where every organism, small or big has its place, is important, necessary for the well-being of the rest. The balance is very delicate and the connections sometimes not obvious. Human interference is most of the time destructive and often irreversible. We, the whole of humanity, have been given the responsibility and privilege to be stewards of creation. The sad thing is that we might be one of the last generations to see these wonders of God's creation as they were for millennia.
We propose a safari which is interested in everything, every small detail, every creature, plant or feature that make the whole. So often people come with the desire to see big things on safari (lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes ...) and in the end they miss the whole incredible spectacle of life in the bush. Most of the time those who don't look for lions see them anyway, and some who look for them leave frustrated.
Our guide, Richard Randall, is the best person to show you this bigger picture of the bush, and combined with moments of prayer and reflection this experience will become something very special.
Practically it is a safari but with different attitude and outlook, and in the context of our faith.
Sabbatical in the African wilderness
It is not an academic programme. It is rather a desert or wilderness retreat & rest time, similar to the Kalahari Desert spiritual experience above, but much longer. We propose modules of 21, 28 or 40 days (or longer on request). Everything could be organised with a safari operator or as a self-contained private venture.
Because of the nature of this option it must be very well prepared, ahead of time of arrival. We go to very remote and wild places, many things must be carefully considered and organised to provide safe and a life-time or even life-changing spiritual experience.
It is also possible to come just for resting in quiet and natural environment.
We identified some interesting wild desert places for the future possible sabbatical camps. The most spectacular are the sites in the Makgadikgadi area - the largest salt pans in the world - part of the great Kalahari Desert. Sometimes during the rainy season the pans fill with water and create an immense lakes with hundreds of island and thousands of flamingoes feeding in the salty water. Few months later the water dries up and the pans become one of the most inhospitable places on our planet. But even then they remain incredibly spectacular.
Those interested are invited to discuss with us all the aspects of this experience and tailor together a quality time. We have some ready proposals and several surprises as well for you.
Also this experience can be combined with a safari trip to the wildlife rich national parks and reserves of Northern Botswana.
It is also possible to arrange a prolonged stay in wildlife rich areas of the Northern parts of Botswana, but this could be much more expensive, since most of those places are designated as nature reserves, national parks or private concessions with entry and camping fees.
Safari as religious experience
We choose carefully a safari operator and guides who are interested and prepared to provide this kind of experience. We go on safari to wildlife rich areas in the North of Botswana. As we travel and ponder we have moments of prayer, meditation and reflection.
We allow nature to tell as a story of creation, of Creator, of beauty and purpose, of priorities of life, and we listen to the amazing sounds of the bush, the most beautiful psalm.
Kalahari Desert spiritual experience
Again, we choose carefully a safari operator and organise facilitators - sometimes religious sisters, brothers and priests, as well as qualified lay people.
The desert is vast, immense and quiet. And silence is one of the most powerful experiences - for some almost unbearable, threatening ... - because silence speaks, our heart speaks, our soul speaks and most importantly in silence God speaks! There is so little silence in the modern world, so little time to listen and to hear things that are of great importance in your life. All that in the context of the harsh and beautiful desert. In the Gospel we read so often of Jesus going to such places to pray, rest, to be by himself. Depending on you and available options we can prepare different levels of spiritual experience that could include scripture meditation, Lectio Divina, nature meditation. Far from New Age confusion, we are rather offering a solid traditional Catholic approach and theology based on the Gospel and wonderful (almost forgotten) tradition of so called Desert Fathers, and also some modern African Theologians.
You can go there just for few days (minimum 3 nights) or couple of weeks. It is hot there (except winter months), very simple and basic camping facilities, simple food, no electricity, no water (except taken in tanks), no TV, no phone (only emergency radio), no mobile phone working, no Internet and e-mail, far away from civilization, towns and other humans.
This experience can be combined with a safari trip to the wildlife rich national parks and reserves of Northern Botswana.
Herd of elephants in Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana. Phot. Fr. Mareko Marciniak, svd
Flamingos in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans,
19. January 2007.
Phot. Fr. Mareko Marciniak, svd
All rights reserved. Copyrights by Fr. Mareko Marciniak, svd & Bona Safari Services.
Sabbatical in the African village, experience of African life
It is a very special opportunity to experience life from a different perspective, an African life as it is in reality. You will never see your life the same way after that. We can arrange for you to stay with an African family, a Catholic family on the mission frontier. It is a difficult and harsh but at the same time wonderful experience. Often our people are poor and struggling but they have so much to share, and we have so much to learn from them ...
Both experiences (sabbatical in the wilderness and in the village) can be combined during your visit to Botswana, or you can take only one of them.
(limited number of participants and times in a year)
Minimum 4 people in a booking group required, best 6 people