The website logo, featuring a string of black mountains, capped in snow, with a setting sun behind the range. The title "The Mountains Are Calling" across the bottom.


As much as I enjoy exploring the world with my own eyes and ears, I also love engulfing nature media. Great photography, such as Unnatural Lighting (Issue 94), kindles similar feelings to reading poetry. The same is true with moving pictures. I can watch David Attenborough-narrated films nearly endlessly. My internal globetrotter can devour hours of adventure race footage or series on mountainous adventures, such as Mediocre Amateur (Issue 62).

Not only are all these avenues educational and uplifting, but they also help quash the pangs of wanderlust. In some cases, I don’t have the skills to complete a journey my imagination might desire. I don’t have the experience or knowledge to summit Denali or Everest, but I can sate my desire to see those feats via video. Other times, we might be unable to travel and the content can ease the anguish.

2020 and its quarantining attributes were full of these moments. I have interacted with many people who expressed sadness at their inability to explore the world as they normally would. While it’s never a direct replacement for firsthand experience, escaping into outdoor adventures through art can be a salve for the soul. Sometime in the first several months of the 2020 pandemic quarantine period, I stumbled upon a Twitch channel that ticked a lot of my 2020 boxes.

I was browsing the Travel and Outdoors section when I discovered a safari in motion.

WildEarth is a company whose mission is “to connect people with nature through broadcasting live and interactive experiences from the wilderness.” On my screen, I was watching a ranger moving through the savannas of Africa. There was no doubt it was live: the on-screen personalities were answering questions posed by viewers.

Twice a day, the company broadcasts an expert driving through the bush with a cameraperson. When I first discovered WildEarth we approached summer in the northern hemisphere, which meant the days were short in South Africa. At the moment, the days are long in the various parks from which the company airs its content, so now is a prime time to check out what they offer.

Since the shows are live, you’re not guaranteed to intersect with cute, baby critters, but if you watch long enough you will certainly see them. Since they stream on both YouTube and Twitch, you can also watch past episodes. If you’re into seeing babies, users have highlighted some great moments on Twitch.

But, to me, the live aspect is fantastic. Suddenly I was transported from Ohio to Africa on an unscripted safari. Who knows what might show up on your visit that day? However, if action is your aim, their format fixes the problem of a driver encountering an empty zone. As the company says itself:

“Our LIVE broadcasts focus on making the viewer feel like they are actually on a safari vehicle bouncing around in faraway Africa. Working via a director in our control room, the camera will move between various iconic wilderness locations to bring viewers the best wildlife action as it unfolds, creating a seamless multi-feed virtual safari. Viewers can interact with their safari hosts and have their questions answered in real time, just as if they were actually on the safari vehicle.”

The video above is for the upcoming sunrise tour for 5 January 2021, which will actually begin on 4 January here in the United States. The program begins at 10:30 pm EST, so if you’d like to watch the action as it unfolds you can tune in then. If you are reading this message after that time or date, do not fret: you can watch the entire thing as it happened or you can check out another live stream.

Here is their current schedule:

The Sunrise Safari starts at 05:30 South African local time, which is 10:30 PM EST, 07:30 PM PST, 03:30 in the UK, 04:30 in Central Europe, and 14:30 Sydney time.

The Sunset Safari starts at 15:30 South African local time, which is 08:30 AM EST, 05:30 AM PST, 13:30 in the UK, 14:30 in Central Europe, and 00:30 Sydney time.

Though the content can sometimes get real, – life and death real – the company likes to aim its Q&As at children. It’s a very educational experience. If you’re lucky enough to live in South Africa or the United Kingdom, WildEarth beams a 24/7 television show. For the rest of us, we have to make do with the twice-daily tours. But, if you want a peek at any time of the day, they do have a webcam that broadcasts around the clock. Even overnight there is some primo audio! Check it out below:

I hope you enjoy WildEarth. They have provided me with some crucial escapism during the past year. The vistas are stunning; the wildlife is fascinating; the experts are knowledgeable. Highlighting them to the newsletter is a double win in my book: clue in more people to some great nature programming and help a wonderful service to grow its viewership. Plus, the accents are wonderful!

Further Reading and Exploration

WildEarth – official website

WildEarth YouTube Channel

WildEarth Twitch Channel

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