A Wellness View of Watatunga

by | May 30, 2023 | Watatunga Blog

My name is Alex and some of you will have met me as I am one of the Safari Guides lucky enough to share the magic of Watatunga with guests. Earlier this year I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Rectal cancer. Successful surgery removed ‘Tubby the tumour’ as it became known, and I am now undergoing preventative chemotherapy. 

At the time of my diagnosis I was gutted, devastated. You never think this will happen to you but my experience has been remarkable. Yes, it is scary and yes it has caused anxiety and stress but with the incredible support from my family and friends and choosing to face it with a positive attitude it is ‘copeable with’. Much of my mental healing has been due to the Reserve that I refer to as my second home. 


I haven’t been able to guide as much as I had hoped but am gradually increasing the time I share with guests at Watatunga. And the Reserve has proved to be a greater restorative element in my mental struggles than any potions or lotions prescribed by the medical profession. Having the chance to immerse myself in the world of nature from oyster-catcher eggs and chicks to eland has given me a purpose, a sense of normality and a sense of being part of something so much greater than that which affected me. 

I am not diminishing what is going on with me but I can look forward to immersing myself in the trees, grasses, mammals and birds that comprise this unique wildlife reserve. It provides me with a wellness, a peace, a restorative sense that I cannot imagine finding elsewhere. It restores my mind, it restores my body it helps me deal with stress and anxiety without doing anything different to that which it exists to do. 

Buggies in convoy on tour at Watatunga

Just being able to watch Spring in all it’s renewal and greenery unfold in front of me allows me to be part of that cycle. It allows me to put into perspective what is happening and reinforces the idea that no matter how dreadful things may appear there is a force working ‘behind the scenes’ that is far greater. At the end of mental health awareness week I can only speak for myself when I say thank you to Watatunga. Thank you for constantly changing but providing a continuity in the last months, thank you for always welcoming me and helping my mind heal. Thank you for giving me the strength to deal with what I have to. I am not special, I live a very simple life but if Watatunga can help me then I can only encourage anyone facing difficult issues to allow it to help them.


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