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SIMON BELLINGHAM : Mammal Journeys

audio Lessons from Nature and the Pantanal [audio]

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meet Simon Bellingham

Simon leads adventurous trips to observe mammals in their natural environment around the world, from blue whales to giant pandas.  His career as a conservationist and expert guide began when Sir Richard Branson spotted his talent and love of wildlife.

something... - Uganda [2010 © Simon Bellingham]
Simon Bellingham leads specialist safaris observing mammals in their natural environment

Something... - South Africa [2012 © Simon Bellingham] - Simon Bellingham - Mammal Journeys - Roddy Bray's Great Guides

Meeting Simon, it is immediately clear why he has had such a remarkable career as a safari guide. He sees the big picture of nature, and it inspires in him a sense of reverence and amazement.

He watches the protective energy of a leopard for her cubs, the relentless love given by mammals to each new generation. He observes the skills that animals use to survive, the skill that our own ancestors used to survive and give us life, a life in a world he enjoys so much. "There is a tangible sense of love and life in the wilderness” he says.

Simon became a specialist on leopards in the Sabi Sand reserve

Simon loves observing and protecting nature, especially mammals. "The environment is how we got where we are today”, he says. Losing species and habitats, we lose all that has given us life and he fears "the hollow emptiness of its absence”.

This is why he is passionately committed to leading ‘mammal voyages’ to observe mammals in their natural environment, and why he is deeply involved in eco-tourism projects that will protect species (see Jaguars in the Pantanal: Learning from Africa). 

Jaguar | Pantanal - Pantanal, Brazil [2012 © Laurence Weitz] - Simon Bellingham - Mammal Journeys - Roddy Bray's Great Guides
Simon is deeply involved in jaguar conservation in the Pantanal

Something... - South Africa [2007 © Simon Bellingham] - Simon Bellingham - Mammal Journeys - Roddy Bray's Great Guides

It was Sir Richard Branson who spotted Simon’s potential as a safari guide. He was working at Branson’s lodge ‘Ulusaba’ in South Africa, an exciting place to work, with some of the best 'big cat' research in the world, and guests including Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.  

Simon was working at the lodge not as a guide but as a chiropractor; but Branson sensed his passion for the wild.  Simon had grown up in Zimbabwe, and he had loved the outdoors, especially exploring the wilds of Hwange and the Matopos with his uncle, an artist. Branson gave him the job of guiding VIPs, like UN Secretary general Kofi Annan.

 

Nelson Mandela and Peter Gabriel at Ulusaba

Established as a leading guide, Simon went on to start "Indri Mammal Voyages”, to take the concept of safari to other parts of the world. Indri has been a great success, and Simon has led trips to observe mammals in every continent: whales in Antarctica, giant pandas in Asia, jaguar in the Americas, lynx in Iberia, marsupials in Australia, primates in Africa.

Those who travel with him will not fail to sense his respect and delight in mammals, his profound understanding of their behaviour and its importance to the rich web of life of which we are a part.

Something... - South Africa [2007 © Simon Bellingham] - Simon Bellingham - Mammal Journeys - Roddy Bray's Great Guides
Simon has lead safaris in every continent

Author: Roddy Bray
Published Date: 06 Oct 2012
Location: Southern Africa, South America, East Africa | Brazil
Themes: travel, natural world | conservation, safari guide