Immerse yourself in sounds from across the African continent.

Lion Lookout Taken in Maasai Mara, Kenya, a lion looks out from a tree while her sibling lays at the base. © Katie Yarnell/TNC Photo Contest 2022

Immerse yourself in an audio excursion across the African continent in this guided meditation led by The Nature Conservancy's departing conservation director, Chira  Schouten. Press the play button below and simply close your eyes and listen, or continue scrolling to follow along with photos.

giraffe peers through trees
Reticulated giraffe in Loisaba Wildlife conservancy in Northern Kenya. Reticulated giraffe number less than 8,700 individuals. © Ami Vitale

A Guided Meditation

Breathe deep and join TNC’s departing Africa Conservation Director, Chira Schouten, on a guided mediation across the continent.

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Welcome -- Karibu, Bienvenue, Bem vindo – to a sound safari to just a few of the spectacular places that we are working to protect in Africa. I invite you to sit back, put your feet on the floor, close your eyes and take a deep breath. We start our journey on Lake Tangyanika in western Tanzania, an inland ocean of crystal clear waters of the richest blue, filled with brightly colored fish, crabs, snails and the occasional, beautifully striped water cobra found nowhere else on Earth found nowhere else on Earth. An ancient lake, older and deeper than any other in Africa. The Mahale Mountains rise sharply not far from shore, blanketed in lush green forests. Chimpanzees lounge in the canopy above, while butterflies in blue, green, and orange flutter around the dark forest floor.

Now we move to Tanzania’s northern grasslands, where long trains of elephants wade across the Tarangire river, while cheetah lie panting in the heat. Hundreds of species of birds in all shapes and colors decorate trees: lilac rollers – winged rainbows come to life – dart among spiky branches. When rain turns the suntanned grasslands green, wildebeest and zebra march in massive herds along ancient routes to the places they calve and nurse their young, weaving through lands shared with pastoralists since time immemorial.

Now we go to the West Indian Ocean – Tanzania, and the coast of Kenya and of course the Seychelles. This ocean wears many colors – sapphire, turquoise, emerald, amethyst, pink, gold. And yet the world below the surface is even more stunning. Starfish, giant sea turtles, dugongs, whale sharks wearing their constellations, clouds of shining fish and the spectacular octopus, aliens from another world, right here just beyond us. A whole planet that beckons us.

Next we move inland, over dense forests and Kenya’s mighty Tana River, flanked by farms and trees laden with fruit and avocados like jewelry

On to Kenya’s northern rangelands, a vast sea of grass at the feet of mighty Mount Kenya where nodding giraffe graze thorny acacia trees and the feet of dancing pastoralists thump the ground into clouds of dust - herders in scarlet cloth and colorful beads who graze their cattle on the same lands where oryx graze and lion prowl.

Now we move to Zambia, Kafue National Park, where a sea of sun-gold spreads out under a setting pink sun, a dreamlike landscape dotted with antelopes and the regal black sable.

The wide Kafue River whispers and curves unhurried through the savannah, hiding wild secrets below the surface. Pods of hippos rise, ears-first, grunting. Carmine bee-eaters bring a riot of color to bare riverbanks and busy weavers flutter at their nests. Dusk deepens and wild dogs stir, restless for the hunt. And airy miombo woodlands echo with the woops of hyena. Peace and wildness flow outwards from the river, mile after mile, from horizon to horizon.

At the southernmost tip of Africa lies the Cape Floristic Region, a place of extraordinary biodiversity. From seaside to mountaintop, expanses of small, tough plants of fantastical shapes and brilliant hues. Curve-beaked sunbirds wobble atop giant protea blossoms like pink stars. From the iconic flat-topped Table Mountain, small rivers wind through the mountain crags

Just beyond are the cold waters of the Benguela Current, flowing north from the Cape of Good Hope to Angola. Underwater forests thrive here, rippling towers of kelp, cape fur seals and endangered African penguins live nowhere else on Earth.

We move up the coast from South Africa to Namibia, a country of vast open spaces of near silence. Cheetahs trace prints atop soaring dunes. Black rhino, the largest free-ranging herd remaining on earth, make their way across the red desert moonscape of the Kunene region.

Moving north we come to Kalahari region, into the Okavango. Floodwaters from Angola spill across the sands of the Kalahari and the Earth is transformed, a vast, lush oasis comes alive. Great herds of wildlife make their way to the Okavango Delta – the jewel of the Kalahari – by the millions. Great herds of elephants march through head-height water – trunks raised. Giraffes bow to precious water as religious pilgrims. Red lechwes (lech-WAY) speed across the water, carving glittering sprays in the sunshine. Pure white water lilies spread across the water as stars in the night sky. Fishers in dugout boats weave through mazes of rustling papyrus grass, one of Earth’s great poems unfolds.

We move north to Gabon – a wild tapestry of rivers, flooded forests, and savannas, a doorway to the Congo, pulsing with life. The mighty Ogooue moves through tall cliffs of dense green jungle. In the wild maze of trees, forest elephants and gorillas move in secret, gray parrots blend into the shadows.

And at last, the river reaches the sea where hippos and elephants play in the surf of the ocean.

We have come to the end. I hope you enjoyed this journey. Take another deep breath and slowly open your eyes.

a mom cheetah and cubs
A Cheetah and Cubs Cheetah and cubs in Kenya. June, 2019. Honorable Mention in the 2019 Staff Photo Contest. © Deborah Mowery-Evans/TNC
a view from inside a boat on a lake
Lake Tanganyika Local village fisherman work to catch enough fish to make a living to sell to the local market in the village of Katumbi on Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. © Ami Vitale
chimpanzee in a tree
Tuungane Project Chimpanzee in the forest at Mahale Mountains National Park, western Tanzania.  © Ami Vitale
a bird on a branch singing
In the Shade King the cheetah rests at Konkamoya Lodge, Kafue National Park, Zambia. © Andrea Porro/Konkamoya Lodge
birds in flight
Lilac-Breasted Roller (Coracias caudata) photographed in Kenya. © Joe Austin
a herd of wildebeest
The Great Migration Wildebeests running through the savanna of East Africa. © Andrey Gudkov/Alamy Stock Photo
ocean waters and rocks
Seychelles Island Landscape in Anse Royale Beach, Mahé Island, Seychelles. © Jason Houston
water at sunset
At the Beach Local children play on a stretch of beach along the Kilifi coast. © Roshni Lodhia
a fish peering out of a sea anemone
Symbiotic relationship A clown fish living in his anemone in the Mayotte Lagoon © Serge Melesan/TNC Photo Contest 2021
a whale shark swims underwater
a pod of dolphins swimming
Ocean's Eleven The Common Dolphins are the key architects in South Africa's Sardine Run. They often travel in groups and use cooperative strategies to drive the sardines into bait-balls, creating a feeding frenzy different predators. They can still mate despite travelling in high speed (the second left two). Their presence are vital to the equilibrium of marine life in the ocean. © Alvin Cheung/TNC Photo Contest 2019
a man wades through a river
Tana River Chania waterfalls and river in the Aberdare mountains feed into the Guru river which empties into the Sagana and ultimately feeds the Tana river. © Roshni Lodhia
a giraffe peers through the trees
A Quick Look A reticulated giraffe walks between patches of invasive Engelmann prickly pear at Loisaba Conservancy, Kenya. © Ami Vitale
a herder among a herd of cows
Pastoralist and cows Sakakei Naiptari moves his cows out of the boma before they milk them and take them out for grazing at Loisaba Wilderness in Laikipia in Northern Kenya. He is one of many neighboring pastoralists who are participating in a cattle program. © Ami Vitale
a lion standing looking out at the landscape
The Lion King A male lion looking out over his territory in the Maasai Mara, Kenya © Jenny Zhao/TNC Photo Contest 2022
a cheetah rests in the grass
Kafue Sunrise Sunrise on the Kafue River in Kafue National Park, one of Zambia's most important wildlife, tourism, and wilderness areas. © Georgina Goodwin
a river at dusk
Busanga Plains An exclusive safari destination in Kafue National Park, North Western Province, Zambia with abundant wildlife like lechwe antelope. © Morgan Trimble / Alamy Stock Photo
two hippos in the water
Hippos Two hippos in water, Zambia. The Nature Conservancy is working with the people of Zambia to foster new approaches to conserving wildlife, habitat, and people in Kafue National Park. © Karine Aigner
birds in flight
In Flight Carmine bee-eater colonies in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. © Kenneth K. Coe
a bird on a protea blossom
Taking a drink A southern double-collared sunbird drinks nectar from a pincushion protea. © Gareth Jones/TNC Photo Contest 2019
an aerial view of a city surrounded by water
Penguins The African penguin (Spheniscus demersus), South Africa © Sergey Uryadnikov / Alamy Stock Photo
an aerial view of a landscape
Ostriches Ostriches running with great sand dunes in the background. The shadow area of the dune gives a graphic sense of scale. © Cristiano Xavier/TNC Photo Contest 2022
a rhino throws up dust
Black Rhino Solo black rhino in Namibia. © David Weber
an aerial view of a river
Okavango Basin Aerial of the Okavango River in Botswana. TNC is working with partners here to ensure that this breathtaking habitat has enough water as infrastructure projects progress. © Wynand Uys/Unsplash
elephants spray water
At the Watering Hole Herd of elephants in Chobe National Park, Botswana. © Eiko Jones
a man in a boat
Fisherman Augusto Chihinga, 33 years old, has been fishing for 20 years. Here he is checking his fishing nets at 7 AM in the lagoon in the Cuito River, Livambi village. © Roshni Lodhia
a gorilla sits on the forest floor
In a Sunbeam Western lowland gorilla near Yatonga Research Camp, Gabon. © Roshni Lodhia
elephants walk on the coast
Elephants A group of African forest elephants at the beach in Loango National Park, Gabon, Central Africa. © Lee Dalton / Alamy Stock Photo
ocean waves on a beach with rainforest beyond the coast
The Tree of Life The baobab is one of Africa's wonders. Not only is the size of them incredible to behold, but it sustains so much life within the African avannah. This picture was taken at Mapungubwe National Park at dusk.. © Gareth Jones/TNC Photo Contest 2019
a mom cheetah and cubs
A Cheetah and Cubs Cheetah and cubs in Kenya. June, 2019. Honorable Mention in the 2019 Staff Photo Contest. © Deborah Mowery-Evans/TNC

Welcome

Karibu, Bienvenue, Bem vindo – to a sound safari to a few of the spectacular places that we are working to protect in Africa. I invite you to sit back, put your feet on the floor, close your eyes and take a deep breath.

a view from inside a boat on a lake
Lake Tanganyika Local village fisherman work to catch enough fish to make a living to sell to the local market in the village of Katumbi on Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. © Ami Vitale

Western Tanzania

We start our journey on Lake Tangyanika in western Tanzania, an inland ocean of crystal clear waters of the richest blue, filled with brightly colored fish, crabs, snails and the occasional, beautifully striped water cobra found nowhere else on Earth. An ancient lake, older and deeper than any other in Africa.

chimpanzee in a tree
Tuungane Project Chimpanzee in the forest at Mahale Mountains National Park, western Tanzania.  © Ami Vitale

The Mahale Mountains rise sharply not far from shore, blanketed in lush green forests. Chimpanzees lounge in the canopy above, while butterflies in blue, green, and orange flutter around the dark forest floor.

a bird on a branch singing
In the Shade King the cheetah rests at Konkamoya Lodge, Kafue National Park, Zambia. © Andrea Porro/Konkamoya Lodge

Tanzania

Now we move to Tanzania’s northern grasslands, where long trains of elephants wade across the Tarangire River, while cheetah lie panting in the heat.

birds in flight
Lilac-Breasted Roller (Coracias caudata) photographed in Kenya. © Joe Austin

Hundreds of species of birds in all shapes and colors decorate trees: lilac rollers – winged rainbows come to life – dart among spiky branches.

a herd of wildebeest
The Great Migration Wildebeests running through the savanna of East Africa. © Andrey Gudkov/Alamy Stock Photo

When the rain turns the suntanned grasslands green, wildebeest and zebra march in massive herds along ancient routes to the places they calve and nurse their young, weaving through lands shared with pastoralists since time immemorial.

ocean waters and rocks
Seychelles Island Landscape in Anse Royale Beach, Mahé Island, Seychelles. © Jason Houston

West Indian Ocean

Now we go to the Western Indian Ocean – Tanzania, coast of Kenya, and of course the Seychelles.

water at sunset
At the Beach Local children play on a stretch of beach along the Kilifi coast. © Roshni Lodhia

This ocean wears many colors – sapphire, turquoise, emerald, amethyst, pink, gold.

a fish peering out of a sea anemone
Symbiotic relationship A clown fish living in his anemone in the Mayotte Lagoon © Serge Melesan/TNC Photo Contest 2021

And yet the world below the surface is even more stunning.

a whale shark swims underwater

Starfish, giant sea turtles, dugongs, whale sharks wearing their constellations, clouds of shining fish and the spectacular octopus, aliens from another world, right here just beyond us.

a pod of dolphins swimming
Ocean's Eleven The Common Dolphins are the key architects in South Africa's Sardine Run. They often travel in groups and use cooperative strategies to drive the sardines into bait-balls, creating a feeding frenzy different predators. They can still mate despite travelling in high speed (the second left two). Their presence are vital to the equilibrium of marine life in the ocean. © Alvin Cheung/TNC Photo Contest 2019

A whole planet that beckons us.

a man wades through a river
Tana River Chania waterfalls and river in the Aberdare mountains feed into the Guru river which empties into the Sagana and ultimately feeds the Tana river. © Roshni Lodhia

Kenya

Next we move inland, over dense forests and Kenya’s mighty Tana River, flanked by farms and trees laden with fruit and avocados like jewelry.

a giraffe peers through the trees
A Quick Look A reticulated giraffe walks between patches of invasive Engelmann prickly pear at Loisaba Conservancy, Kenya. © Ami Vitale

On to Kenya’s northern rangelands, a vast sea of grass at the feet of mighty Mount Kenya where nodding giraffe graze thorny acacia trees.

a herder among a herd of cows
Pastoralist and cows Sakakei Naiptari moves his cows out of the boma before they milk them and take them out for grazing at Loisaba Wilderness in Laikipia in Northern Kenya. He is one of many neighboring pastoralists who are participating in a cattle program. © Ami Vitale

And the feet of dancing pastoralists thump the ground into clouds of dust - herders in scarlet cloth and colorful beads who graze their cattle on the same lands where oryx graze ...

a lion standing looking out at the landscape
The Lion King A male lion looking out over his territory in the Maasai Mara, Kenya © Jenny Zhao/TNC Photo Contest 2022

... and lion prowl.

a cheetah rests in the grass
Kafue Sunrise Sunrise on the Kafue River in Kafue National Park, one of Zambia's most important wildlife, tourism, and wilderness areas. © Georgina Goodwin

Zambia

Now we move to Zambia, Kafue National Park, where a sea of sun-gold spreads out under a setting pink sun, a dreamlike landscape dotted with antelopes and the regal black sable.

a river at dusk
Busanga Plains An exclusive safari destination in Kafue National Park, North Western Province, Zambia with abundant wildlife like lechwe antelope. © Morgan Trimble / Alamy Stock Photo

The wide Kafue River whispers and curves unhurried through the savannah, hiding wild secrets below the surface.

two hippos in the water
Hippos Two hippos in water, Zambia. The Nature Conservancy is working with the people of Zambia to foster new approaches to conserving wildlife, habitat, and people in Kafue National Park. © Karine Aigner

Pods of hippos rise, ears-first, grunting.

birds in flight
In Flight Carmine bee-eater colonies in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. © Kenneth K. Coe

Carmine bee-eaters bring a riot of color to bare riverbanks and busy weavers flutter at their nests. Dusk deepens and wild dogs stir, restless for the hunt. And airy miombo woodlands echo with the whoops of hyena. Peace and wildness flow outwards from the river, mile after mile, from horizon to horizon.

a bird on a protea blossom
Taking a drink A southern double-collared sunbird drinks nectar from a pincushion protea. © Gareth Jones/TNC Photo Contest 2019

South Africa

At the southernmost tip of Africa lies the Cape Floristic Region, a place of extraordinary biodiversity. From seaside to mountaintop, expanses of small, tough plants of fantastical shapes and brilliant hues. Curve-beaked sunbirds wobble atop giant protea blossoms like pink stars. From the iconic flat-topped Table Mountain, small rivers wind through the mountain crags.

an aerial view of a city surrounded by water
Penguins The African penguin (Spheniscus demersus), South Africa © Sergey Uryadnikov / Alamy Stock Photo

And only just beyond are the cold waters of the Benguela Current, flowing north from the Cape of Good Hope to Angola. Underwater forests thrive here, rippling towers of kelp, cape fur seals and endangered African penguins live nowhere else on Earth.

an aerial view of a landscape
Ostriches Ostriches running with great sand dunes in the background. The shadow area of the dune gives a graphic sense of scale. © Cristiano Xavier/TNC Photo Contest 2022

Namibia

We move up the coast from South Africa to Namibia, a country of vast open spaces of near silence.

a rhino throws up dust
Black Rhino Solo black rhino in Namibia. © David Weber

Cheetahs trace prints atop soaring dunes. Black rhino, the largest free-ranging herd remaining on earth, make their way across the red desert moonscape of the Kunene region.

an aerial view of a river
Okavango Basin Aerial of the Okavango River in Botswana. TNC is working with partners here to ensure that this breathtaking habitat has enough water as infrastructure projects progress. © Wynand Uys/Unsplash

Botswana

Moving north we come to Kalahari region, into the Okavango. Floodwaters from Angola spill across the sands of the Kalahari and the Earth is transformed, a vast, lush oasis comes alive. Great herds of wildlife make their way to the Okavango Delta – the jewel of the Kalahari – by the millions.

elephants spray water
At the Watering Hole Herd of elephants in Chobe National Park, Botswana. © Eiko Jones

Proud groups of elephants march through head-high water – trunks raised. Giraffes bow to precious water as religious pilgrims. Red lechwes speed across the water, carving glittering sprays in the sunshine. Pure white water lilies spread across the water as stars in the night sky.

a man in a boat
Fisherman Augusto Chihinga, 33 years old, has been fishing for 20 years. Here he is checking his fishing nets at 7 AM in the lagoon in the Cuito River, Livambi village. © Roshni Lodhia

Fishers in dugout boats weave through mazes of rustling papyrus grass. One of Earth’s great poems unfolds.

a gorilla sits on the forest floor
In a Sunbeam Western lowland gorilla near Yatonga Research Camp, Gabon. © Roshni Lodhia

Gabon

We move on to Gabon – a wild tapestry of rivers, flooded forests, and savannahs, a doorway to the Congo, pulsing with life. The mighty Ogooue moves through tall cliffs of dense green jungle. In the wild maze of trees, forest elephants and gorillas move in secret, gray parrots blend into the shadows.

elephants walk on the coast
Elephants A group of African forest elephants at the beach in Loango National Park, Gabon, Central Africa. © Lee Dalton / Alamy Stock Photo

And at last, the river reaches the sea where hippos and elephants play in the surf of the ocean.

ocean waves on a beach with rainforest beyond the coast
The Tree of Life The baobab is one of Africa's wonders. Not only is the size of them incredible to behold, but it sustains so much life within the African avannah. This picture was taken at Mapungubwe National Park at dusk.. © Gareth Jones/TNC Photo Contest 2019

We have come to the end. I hope you loved this journey. Take another deep breath and slowly open your eyes.