At Exclusive Getaways we’ve long been fascinated by the magnetic pull of wilderness – just how much we yearn to go there, and to return again and again, every so often. And it’s not just us! After a long lockdown, we are seeing in clients a huge enthusiasm to travel again into nature, to head for wilderness, to make an urgent dash away from the city. Some of our intrigue about the powerful pull of nature has been explained in a study published in the journal Environment and Behavior.  We’d love to fill you in…

Photo Credit: Abelana Game Reserve, Limpopo

The Environment and Behavior study suggests that nature fulfills the basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness, and hence we experience the prepossessing pull of wilderness and natural landscapes.

the appeal and pull of wilderness and nature
Photo Credit: Babylonstoren, Franschhoek Area, Western Cape

The study leans on the idea that being independent, gaining mastery over challenges, and feeling connected to others are crucial to what motivates us. The researchers surveyed a group of people who recently returned from visiting the wilderness, asking questions that assessed these motivating factors and the extent to which the participants’ needs were met in relation to these factors. The study found that the amount of specialness people attach to a physical space correlates in part with how it fulfills all three of these particular needs.

the appeal and pull of wilderness and nature
Photo Credit: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Retreat, Cederberg, Western Cape

The study offers strong evidence that human connection to nature is linked to the fulfillment of these basic psychological needs.

the appeal and pull of wilderness and nature
Photo Credit: 57 Waterberg, Welgevonden Private Game Reserve, Limpopo

The findings lend weight to the idea that ‘wilderness contexts support optimal psychological functioning‘, which implies that when we plan a breakaway into nature or wilderness, we are taking a beneficial, self-serving step and tending to our psychological wellbeing.

The gist of it is, do yourself a favour and go into the wilderness and into nature as often as you can. Leave behind the smog, slog and stress of the city and head for clearer spaces where nature reminds us what it is to thrive.

Intuitively we know this already, but it’s good to have the weight of research behind us.

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” – John Muir.

Mail us for getaway ideas to suit your needs and interests, or call 021 797 7122.