Nine hobbies to get you closer to nature

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Tired of being stuck in the house every weekend with nowhere to go? Perhaps you spend way too much time holding your device and staring at a screen. Spending more time in the great outdoors won’t only boost your vitamin D levels, but it is also a great way to lower your stress levels due to lowered cortisol levels. We have made a list of 10 hobbies for nature lovers. These are ideal for any person who loves nature or wants to spend more time in the great outdoors away from technology.

Photography

Photography does not just have to be the glitz and glamour of weddings and events. It is a rewarding hobby. You can master the basics of photography and use your skills in your own garden, while going on a hike, in the local park, or while on holiday. You can do it every day and on many different subjects by just taking shots of everything that looks beautiful to you.

Macro photography is great for those that love the small things and a great way to be at one with nature. You can search for bugs, spiders and small insects in your garden to practise your skills. Keep in mind that macro lenses will make this experience so much better by opening up a whole new world.

We have to admit lenses for a DSLR camera can be a little more expensive, but it will not be easy capturing those small details in small creatures without the correct equipment. Your camera probably came with a kit lens, but you do not yet have the budget from the very start.

I overcame this problem with a reverse adaptor that allows me to use my 18-55mm kit lens the wrong way around, giving a magnifying effect like when you use binoculars the wrong way around. You can buy these adaptors from places like Camera Stuff, but it requires some research and practice to get it right. You might at a later stage want to invest in extra lighting (like this ring light screwing to the front of your lens) or a small mini studio (like this Godox) to shoot your subjects.
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Wildlife and birding photography is also perfect for any person who loves nature but is not the easiest without the proper equipment. As long as your subject is within reach, you can even use your phone camera.

Birding

Game viewing is easy and one of the great hobbies for nature lovers. Visit a nature reserve, lodge or national park and drive around searching for subjects to capture on camera. In general, animals can be plentiful and easy to photograph, but this is not always the case. It is where birding as a hobby comes in handy. Birding or twitching as it is also known is great for any person who loves nature.

No matter the conditions, you will probably always see birds. Simply slow down and look in trees, around accommodation, at home and even at work. Take photos of the birds you see, or if they stick around for long enough, you might even be able to identify them without a photo. Get a decent guidebook to make identification easier. Identifying and ticking birds from your life list can be satisfying. Some experienced birders will travel all over the country in search of those unique species.

Birding as a hobby
Birding can be a very rewarding hobby for nature lovers.

The reality is that this hobby can come at a cost, not only due to the travel aspect but also because a high-quality camera and DSLR lenses, binoculars, or spotting scopes are not cheap. Starting in your backyard can be a lot more affordable.

Hiking

Hiking is a brilliant way to feel at one with nature and one of the most cost-effective. It is also the easiest way to explore your beautiful natural surroundings on foot and, in the process, enjoy nature and the fresh air. You can also combine hiking with birding and photography, so it’s a brilliant hobby for nature lovers. Explore the shorter trails when you start, and once you get into hiking, look for those overnight options.

Fancy a hike?

Equipment-wise you do not need a lot to get started – just a few basics like a good pair of shoes, a day backpack, and a sense of adventure. There is no need to invest in proper hiking boots immediately. However, if you need ankle support or when you plan to tackle those hikes with a higher difficulty rating, this may be a good investment.

Gather your friends and family and explore. If you have nobody to take with you on the journey, go on your own, but only if you consider these safety aspects.

Gardening

Gardening is a brilliant hobby for nature lovers as it provides you with the platform for spending more time outside. Utilise the space if you are lucky enough to have a backyard with an area for planting. Start your dream garden with seeds, or grow certain plants from cuttings.

Gardening can be a rewarding hobby. Photo: Karolina-Grabowska, Pexels

Gardening requires constant maintenance, so it will be the perfect excuse to go outside. One of the most satisfying ways is to garden without pesticides. It takes time to create the natural ecosystems but once established, the natural predators will take care of the pests. The best way to garden is to plant species for the butterflies, bees and birds by creating different biomes.

Not only is gardening great for a person who loves nature, but it is satisfying to reap the benefits of your hard work. It is a blessing to stand back and watch the birds and insects enjoy the space you created.

Running

Running on the beach. Photo by Rodrigo Pederzini from Pexels

Give up the treadmill in your living room or the gym for the great outdoors. Any hiking trail or outdoor pathway should be an opportunity to run or jog in the great outdoors. You can start with easy trails or pathways and increase the distance and difficulty as you get fitter and stronger. Trail running is a great option to be at one with nature, as you swop the sound of traffic for the chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves.

Stargazing

Imagine clear night skies far away from the city lights, getting to know the different constellations and planets in the night sky. Once you know what you are looking at, stargazing becomes super exciting and the perfect hobby for nature lovers. It provides you and your friends with the perfect excuse to leave the city for a night or two and get some fresh air in nature. The winter months are generally better for star gazing as the nights are much clearer.

Camping

Camping to get closer to nature. Photo by Cliford Mervil from Pexels

Camping allows you to get closer to nature no matter where you are. There is no need to travel far as you could set up a tent in your backyard. It can be a lot of fun staying outside and watching the stars. Camping is best shared with special friends and family and best enjoyed in summer when temperatures are higher. All you need to start your camping experience is a tent, mattresses to sleep on, and bedding or a sleeping bag. Equipment such as camping chairs and lighting is not a bad choice either, but one does not need a lot of goodies from the very start. First, see if camping is for you before you invest a lot of capital.

Geocaching

Do you like the idea of treasure hunting? The modern equivalent to treasure hunting, and a hobby that will get you closer to nature, is called geocaching. This is also a great combination with hiking in South Africa and a great way to explore your surroundings. It is a hobby worth considering for any person who loves nature. This hobby is practised worldwide and involves treasures in a waterproof container at selected locations. You can follow the GPS location to find the treasure.

Water sport

This is another great outdoor activity for any person who loves nature.  Head to the nearest dam, lake or waterway and take your fishing rod, canoe, SUP, or boat. If the above options are not for you, how about swimming? The possibilities are endless. Remember the suntan lotion and go have fun out in nature!

Do you practice any hobbies that take you closer to nature? We would love to hear your stories. Feel free to share it in the comments.

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