African Safaris Consultants Blog » Africa http://blog.africansafaris.com Mon, 19 May 2014 08:17:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Cape Town Hotels With The Best Mountain Views http://blog.africansafaris.com/cape-town-hotels-best-mountain-views/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cape-town-hotels-best-mountain-views http://blog.africansafaris.com/cape-town-hotels-best-mountain-views/#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 11:49:36 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3982 To those that live here, it was no surprise that Cape Town was voted as the number one city to visit in 2014 by the New York Times. With the royal blue Atlantic Ocean lapping at the feet of one of the most iconic mountain ranges in the world, it’s hard to imagine otherwise. Trying to find a hotel with the best mountain views can be an arduous task so we’ve compiled a list of our top five Cape Town hotels with the best Table Mountain views just for you. As an added bonus, some of them even have views of our many sun-kissed shores.

1.     The One Above

The best views of Table Mountain are, without a doubt, from this fine piece of real estate, The Royal Portfolio’s new exclusive use villa located atop of the One & Only Hotel. The double-story penthouse is designed to invite views of the face of Table Mountain, Cape Town’s famous V&A Waterfront and the historic Robben Island from every angle. The mountain is also cleverly framed by the walls of all the penthouse’s suites. The marvellous views of this vibrant city are not the only highlight of this deluxe villa, however, which boasts 4 bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, top of the range gym and 2 rather sizeable swimming pools.

One Above Cape Town

2.     Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

The aptly-named Twelve Apostles Hotel is tucked snugly in the bosom of one of Cape Town’s most well-known geographical features – the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range. Unlike most hotels in the city, the 15 suites and 55 rooms at the Twelve Apostles Hotel will always give the visitor something to look at. Whether a face-to-face with the western slopes of the majestic mountain or the glimmering and ever-popular Camps Bay coastline, all rooms grant guests sweeping million dollar views. The Twelve Apostles is no secret, having been voted as the best of the best that Cape Town has to offer several times. Local Capetonians have also come to appreciate the stellar quality of the hotel’s Azure Restaurant, often dining here on special occasions, and making use of the facilities at the renowned spa which includes a sauna, hydrotherapy pools and flotation tank.

Twelve Apostles

Tea at the Twelve Apostles.

3.     Boutique Manolo

Boutique Manolo is living proof that size certainly doesn’t matter – especially when your curtains open to breath-taking views of the awe-inspiring Lion’s Head and Cape Town’s Waterfront. Much of this small luxury hotel’s charm lies in its spectacular rooftop which is best visited for sundowners, during which the city’s famous fairy lights sparkle into the night sky and illuminate the brim of the Atlantic Ocean. This Victorian-style hotel is conveniently located only a few minutes’ walk from Cape Town’s bustling city centre and is home to four of the most deluxe hotel suites you’ll find anywhere in the City Bowl.

Boutique Manolo

Boutique Manolo’s stunning balcony view.

4.     The Mount Nelson Hotel

Basking in the glorious shadow of Table Mountain, the Mount Nelson Hotel, or ‘The Nellie’ as it is warmly known by local Capetonians, is a City Bowl institution. Its candy-floss coloured walls greet all those who enter the city centre and direct their gaze to the sandstone giant that lies behind it. Unlike most hotels in the CBD, the Mount Nelson Hotel Cape Town has space on its side, boasting several acres of well-manicured gardens. Those wishing to stay at one of the oldest and best regarded hotels in Cape Town will find such features as spacious and well-designed suites, a luxury spa and the famous High Tea at which guests and visitors alike are treated to the most decadent pastries and sweet treats.

Mount Nelson

Mount Nelson with Table Mountain in the background.

5.     The Vineyard Hotel and Spa

While some may think that the Vineyard Hotel is an unusual choice, its distance from the city centre, is in fact, one of its greatest assets. Draped along the slopes of Table Mountain’s eastern range, the Vineyard Hotel is graced with spectacular mountain views and provides a relaxing getaway into the quieter Southern Suburbs. The 200 year-old hotel provides a garden-like atmosphere in which guests can listen to the trickle of gentle waterfalls during the rainy season and watch as the estate’s giant tortoises slowly roam through the garden’s lush greenery. The Vineyard Hotel and Spa also boasts the internationally acclaimed Angsana Spa, as well as two top restaurants, and is located within walking to one of Cape Town’s most upmarket shopping centres, Cavendish Square.

Vineyard Hotel

The pool of the Vineyard Hotel.

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Cape Town is the World Design Capital 2014 http://blog.africansafaris.com/cape-town-world-design-capital-2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cape-town-world-design-capital-2014 http://blog.africansafaris.com/cape-town-world-design-capital-2014/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 07:59:29 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3939 Cape Town could just as well be one of many ‘capitals’ of the world with natural beauty, atmosphere, tourism and lifestyle all found in good measure. However, it’s the Mother City’s cutting edge design that has seen it being named World Design Capital of 2014, and with good reason too.

When in Cape Town, inspiration is all around you. Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, the gorgeous coastline heading to Cape Point, Camps Bay – the list goes on and on. Design in nature is everywhere – an inspired ‘hand of God’ – so locals can’t help responding with equal creativity. Since South Africa emerged onto the world stage in 1994, this city has truly grown into a funky, cosmopolitan destination of trendy and resourceful entrepreneurship.

The biennial title of World Design Capital 2014 was awarded to Cape Town by International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid), based on existing infrastructure and facilities, as well as planned initiatives for sustainable efforts to uplift the cityscape through more than 460 activities and projects.

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Cape Town from above.

‘Live Design, Transform Life’ is the motto, and there are four main themes:

  1. African Innovation
  2. Bridging the Divide – design that reconnects the city and reconciles our communities
  3. Today for Tomorrow – sustainable solutions for people and planet
  4. Beautiful Spaces and Things – highlighting architecture, interiors, food, fashion, jewellery and art

Those visiting the city during the course of the year will have a chance to witness many of these exciting projects in action. Some of our favourites include; the Cecile and Boyd Foundation which uplifts dull township neighbourhoods by transforming colourfully decorated shipping containers into classrooms to create safe and visually appealing spaces. Then there is the Maboneng Township Arts Project which uplifts one of Cape Town’s disadvantaged areas, Gugulethu, by turning homes into art galleries.

The township experience is one that all visitors should encounter for a sobering experience of the darker side of South Africa’s developmental background. But there is character too, and Mzoli’s is a famous shebeen (local social venue), where we like to stop for some of the traditional beer and cheer. At Abalimi (the Peoples Garden Centre) we see a greening project (townships are notoriously lacking in parks and trees), where locals are taught to grow food sustainably at home and in community gardens, as well as plant water wise indigenous trees.

Mzoli's

Mzoli’s is a Cape Town institution.

Still on the theme of environmental development of nature, the Oranjezicht City Farm is closer to the city, where a vegetable garden has been developed on a disused bowling green by former head of Cape Town Tourism Sheryl Ozinsky. Sheryl wanted to do something useful with the disused land and give back to the community, which arose out of a project teaching homeless people gardening skills. Also in the area is the District Six Memorialisation project which consists of 6 artists installations that show 14 sights on the heritage tour route. It’s part ‘closure’ for residents of a central city district that were forcibly removed in the apartheid era, dismantling one of Cape Town’s most vibrant and colourful districts.

Then there are the numerous venues, both public initiatives and private commercial business, that demonstrate that impressive momentum of creative arts development in the city, where the visual, architectural, interior design, and plain old quirky converge in a heady mix of ‘Cape Town’ culture – a unique, contemporary Afro-fusion. Truth is one place to start, for a quick coffee in a sci-fi, punk themed interior. Or try the Old Biscuit Mill where you will find the Neighbourhood Market on Saturdays.  It’s perhaps a more refreshing alternative to the well established and colourful (but touristy) Green Market Square, which is somewhat clichéd nowadays.

Oranjezicht City Farm

Oranjezicht City Farm.

Artists can be found in residence at the Woodstock Exchange, converted from a disused warehouse, which is now a vibrant hub including film studios and hip shops selling furniture, paintings, fashion and handbags among other creative handicrafts. Shoppers looking for something unique from this city might find worthwhile choices at the Gold of Africa Museum, for an unparalleled collection of gold jewellery and tribal pieces from all of Africa, and the South African National Gallery for historical and contemporary local art works

For beautiful tableware and lightning visit Hemelhuijs, while those looking for gorgeous, almost Scandinavian looking African products should try the infamous Ebony. Excellent coffee and trendy crafts abound at the Haas Collectiv, while decorative bags have a home at Missibaba. Edgy and ϋber-stylish jewellery can be found at Kirsten Goss – part of a new set of up and coming designers currently flourishing in South Africa’s most forward thinking city.

All of these demonstrate a new generation of artists and crafts people with an entrepreneurial eye to turn Cape Town into something special. Co-operatives have been established for the underprivileged while others are leading the way with their own private businesses – part ingenious, part creative, part zany!

The Old Biscuit Mill

The Old Biscuit Mill.

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Exclusive Use Villas: Our Top 5 Picks http://blog.africansafaris.com/exclusive-villas-our-top-5-south-africa-accommodation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=exclusive-villas-our-top-5-south-africa-accommodation http://blog.africansafaris.com/exclusive-villas-our-top-5-south-africa-accommodation/#comments Fri, 25 Apr 2014 08:09:52 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3923 Travelling with a family or in a small group justifies booking a whole villa that is exclusively dedicated to your party. These self-contained properties are fitted with the finest in security, exclusivity and luxury. For those fortunate enough to stay in these exclusive villas, there’s nothing more satisfying when travelling in Africa than your own private home-away-from-home.

Ideal for family reunions, intimate getaways with friends or a corporate break-away, the five villas we’ve selected come fully equipped for a satisfying stay. All include beautiful pools, dedicated staff, tailor-made meals and, of course, the wild expanses of Africa on your doorstep.

1.   KwaZulu Natal: Thanda’s Villa iZulu

Set amongst the lush wilderness of Northern KwaZulu Natal, Thanda’s Villa iZulu is steeped in Zulu history and is a loving recreation of a kraal fit for kings (Thanda means ‘love’ in Zulu). It was recently voted ‘Africa’s Leading Luxury Villa’ at the World Travel Awards and is a premier choice for accommodation in South Africa. With 1,000 square meters under thatched roof, this villa has a heated pool, private viewing deck and boma (enclosure), library, wine cellar and games room for the kids. Originally built for a big family, the children’s needs are top of mind. It occupies prime position in a private game reserve and even boasts a helipad and VIP security. Thanda is actively involved in conservation and wildlife research and through the ‘Star for Life’ Project and other projects they are actively working to uplift the local communities. This is Big Five game viewing at its best whilst traversing through more than 14,000 ha of wilderness.

Villa iZulu

Villa iZulu is set in the lush hills of the Zulu Kingdom.

2.   Sabi Sands: Lion Sands 1933 Lodge

Originally built as the private home of the More family, the Lion Sands 1933 Lodge has a homely and personalised atmosphere. Here since their great grandfather Guy Aubrey Chalkley first set up camp eighty years ago, it sits beside the Sabi River with commanding views over the bush and private reserve. With an intriguing blend of contemporary and historic design, the lodge has four suites, a children’s dormitory (sleeps 8) and a wonderful family lounge with crackling fireplace. The large pool will impress the kids and keep them busy for hours. For animal lovers, Lion Sands is one of the premier locations in the country for encounters with the Big Five on safari drives in open 4×4 vehicles led by experienced game rangers.

Sabi Sands

Sabi Sands enjoys a reputation for incredible leopard sightings.

3.   Hermanus: Grootbos Villa   

This famous whale watching town, an hour’s drive from Cape Town, is a weekender favourite with Cape Town locals. Nestled between clifftop walks, long sandy beaches and an impressive mountain range Hermanus is the ideal place for a family gathering or a week of relaxing with your friends. Just outside the coastal town is Grootbos Private Nature Reserve – one of the jewels of the Cape Floral Kingdom. The villa at Grootbos affords you privacy in pristine nature, with a secure and comfortable villa in a contemporary style. Decorated by celebrated local artists, and equipped with a full compliment of mod-cons (including private chef), the villa at Grootbos is the perfect destination for a family trip during the October Whale Watching Festival.

4.   Cape Town: Ellerman House Villas (Villa Two)

This private villa overlooking Camps Bay is the ultimate in Cape Town villas and is decked out with fabulous interiors, style and an enviable art collection. From the main modernist suite – with unbelievable views of the Atlantic Ocean – to the perfect symmetry of the infinity pool, this brainchild of up-and-coming architect Michael Dennett oozes style. Ellerman House is within walking distance of the beach and just a short hop over Kloof Nek into the vibrant Cape Town City Bowl. Adjacent is the historic building of Ellerman House, and together they epitomise the glamour of Clifton’.

Ellerman House

Imagine waking up to this incredible view at Ellerman House!

5.   Waterberg:  Ants Nest, World’s View

Located in the remote northern hills of South Africa, World’s View at Ant’s Nest is the ultimate bush lodge for young families. As the names suggests, the lodge boasts commanding views of the surrounding area from the ridge on which it sits. Easily accessible from Johannesburg, World’s View is an affordable alternative with great value for money. Game viewing is good in the area and giraffe, kudu, eland and zebra are frequently seen. While the wildlife catches the eye, and the kids are kept busy out in nature, the real highlights are the incredible views – best enjoyed from the deck or private balcony of the master suite. You really get to appreciate the remote and beautiful wilderness of Africa in a fun and unpretentious manner.

Ants Nest

A stay at Ants Nest will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.

For more images, check out our ‘Top 5 Exclusive Villas in South Africa’ Pinterest board.

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Lioness Fosters Baby Baboon http://blog.africansafaris.com/lioness-fosters-baby-baboon/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lioness-fosters-baby-baboon http://blog.africansafaris.com/lioness-fosters-baby-baboon/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:41:30 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3896 There are some incredible things happening at any given moment around the world that we will never know about. This extraordinary sequence of events in Botswana being a perfect example…

Photographer Evan Schiller and Lisa Holzwarth were on a game drive in the northern Botswana‘s Selinda area when they came across a big troop of baboons charging through the bush.

“30-40 baboons were heading in our general direction making a lot of noise,” Lisa recalls.

The baboons were obviously frightened by something and they all scampered up trees, shouting, alarming, and making a big scene. It quickly became clear what the problem was: two large lionesses came out of the tall grass and rushed the baboons into the trees, soon joined by two more lionesses.

“Between the baboons shrieking and the lionesses communicating with deep guttural roars, it was a mad scene,” Lisa says.

Then the real chaos began! One brave baboon descended the dead tree and tried to make a run for it but got snapped up in the jaws of a lioness.

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The lioness grabbed a female baboon on the run. But there was something else there. As the baboon lay dying in the jaws of the lioness, a little baby (less than a month old) slowly disengaged from its mother’s body (photograph by Evan Schiller).

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Instinct took over and the baby tried to make a go for a tree, but did not have the strength to climb. At this point the lioness noticed the “little guy” and went over to investigate.

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Instead of snapping the baby up in a deadly movement, she started to play with the baboon.

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The lioness was inquisitive and gentle at the same time.

ATT5

After a while she picked up the baboon softly in her mouth and walked away, then settled down with the baby between her paws.

ATT6

In a strange behavioural twist, the baboon started to try and suckle the lioness.

ATT7

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The lioness got distracted-this time by two male lions who arrived on the scene. Their advances, however, were met with aggression by the lioness. Was she defending the baby baboon? Or just uninterested in their mating advances?

Here’s where it gets interesting: waiting in a nearby tree is a big male baboon, who is obviously intent on saving the baby. The male lions were causing such a ruckus that it presented a short window of opportunity for the brave hero to descend the tree, grab the baby and head back to safety.

The father baboon had to make a move. Holding the baby, in all sorts of contorted positions, he tried numerous times to climb down the tree. He tested the lionesses’ interest with each descent.

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The heroic male baboon, having just saved the baby from the lions, cradled him in his arms.

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“I was touched by how gently the father baboon held this little baby who was in tough shape after its ordeal” – said Lisa after witnessing the incredible sequence of events unfold. Isn’t nature just amazing?

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Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Zebra Migration http://blog.africansafaris.com/botswanas-makgadikgadi-zebra-migration/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=botswanas-makgadikgadi-zebra-migration http://blog.africansafaris.com/botswanas-makgadikgadi-zebra-migration/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 07:38:53 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3868 It is well known in traveller circles that Botswana offers amazing safari experiences and untouched, raw natural beauty, but have you heard of the zebra migration in the Makgadigadi? Although not as famous as the Great Wildebeest Migration up in East Africa, the zebra migration is still a spectacular sight and is unique to this corner of Botswana. This particular migration, Africa’s second largest after the Serengeti migration, takes place after the December/January rains which, by February/ March, have transformed the arid expanse of the massive Makgadikgadi salt pans into a paradise of shallow streams, large pool-like puddles and vibrant green vistas.

The Okavango Delta and ancient Lake Makgadikgadi sit in the middle of the arid Botswana hinterland but, fed by the Okavango River (which in turn is fed by the rains in the Angolan highlands), the Delta swells each rainy season and creates a vast wetland teeming with life. A few hundred kilometers south is a dry lake that once would have also been an oasis, but nowadays is a salt pan created by endless seasons of evaporating water that never finds its way to the sea. The migration of some 30 000 strong zebra is a traditional journey between the two, in search of mineral-rich grasses, safe breeding grounds and, of course, water.

makgadigadi_pans_botswana

The unspoilt wonder of the Makgadigadi Pans.

The sight of herds of zebras on the move across the Kalahari Desert on their 680 km migration as they spread out into the remote, briefly verdant salt pans of the Delta, is a breathtaking and unforgettable sight. It’s a little-known wonder (and thus attracts fewer crowds) and is best seen from one of the luxury safari camps in the Makgadikgadi and Nxai National Parks or the Kalahari Desert, all teeming with wildlife and lush greenery during the rainy season. Studies have revealed that these Zebra in the Makgadikgadi can survive for up to a week without water.

Undiscovered Migration

The migration itself, ongoing since time immemorial, was undiscovered until recently when a research team noted zebras fitted with GPS collars had travelled from the southern Okavango to the distant Makgadikgadi grasslands and back, crossing over the region’s two national parks.

If it’s off-the-beaten-track and in search of something unique that you want, then timing your Botswana safari to coincide with the migration season (February and March) is a nice (and definitely different) idea! Here are our accommodation picks:

We suggest visiting Le Roo La Tau Safari Camp which lies nestled on the Makgadikgadi Pan National Park’s western border, just above the Boteti River’s life-giving waters. The lodge features a raised hide which is perfect for viewing the migratory herds clustering to drink and graze the sweet grasslands. Other animals also gather here, as do a wide variety of birds, many of which are in their colourful breeding plumage at this time of the year.

Zebra migration in full flight.

Zebra migration in full flight.

A more luxurious and certainly more remote choice would be Jack’s Camp, also situated in the Makgadikgadi Pans. Jack’s is unlike any other safari camp in the whole of Africa! Guests stay in luxury tents set against a dramatic desert landscape of massive silences and savage beauty. Inspired by the original 1940’s safari camp that old man Jack established, it is steeped in pioneer day history but has all luxury amenities.

Here you’ll see the herds grazing on the move whilst keeping a watchful eye for predators that follow the migration. Vultures and other birds of prey wheel and shriek in the air above the herds, waiting in competition with the local brown hyena packs for the chance to finish off a kill. Both camps offer full-day excursion drives across the vast plains, as well as quad-biking trips and walks led by experienced San Bushman guides.

Jack's Camp

Jack’s Camp

Makgadikgadi Pan

The Makgadikgadi Pan isn’t only one of the most magical of Africa’s remote wildlife regions but also one of the most fascinating for its plethora of species. The great migrations are a focus, not just for zebras, but also for impala, kudu and other plains game, including the endangered white rhino. The beauty of staying at one of the above camps isn’t just the amazing sights, it’s the night sounds of Africa, heard whilst enjoying a delicious meal with fine wine under a myriad stars.

For the thrill of a lifetime and an up-close and personal experience why not see the Botswana zebra migration on horseback? Spend up-to six dream days exploring the mysterious, millennia-old lake bed and its seasonal waterholes on horseback, accompanied by experienced guides. David Foot and his team are the best outfitters in the region and operate in collaboration with Unchartered Africa. Guests stay at Camp Kalahari which is located on the path of the migration and surrounded by the region’s desert-adapted wildlife including meerkat clans, aardvarks and porcupines.

For an unforgettable experience in one of Africa’s most remote locations why not follow the zebra migration across the Makgadikgadi salt pans? You may just be completely enthralled.

Zebra migration on horseback.

Zebra migration on horseback.

If you’d like to get more information on Botswana and the fascinating zebra migration, Contact Us and our expert consultants will be glad to answer any questions you might have.

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Five Things You Really Shouldn’t Miss on an African Safari http://blog.africansafaris.com/five-things-really-shouldnt-miss-african-safari/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=five-things-really-shouldnt-miss-african-safari http://blog.africansafaris.com/five-things-really-shouldnt-miss-african-safari/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 10:28:17 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3845 The Big Five

Nothing compares to the thrill of seeing these endangered animals in the African wild: Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, Leopard and Lion. The last three are particularly elusive animals and sadly their numbers are dwindling in the wild. Capturing them on camera or tracking them on foot surely counts as one of the most exhilarating experiences. You will have your friends asking to see your photographs and hear your stories for years to come!

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The Best Ranger

An unforgettable safari game drive or walk ultimately comes down to the quality of the ranger. Expert safari guides know exactly how to thrill and fascinate you and make you feel as if you are a part of a riveting National Geographic documentary. They also have the skills to find the animal migration, entertain you with fascinating wildlife facts, keep you safe and get you award-winning photography opportunities.

Intuitive Staff

The best safari lodges are those with understated style that offer luxury and comfort, whilst blending into the natural surroundings. From the moment you step off your light aircraft staff will be on hand to anticipate your every move and deliver impeccable service with the warmest of smiles. They will gently ease you into the rhythm of the African bush by waking you for early morning sunrise trips (the best time to see animal migrations), preparing delicious afternoon teas and taking you on thrilling nocturnal animal spotting drives.

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African Sundowners

For many guests, this will be one of the highlights of their stay plus the glowing light makes for a great photo opportunity moment. Nothing beats a cold beer or gin & tonic in the bush as you watch the red African sun set over the plains. Later, be serenaded by the sounds of the bush at night and then gather around the crackling campfire to listen to some incredible tales of African tribes and the wild.

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Dining in the Wilderness

After a long day exploring the wilderness or soaking up the glorious African sun at the pool, nothing beats feasting on gourmet bush cuisine and superlative wines served under the faint glow of a lantern lit canopy of an ancient ebony tree under an African starry sky. Possible even in the remotest wilderness places, this is an unexpected reason to go on a luxury safari.

Botswana

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The Rhino Poaching Crisis: Colin Bell talks Statistics and Solutions http://blog.africansafaris.com/rhino-poaching-crisis-colin-bell-talks-statistics-solutions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rhino-poaching-crisis-colin-bell-talks-statistics-solutions http://blog.africansafaris.com/rhino-poaching-crisis-colin-bell-talks-statistics-solutions/#comments Fri, 14 Mar 2014 15:23:44 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3760 Over the course of the last two or three years, the plight of African rhinos has become an issue of international concern. With Eastern demand for rhino horn products seemingly ever increasing, the numbers of rhinos poached annually is skyrocketing to potentially fatal levels –but what is actually being done about it? The Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) – of which we are a member – recently hosted an informative presentation by renowned wildlife activist Colin Bell about just that. What follows is a synopsis of Mr. Bell’s extremely enlightening presentation.

Colin Bell is a longtime proponent of sustainable ecotourism and has several decades of experience under his belt in his various capacities at Wilderness Safaris and Great Plains Conservation. Now a fulltime conservation activist, Colin has used his extensive network and skillset to highlight African issues such as community development, poaching and habitat loss. His real passion though is the preservation of the African White and Black rhino – an animal for which he has a deep affinity.

The figures are truly staggering. In 2014, there is an estimated maximum of 25 000 rhinos left in the wild and this number could be inflated by as much as 5000. At present, we are losing over a thousand rhinos per year and climbing. Just a month or so ago, Mozambique lost their very last wild rhino to poaching. There are no more wild rhinos in Mozambique. That sentence is one we do not want to ever repeat for other African countries, and it could apply to South Africa in as little as five years time…

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Colin Bell presents on the decline of rhinos due to poaching.

At this stage you are probably wondering why are more people buying rhino horns? What has changed in the last three years? The answers to these questions are multifaceted and encompass both social and cultural considerations. Firstly, there has been an incredible growth of the Asian middleclass. This has lead to greater demand for substances that were previously the preserve of the elite – such as rhino horn, which is believed to have aphrodisiac properties. Secondly, there was an unsubstantiated claim made in Vietnam that rhino horn has cancer-fighting abilities. These two factors have sent demand sky high. In fact a recent WWF survey determined that while 5% of the population in Vietnam’s biggest cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh are currently using rhino horn products, a whopping 16% still aspire to. Scary stuff indeed!

The trade of illicit rhino horn is big business. The estimated street value of the horns from poached rhinos in 2013 exceeds three billion Rand. That money is being used to finance militias, to buy arms and to fund terrorism. The recent terror attacks in Kenya were committed by an organization that derives almost all its funding from rhino horn trade. This is a global issue, not just an African one.

All throughout Africa, some of the poorest communities live on the fringes of pristine wilderness and national parks. They have become increasingly marginalized and do not see enough benefit from tourism and conservation to actively pursue it. Little wonder then that they turn to poaching as a means to support their family. In South Africa, 60-80% of the illegal rhino horn passes through Mozambique right through these very same ‘fringe’ communities.

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We need to preserve these beautiful animals while we still can.

Having played his part in several successful rhino reintroductions in Botswana and Namibia, Colin has now shifted focus to South Africa – a country where 80% of all African rhinos are located.  He envisions a scenario such as that in Damaraland, Namibia, where reintroduced rhino now freely roam across thousands of kilometers without being poached. The reason for this is that the local communities are stakeholders in the project and it is in their interests to ensure the rhinos conservation. It is this sort of ‘holistic’ approach that we need to implement in South Africa.

Colin proposes a number of solutions that, when implemented together, have a real chance of combatting not just rhino horn trade, but illegal wildlife trade generally. These are:

  • Integrate communities: The communities around national parks need to be consulted and considered. Their lives need to improve in order for any real change to be lasting and effective,
  • Make use of technical advancements: The United States military has developed an incredibly advanced mobile field unit that is capable of observing areas as large as 50 hectares. This technology is capable of identifying animals, humans and even weapons from incredible distances. Costing $1million each, they’re not cheap, but they are obtainable.
  • International lobbying and diplomacy: With enough pressure, changes will be made. Chinese demand for shark fin almost halved recently when the Chinese government took shark fin soup off all official menus due to international pressure.
  • Establish a National Capital Tourism Fund: Colin proposes that an extra 1% be added to all tourism related fees and that that money goes towards National conservation endeavors.

Although the situation is dire, it is not yet critical. There are positive developments being made – this talk to key stakeholders in the South African tourism industry being just one example. Colin and his team are mobilizing and a movement is building. We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop as we join forces to keep our wildlife around for many generations to come.

White Rhino & Calf

White Rhino & Calf

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African Safari Consultants Present: Victoria Falls [video] http://blog.africansafaris.com/african-safari-consultants-present-victoria-falls-video/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=african-safari-consultants-present-victoria-falls-video http://blog.africansafaris.com/african-safari-consultants-present-victoria-falls-video/#comments Fri, 21 Feb 2014 11:10:28 +0000 http://www.vicfalls.com/?p=3565 Nicknamed ‘The Smoke That Thunders’, the Victoria Falls are without question the jewels in the crown of both Zimbabwe and Zambia. One of the largest, most impressive waterfalls in the world, the mist from the falls alone has created a thriving rain forest on it’s periphery, while the valley below teems with Africa’s Big Five and more.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking adventure in the form of a bungee jump, white water rafting or a helicopter flight, or a honeymooning couple seeking the romantic grandeur of Africa, the Victoria Falls are the ideal destination. Sir David Livingstone, the first Western explorer to lay eyes on the falls, remarked that it was one of the most beautiful sights he had ever seen. He was right!

Watch the Victoria Falls video below to learn a bit more about a true African wonder, then Contact Us to plan your trip to Victoria Falls.

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Press Release: Great Plains Conservation and &Beyond join forces to translocate 100 rhino. http://blog.africansafaris.com/press-release-great-plains-conservation-beyond-join-forces-translocate-100-rhino/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=press-release-great-plains-conservation-beyond-join-forces-translocate-100-rhino http://blog.africansafaris.com/press-release-great-plains-conservation-beyond-join-forces-translocate-100-rhino/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 11:32:02 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3632 With rhino poaching at an all-time high in South Africa, two of Africa’s leading conservation companies, Great Plains Conservation and andBeyond, have joined forces to safely translocate up to 100 rhino from South Africa to the safe haven of Botswana.

“There is a battle for Africa’s wildlife raging as we speak. Rhinos are being poached at a rate of one every nine hours and the official number is 1 004 dead in 2013 alone. The unofficial number, because we simply do not find them all, is well over 1 000. Like everyone, I’ve been watching this desperate situation worsen, which is why Great Plains Conservation and &Beyond have decided to take action. This is not a Great Plains Conservation project or an &Beyond one, it is a global one that we can all play a role in, small and large. I don’t believe in branded conservation — it needs to be something we all get behind to save a species,” says Dereck Joubert, Great Plains CEO.

White Rhino & Calf

White Rhino & Calf

“Botswana has an excellent security system in place to protect these endangered animals and will be a safe haven for the relocated rhino. Translocations are fundamental to secure the ongoing survival of endangered species and this groundbreaking project aims to protect the species for future generations to enjoy. A project this size requires a strong partnership and a huge resource pool to pull it off. We are therefore very pleased to be joining forces with Great Plains Conservation for this mass translocation. We share the same mission and operating ethos and together we believe we can make this happen,” says Joss Kent, &Beyond CEO.

Having successfully translocated six rhino from South Africa to Botswana last year, &Beyond’s conservation team will lend its expertise to the project. Up to 100 rhino will be captured and safely transported from South Africa and released in Botswana’s remote wilderness. Each rhino will be tagged and microchipped for research and monitoring purposes. A dedicated anti-poaching team will then work in conjunction with the Botswana government agencies to monitor the animals using the latest technology.

A rhino relocation in progress.

A rhino relocation in progress.

This operation will cost USD8 million and both Great Plains Conservation and &Beyond will announce specific fundraising initiatives to enable tourism stakeholders, travel partners, tour operators and guests to help save this iconic species and ensure Africa’s Big Five remains for future generations to enjoy.

The battle to save the rhino from extinction won’t be won tomorrow; however, with joint initiatives such as this, the battle won’t be lost tomorrow either.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Hilton Walker

T. +27 (13) 7502005 | M. +27 (82) 5799055

hilton@greatplainsconservation.com

Twitter @ZerosForRhinos

 

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GoPro: Lions – The New Endangered Species? http://blog.africansafaris.com/gopro-lions-new-endangered-species/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gopro-lions-new-endangered-species http://blog.africansafaris.com/gopro-lions-new-endangered-species/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 10:30:55 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3521 Kevin Richardson – aka The Lion Whisperer – is a South African ‘self-taught’ zoologist with a particular affinity for big predators like lions and hyenas. Beginning his career as a 22 year old assistant on a lion reserve outside Johannesburg, South Africa, Kevin quickly realised his passion and unique ability to connect with the animals in a way that few others can. Ever since those days in his formative early 20s, Kevin has worked tirelessly to highlight the plight of wild predators in Africa and campaign for their conservation. He is world-renowned on the internet for a series of clips showing him seemingly disregarding personal safety concerns, and embracing wild lions who rush to greet him as if common house cats.

Kevin teamed up with GoPro for the video below and we think you’ll agree that the result is pretty special indeed. Enjoy!

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