African Safaris Consultants Blog » Kenya Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:32:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Baby Elephant Rescued from Muddy Pond Fri, 13 Dec 2013 12:09:47 +0000 Here’s a touching video from last year in which a five day old elephant was rescued from drowning in a very muddy pond in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya. The little one had misjudged the depth of the mud and soon found itself stuck. Luckily it was spotted by park wardens who quickly stepped in to rescue the calf and then reunited it with it’s mother moments later.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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Dereck & Beverly Joubert win Outstanding Achievement Award Fri, 04 Oct 2013 10:26:25 +0000 Dereck and Beverly Joubert are rightly regarded as being amongst the leading conservationists in the world. Having started out as photographers nearly thirty years ago, the Jouberts have become leading proponents of sustainable tourism and conservation in their beloved Africa. Renowned filmmakers, their films have touched the hearts of millions of people around the world as they advocate the merits of wildlife conservation. Recently awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of their continued devotion to the African continent at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, the Jouberts join the illustrious ranks of past winners Dr Jane Goodall, Dr Richard Leakey and Sir David Attenborough.

“Stop the Killing, Stop the Trade and Stop the Market,” was the core message of the Joubert’s keynote speech at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival on the 26th September. “Poaching today has reached epidemic proportions and the same individuals who deal in drugs, slavery and arms are also dealing in ivory and rhino horn. And they are not playing by any rules. There is a $27 billion a year trade in illegal animals and animal parts out of Africa so unless we are in a position to fight that with real money, we will lose. When we lose, elephants, lions and rhinos lose. When they lose, communities in Africa lose, Everyone loses. This is a declaration of war against poaching and a call to action to everyone. We are about to record the 700th rhino poached this year alone. Unless we are making conservation films at this time we are wasting our voice. This is when we are most needed to drive home messages of conservation to the world. The area that natural history filmmakers can play a role is in stopping the market. Our films collectively reach billions of people, that opportunity is completely wasted by producing television fluff and broadcasting meaningless TV fodder.”


Dereck and Beverly Joubert

“Wildlife filmmaking has changed over the three decades we have been involved. It’s time for filmmakers to develop into conservationists and not be afraid of advocacy. We are starting a new conversation movement and a film company, both based in China, because this is where our voices need to be heard, this is where the largest consumption of lion bone, rhino horn and elephant ivory is, and without those three species, African wildlife will collapse” they say.

Dereck and Beverly Joubert are co-founders of ASC preferred partner Great Plains Conservation, a groundbreaking project whereby land in Kenya and Botswana that is earmarked for hunting, or is under threat in some way, is acquired by Great Plains and turned into sustainable safari properties. This sustainable model sees an increase in land and animal conservation, plus the development of the local community.

Congratulations Dereck and Beverly! Keep up the good work!

Read our recent post on the Jouberts here: Safari Icons: Dereck and Beverly Joubert

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Obituary : Africa’s Tree lady Fri, 30 Sep 2011 12:24:10 +0000 This week, Kenyans and environmentalists are mourning the death of their Tree Lady. Wangari Maathai was a most remarkable woman who dedicated her life to sustainable development, democracy and peace. She was 71. This charismatic Kenyan woman was known around the world as well as in the hallowed halls of international governments as the Tree Lady. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 and was the first woman in East Africa to get a PhD. She has inspired many, has captivated many high powered audiences, and was certainly one of the most impressive women of her generation.

Her long career was a continual fight, against all odds, for rights and freedom, but she is most famous for her environmental activism and ‘green’ campaigns which earned her the Tree Lady title.

Wangari Maathai’s philosophy and methodology were so simple… she encouraged the women of Kenya to plant tree nurseries throughout the country. She encouraged them to find seeds in nearby forests to grow trees native to the area. The women were then paid a small amount for each seedling which was later planted elsewhere. This concept ultimately became known as the Greenbelt Movement which has to date planted almost 4 million trees in Kenya.

Her life story is known to many, but I often wonder how many more ‘Tree Ladies’ there are out there who are doing great things against all odds at a grass-routes level that none of us get to see or hear about. This blog post is a tribute to those people. I like to believe that there are more people doing good as opposed to bad…even though it’s the sensational bad guys that make the news!

Travellers to Africa often want to see community upliftment and conservation projects in action, and we have facilitated many such visits to local on-the-ground organisations. It is part of what we do, besides planning your African safari, we are happy to arrange cultural interactions and facilitate visits to sustainable development projects.

Kenya's amazing Tree Lady

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Wildlife pic of the week: The African Buffalo Wed, 28 Sep 2011 10:57:42 +0000 The African Buffalo is a respected member of the Big Five even though he might look like a mellow bovine. His cousins in the East, the Asian Water Buffalo, can be domesticated. Not this guy!  He is extremely dangerous, and is capable of killing a lion. He is on the trophy wish list of big game hunters and I am pleased to report that he has gored and maimed many a hunter! You have heard the expression – ‘like a wounded buffalo’ to describe someone who is so mad with rage and attacks relentlessly again and again…Those geeky looking horns actually act as a ‘shield’ and the thick bone is capable of stopping a rifle bullet. We do NOT condone big game hunting! But we do encourage you to join an African Safaris photographic safari to the Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sands, the South Luangwa National Park, the Lower Zambezi National Park, the Masai Mara and the Serengeti.

It is thrilling to be in a safari vehicle amongst a herd of buffalo. You are quite safe if you stay in the vehicle, but you definitely get a sense of their power and potential danger.

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The great migration – the gory aftermath Mon, 26 Sep 2011 09:58:18 +0000 Being in East Africa’s Masai Mara and Serengeti national parks during the annual migration is high up on every animal lover’s wish list. The awesomeness is in the sheer numbers and the opportunity to witness one of
nature’s most incredible spectacles.  Not everybody is lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time to see the famous River Crossings – when thousands of wildebeest, on auto-pilot, launch themselves as one into crocodile infested rivers with a seemingly blind faith in ‘safety in numbers’.

As nature has it, there are casualties and this is good news for the predators – the crocodiles, hyena, jackal, other small mammals and ultimately squabbling parties of vulture and ugly marabou storks.

jackal & vulture 'tidying up' in the Serengeti

But be prepared. The aftermath of the migration is not for the faint hearted. You will need a strong stomach.  The river banks and immediate surrounds are literally littered with carcasses being chewed and pecked.  Grim as it may be, this is all part of nature’s big plan as hundreds of creatures, birds and insects ultimately benefit from the gory slaughter.

Vultures and a 'picked clean' carcass

If you would like to visit East Africa and see the migration it is best to start planning and booking your trip now. It is tricky choosing which safari camps to book as it all depends on the time of year and whether you travel to Tanzania or Kenya or both. Talk to one of our African Safari Consultants for more advice and info.

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How to choose your Safari – Part 2 Wed, 24 Aug 2011 14:55:59 +0000 Choosing the right safari

Last week I promised a few more tips on how to choose the right safari.  Last week I covered:

1.  When do you want to go?
2. Winter vs Summer?
3. Malaria Free Safaris?
4. Your budget?

With these 4 questions covered we can look at getting a little more specific about your experience.

Once you have covered the above the next thing that I would ask is what kind of vacation or safari are you looking for and who are you traveling with?
There are options out there that are more suited to families, older generations, honeymooners, adventurers, 1st time safari goers and those looking to volunteer and give something back.  So believe it or not, this is an important consideration and really helps your consultant provide you with the product best suited to you.

Although your budget might decide where you can go – it would be good for you to have an idea about this too?  There are plenty of choices out there – somewhere like East Africa with Kenya and Tanzania and of course the Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda – has been on the safari circuit for decades.  They are awesome destinations for game viewing and they can be busy and expensive.  Botswana is going to give you an exclusive wilderness experience.  I think it has been said that there are more beds in the Cape Town Waterfront, then in the whole of Botswana!  Because of this exclusivity there is a premium cost attached to staying in this beautiful country.
South Africa has marketed itself well over the years and certainly is a destination that has something for everyone.  So if you are looking for other experiences to include with your Safari, then perhaps South Africa is the right place for you.   Of course – if you like Deserts……nothing compares to dunes and ancient paths in Namibia.

The last thing I would consider when making my safari choice is how much support these establishments are providing to the local communities and how much they are giving back to wildlife.  This is actually something that you do find often now and I think it is an important consideration.  You want to know that you are also giving back to the local people and wildlife you are seeing.

In this way we all play a small part in preserving our Earth’s amazing treasures.  I hope this has been useful.  I always value any comments or thoughts so please feel free to add yours!

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Photo of the Week: The Cheetah Fri, 19 Aug 2011 10:19:40 +0000 Some stunning images taken in the Masai Mara

Below is a seletion of stunning pictures taken recently in the Masai Mara.  These tie in nicely with my blog posting from Wednesday.  They really are such beautiful animals.  So much majesty and poise!

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How to choose that African Safari Mon, 15 Aug 2011 14:42:51 +0000 Tips for choosing the right Safari Vacation

We are often asked in this business where the best place to go on safari is.  People ask this without realizing the choice that is out there and without really thinking about what it is they want to get out of the experience.  Everyone is different, and we are all looking for that awesome “thing” that we can tell all our friends about, or that will last a lifetime.

By choosing a Safari destination you are one up on everybody already!  It is a totally unique, mind blowing, awesome thing.  You will never experience anything like it, anywhere else in the world.  That is why Africa is so unique!  That should be enough to sell you on the ultimate vacation…..but if you still need some pointers on how to choose the right Safari, below are a few pointers:

1.  When do you want to go?  – The biggest thing to remember is that the seasons are opposite way round in the southern hemisphere, where most of your big safari destinations are.  So summer in the northern hemisphere is winter in the southern.  The good thing about this is that winter in the southern hemisphere is generally the best time for game viewing.  The general lack of rain in the winter months keeps the vegetation dry and short – this allows for much easier spotting of wildlife or the big 5.

2. Even though winter months are generally better for game viewing, the summer months also provide their advantages.  These are primarily better package deals due to the “low season”, but it also provides a more intimate safari experience.  The summer months are not as busy as the winter months.  My favorite summer safari experience are the magical, electric thunder storms.   Paints a safari in a whole new light.

3.  You should consider if you are looking for a Malaria free safari or if you are comfortable taking prophylactics or other precautions.  Certainly there are times when a Malaria risk is not good – usually involving pregnant ladies or very young babies.  There are not many areas that are Malaria free, but South Africa has 2 locations – Madikwe and the Eastern Cape.

4. The final pointer for today is your budget.  Everyone has a budget in mind when going on vacation and a safari vacation is no different.  The advantage about Safari’s is the broad range of price choice over a wide range of destinations.  Some countries offer value for money, others offer the ultimate in privacy and exclusivity, some have been hosting safaris for generations, while others allow for pristine wilderness.

So you need to decide what your important factors are for this ultimate vacation experience.  Next week I will highlight a few more that should really help you make the perfect decision!

One of the Big 5 - The King of the Savanna

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The famine in Somalia – an African crisis Wed, 10 Aug 2011 15:20:35 +0000 Somalian Crisis

We sometimes forget how lucky we are.  How much we have and how much we actually should be grateful for.  There are people in the world that have so much less, and we just don’t give back often enough.  The famine crisis that has been top of the news for the last couple of weeks is happening on our doorstep in Africa.  Somalia is not a destination that we specialize in, and logically with all the other challenges Southern, South and East Africa face, ones efforts should probably be focused on areas that have a direct impact on our business.

However, this humanitarian crisis has seeped into our hearts.  The more coverage out there, the more disturbing images that go around the world of starving children, the more you hear of the unbelievable stories of people actually making it to a feeding centre alive – the more we realized that we have to try and make a contribution.

So we are making a donation on every booking we receive for the months of August and September.  We are donating to the UNICEF Horn of Africa Fund.  The UN estimates that around 770,000 people have fled to refugee camps and about $1.3 billion is needed to address this crisis.

The Horn of Africa is notorious for long-term cycles of severe hunger.  But with decades of failed crops, climate changes, and economic crises – the current drought (the worst since 1951) has increased malnutrition, killed and weakened livestock, increased food prices and basically driven up famine and hunger.  Innocent people are suffering and we would really like to make a difference.  If you need to know more about what UNICEF is doing you can visit their site here.

Otherwise, know that we are also doing something to give back to our fragile continent.

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Photo of the Week: Wildebeest Migration First Hand Fri, 05 Aug 2011 14:58:38 +0000

The action of the migration

A reminder that the migration is in full swing at the moment in East Africa.  We received an update this week from one of our partners Asilia who operate luxury camps in the area.  Have a read as to what they are currently seeing:

“This week has been fantastic as we had a chance to see the big five and the most amazing and interesting thing was when we found seven lions and one bull of rhino laying down close to each other facing. This event happened at bologonja plains the way to nyamarumbwa, no natural mechanism is perfect. The three cheetah brothers have been seen almost everyday and we have been sometimes seeing them hunting which was so good to guests. Also the leopard has been spotted around the mama kent gully on the tree with a kill of a male impala. Lions keep on roaring each night and have been seen along bolongoja river, mama kent gully, lamai plains, wogakurya kopjes.

We would like to say that this week has been fantastic as the great wildbeest crossing happened in front of the camp when the guests were having their delicious lunch, suddenly everyone left the lunch and ran to see the greatest crossing which took 1 ½ hr. This was an unforgattable life experience to everyone who did see this crossing.”

Wildlife Report from Olakira Camp 2011

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