African Safaris Consultants Blog » walking safari Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:32:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Safari Icons: Norman Carr Fri, 20 Apr 2012 10:59:53 +0000 Every year, millions of people visit the continent of Africa to take in the awe-inspiring natural beauty of its fauna and flora. Whether it’s the plains of the Masai Mara in Kenya, the roaring cascade of the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe/Zambia or the vast deserts of Namibia, Africa has long since had a hold on man’s imagination. The routes we traverse across this great continent, metaphorical and otherwise, were mapped out by the intrepid men and women of yesteryear – explorers with a notebook and a thirst for adventure. In this series, we’ll profile a safari icon of the past one by one and pay homage to the work they did.

We’ll begin by taking a look at the Zambian conservationist, Norman Carr.

Norman Carr

Norman Carr was born in the busy port town of Chinde, in what is now modern day Malawi, in 1912. He received his education in England and returned to Africa in 1930 where he worked as an ‘Elephant Control Officer’ in the Luangwa Valley. This majestically titled job entailed mitigating the damage done by the resident elephant herds on the crop of farmers in the area.  After serving for four years in the Kings African Rifles, where he attained the rank of Captain, Norman became one of Africa’s first Game Rangers in the Luangwa Valley’s newly formed ‘Game Department’.  It was in this role that Norman started implementing conservation measures which would be adopted throughout Africa.

Norman had to be alert in the bush

Norman Carr persuaded the then Chief Nsefu to set aside some of his land for game conservation use, and this became Nsefu Camp – the first camp of its kind open to the public in what is now Zambia. Some years later a spinal injury, caused by a run in with a buffalo, necessitated a withdrawal from the scene for a year or so. After making a recovery, Norman returned to work as a Warden for the Kafue National Park. It was here that he famously adopted two orphaned male lions – characters which left an indelible impression on all who met them.  Norman lovingly raised the pair to adulthood and later successfully reintroduced them in to the wild when they were about three years old (inspiring the novel and movie “Return to the Wild”). After cofounding the first hunting operation in the Luangwa Valley with Peter Hankin, it was in 1968 that Norman Carr’s next revolutionary idea came about…

Norman Carr with the orphaned cubs


Midday Stroll

Growing up in the wild, Norman was always very at home in the African bush. His deep understanding of the dynamic between man and animal meant that he read situations between the two very well. For Norman, a walk in the bush amongst the Big Five was part of his everyday life. So much so in fact that he decided to extend the opportunity of a Walking Safari to visitors of Chibembe Safari Camp. The safari walks were a smash hit! Never before had people experienced wildlife in such a manner, where man and nature interacted so harmoniously in such close proximity.

One of the first Walking Safaris

In his later years, Norman Carr continued in his unwavering quest to conserve and protect all wildlife.  In 1979 he devoted two years of his life to the ‘Save the Rhino’ campaign aimed at eradicating the rampant poaching of the Valley’s rhinoceros population. Through the Kapani School Fund, Norman provided scholarships for many children in the area all the while engraining in them the importance of wildlife conservation. These were to be amongst his final acts as the great conservationist, Mr Norman Carr, passed peacefully in 1993.

Norman Carr’s pioneering spirit led to him becoming one of the most important figures in Zambia’s recent history, in the fields of tourism and conservation. His philanthropically inclined nature meant he was well liked and respected amongst his peers, and people in general.

Next time you’re out on that amazing Walking Safari, tip your hat to Mr Carr…

*If you’d like to see more images of Norman and the lions, check out our Pinterest board here.

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Zambia’s Great Bat Migration Fri, 18 Nov 2011 09:06:28 +0000  

If asked what was the world’s largest mammal migration, most people would probably guess the annual migration of wildebeest across the plains of the Masai Mara. And they’d be wrong…

Fruit bats roosting.

Fruit bats roosting during the daylight hours.


Every year between October and December, up to ten million fruit bats make the journey from all over central Africa to the Kasanka National Park in Zambia in what is the world’s largest mammal migration. The bats come to the area to feast on the ripening fruits of the fertile valley and usually stay for around six weeks.

Being nocturnal animals, early morning sees a flurry of activity in the African skies as the bats return to roost before sunrise. Once roosting, the animals are extremely difficult to see so it is highly recommended that you join one of the early morning guided walk safaris.

The bats play a highly important role in the ecological system of the area. By coming to feast on all the delicious fruits on offer, and then returning home, the bats unwittingly distribute tree seeds throughout their journey. It is estimated that the bats are responsible for as much as 60% of the seed dispersal of African rain forest trees. How many other animals can say that about their excrement?

Bats in the skies of Kasanka National Park.

Bats in the skies of Kasanka National Park.


Watch the video here to see just what makes the annual migration such a special occurrence.

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Red Hartebeest collides with mountain biker Mon, 17 Oct 2011 13:11:23 +0000 A jaw dropping YouTube clip was recently circulated like wild fire on all the major news networks and social media platforms. You must have seen it by now – the guy on a mountain bike who gets slammed into by a flying antelope.

Click to view clip :  Red Hartebeest collides with biker

If we sold mountain bikes, helmets, or insurance we’d be focussing on the guy. But this is an African Safari’s blog and so here is a bit more about the antelope (which was unharmed in the accident by the way).

It was a Red Hartebeest, a common species which occurs throughout the grasslands of Southern and East Africa. It is the second fastest antelope in Africa reaching speeds of up to 65 km/h. (The fastest antelope is the Tssesebe) A Red Haartebeest is about 1.5m (5ft) tall and weighs between 120-200kg (265-440lb) The word hartebeest originally comes from the Dutch spreaking Boer settlers who thought it looked like a deer. Hert in Dutch means ‘deer’ and beest is ‘beast’.

Being a common widespread species, and supposedly not threatened, it is a firm favourite in the hunting fraternity. We do not condone hunting AT ALL! Instead we urge you to invest in a good camera and come on a photographic safari. However, if the thrill of mountain biking in the bush appeals to you, it can be arranged. Selected non-Big Five game reserves allow controlled mountain biking trails. For more information contact one of our African Safari Consultants

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My Favorite African Places Mon, 29 Aug 2011 12:42:27 +0000 That ultimate African destination

With Irene causing havoc along the coast of the USA it is a good time to remind you of why you should visit our beautiful continent Africa!  I have also covered some good tips on how to choose your Safari in previous blog posts (so go back and have a look) which just adds substance to the above!

The main difficultly I have with this subject is actually where to start!  There is so much here to indulge in.  You are also spoilt for type of holiday – from adventure, to romance, viby cities to desolate wilderness, vacations for retired folks as well as vacations for families!  Maybe the easy way to do this is to list some of my favorites and hopefully that sparks off a desire in you to get away from the first world havoc and come and see what Africa is all about!

Having grown up in South Africa I have been privileged enough to regularly enjoy areas like the Kruger National Park, Garden Route, Kwa-Zulu Natal, and even the Malaria free areas of the Eastern Cape and Madikwe.  I can speak endlessly about the sea, mountains, wildlife, people and just awesome beauty that South Africa holds.   It honestly is one of the most beautiful countries I have been too – and I have traveled fairly extensively!  If you want variety – South Africa is it!

My favorite for game experiences has to be Zambia and the South Luangwa National Park.  I don’t think I have ever seen so many lion and the hippos – wow!  But the other awesome thing about South Luangwa is the walking.  If you’ve had a few safari experiences in your life and are looking for something a little different, than walking safaris are the way to go!  It is super thrilling and you really have the opportunity to get very close to nature and wildlife.

I also relish the opportunity to get away from it all, leave the rat race behind.  I love going to places where I don’t see many people, have amazing views, can see millions of stars at night (this is quite common throughout Africa actually!) and have experiences that are just totally different to everyday life.  One country that gave me all of this was Namibia.  The baron vast endlessness……..and honestly, it is impossible to take a bad photo (unless of course you stupidly have your camera on the wrong settings)!  Namibia delivers on so many levels.

My final thoughts for today are with the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana.  A truly magical place that not many people have the opportunity of experiencing!  The desert adapted wildlife throws a whole new perspective on how remarkable nature is.  Whether you travel in the wet season or the dry season this place puts the world into perspective and reminds you of what is actually important.

Don’t forget to contact us if you want any advice on the above!  Or please let me know your favorite places?

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Client Feedback: July, 2011 Thu, 11 Aug 2011 10:20:07 +0000 Safari Feedback

We’ve had some travellers recently – clients who underwent intense pressure just to get to African shores due to the disruption from the volcanic ash – so thought we would share some of their feedback with you:

Dear Liesl and Jeff:

Since Saturday we are back in Lima, but, though we are very happy to be back with our family … we are already missing Africa.  The trip was a great and unforgettable experience and incredibly well organized.
We loved each and every place we visited and the differences between them gave it variety and made it very enjoyable.  All the lodges, as well as the boat, had great accommodations, very attentive and welcoming people and good food (we have put on some weight – will be starting a diet next week).

Maria Marta was able to see, touch and even ride all the elephants she could dream of, and we saw 4 of the “big 5″ (the leopard just kept hiding from us). The Zambezi Queen, Marlin Lodge and Camp Jabulani organized celebrations for her “Quinceañero”; she will never forget this trip!

We are still organizing our photographs (have more than 3,000) but as soon as we have selected some especial ones, will mail them to you.
Having the “beach” part in the middle of the “safaris” was a great thing because it served as a time of relaxation before going back to the drives and “animal photography hunting”. We also did a lot of scuba diving and appreciated the beautiful underwater world of Benguerra island – and swimming in the Indian Ocean, for us, used to the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean, was something we couldn’t get enough of.

The stops in Johannesburg resulted very useful. We could change luggage and get a taste of city life before getting back on safari – and since we were able to rest before arriving at each lodge, we were quite fit to enjoy the drives we did on the first day (some of the other guests, arriving at the lodges directly from long flights, had difficulties on the first and even second days – not us with the way our program had been arranged).

Well, I could go on and on, but all I wanted to say is that we thank you both for a great and unforgettable trip and the good service you provide – you’ve got two friends in Lima that are planning to go back to Africa (not next year because we had already planned on going to the northern part of Europe) but probably the year after that – and we will send you our friends that are already asking “how we organized such a great trip”.

Thanks again.  All the best to both of you,  Marta – July, 2011
LieslThis is the first moment I’ve had to email.  I just wanted to THANK YOU soooo much for putting together this trip.  It has truly been a once in a lifetime event.  I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful the lodges have been, game viewing, etc.  Please tell Jeff thank you too!  We’re at Lion Sands now and I can’t help to wondering if it was you that got us into these beautiful suites.  The view from our bed is breathtaking.  We saw three leopards this morning.  I’ll be posting many praises on Trip Advisor when we get back.  Thanks again!!! – Caryn Arrowood – July, 2011

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Photo of the Week: Mom & Baby Fri, 27 May 2011 10:17:32 +0000 From my colleague Neil on his recent trip to Rwanda this awesome picture of a Mom and baby!  Gorillas are so human like in their nature and you can just see the love and security that a mother offers her offspring!

Mom & Baby

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Why visit the Mountain Gorilla? Wed, 25 May 2011 13:11:19 +0000 With Gorilla permits in Uganda being reduced for the low season (October, November, March & April) to $350 per permit rather than the usual $500 per permit, l thought I would tell you a bit about these wonderful animals and what it is actually like to see them, in the wild within touching distance!  One of my colleagues has recently done this trip and guarentees it is one of the most awesome experiences of his life!

The Mountain Gorilla's of Rwanda

There are 3 countries where you can find the Mountain Gorilla.  Uganda and Rwanda are the most popular for visitors, but they are also found in the DRC.  Permits for Gorilla’s have to be bought in advance, there are only a certain number issued each day, and often in peak season they’re sold out well in advance.

There are 5 Great Ape species in the world and 4 out of 5 of them live on the African continent.  These 4 are the Mountain Gorilla, Lowland Gorilla, Chimpanzee and Bonobos.

In 2010 it was estimated that there are only 790 Gorilla’s left worldwide.  They are on the critically endangered list and conservation efforts to keep them in existence are massive.  The Mountain Gorilla does not survive in captivity which is why you will never see them in a zoo.  After the Chimpanzee, Gorilla’s are our closest relatives sharing about 97.7% of our DNA.  Adult males weigh up to 180kg or 400 pounds and can have an arm span of up to 2 meters or 7 feet.

The most serious threat to these animals is man – through poaching, disease and population pressures.  By visiting and enjoying Gorilla Trekking you are helping fund conservation and community projects – all this aides local communities in understanding the value of the survival of these Great Apes.

For Neil’s visit to the Mountain Gorilla’s of Rwanda be sure to read our blog on Monday 30th of May.

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Photo of the Week – The Mighty Drakensberg Mountains Fri, 20 May 2011 12:57:07 +0000 Having just traveled through Kwa-Zulu Natal I thought it appropriate to share a little information about one of the amazing sights in this green province of South Africa.   The Drakensberg Mountains stretch for 1,000km across South Africa and also border Lesotho.    South Africa’s highest mountain is also found in this range at 3,482 meters high or 11,424 feet.   With names like Giant’s Castle, Champagne Castle, Cathedral Peak and Windsor Castle and with all these mountains towering over 3,000 meters there is another world out here for exploring.

Looking onto Highmoor Reserve in the Central Drakensberg Region

The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park – in the local Zulu language meaning “barrier of spears” – is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is also known as the” Dragon Mountains”.  With geological origins spanning back 200 million years, the Drakensberg has a fascinating history which includes rare Bushman paintings and art from 35,000 – 45,000 years ago.

As a visitor you have a choice of the Southern Berg, with famous passes like The Sani Pass taking you into Lesotho and requiring a 4 x 4; the central Berg with Highmoor and Kamberg Nature Reserves and the Northern Berg with its mystical peaks and mind blowing photo opportunities!

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Should We Be Walking With Lions? Thu, 12 May 2011 10:19:48 +0000 Very recently, I read an article about a lady who was attacked by a lion cub while on a guided lion walk in Zimbabwe.  It seems to be a completely unprovoked attack; there were other people in the group and all guests were accompanied by professional rangers who interact regularly with these huge cats.

The Lion Walking Safari is not a new phenomenon (although certainly we have been walking with elephants for much longer).  I know that guides are confident in their abilities of reading wild animals; and they should be, they study their behavior, they live with them in the bush, and they have constant contact with them.  It is a guide’s job to be aware of the animals’ demeanor at all times, and they are very good at this job.  I trust the guides implicitly when I am in a vehicle or on foot in the wild with them.

I have spent hours on game drives and have been privileged to experience Africa’s magnificent game in many of her wonderful parks.  I also have a few walking safaris in my legs.  There is nothing more thrilling than being out in the wild with the open plains of Africa stretching endlessly in front of you.  What are you going to see?  What is out there for you to experience?

But I do believe strongly that wild animals are wild animals.  Yes, you can read signs and this is what we rely on our rangers for – and most of us will never experience the unfortunate situation that this woman was forced to endure.  But what about that one sign that the guides might have missed?  What was it that the rangers on this lion walk looked over?  How will they prevent this from happening again?   Lions are wild and should remain out in the wild, free to roam as they have done for millennia.  We should be able to interact with them at a safe distance where the possibility of what happened is NOT a possibility at all.

But this is also an amazing African attraction, and a huge draw for tourists from overseas.  Who is not tempted to get as close as possible to the King of Africa?  But we need to make sure that something like this never happens again.  Where do we draw the line in the future, both to ensure the safety of tourists in Africa while also continuing to offer the most amazing and exciting adventures possible?

To read the press statement released (PDF) please click here:  Press Statement Lion Encounter 3 May 2011

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Walking Safaris in the Kruger National Park Tue, 10 May 2011 08:36:18 +0000

The thrill of a walking safari

Our preferred partners, Wilderness Safaris, operate the most thrilling walking safaris in the Pafuri region of the Kruger National Park.

The three-night, four-day walking trail takes guests through the spectacular and diverse habitats of the Pafuri. Perhaps the best area for walking in the entire Kruger Park, the area is blessed with spectacular scenery, seasonally high densities of many large mammal species, a feeling of wilderness and remoteness, and a sense of history. There is no better way to explore this magnificent area than on foot.

The comfortable walk-in dome tents with separate hot bucket showers and ‘eco-loos’ will become your home. No more than eight guests travel together giving a sense of exclusivity, and walks are led by an experienced guide.

Highly recommended: Spend a night at Pafuri Camp before or after the Trail.

They only operate for 6 months of the year during the dry months (April  – Oct)  So make the most of 2011 and get in touch with an African Safari Consultant now for more info.

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