2017 has been declared the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations. Graham Boynton reports on what this means for Africa Google ‘Sustainable Tourism Africa’ and you come up with 5,220,000 results. It’s big news and it’s big business. And now that the UN has declared 2017 as the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, it just got a whole lot bigger. The trick for both the industry and the travelling public is to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff, and that isn’t easy, even for those who know their way around the subject. In fact, over the past 10 years Africa, probably more than anywhere else in the world, has embraced sustainable tourism. A decade ago, tourism was second only to mining as the continent’s most extractive industry. Now, country after country has embraced eco-friendly practices and there is evidence everywhere of reform. In the remote areas, the safari business has undergone a quantum shift, with Botswana leading the ..

Watamu is a great place to take your children on an educational family holiday. Linda Markovina recounts her time there, as well as recommending some other key spots along the coast. Photographs by the writer The mangroves begin to close in on us as our guide, Kahindi Chagawa, leads us towards a small inlet between the gnarled arches of Mida Creek’s network of village pathways. This elaborate and intricate ecosystem, made up of tangled forest roots, is our family’s playground for the morning. Our merry group of adults and teenagers prepare to wade through the tidal waters that flood the grounds twice a day. Kahindi rolls up the legs of his trousers and all of us follow suit as we form an orderly line and begin our three-hour walk towards the coastline. As the Animal Welfare and Community Outreach & Awareness Programme Coordinator for NGO Local Ocean Trust, Kahindi is a non-stop source of information about every nook and cranny that we are exploring. “Look here,” he says, pointing int..

The mass migration of wildebeest across the East African savannah is routinely described as the ‘greatest wildlife show on earth’. But how much do we know about the animal that plays the leading role? Mike Unwin fills us in on the what, why and wherefore of the wildebeest May I ask what you were expecting?” enquires Torquay hotelier Basil Fawlty, when unhappy guest Mrs Richards requests a room with a view. “Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the Serengeti?” This memorable episode from BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers seems to confirm the popular perception of wildebeest: that they make more of an impact upon us as a view than as individual animals. And when wildlife documentaries do offer us a closer look, it is generally of wildebeest as prey. We may be familiar with the flailing legs and bleats of terror as lion or crocodile do their grisly thing, but the camera seldom lingers long on the poor victim. So what exactly is a wildebeest? Well, for a start, there are two species...

Talking to David Ryan, the founder of safari company Rhino Africa, you can feel the passion for Africa oozing out of him. A passion that was fuelled “without a doubt”, he says, by his parents’ love of the outdoors. Regular camping trips into wilderness areas, such as Cederberg and Kruger in his native South Africa, meant the travel bug bit him very early in life. David’s formative years, however, came during extremely troubled times for his country, but he freely admits he had a privileged upbringing. The son of a South African mother and a British father, he recalls: “Growing up, the political situation challenged us. But Dad instilled in me that the onus was on us to be a part of the solution” and that we should be involved in “creating a better future” for South Africa. With this sound advice still ringing in his ears, David already knew that he wanted to run his own business – one that would make a difference. It was just a question of what and how. After finishing his degree ..

“Come hither, Little One,” said the Crocodile, “for I am the Crocodile,” and he wept crocodile tears to show it was quite true. Then the Elephants’ child grew all breathless, and panted, and kneeled down on the bank and said, “You are the very person I have been looking for all these long days. Will you please tell me what you have for dinner?” “Come hither, Little One,” said the Crocodile, “and I’ll whisper.” Then the Elephant’s Child put his head down close to the Crocodile’s musky, tusky mouth, and the Crocodile caught him by his little nose, which up to that very week, day, hour, and minute, had been no bigger than a boot, though much more useful. “I think,” said the Crocodile – and he said it between his teeth, like this – “I think to-day I will begin with Elephant’s Child!” At this, O Best Beloved, the Elephant’s Child was much annoyed, and he said, speaking through his nose, like this, “Led go! You are hurtig be!” Then a Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake scuffled down from the..

With the recent release of her new prints ‘African Fish Eagle’ and ‘Carmines’, Emily Lamb spoke to Olivia Rook about her love affair with Africa, her efforts to combine narrative and art, and her collaboration with her grandfather David Shepherd When did you fall in love with Africa? Growing up, my sister and I travelled alongside my mother (CEO of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation at the time) on her project audits to various conservation initiatives. Over the years, I quietly soaked up the spirit and soul of that continent before realising I was hopelessly in love with it. What inspired you to become an artist? Both sides of my family are hugely artistic thinkers, and their unwavering dedication to creative endeavours has been instilled into me. I have always wanted to be an artist, and I probably couldn’t escape this even if I wanted to. How would you describe your artistic style? My style is something I have always struggled to explain. I think it’s best to let other people..

The concept of The Big Five hails from a bygone era, when the five animals in question – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo – were supposedly the hunter’s most challenging adversaries. The mythologising of that era has made them a major draw for today’s tourist, and safari operators trumpet their Big Five credentials loudly. Some even import a rhino or two onto their property to make up the full flush. Sadly, this can promote a rather blinkered view of the natural world: “Not much about” comes the disappointed refrain after a lion-less game drive. But the truth is that there’s always plenty about, much of it right under your nose. And where better to start than with the big five’s smaller, but no less fascinating, namesakes? By Mike Unwin. Leopard tortoise The leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis, pictured above) is the largest and most widespread of Africa’s land tortoises. It gets its name from the spotted pattern on its carapace, rather than any leopard-like stealth or e..

Wandering through traditional village food markets has long been a pastime of travellers. However, few ever leave with anything more than photographs and vibrant memories. Realising he’d be in Arusha for a while, Matthew Covarr decided to make Kilomero market the place for his regular grocery shop. Did he get his just desserts? (All images by Matthew Covarr)“How much is it for a mango?” I ask calmly. “Aah… Mzungu. These are very fresh for you. As first customer today, 2000 shillings for one,” the trader mentions casually. As my mind rapidly clocks through the dollar conversion rate, the doubtful look on my face results in the price suddenly dropping to 1850. Still not convinced, I walk deeper into the chaotic African produce market before noticing an elderly local also purchasing mangoes. I pluck up the courage to ask him what he’s just paid. “Each mango is 300 shillings,” he replies. “Are you paying too much?” he asks curiously. Soon we’re going through my list together and he’s k..

Born in 1948 in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands, renowned private-safari guide John Stevens has spent most of his life in the bush, inspiring countless guests with his love and enthusiasm for the African wilderness. He shares his invaluable experience with Rose Gamble How long have you been guiding for? Thirty-seven years, though it only seems like a handful to me. I plan to be working for many more to come! What characteristics are essential in a guide? You must have an acute awareness of the environment and everything that is happening around you. And safety is key; you mustn’t get too close to the animals and have respect for them and their space. You also need to be able to deal with emergencies in a calm manner. Lastly, it’s important to be able to have good tracking skills and interpret signs on the ground so that even when there are no animals around, a walk can still be fascinating. What marks out a brilliant guide from a good guide? A good guide is knowledgeable, attentive, pr..

Want to experience one of Africa’s most stunning destinations while transforming lives? Naturally Africa Volunteers and Impact Marathon Series have joined together so you can be the change you want to see. Anna Vujicic reports Naturally Africa Volunteers have teamed up with Impact Marathon Series, an enterprise designed to utilise the power of marathons and create social change through building sustainable communities and bringing people together. Taking place from 21 to 27 May 2018, Malawi Marathon is an opportunity for people of all abilities to take part in a unique and life changing one-week programme. Whether you choose to take part in the 10k, half marathon, or the full 42k marathon, you will be involved in tackling the first three United Nations Sustainable Development goals: No Poverty, No Hunger, and Good Health and Wellbeing. Those who take part will have a first-hand insight into the impact they are making. Throughout the week leading up to the marathon, you will meet the..
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