Busy bees

Wild Survivors, a small Suffolk-based charity, is making a big difference to elephant welfare and communities in Tanzania with a simple and ecologically conscious method, says David Fettes In Tanzania, over the past five years, more than 65,000 elephants have been slaughtered for their tusks or by exhausted farmers protecting their crops from being raided. At this erosion rate, the elephant may soon be an endangered species in Tanzania, and more widely in Africa. Registered charity Wild Survivors is using a multi-faceted approach to protect these magnificent animals. The organisation promotes education in rural areas and is funding a project to use honeybees to prevent elephant from raiding farmers’ crops, particularly at night. Currently, after long days of work, farmers are sitting up all night to chase off the marauding elephant, armed only with sticks, rocks and chilli bombs. Therefore, Wild Survivors is installing perimeter beehive fences in northern Tanzania as a working solut..

The attraction of Africa

Since he first visited Africa in the ’70’s, Brian Jackman has returned more than 40 times, traveling extensively throughout the continent. Here he explains why he finds Africa so alluring. Nothing prepares you for the impact of Africa. Strange sights, new sounds, new smells; it is a total assault on the senses, like being a child again and seeing the world afresh. My initiation took place in Kenya’s Masai Mara national reserve, at the end of the rains when the grass was as green as Ireland. Until then I had never seen an elephant in the wild, tusks gleaming, ears flapping; six tonnes of silence drifting like smoke between the thorn trees. Nor had I heard the rumble of lions greeting the dawn. That was more than 20 years ago but the magic has never faded. The hills are still green, the views as wide as ever, filled with an unassailable beauty and animals beyond counting. Once, in the Serengeti, I watched the wildebeest trekking north across the short grass plains in unbroken columns ..

Does Africa offer good value?

Recently, I remarked with some consternation: “35% increase, you must be joking!” Never before had the industry seen such a horrific increase in the cost of staying at safari lodges in one year, especially as it seemed to be across that particular country’s entire industry. The actual increase was compounded not only by the usual ‘inflation’ increase but also that old industry favourite of converting from local currency to charge in US dollars, which at that time was considerably stronger than it is today. The inevitable question was being asked. Is this country pricing itself out of the market? Is travel within the country reasonable value? Certainly the answers seemed negative but the truth is that the industry within that country is small, well managed, and offers the particularly “well-heeled” traveler an opportunity to escape the so-called “package tour” crowds. That in itself is of great value to some. Africa is as diverse and as interesting as any other continent. Its value l..

A villa in Mozambique

Planning to take your family to Mozambique? Jenni Saunders tells us about her family’s stay in a unique seaside villa on the Machangulo peninsula Situated adjacent to Inhaca and Portuguese islands, in the Bay of Maputo, the long narrow Machangulo peninsula is flanked by the calmness of the bay on one side, the warm Indian Ocean on its eastern edge and the Maputo Special Reserve in the south. Twenty kilometres of deserted beach stretches towards Ponta do Ouro, forming part of the transfrontier marine reserve and endangered turtle sanctuary. An hour’s flight from Johannesburg to Maputo, followed by an hour-and-a-half boat transfer across Maputo Bay, will bring you to a place more wild and beautiful than you could imagine, a place almost deserted. Colina Verde is perched on the dunes, only a short skip from the beach. It was built entirely on site with raw tree trunks and Mozambican hard woods, sustainably removed from forests. It balances natural elements with opulence – in a breathtak..

How to create a game reserve

The changing face of safaris over the past 20 years is epitomised by Nambiti Private Game Reserve in South Africa, which is a prime example of how tourism plays an integral part in conservation. Phil Clisby reports The old adage of ‘build it and they will come’ doesn’t always ring true. This was certainly the case for Rob Le Sueur when setting up Nambiti, a private game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. His childhood dream to create his own Big 5 game reserve ran into the difficulty of how to get potential investors to take a look at the remote site – a hotch-potch of six cattle farms 230km northwest of Durban. His solution? He chartered a helicopter, picked them up and flew them in. “We would land and while we had breakfast the doors would be taken off the helicopter. We would then fly low-level over the farm, up the gorge and over waterfalls, get back in time for a brunch, put the doors back on and fly home. The guys would say it was the best day of their lives,” says Le Su..

How things have changed!

Safari for Real guide and author Lex Hes reflects on the changing nature of guiding I’ve now been in the African safari tourism industry for over 40 years and, with Travel Africa celebrating 20 years of publication this year and reflecting on changes in the safari industry over that time, it has made me give some thought to what has changed from a guiding perspective. One of the main developments I have seen is the ‘professionalisation’ of safari guiding. When I started out 40 years ago, there was no such thing as a guide training course and I don’t think that it was even seen as a career option – perhaps rather something to do for a year or two before moving onto a ‘real job’, but certainly not a career option! At that time we guided by the seat of our pants, answering questions in the best way we knew, perhaps giving quite a lot of incorrect information in the process, but always passionately trying to learn as much as possible about the bush and its inhabitants together with our ..

Birding hotspots in Namibia: Etosha

I am fortunate to have been able to visit all the big game parks in Africa, but Etosha is still my favourite. My first memory of being in the bush was from this great place and most of my childhood holidays and weekends were spend exploring this unbelievable park. Etosha is of course synonymous with big game and wide open spaces. The name Etosha actually means “great white area” referring to the huge dry pan in the middle of the park. It is home to a staggering amount of wildlife, both common and rare. What makes the park unique is the floodlit waterholes at all the main camps. There is something magical about enjoying the spectacular sunset at either the Okaukuejo or Halali waterhole, watching as hundreds of double-banded sandgrouse come to drink, landing between an elephant herd or solitary black rhino. Etosha also has a bird list of more than 350 species, and summer is definitely the best time to visit. The occasional rains then turn the dry pans into seasonal lakes, attracting mi..

Zambia’s first live streaming webcam

Shenton Safaris are monitoring the hippos in their hippo hide using Zambia’s first live streaming webcam! They are in the process of adding night vision and sound to the stream to really make it come alive and will be setting up another cam at a waterhole which attracts a really diverse plethora of game in the near future. Take a look for yourself by clicking here

Protecting our land

Theresa Thompson talks to Dr Ian Little about his decade of work conserving the environment of the Eastern Great Escarpment and how he won a Whitley Award for it They may be less often reported, but good news stories do come from the world of conservation – perhaps a species edging back from the brink of extinction, a habitat restored or awareness raised and community action kindled. And it is the inspiring stories of the vision and dedication of conservationists working in developing countries to protect endangered wildlife that are celebrated by the Whitley Fund for Nature’s annual awards. Often dubbed the ‘Green Oscars’, these prestigious accolades offer support, training and networking opportunities, as well as £35,000 of project funding to each of the six winners. Dr Ian Little of South Africa’s Endangered Wildlife Trust was one of this year’s victors, chosen from 166 applicants from 66 countries, and honoured for his work to protect South Africa’s threatened grasslands. He has..

Times are a-changin’

Tony Park encountered members of the Himba tribe on a rafting adventure along the Kunene River. Here, he reflects on these people’s way of life, survival skills, beliefs and how they are coping in a modern world Water. You don’t know how much you’ll miss it until you’ve spent a week in the deserts of north-western Namibia. The Kunene may not be Africa’s biggest waterway, but by the time we reach it, this blue border between Namibia and Angola is like a gift from the gods. Kunene River Lodge is an oasis of palm-shaded campsites, green lawns and high-pressure showers, but the river and Epupa Falls, whose tumbling roar is like music to our sand-clogged ears, is also a life-giving artery for the semi-nomadic Himba people. My first up-close encounter with the Himba was in a supermarket in the regional town of Opuwo. A mother was walking down the aisle, a toddler in tow, pushing a trolley and talking to a friend on a cell phone. She was topless, wearing a skirt made of cow skins and sandal..