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Africa Geographic Travel

“The last roll of the dice!”

This was one of the overriding themes at last night’s Africa Geographic reader event in Cape Town. Ian McCallum and Ian Michler attracted a large crowd to the Cape Union Mart Adventure Centre in Century City to hear about the duo’s epic Tracks of Giants expedition across southern Africa this year.

From the right: Sarah Borchert, Ian Michler, Ian McCallum

The two wilderness warriors began their trip in northern Namibia in April and travelled on foot, using mountain bikes, mekoro’s (traditional dugout canoes) and kayaks eastwards, through conservancies, national parks and transfrontier conservation areas – most notably, the new Kaza initiative, joining National Parks in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Tracks of Giants metaphor comes from the idea that elephants once roamed massive distances, unhindered by political boundaries. So the team were essentially following in their footsteps.

Charged with new-found passion and enthusiasm from their expedition, the Ians spoke of the huge importance of trans-frontier conservation areas for the future of Africa’s wild spaces. For those who don’t know, transfrontier parks are proclaimed conservation areas that stretch across borders and link important ecological corridors between countries.

Ian Michler

“Animals don’t care for political boundaries, and neither do ecosystems,” Ian Michler passionately repeated while guiding the captivated audience through the highs and lows of the journey. “It’s the last roll of the dice for conservation in Africa.”

Tracks of Giants was designed and executed as a movement to create an understanding about the importance of big conservation areas for local communities and the world at large.

Ian McCallum

Ian McCallum believes the importance of these places stretches far beyond just the physical or economic benefits. Wilderness makes up an essential part of our physiology, says McCallum. “The establishment of ecological corridors  contributes to a  greater understanding of the benefits to both humans and animals.”

The two hope to produce a book, documentary and various newspaper and magazine articles to spread these important finding and messages.

Time and Tide
Tracks of Giants

Following ancient elephant migration paths linking major wildlife parks, conservationists Ian MCallum and Ian Michler are undertaking a five month west-to east journey across eight southern African countries. They will travel by bicycle, on foot and by kayak (Zambezi River and Okavango Delta) . The expedition will take place between 1 May through to September 2012, with the purpose of raising awareness and exploring possible solutions to current environmental and wildlife challenges. The journey aims to rekindle the rapidly declining indigenous knowledge base of the human – animal interface, and indigenous solutions to conservation challenges and issues. Along the way they will meet with local communities, work with partners and survey and document animal movements and conservation issues. Visit the Tracks of Giants website