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CEO note
Bana stilt-walking boys. Omo Valley, Ethiopia. 2021 Photographer of the Year entrant © Rodney Bursiel

CEO NOTE: 28 May 2021

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It’s no surprise that a WHISTLEBLOWER has fingered the high-profile oil drilling operation in the Okavango basin in a complaint registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This dubious project, previously described by me here as a ‘pump-and-dump investor SCAM’, will likely burn many naive (greedy?) investors before it sinks beneath the Kalahari sands. What these thugs will inevitably leave behind is environmental damage and yet another abused and discarded African community. Read all about the SEC complaint here.

And, along similar lines, the plot thickens regarding attempts to strip-mine the bushveld paradise that is Selati Game Reserve, a conservation success story near the Kruger National Park. The man behind this particular GET-RICH scheme has a history of fraud and corruption. Read all about it in this sterling bit of investigative journalism. Thanks to Ritchie Morris for sending us this link.

Lastly, we have received many nudges about our exciting new development that I have hinted at in the last few months. Soon YOU will be invited to get involved in AG’s mission to up our game.

Keep the passion

CEO note


Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic

From our Editor-in-Chief

Many things in the world baffle me. For example, I cannot comprehend why, despite the regular passing of the seasons over humanity’s entire history, we still comment, with great surprise, when it’s cold in winter or hot in summer. Another thing beyond the realm of my intellect is banking – I suspect it is so to many bankers too. Because of its inscrutable nature to the layman, bankers are excellent at hiding behind jargon. Many enjoy delivering treatises on market variables with an intimidating array of obfuscating vocab – usually with a supercilious air that indicates they really don’t expect a bottom-feeding biologist to understand. What has any of this to do with conservation? Well, money must flow for people to be paid for things and suitcases stuffed full of greenbacks are difficult to haul about these days. In our first story below, we look at some new research that points a finger at banks and calls on them to flag money flowing in the illegal wildlife trade – about time too!

As a guide, driving back at night after a long game drive, guests in a satisfied gin funk, my mind used to wander. One evening, the spotlight was flicking from side to side, and I was trying to convert 4.4 light-years to kilometres, the distance from the earth to Alpha Centauri. Suddenly, Elvis shook the spotlight violently and there, in its beam, was a cat I’d been hoping to see for years. Utterly oblivious to my stupified guests, I slammed on the brakes. Knees clattered into seat frames, binoculars flew, cameras hit the floor. ‘Serval!’ I yelled. The cat disappeared long before any guest could recover sufficiently to see it. Our second story below is a deep dive into the life of this magical, miniature cheetah/leopard/moggy type cat.

Then it is time for your weekly chill session with some gentle tunes. We’re into the very final stages of our Photographer of the Year and this week’s selection holds some rare and stunning delights from all over Africa. You can still enter your best African snap here.

Probably best to watch our video of the week after your Friday afternoon cake. You will need this to fuel your soon-to-start trail running regime.



Story 1
Failure by banks to identify the financial footprints of poaching syndicates results in lost opportunities to disrupt illegal wildlife trade – says research

Story 2
Species focus: With its long limbs, spotted coat, and characteristic spring-loaded pounce, the serval is one of Africa’s most striking cat species

Story 3
Week twenty of our 2021 Photographer of the Year – entries close soon


DID YOU KNOW: Magicians of the Nigerian Hausa revere the Aardvark’s ability to disappear into the soil – they make charms from its skin and nails

WATCH: Grant Murphy is going to run 45km for conservation in the Big 5 Timbavati Private Nature Reserve on the 27th July. Watch his story and consider supporting a great cause (3:38)



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I am a proud African and honoured to be CEO of Africa Geographic. My travels in Africa are in search of wilderness, elusive birds and real people with interesting stories. I live in Hoedspruit, next to the Kruger National Park, with my wife Lizz and 2 Jack Russells. When not travelling or working I am usually on my mountain bike somewhere out there. I qualified as a chartered accountant but found my calling sharing Africa's incredibleness with you. My motto is "Live for now, have fun, be good, tread lightly and respect others. And embrace change". Connect with me on LinkedIn

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