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Showdown – 38 minutes of adrenaline-pumping action The painted dogs eventually left the lioness and her cub to tell the tale. Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana. 2021 Photographer of the Year entrant © Melonie Eva

CEO NOTE: 21 May 2021

This is a copy of our weekly email newsletter. Subscribe here to receive the newsletter.

How I miss the restless herds of the Maasai / Serengeti, the cool crystal waters of the Okavango Delta & the walking paradise of Luangwa Valley – the list of where I would rather be right now is long. I MISS THOSE SAFARIS so much that my entire life seems out of kilter at the moment.

That said, I am comparably fortunate because I live on the border of the Greater Kruger, with regular forays into the nearby bushveld and wildlife encounters in my garden (including aardvark a few nights ago). I cannot even begin to imagine how deep YOUR LONGING to again come on safari must be. Most of our tribe are not from Africa – you mostly hail from the United States and Europe. Every newsletter we craft is our attempt to keep you involved with Africa, to keep that passion burning until you can join us again. Hang in there. Africa needs you.

Speaking of safari, it’s of paramount importance for the industry that we all get vaccinated against Covid-19. Please don’t be put off by the anti-vaxxers – JUST DO IT! Charlie Paxton from Namibia emailed me in response to last week’s newsletter with her candid thoughts on the Covid situation. She made the excellent observation, among many, that getting the jabs will “… calm the governments of the world down and get them to reopen normal travel and the economy.”

I forgot to thank Dr Michael D. Kock last week for sending us the article that formed the background to my observations. My sincere apologies for the oversight Michael. Thanks to you all for sending me your thoughts and links to some interesting reading!

Keep the passion

CEO note


Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic

From our Editor-in-Chief

‘Can you ride a motorbike?’ she asked.
‘Well, I can sort of make one go forward and change gears,’ I said, recalling the combined total of five minutes spent falling off a bike in my 38 years.
‘Oh you’ll be fine then!’ she said with a shake of her hand.
I was on Mashatu, part of the Tuli Block, about to film a cycle tour. My transport was an angry, spitting, offroad motorcycle (which may have been built for a child). Anyway, I hardly noticed the myriad cuts, bruises and burns. The elephants, scenery, baobabs, smells and endless skies of the Tuli Block helped me forget my potential departure from life courtesy of an inability to control the bike in front of an irritated elephant. Our first story below will manifest just such an escape from whatever traumas you currently face.

In January, my good wife and I spent a week working with Wildlife Act at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi. We woke at ungodly times, spent hours beep beeping with telemetry. We boiled in the sun and showered in the summer rain. It was wonderful. Our second story below is a tribute to the hard, poorly paid, long-houred, and, in this case, tremendously rewarding work done by conservationists dedicated to saving African painted wolves.

Our third story below is a little more nuanced – so read it before you have your first snifter. It delves into the complicated process of moving animals between the different CITES appendices. Mostly, it provides a strong reminder that every decision must be informed by data on the ground and not assumptions from ivory towers.

Ok, now you can take your first sip of the weekend and enjoy the 19th selection of Africa’s wonders. There is little time left to enter our Photographer of the Year and win 10 000 USD and a trip to Botswana. I’m sure there are thousands of award-winning snaps on hard drives and in attics yearning for their time to shine.

Finally, our video of the week is a tribute to Bob Scholes, world-renowned climate scientist and systems ecologist. He was taken from the earth he loved aged just 63, but his legacy lives in his academic work and the thousands he mentored in his quest to save our planet.



Story 1
Botswana’s Tuli is a place where the wind carries stories of the past, whispering over rocks, around baobabs and across the vast wilderness

Story 2
A new pack of African painted wolves (wild dogs) has been released into the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Reserve in South Africa

Story 3
Experts caution against changing a species’ CITES listing without considering the complicated conservation implications

Story 4
Week nineteen of our 2021 Photographer of the Year – entries close soon


DID YOU KNOW: Some mammals can breathe through the anus in emergencies…

WATCH: A tribute to Bob Scholes, a phenomenal South African scientist and systems ecologist. Wise lessons to conservationists everywhere (3:11)



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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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