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CEO note
Monkey moth caterpillar. Hoedspruit, South Africa. © Simon Espley

CEO NOTE: 11 June 2021

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Rant warning!

Do we expect too much of our elected leaders in governments around the world? Should I ratchet down my expectations that they treat our natural heritage with respect and not as expendable political tools? And what about enquiries from responsible media brands like Africa Geographic – why are the relevant government departments ignoring our respectful and patient requests for clarity about the poaching crisis that bedevils their wild areas?

The Botswana government has a deserved reputation for stellar wildlife conservation. How quickly that will change if the current leaders continue to duck and dive in the midst of a massive increase in poaching of rhinos and elephants. While old scores are settled and egos assuaged, the crime syndicates are making a fortune out of the slaughter.

Our first story below refers.

Keep the passion

CEO note


Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic

From our Editor-in-Chief

As a child I detested winter. I grew up in Johannesburg so this is reasonable – it’s skin-scalingly dry, frosty and the air is clogged with asphyxiating horrors. There also isn’t a builder in South Africa who’s worked out how to construct a vaguely insulated home. While I could put this down to some sort of national incompetence, (of which there is an ample supply) I actually think it’s national amnesia. Come the first of September, we forget entirely that we’ve been freezing to death, looking forward instead to the long summer.

When my parents sent me forth to make a living (i.e. ejected me from the nest), I moved to the Lowveld where the winters are surprisingly pleasant – as they are in most of southern Africa’s safari hotspots. Yes, it is frigid on early morning game drives, with many of our international travellers utterly astonished that Africa could be cold at all, but the chilly dawns are followed by balmy days with lots of animals frequenting the dwindling waterholes. The colours of the winter – bronze, copper, orange and gold – also offer a gorgeous backdrop for photography. In my opinion, a leopard’s pelage is much better complimented by the palate of winter than the verdancy of summer.

So, once you have immersed yourself in the 101 finalist photos for the 2021 Photographer of the Year competition (two exquisite galleries below), why not book yourself a winter safari? You can take your own happy snaps for next years competition, and, if you are a town-dwelling southern hemispherite, you can escape the smoggy air and respiratory distress that accompanies the city’s winter. Our travel desk is open for enquiries by emailing or navigating to the website links at the end of each of our stories below.



Story 1
How many of Botswana’s rhinos have been poached, and why the recent secrecy? Our CEO asks the question and provides a touch of clarity

Story 2
These are the best 101 entries for our 2021 Photographer of the Year – gallery one

Story 3
These are the best 101 entries for our 2021 Photographer of the Year – gallery two


DID YOU KNOW: Octopuses can regrow missing limbs – a bit like some lizards and their tails

WATCH: Wild dogs, bred in captivity, reintroduced to Gabon in a world first (3:01)


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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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