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Dung beetles roll their bounty to safety. One of the world’s strongest insects, dung beetles help maintain a healthy ecosystem. Zimanga Private Nature Reserve, South Africa. © Christian Boix

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How elephants name each other + Mgahinga’s gorillas

I am one of those softies who rescue insects floating in the pool – even tiny ones. Silence the sniggers, please; there’s more. Since I built a small wooden “jetty” tethered in one corner of the pool, I have not had to fish out dead lizards or mice. I learned that trick from farmers who place tethered logs in their cement dams to prevent animals and birds from drowning. Have I changed the world by doing these small things? No, but I feel good about this part of my voyage through life. Kind deeds significantly benefit your well-being and health – not that this is why we do them (right?).

Africa Geographic was born of the same energy and context. I was in the finance industry and felt a strong urge to do something more meaningful. This has been one helluva journey – since 1991. We try to make a difference in the way we know how – articles that reflect the real Africa and safaris that celebrate this remarkable place. We have made mistakes and learnt lessons – such is life. And we developed our manifesto along the way – our ikigai about life as a social impact brand. The journey continues and teamAG will keep doing what we do. Thanks for your support and companionship.

To all who rescue insects from your pool – you have my profound respect!

Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic

From our Editor – Taryn van Jaarsveld

We are slowly learning HOW giraffes have evolved to cope with their great height. Giraffes have specific genes that ensure fewer adverse effects from the gravity-defying high blood pressure needed for pumping blood through their large bodies, eyesight and sleep habits that have evolved to allow for hyper vigilance, and genes that maintain robust bones.

But did you know that ancient relatives of the giraffe evolved long necks to help them fight better – and not simply to reach the scrumptious leaves on the tippy tops of vachellia trees as previously thought? Victors of male neck fighting, who were more likely to mate, passed their long-neck genes onto offspring – a theory that has been labelled the “necks for sex” hypothesis.

This week, we’re bringing you a comprehensive guide to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and a fascinating study that suggests elephants give one another specific names. See our stories below.

Story 1
Mgahinga Gorilla NP, on the forested slopes of 3 extinct volcanoes in Virunga Conservation Area, is an important home to mountain gorillas

Story 2
Do elephant rumblings contain names? Research shows elephants may have individual names, which they use in communication

Travel desk TRAVEL DESK: 

Victoria Falls and Chobe – 5days – from US$1,175pps

This brief safari delivers two of Africa’s most popular safari meccas: Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe – an iconic African destination, and Chobe – Botswana’s most popular national park. Enjoy an activity every day, from river cruises to game drives, horse riding and, for the more adventurous, bungee jumping and river rafting – and so much more! You tell us how many in your party and dates that suit you, and our safari experts will craft your dream safari.

Browse our ready-made safaris here. Any packages can be tailored to suit your wishes.

Conservation collaboration

Long Shields Guardian Programme

How are men and women living around Hwange National Park helping to prevent human-wildlife conflict? The Long Shields Guardian Programme employs and trains local community members to protect villages from lions, safeguard cattle, and aid in wildlife management. GPS collars fitted on lions provide an early-warning system to the guardians, who are able to act quickly to prevent incidents of conflict. Guardians patrol daily, alerting villagers through a WhatsApp group when lions approach, and deterring the lions from community lands. This innovative ‘Mobile Boma’ concept safeguards livestock, enhances food security, and reduces lion killings. The programme’s expansion has led to an increase in crop yields, a reduction in predation, and fewer retaliatory lion deaths. Find out more about the programme and donate to support peaceful human-lion coexistence

WATCH: Spend a few minutes with the elegant beach-loving forest elephants of Luango National Park, Gabon – and see how these elephants warn off unwanted attention with displays of strength. (02:19) Click here to watch

For more videos celebrating Africa, check out our videos here

To comment on this story: Login (or sign up) to our app here - it's a troll-free safe place 🙂.


  • Travel with us. Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late and a few kilometres off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity? Browse our ready-made packages or answer a few questions to start planning your dream safari.
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We're an eclectic pack of safari experts, storytellers, admin and tech nerds and digital natives whose sole mission is celebrating Africa and doing good. We do this by creating life-changing, responsible safaris just for you, publishing informative, factual articles about Africa's incredible natural wonders and raising donations for worthy causes. This MANIFESTO explains our approach to travel and conservation.

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