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Start your engines + great elephant news + best safari time of day?
It’s THAT time of year again. Entries are now open for our annual celebration of Africa’s amazingness, and we have already seen epic images arriving in the inbox. Our Photographer of the Year again offers cash prizes of US$10,000 and a fabulous safari to Botswana. My heart sings, and all of us at teamAG look forward to three months of eye candy followed by a tough month of judging. We will begin sharing weekly selections soon. Start your engines, ladies and gents – details here.
THANKS SO MUCH for the massive support for my rant last Friday about online retailer Takealot offering gin traps for sale to Joe Public. To cut a long story short, they have apologised and ‘delisted’ the gin trap. My decision to withdraw our accounts with them (personal and AG business) stands firm – their apology lacked sincerity, and the lack of a named human being in the process was telling. Your avalanche of social media and email pressure on Takealot worked well – you are my heroes 🙂
GREAT NEWS in our second story below – about forest elephants. Scroll down and tap to find out the details! Our first story below is often hotly debated by safari experts and passionistas. SO, what is your favourite time of the safari day? Those photos get my safari juices flowing.
BY THE WAY, a (reliable) source tells me that only 6 rhino horns have been recovered from the estimated 900 horns (450 rhinos) poached last year. That proportion – 0,7% – provides perspective on how ineffective the world’s governments and agencies are at policing illegal trafficking …
Keep the passion
Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic
From our Scientific Editor
Giraffe are a source of endless fascination for anatomists, physiologists and those who work to unravel the inner workings of the mammalian body. Within their lanky frames, many adaptations work to counteract the physics challenges posed by a neck that reaches a lofty height of six metres. Blood pressure aside, a giraffe’s neck weighs roughly a third of its body mass, and the massive nuchal ligament that effortlessly holds the head upright is a marvel of evolution. And, as if the neck weren’t complex enough, our ‘did you know’ fact of the week below explains how giraffe are capable of extraordinary cervical contortions.
Of course, for our Photographer of the Year entrants, these fascinating facts are largely overshadowed by the sheer photogenic nature of these iconic animals. Will it be the giraffe’s turn to shine during this year’s competition? Only time will tell, but I can tell you that everyone at team AG is profoundly excited!
Between meals, cocktails & pool dips, when should you head into the wild? We recommend our favourite safari time of day
There are more forest elephants in Gabon than previously believed – first elephant population estimate in 30 years
TRAVEL DESK UPDATES:
• At last there are strong signs that we are all learning to live with Covid, and that the safari industry is slowly climbing out of the doldrums of the last two years. Many countries are now significantly reducing Covid requirements – making it easier to travel to Africa. Among many examples of the impact of fewer restrictions, United Airlines has reported massive increases in bookings for their direct flights from the US to South Africa.
• FastJet has announced direct flights between Victoria Falls and Maun –Botswana’s bushveld frontier town – in their 50-seater Embraer ERJ145 aircraft. This route was previously only available by private charter.
• Can you feel the sand between your toes and that cold G&T in your hand? Enjoy the beach and bush vibes in this relaxing video from Thonga Beach Lodge. Did you know that you can enjoy significant booking discounts for this and many other African camps & lodges in our travel & conservation club?
DID YOU KNOW: Neck ache? The joints between giraffe neck vertebrae are ball-and-socket joints – just like a human shoulder. The head is held upright by an extremely strong nuchal ligament.
WATCH: Return of the leopard. A story of hope: Zinave National Park in Mozambique welcomes its first leopards since the rewilding process began (7:33)
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