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Africa Geographic Travel
A wobbly newborn elephant calf is helped to its feet by its mother as it prepares to take its first steps. Chobe National Park, Botswana. © Charl Stols. Photographer of the Year 2020 entrant

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Black leopard pics + malaria-free safaris + finding lost species

Yesterday, I booked our flights to the biodiversity treasure trove that is the jungles of Odzala-Kokoua National Park in Congo-Brazzaville. This is a bucket-list trip for me – seeking western lowland gorillas, forest elephants, bongos, dwarf crocodiles and huge flocks of grey parrots and green pigeons. I get all twitchy just thinking about it.

The cost and hassle of international travel got me considering why we all go on safari. African safaris are not just a voyage into the unknown; they are a call to action. They invite us to witness the intricate tapestry of life, urging us to protect it. In embracing nature’s raw beauty, there is a silent pact – a commitment to preserve habitats, respect ecosystems, and ensure the harmonious coexistence of every living creature. Your safari makes a difference at ground level for African conservation and local people living amongst wildlife.

Meanwhile, late last night, spotlight in hand, I escorted my two Jack Russels into the garden for their usual pre-snooze pee. The garden corner smelled strongly of fresh buttered popcorn – so I picked the lads up and took them back indoors. Do you know why I did this? The answer is in the footer of this newsletter*.

Keep the passion

Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic


From our Editor – Taryn van Jaarsveld

Did you know that a blind mole with super hearing, missing for 86 years and listed as one of the world’s Most Wanted Lost Species, has just been rediscovered along the western coast of South Africa?

It took the olfactory powers of a border collie, surveys of 300km of coastline and the novel use of environmental DNA sequencing to confirm that De Winton’s golden mole is not extinct. The mole almost never surfaces above ground, and “swims” through sand dunes in tunnels that are almost untraceable – except in rare cases when they surface to forage for insects at night.

By collecting 100 soil samples from underground tunnels and matching them to a lone museum specimen of the mole, teams from Endangered Wildlife Trust, Re:wild and the University of Pretoria confirmed the species. Since the discovery, four more populations of De Winton’s golden mole have been found. The discovery is an exciting step in the use of environmental DNA tracking – using the DNA shed from animals as they move through the environment – for finding lost species.

For a look into another rare and fascinating animal – a wild panther – check out Dan Peel’s story, with photos, on the incredible black leopard of Laikipia. And for those of you planning a January safari, be sure to use the helpful resource we’ve shared below, with all the tips you’ll need.


STORIES AND DISCUSSIONS

Story 1
https://africageographic.com/stories/the-incredible-black-leopard-of-laikipia/
BLACK LEOPARD
Seeing a black leopard in the wild is an extraordinary feat. But Dan Peel has captured incredible photos of Laikipia’s black panther

Story 2
https://africageographic.com/travel/january-safari-predators-chimps-gorillas/
JANUARY SAFARI
Epic action + few tourists + low prices: January is calving season, and gorilla trekking is at its best. Here are our January safari tips


Travel desk TRAVEL DESK UPDATES: 

Fancy a malaria-free Big 5 safari? We’ve got you covered. Check out two tantalising options below and get in touch with our travel experts to plan your safari

Art safari with Alison Nicholls – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa – 8days – from ZAR61,100
Experience the bushveld while unlocking your creativity as you join professional wildlife artist Alison Nicholls on this art safari. Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge in malaria-free Big 5 reserve, Madikwe, South Africa, will serve as your home base. Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives, attend daytime art workshops, and hone your wildlife-sketching skills in the best setting possible. Artists of all levels are welcome!

Special Offer: Save 15% at Kariega Main Lodge, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Kariega Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, offers excellent game-viewing and birding experiences in its diverse ecosystems. Take advantage of this special offer and save on your stay in this Big 5, malaria-free destination. Book a minimum three-night stay in 2024, and you’ll enjoy 15% off your booking. Valid for bookings 1 May–31 July 2024. Ts&Cs apply.


Safari report back – Botswana mobile safari

Jane Allin went on a mobile safari with us to Botswana, visiting Moremi Game Reserve, Khwai Community Concession and Chobe National Park. She also travelled to Kasane in Botswana, and to Hwange in Zimbabwe. Here’s what Jane had to say about her safari:

“Wow, what an incredible experience! A mobile safari is a great way to feel part of the environment and leave nothing but footprints. With no fences surrounding us, the animals were free to wander into our camp – which added extra excitement, especially when lions roared throughout the night VERY close to camp in Savute in Chobe. We had the best sightings I have ever had of leopards and wild dogs in Khwai. We also saw lions every day as well all as honey badgers, side-striped jackals, spotted hyenas and much more! Literally hundreds of elephants were the highlight in Chobe, many with tiny babies. The guides were great, the food excellent, the tents comfortable and camp was beautifully set up for us each evening.
We also spent two nights at Bakwena Lodge, Kasane – I cannot rate this place highly enough – and three nights at The Hide, Zimbabwe, which was truly spectacular!
This is the third trip I have done with AG and I highly recommend them. Every trip has been good value for money and impeccably organised. Thank you Christian. I will be back!”

Want to go on a mobile safari? Plan your safari with us here


WATCH: A rare sighting of Laikipia’s (Kenya) black leopard caught on film by Graham Boulnois. “We got glimpses of her as she approached. Suddenly she dove into a bush. There was a squeal and she emerged with a young dik-dik. Dik-diks are her favourite prey and she may take three each night.” (01:02) Click here to watch

For more videos celebrating Africa, check out our videos here


* Leopard scent marking smells like BUTTERED POPCORN *

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HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF AFRICA GEOGRAPHIC:

  • 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.
  • Subscribe to our FREE newsletter / download our FREE app to enjoy the following benefits.
  • Plan your safaris in remote parks protected by African Parks via our sister company https://ukuri.travel/ - safari camps for responsible travellers

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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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