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Capture from a mokoro. An elephant feeds gracefully in the swamps of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Photographer of the Year 2023 entrant. © Jack Swynnerton

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Trophy hunting exposé + expedition Iona

My opinion editorial in the stories below speaks for itself. We follow the money and shed some light on the opaque trophy hunting industry. This process – of shining a spotlight into dark corners – is essential for any industry claiming to be sustainable and responsible.

It seems like government decision-makers are happy to sell off the last of Africa’s roaming giant tuskers for a relative pittance and set trophy hunting quotas for leopards without the benefit of accurate population stats. That said, they could at least make sure that local people receive enough compensation from trophy hunters to drag themselves out of extreme poverty. One way to achieve this is to enforce transparency, supervision and audits of signed contracts between trophy hunters and communities and the related flow of money.

As usual I am open to interesting discussions and fact-based analysis with anyone that can add to my understanding of the situation – regardless of your opinion.

A responsible safari tip: when you book your next African safari please allocate some time in a remote area not blessed with guaranteed sightings of charismatic species. By doing that, you monetise those areas and so empower local people to tolerate wildlife and to live without trophy hunting as a source of revenue. Just a thought. We are here to guide you through those decisions.

Keep the passion

Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic

From our Editor – Taryn van Jaarsveld

A few weeks ago I met up with a few dozen well-wishers at Lesedi Cultural Village in Gauteng, who had gathered to see off Kingsley Holgate and his team of adventurers for their 41st expedition into Africa – to much fanfare and ululation. Fed up with stories of doom and gloom around conservation, Kingsley’s Afrika Odyssey expedition team have set out on a journey of purpose to connect 22 protected areas managed by African Parks and showcase their positive stories of hope for the continent. We are pleased to share the first in a series of stories they will tell from the road. Read expedition member Sheelagh Antrobus’s raw and whimsical narrative on the team’s journey to Iona National Park in our second story below.

And then, check out Simon’s Op Ed below as we follow the money on a major elephant hunt in Botswana.

Story 1
We follow the money to reveal how this trophy hunter makes huge profits by not adequately compensating the NG13 communities in Botswana

Story 2
Kingsley Holgate & his Afrika Odyssey expedition team set out to connect 22 parks managed by African Parks. Read about their quest to Iona NP


Take advantage of these sensational safari offers. Book now before it’s too late! Our travel team are on standby, ready and waiting to assist you.

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Only two spots left on this epic photographic safari, led by two expert guides and devised for adventurous travellers and photographers seeking raw, untamed wildlife action. There are few better places than Chitake Springs in Mana Pools National Park to witness dry season Africa at its most dramatic. Departing September 2023. The perfect safari for solo travellers, as there is NO single supplement.

Special offer – 10% discount at Mwamba Bush Camp, South Luangwa
Last minute special! Stay 5+ nights at Mwamba Bush Camp and get 10% discount off the nightly accommodation rate. Valid 1 August – 30 November 2023. Mwamba Bush Camp is a seasonal bushcamp on the Mwamba River deep inside Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park

From our Scientific Editor – Jamie Paterson

Did you know that, like most young humans, young leopards go through a dumb teenage phase? This is particularly true of adolescent males. Driven by a soup of hormones, youthful curiosity and (I assume) an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, they may start doing strange things like following lions, stalking rhinos, and even observing people or jumping on cars.

Of course, this “abnormal” behaviour immediately sees them labelled as dangerous or problematic. And when humans permit, encourage, and promote this behaviour, the animal invariably suffers.

The fact this week was inspired by a video doing the rounds of a young leopard in the Kruger that leapt onto the hood of a car and set about investigating the occupants (I will not be promoting it further). It has been widely shared, including by a well-known media platform, without reference to how this behaviour should be discouraged. I continue to be amazed at how people will exploit wildlife for their social media fame. And then, when called out on it, fail to show any humility or admit to mistakes (which we all make).

I cannot believe I have to say this, but please don’t let leopards or other big cats climb onto your car. And for guides, photographers and wildlife “influencers” – please be aware of the message you send out into the world.

The perfect Botswana trip

Nina Chambers and five friends travelled with us on an unforgettable trip to Botswana. She shares feedback on her experience:

“There are a lot of choices to make in planning a safari. Africa Geographic put together a trip for me that gave me the experience I was looking for in a way that I would not have been able to do on my own.

I’ve been dreaming about this trip for years, and the reality was even better than I could imagine. The agent we worked with, Nadia, was absolutely wonderful! She understood what I was looking for, was very responsive with excellent information and answers to our many questions, and all her suggestions for the trip hit the mark perfectly.

Bakwena Lodge was a perfect start… The mobile safari was excellent, and the Chobe River trip and Khwai mokoro were great additions. Moremi Crossing was an excellent cap to the trip.

Africa Geographic tailored the trip specifically to what I was looking for—every component of the trip was thoughtful and demonstrated their knowledge of the services and experiences available. They were very helpful in arranging all the details; I’ve never felt more taken care of than on this trip. Don’t mess around trying to figure this out on your own: work with Africa Geographic to create your perfect trip.”

Feeling inspired to book your next Botswana safari with Africa Geographic? Click here to check out our Botswana classic mobile safari.

WATCH: A once in a lifetime sighting. These safari goers thought they had hit the jackpot when they came across a mating pair of leopards. But the action was only just beginning, as the pair were surprised by one unlucky impala (0:58). Click here to watch

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