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??? Gorilla trekking + Mozambican beach bliss + miniature owls
Things that go bump in the night. So Lizz and I were lying awake in bed, listening to what sounded like a football game in the ceiling. Then, at first light, we spied a tree squirrel exiting the roof carrying a tiny baby bundle to safety. The genets are back, or perhaps it’s a rock monitor – both regularly raid our ceiling area for squirrel snacks. Whenever the genets are in residence our two Jack Russells are on high nocturnal alert as the genets comb the verandah for frogs and insects amongst the cushions. We call it ‘genet TV’ – the dogs watch spellbound as these beautiful lithe predators work the area on the other side of glass sliding doors – barely a meter away. On one occasion, a small-spotted genet touched noses through the glass with our entranced dogs – a surreal moment.
Two days ago, the foam nest frogs in the garden were croaking at each other – usually a sign of incoming rain. At the height of our dry season – surely not? Yesterday it rained, albeit briefly.
Life is good. Love it.
Keep the passion
Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic
TRAVEL DESK UPDATES:
Keen to end your year on a high? We’re here to help, so email us your wishes and let’s craft your dream summer safari!
Or, look at the two options below and tell us how to adapt them to suit you. Your wish is our command 😉
It’s time to SPOIL YOURSELF and recharge those batteries.
There is no better destination than Mozambique’s pristine beaches and warm ocean. This 8-day SPECIAL OFFER is the ultimate in exclusive barefoot luxury. Bliss!
The migrating herds have left, and so have the high-season crowds. What remains are the big cats, hyenas, elephants and other resident species. Expect Maasai Mara magic and relatively few other tourists also in on this secret. This 6-day package is well-priced and popular with regular Mara visitors.
From our Editor – Taryn van Jaarsveld
Spring has well and truly sprung and the chill has finally dissolved from the Johannesburg air. And the energy in the AG office is electric, with our travel team vigorously sending adventurers off to their long-awaited journeys across the continent.
In celebration of epic African journeys, this week we’ve published a first-hand account of a once-in-a-lifetime trek through Bwindi Impentetrable Forest. Ryan Biller recently visited Uganda for a long-awaited chance to come face-to-face with mountain gorillas. His experience did not disappoint. Ryan also spent time with the people of Buhoma Village, who play an integral part in the conservation of the forest and its inhabitants – and captured some striking portraits. Check out our first story below.
In our second story, Jamie has penned a tribute to the littlest of enigmatic creatures – the miniature owls of Africa. From the scops-owl to white-faced owls and owlets, these tiny birds of prey are some of the most charisimatic avian residents of the continent. Click through below for all there is to know about these small endearing owl species.
Happy celebrating Africa!
MY GORILLA TREK
Trekking through the ancient rainforests of Bwindi, Uganda to find mountain gorillas brings Ryan Biller face-to-face with a childhood dream
Africa hosts a variety of miniature owls. From the scops-owl to white-faced owls & owlets, here’s the rundown of these small, endearing birds
From our Scientific Editor – Jamie Paterson
It is almost unanimously agreed that otters are one of the cutest animals. Perhaps the only dissenters are those that have found themselves on the wrong end of their sharp teeth and powerful bites (though attacks on humans are unusual).
But did you know that giant otters the size of lions once roamed Ethiopia? Before you gloss over that fact, just stop for a minute and imagine an otter, with all its sinuous agility, that stands roughly as high as your waist and weighs 200kg. All predator, all teeth.
The fossils of Enhydriodon omoensis date back to between 3.5 and 2.5 million years ago – around the time our close relatives, the australopithecines, would have been wandering around. And isotype analysis of the otter’s teeth suggests they were land-based hunters. So what did they eat? I’ll leave that to your imagination.
WATCH: Witness cheetah mom Sita hunting a Thomson’s gazelle on the vast plains of the Maasai Mara, in this snippet from Disney’s African Cats. Just a taste of what you can expect on a Maasai Mara Secret Season adventure (see the travel desk above to book your own trip to experience the magic of Mara) (02:24). Click here to watch
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