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Africa Geographic Travel
Sundowners while awaiting an evening visit from a herd of elephants. Thawale Camp, Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi

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Uplisting hippos + Oltepesi photo safari + elephant birds

The human population has doubled in just 48 years – to 8 billion. Try suggesting that there are too many of us and face being cancelled by easily offended keyboard warriors and economists/politicians who believe that growth is good and necessary for the ongoing rollout of humankind’s exclusive-use model for Planet Earth.

The elephant population in Africa has plummeted over about the same period from 1,3 million in 1980 to 415,428 in 2015 (last census). That’s a 68% decline.

And yet vociferous and influential right-wing activists and some governments will have us believe that there are too many elephants.

Go figure ?

Keep the passion

Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic


We have two enticing safaris on offer at the moment: Hone your art skills with a hands-on art safari, or spend a few days in the heart of the Maasai Mara, without the crowds. Start planning your next safari now:

ART ON SAFARI – 7 days – US$ 3,295:
Join this popular art safari in Big 5 Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, Greater Kruger – and hone your skills with pro wildlife artist Alison Nicholls. Soak up the peace of creativity in the wild, create art on game drives, and enjoy a peaceful stay at Kambaku Safari Lodge

MAASAI MARA SAFARI – 6 days – US$ 2,590:
This is an off-the-beaten-track safari for those who want the magnificence of the Maasai Mara – without the crowds. Stay at intimate owner-run Enkewa Camp, where you’ll feel part of the family – while still enjoying the tranquility of privacy

From our Editor – Taryn van Jaarsveld

The 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP19) is currently underway in Panama City. There is a buzz this year around the proposal brought by ten African states to uplist hippos from Appendix II to Appendix I. Hippo specimens (especially ivory) are legally and illegally traded in large numbers, and shifting hippos to Appendix 1 should ensure stricter legal trade regulations. We’ve unpacked the issues at play in our first story.

In our second story, we explore the ideal safari for avid photographers searching for a raw experience of the Maasai Mara: Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp in Kenya’s Mara North Conservancy. We’ve seen some incredible photos emanating from Oltepesi – including this year’s winning entry for Photographer of the Year. Simon went to see for himself what Oltepesi has to offer, and was bowled over by his experience of a safari that caters to every special need of its photographer guests. Read more below.

Happy celebrating Africa!

Story 1
Ten African states have proposed the transfer of hippos from CITES Appendix II to Appendix I ahead of CoP19

Story 2
Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp in Mara North Conservancy is designed with photographers in mind – ideal for an epic Kenyan photographic safari

From our Scientific Editor – Jamie Paterson

Did you know that Madagascar was once home to several species of Malagasy hippos, lemurs the size of humans, and giant elephant birds? The biggest of the elephant bird species was around three metres tall and roughly 750 kg (take a moment to let that sink in – even the heaviest ostriches seldom weigh more than 140 kg).

So where did they go? Well, no one knows for sure, but (somewhat unsurprisingly) their disappearance seems to coincide with a human population boom on the island.

Exploring Zambia with AG

Lex van Vught and his wife Joan recently travelled with AG to South Luangwa NP and Kafue NP in Zambia:

“Already spoiled by a lifetime of fabulous sightings in the wild, my wife and I experienced a phenomenon in Zambia in September that simply took our breaths away: we sat for hours in a hide 20m away from a raucous breeding colony of hundreds of pairs of southern carmine bee-eaters, breeding in tunnels in a bank near the Kaingo Camp in South Luangwa.

Equally sensational was the hide at the Mwamba Bush Camp where we spent many hours photographing a constant stream of fauna, with our subjects mere metres from us.

Another destination on our 9-day trip was Busanga Plains in Kafue – Zambia’s unspoiled national park, which is even larger than South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The transfers and tsetse flies were soon forgotten when we found ourselves surrounded by herds of lechwe from horizon to horizon. We witnessed groups of up to 30 roan antelope, hippos too numerous to count, many other mammals and abundant bird life. Our three bush camps were intimate and wonderful, and all logistics and arrangements made by AG were excellent.”

Do you want AG to arrange your dream safari? Start the discussion with our travel team now.

WATCH: Care for a taste of an AG safari? We are a TAILORED SAFARI company and have been crafting life-changing vacations since 1991. All budgets and interests are catered for. Start the discussion to come on safari with us! (01:05). Click here to watch

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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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