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From our Editor-in-Chief
It’s around this time of year that my body starts to anticipate the holiday season. This has nothing to do with cretinous businesses that insist on erecting Christmas decorations sometime in late August. Rather it has to do with nature’s glorious cycle. I am in the lowveld of South Africa currently, absorbing the wonders of the Greater Kruger. The impala ewes have dropped their lambs, the tiny, spring-loaded antelope cavort around on the new carpet of green forging out of the dry season dust. The afternoon skies are pregnant with storms, the cicadas are singing (if you can call it that) and the cuckoos are in full cry. The smell, sounds and sights of new life are a balm to the human soul, as is the sense of comfort that comes with nature’s endless cycle.
Speaking of that holiday feeling, the Garden Route of the southern Cape in South Africa offers some of the country’s most picturesque and exciting destinations. Have a look at our first story below to find out more and contact our Travel Team to book your adventure.
Despised by some stock farmers and adored by nature lovers, the caracal is an enigmatic, mysterious and stunning cat somewhere between a tabby and a lion. Our second story below celebrates this resilient and legendary felid.
Back to that holiday feeling – Our travel team is offering a brilliant Kenyan safari special. It’s a 7-day safari in Kenya’s most spectacular wildlife areas – Maasai Mara & Samburu. From US$3,640 per person sharing. Note that the cheapest options are for our club members. Have you joined?
From our Scientific Editor
Many years ago, when I was but a callow teenager embarking on the beginnings of my career in the bush, I met a “tame” caracal. She had been rescued as a kitten after her mother was killed by a passing car (sadly, an all too common occurrence). The caracal was initially raised by a well-meaning farmer but was given the wrong nutritive balance in her first few weeks. This resulted in growth deformities and she was moved to the care of more experienced guardians to live a half-wild, half-domestic existence in the heart of the Green Kalahari.
She was utterly entrancing – for all the world like a giant house cat that curled up on the couch, purred and looked out upon the world with Cleopatra eyes. Until one day she stole the steak off my plate. When I went to grab it (I’ve never been a fussy eater), she turned upon me a look so utterly wild and feline cold that I stopped dead in my tracks, the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. I backed off, she ate the steak.
Medium-sized cats like caracals and servals are becoming increasingly popular as exotic pets, usually with disastrous consequences for them and their ill-prepared owners. Fortunately, this has not yet had a major impact on wild populations (as it has with cheetahs) but I still feel it is grossly unfair to take an animal with wild instincts and force it into a cage of domesticity. The fact that it is undeniably ego-driven makes it all the more repugnant to me, however popular these exotic pets may be on social media. Let’s leave rehabilitation to the experts and wild animals where they belong.
South Africa’s Garden Route is a dramatic meeting of mountain gorges, forest and the Indian Ocean, interspersed by quaint, sleepy beach towns
The caracal – luminous eyes, dramatic ear tufts, stocky physique – arguably Africa’s most exquisite cat
KENYAN FAMILY SAFARI
Special offer: 7-day safari in Kenya’s most spectacular wildlife areas – Maasai Mara & Samburu. From US$3,640 per person sharing
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