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A Natal tree frog hiding in a Ligularia leaf. Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal Natal, South Africa. © Shirley Gillitt. Photographer of the Year finalist 2021

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Sublime photo entries + Mapungubwe + Vic Falls safari

Leopards have been particularly active in our neighbourhood recently. One gent living in our street literally bumped into one in his garden a few nights ago – it was chasing his dog, which had ventured into the dark to take a leak. Leopard and human got a helluva fright and scarpered in opposite directions – a lucky break for the dog!

This got me thinking about humankind’s relationships with wild animals. Of course, we define everything according to our ever-increasing needs and sense of self-importance (ego vs eco), but here and there, we also benefit opportunistic species. The local leopards certainly seem to enjoy supplementing their diets with tasty canine snacks, and mongooses, bush babies and vervet monkeys clearly benefit from our kindness and waste. Another example is the stable yard in our wildlife estate – a haven for dung beetles and the creatures that feast on them. Purists may roll their eyes, but I enjoy life in this buffer zone between the Greater Kruger bushveld to the east and farmlands to the west.

Thanks for all the emails and social media support about the ongoing situation regarding trophy hunters picking off the remaining super tuskers. We are proud to have helped spark a growing campaign to stop this morally bankrupt, unsustainable plunder of Africa’s wild spaces. We are monitoring a few trophy hunting forums and have noticed some hunters challenging the bad apples, which is good to see. This is a developing situation – expect more news in the coming months.

Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic

From our Editor – Taryn van Jaarsveld

Imagine you are wandering the desert, with not a drop of water in sight. A juicy melon appears – like manna from heaven. But it’s not quite ripe yet… How to deter thieves from pinching your melon while you wait for it to reach optimum sweetness?

Black-backed jackals have solved this conundrum – by urinating on the near-ripe melons.

Scientists have discovered that jackals in the Namib Desert urinate on the Nara melons to deter other animals from eating them, allowing them to ripen to their own taste. They made the discovery while studying the role jackals play in distributing the seeds of the nara plant (which they do very well through their faeces). Jackals can suss out which melons are ripe, or are about to ripen, with one quick sniff.

This week, we have, after much anticipation, published the first Photographer of the Year gallery for 2024, and our first entries do not disappoint! Check out the gallery below. We’ve also put together the ultimate guide to Mapungubwe National Park – not to be missed.

Story 1
Photographer of the Year 2024 is finally here! Check out our first entries. Enter for a chance to win a safari and a lion research collar sponsored in your name

Story 2
Mapungubwe NP and World Heritage Site is one of South Africa’s most evocative protected spaces – a land of baobabs, elephants & rich history

Travel desk TRAVEL DESK: 

Let us tempt you with these two iconic safaris centring around the wonders of water. Mid-range and luxury options are available.

This bumper safari is about water – or the lack thereof. This adventure will take you from the majestic Victoria Falls to the watery wilderness of the Okavango Delta, and from the predator-rich northern Botswana floodplains to the remote Central Kalahari and desolate salt pans. 11 days of safari splendour.
This safari offers a jam-packed three days of nonstop action in Africa’s adventure capital – ideal for a short break or as an add-on to another safari. Either way, Victoria Falls, one of the world’s Seven Wonders, is a destination well worth ticking off your bucket list. Experience the magic of “the smoke that thunders” – whether getting drenched while admiring the view or participating in the many activities on offer here, from white-water rafting, to gorge swinging, helicopter flights, boat cruises, game drives, canoeing and more.
Or in search of something completely different? Start planning your unique safari now.

NEW ON FORUM: Cape Leopard Trust

‘Conservation Kraal Challenge’ to mitigate farmer-predator conflict

The Cape Leopard Trust is challenging the public to put their creativity and engineering know-how to the test to help make a difference for leopard conservation. The Trust is hosting a national competition to find designs for an affordable, safe, durable, portable and predator-proof kraal (a protective enclosure) to secure livestock. Read more about this unique challenge on our forum so that you can help conserve wildlife and help find a practical solution for farmers suffering stock losses.

Find out more about this unique challenge and what epic prizes are up for grabs here

WATCH: Nyungwe National Park hosts Africa’s most extensive protected tract of montane forest. This verdant oasis is a biodiversity hotspot bursting with life. Nyungwe covers 1,019km2 of forested mountains, burbling streams, sun-starved valleys, and extensive swamps seemingly hiding a myriad of new species waiting to be discovered (or rediscovered). Learn more about Nyungwe in this video. (07:42) Click here to watch

For more videos celebrating Africa, check out our videos here

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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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