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Volcanoes & gorillas + Luangwa lessons + post-pandemic Zim
Some 23 years ago, I learnt a lesson about context that defines me today.
Lizz and I had endured a particularly gruelling few years at work, so we packed the Landy and headed north for a 3-month sabbatical. Meandering south through the Luangwa Valley in Zambia after spending time in a bush camp on the Mwaleshi River in North Luangwa National Park, we had reached the Nsefu sector of South Luangwa NP. Earlier, we had been delayed for a few hours by a herd of browsing elephants surrounding us. I was concerned that we would not reach the town of Mfuwe before darkness descended. Seeing a dignified old man strolling his shamba (agricultural plot), I decided to ask his advice in case we needed to spend the night nearby.
After the usual pleasantries that so define discussions with rural African folk, I explained our situation. He provided the requested advice, and then, after a long pause, he politely questioned my state of mind at such a trivial roadblock to our plans. “Do you see these cans?” he asked, holding two flatted Coke cans. “These are all that stand between my family and starvation.” Every day and night, I must keep elephants and other animals away from our fields, or we will lose everything. If I see elephants, I run at them and bang the cans together to scare them away. I never know when they will arrive or whether I will succeed in keeping our food safe. For you, the cans mean whether your food is fresh or not. Either way, you are ok. For me, they are everything.”
Postscript: We made it to Mfuwe before nightfall. We gave the gent what remained of our tinned supplies. I still drive the same Landy 🙂
Keep the passion
Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic
From our Editor – Taryn van Jaarsveld
There is much to celebrate in the post-pandemic world: travel has opened up across Africa, and the AG tribe is making up for lost time by embarking on safari adventures. But the devastating socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 linger in communities dependent on tourism. In Zimbabwe, 1 in 3 people employed in the tourism industry lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Dianne Tipping-Wood travelled to Zim to meet some of the men and women who are picking up the pieces in the post-COVID reality. See our first story below.
This week, we shine a light on one of the leading gorilla trekking destinations in Africa: Volcanoes National Park. Visitors to this piece of paradise will also be blown away by the breathtaking scenery and astonishing biodiversity of this volcanic landscape.
In the past few weeks, we’ve also been looking into the science surrounding the hunting of large-tusked elephant bulls. Our in-depth look into the science of elephant population genetics is now available on our public website for easy access – see below.
Happy exploring Africa to you all!
As tourism slowly recovers in post-pandemic Zimbabwe, hunger still stalks the country. Many resort to the basics to survive the loss of income
Volcanoes National Park is a leading gorilla trekking destination in Africa. This volcanic landscape offers stunning scenery & biodiversity
Does the hunting of large-tusked bulls lead to the decline of tuskers & elephant population genetics? We examine the science
TRAVEL DESK UPDATES:
Instead of linking you to some of our safari packages, today we show you how to find them on our app.
It’s easy: Login to our app, tap/click the ‘Travel with us’ tab, select ‘Packages’ and off you go. You can filter the packages by place and experience and even select only non-malaria packages. Once decided you can add that package to your wishlist.
Or, to plan your own safari, select ‘Lodges’ from the same tab and follow the same logic.
Both options enable you to see the prices in a variety of currencies. This is a new app feature, so we are still busy loading up our packages.
Our Kenyan safari with AG
App subscriber Richard Rolfe says:
“My wife Anne and I go away every January to soak up some sun. As January 2022 approached, prospects looked doubtful as COVID restrictions were slow to lift. I sent a query to AG in November. I got a reply the next day, from Christian – who had led a trip I’d been on to Cameroon in 2010. During the booking process, we were fortunate (thanks to Christian pushing us to make decisions) to be in a position to hit the “Go” button & make firm bookings ahead of many others.
Having studied AG’s article on Samburu, we decided this should be part of the trip. With wild dogs being a key objective, Christian suggested Laikipia Wilderness Camp. We added beach time in Watamu, nearby Arabuko Sokoke Forest for endemic birds, then three days at Satao Camp in Tsavo East. Samburu had the best overall wildlife viewing and some unusual bushveld birds. All in all it was an exceptional safari!”
WATCH: Camera trap footage from Côte d’Ivoire’s Comoé National Park reveals chimpanzees making “tools” out of sticks, to capture water from trees during the dry season. The findings support research that suggests chimp behaviour is influenced by their direct environment. As these primates face a rapidly shrinking habitat, this research can contribute toward essential conservation efforts (02:04). Click here to watch
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