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Making the most of the moment when a bull elephant comes close to check you out. Elephants Alive is a project supported by our travel & conservation club.

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Extraordinary pics + Chitake killing fields + caracals & Tom Cruise about town

As I sip my early morning mug of pressed coffee …

Tom Cruise is 250m away in a gorgeous boutique guesthouse – probably conducting his early morning rituals. He is in town for several months to shoot Mission Impossible 8. The chop of helicopter rotors overhead has become part of our lives as he travels to and from the steep forested gorges west of town. Tom has charmed this sleepy bushveld town on the Greater Kruger border with his down-to-earth manner – a true gent. Many celebs pass through on the way to nearby lodges, but few have stirred local imagination like our Tom.

Other local news is that a crocodile attacked a lady as she fished a nearby river and a young girl was dragged from her bed by a hyena. Both survived but suffered severe injuries and psychological trauma. And the marula trees are dripping with delicious fruit, driving elephants wild as they scramble to harvest this nutritious annual bounty. Life goes on.

Keep the passion

Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic

From our Editor

After viewing this week’s Photographer of the Year selection, I’m dreaming of travel. Playful youngsters are stealing the limelight: check out the tiny jackals, baboon, leopard and seals in our third story. From new life to its creation by honeymooning lions, our photographers are pulling out the stops to capture the untamed continent.

So too has Jens Cullman, who in our first story battled the heat and dust to photograph the rituals of the Chitake Springs killing fields. The raw tension is palpable in Jens’ images – undoubtedly why the Chitake safari we offer at the end of the story booked out within hours of going live.

Our second story focuses on the urban caracals of Cape Town. I have been fortunate to bump into one in a Western Cape village – an experience more will have, with research showing caracals are attracted to the fringes of human development, at significant risk.

Right now, I’m plotting how to get to the lush Kgalagadi, which is singing with life after rains. Where will you be making your next wild discovery?

From our Scientific Editor

We all know that one person who revels in the discomfit of others as they pop and crack their various joints, from knuckles to necks. What causes this noise? This has proven to be a vexing question with several explanations, though the most common cause is likely gas bubbles caused by sudden negative pressure. Another potential explanation – like the elands in our ‘Did you know?’ fact of the week below – is the movement or readjustment of tendons and ligaments.

The good news? Cracking joints does not cause arthritis. Dr Donald Unger spent 60 years popping the knuckles of his left hand and not his right, with no unfortunate consequences. He was awarded the 2009 Ig Nobel Prize for his efforts – a suitable reward for his dedication to science.

Story 1
Chitake Springs is a remote camping area in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park – offering an extremely wild, untamed safari experience

Story 2
Caracals are attracted to the edge of urban spaces at significant risk, according to recent research.

Story 3
Our selection of Photographer of the Year 2022 entries for Week 3 is out now




Our 2023 photographer-guided safari to the wild Chitake Springs (Mana Pools, Zimbabwe) sold out within hours of going live on our website after publishing an epic photo gallery and video this week. So we have opened a new slot for those that missed out. We are unlikely to add further slots for 2023 because the authorities restrict volumes – for good reason. Last chance to reserve your place on this epic safari!

Check out this I-want-to-be-there video from club member Chuini Zanzibar Beach Lodge – can you feel the sand between your toes and picture that idyllic sunset through the glass of your ice-cold mojito? Check out this island retreat and other camps & lodges here.

DID YOU KNOW: What goes click click click? When mature eland bulls over a certain size walk, their knees produce a loud clicking sound believed to be caused by a tendon slipping over the leg bone. One study suggests that this is used by males as a display of dominance. Click here for more

WATCH: Did you know that a pangolin eats up to 70 million ants per year? And that the ground pangolin can climb trees? Check out this epic video (0:31). Click here to watch

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