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Tented camps + giraffe evolution + wildlife warriors
This week we are celebrating African icons. In our first story, we celebrate a safari icon: the humble tent – a symbol of freedom for adventurers. From simple canvas stretched over poles to opulent villas in remote destinations, tents enable their inhabitants to be fully immersed in their surroundings and experience the rawness of the wild. We’ve put together a selection of our favourite tented camps on the continent below.
In our second story, we are delving into the evolutionary wonders of another icon of the African safari: the giraffe. How does the world’s tallest animal cope with high blood pressure? Learn more below.
We’d also like to take a moment this week to honour the rangers who make conservation in Africa possible. 31 July is World Ranger Day. But we head into this year’s commemorations under a cloud. In the past few weeks we’ve learned of tragedies befalling rangers who are dedicated to protecting rhinos and other endangered species. Whether meeting poachers on the ground or being targeted by poaching syndicates for the good work they are doing, these rangers risk their lives and families to fight for our wildlife. This day is about more than taking a moment to acknowledge their work – it is to honour the sacrifices made by these wildlife warriors. What can you do to help? Keep backing conservation in Africa, and the ranger-support and anti-poaching projects that empower rangers to do their good work.
Happy celebrating Africa to you all!
Taryn van Jaarsveld – Editor
From our Scientific Editor – Jamie Paterson
I have been fortunate to spend a significant portion of my life staring at wild animals, but, every now and again, I still have moments of existential wonder at their remarkable shapes and sizes. When you next find yourself with a minute or two to spare, have another look at the winners of this year’s Photographer of the Year and marvel at the diversity of forms, figures and colours on display.
Did you know that giraffe have a mean average blood pressure twice that of most mammals? Blood pressures that high could easily kill a human being (or at least substantially compromise the cardiovascular system). So, how do giraffe survive it? You’ll have to read our second story below to find out.
Camping in the bushveld is an immersive experience. Here are some epic tented camps in Africa – from basic budget options to luxurious glamping
Genetics reveals secrets of giraffe evolution – how the world’s tallest animal copes with high blood pressure and maintains bone density
TRAVEL DESK UPDATES:
Our CEO’s choice. This is one for the experienced traveller wanting to do something completely different; a total break from the clutter of modern-day life and Covid-era stresses. Search for lowland gorillas, bongos, forest elephants, dwarf crocodiles and flocks of grey parrots in the jungles and bais of the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in Congo.
For the lovers of art, we have one place left on this popular art safari in Big 5 Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, Greater Kruger – departing in August. Join professional wildlife artist Alison Nicholls, who will share advice and tips in the field and back in camp.
Or find (and even design) your own safari. It’s easy: login to our app, tap/click the ‘Travel with us’ tab, and select either ‘packages’ or ‘lodges’. You can filter your choice by place and other important choices (such as lodges in non-malaria areas or packages that include the Big 5). You can add your selection of lodges and packages to your wishlist – which will remain saved until you choose to edit or delete.
Supertuskers in Tsavo East
Meet monitor Christine Mwende and supertusker Konomoju2. Our CEO Simon spent time with them and Tsavo Trust in Tsavo East National Park in Kenya a few days ago. Simon is currently at the coastal paradise of Watamu tracking down the Sokoke scops owl, golden-rumped sengi and other wondrous creatures before heading to the Maasai Mara National Park for the Greatest Show on Earth.
WATCH: In their mission to protect Amboseli’s wildlife, Big Life Foundation has built a barrier against poachers. Now, people from local communities work to protect wildlife. Ranger by ranger, their force has grown bigger. More than 300 rangers now protect 647 000ha (02:20). Click here to watch
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