Happy World Giraffe Day on June 21!! Did you know that giraffes are on the IUCN’s Red List, meaning they are endangered? I cannot imagine a world without giraffes, can you?!🦒 If you want to help, go to Giraffe Conservation and donate. Enjoy the photos of giraffes from our many safaris, photos by Randy Minton and Alexandra Minton Photography![Read more…] about HAPPY WORLD GIRAFFE DAY
You will Fall in Love with Africa! From internationally-recognized cuisine to breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, Africa is a continent that has something to offer every person that takes the opportunity to visit. It is a vast region, made up of a melting pot of cultures, language, history, traditions, and people, while it is full of fun activities and relaxing retreats which cater to every type of tourist. While it has not always been the top of most travelers’ lists, it is becoming increasingly acknowledged as a fantastic option for those longing for a renewed sense of adventure and a desire to gain experiences away from the ordinary. Make it your choice this summer and watch yourself quickly fall in love with Africa.
5 Adventures To Plan In South Africa
Of course, there are more than five adventures to take in South Africa. South Africa adventures are everywhere! In fact, it is more like 1001. However, since five is as good a number as any, we might as well start with five. If you are planning to visit South Africa, you are in a lot of luck.
You can stay for months on end and you will never have a single boring day. From game drives, to sailing around the Cape of Good Hope, climbing the spectacular table mountains and just sampling the nightlife, there is really no end to the things that you can do in South Africa for fun. [Read more…] about 5 Adventures To Plan In South Africa
Plan a trip to Cape Town ! Africa is a huge continent, spanning over 30 million kilometers squared and populated by over 1.2 billion people. It’s not surprising, then, that it is home to some extremely popular tourist destinations. These include the Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, and safaris in Kenya. However, you should consider a wider variety of destinations when it comes to your exploration of the African continent. For now, let’s focus on Cape Town. Cape Town is a port city that lies on the southwest coast of South Africa, lying on a peninsula beneath the world famous Table Mountain. Here’s everything you need to know to start planning the perfect trip to this breathtaking city, which lays claim to being one of the capitals of South Africa!
Seriously, you must do these 5 things on safari! There is nothing as incredible as an African Safari. Nothing. Seeing these animals in the wild is not at all comparable to seeing them in a zoo or a “safari” park. The savannah goes on forever….truly, the Circle of Life is real. Going to the Serengeti is like stepping into the Lion King, I kid you not. Or a Nat Geo documentary. I expected to see Simba and his friends at any moment. Instead, I saw many simbas (simba means “lion”!). An African Safari is a trip anyone who loves to travel must take at least once in their lifetime! Be adventurous!
The best experience will include:
1. Staying at a Luxury Safari Camp. Tent? This, my friend, is total “glamping”. It is more like a well-appointed suite at a first class hotel. The guides and staff are attentive and make sure you have everything you want. Your guide, or perhaps a Maasai Warrior (at least in Tanzania) escorts you to and from your tent at night. Going back after dinner one night in the Serengeti our Maasai guide took a flashlight to our left and whoa! Hyena eyes, about 6 pair, were staring at us! What an adrenaline rush! The sound of the savannah at night is a symphony (except for the wildebeest who make a really loud, aggravating bleat…no wonder they get eaten, the dodos, since they constantly announce their location!) The meals are amazing, cocktails before dinner and three delicious, fresh, chef prepared meals a day. Luxury camping is the only way to glamp!
2. A private guide and viewing vehicle. Now this is a treat. You do not have to worry about “taking turns” with the others in the vehicle, getting the best view, or the best camera angle, because you are not sharing that view. It is perfectly wonderful to have your own private experience on the savannah.
3. Watching the sunset, or sunrise, from the Savannah. Sunsets are best viewed with a Sundowner (a cocktail) in your hand, hors d’oeuvres on a small table outside of the vehicle, while enjoying the growing silence. What an incredible luxury, having cocktails on the Savannah while the sun sets! Yes, it is as wonderful as it sounds! In the mornings, it is hot chocolate on the savannah. As in the ocean, the animals are more active at sunrise and sunset.
4. Take your photo opportunities when they come! Always, always have a camera ready to shoot! Be ready. You will miss a lot if your camera isn’t ready to go. Just keep shooting! You never know what you might capture!
5. You must see the Big 5, though there is never a guarantee. The Big 5 are Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Cape Buffalo. Having a great guide is the best way to make sure you have every chance possible to see these awe inspiring animals, many of which are endangered. It is just impossible to express the feeling you get when you quietly pull up in the middle of a herd, or a pride of lions. Just….incredible. Breath-taking. Exciting. Awe struck.
Going on an African Safari is always a thrilling adventure. I have done safaris in the African winter, when the foliage isn’t thick, and the animals are easier to see. These animals are a treasure, and I cannot imagine a time when they won’t be there anymore, but if climate change, poaching, deforestation and human activities such as taking cheetah cubs for pets in the Middle East and killing them in “canned” hunts are not addressed, it is likely your children or grandchildren will never see these animals in the wild. The extinction of African animals is happening, and if we want to preserve our wildlife, we have to do something about it. National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative is a great way to involve yourself, and so is the Africa Wildlife Foundation. You can also call your representatives in government and let them know you support measures to save our wildlife. We can all do something!
Cecil the lion’s death in Zimbabwe at the hands of overzealous hunters has resulted in a sudden awakening to the plight of the endangered lion. Yes, the lion is endangered, and some estimates show that these magnificent “simbas” could be extinct as soon as 2020. Yes, 2020. 5 years from now. There are only 20,000 to 30,000 lions left in all of Africa. Since the 1950s lion numbers have dropped from 450,000 to approximately 25,000 left in the wild. And sadly, we continue to kill them.
In 2010 Derek Joubert wrote an article for NatGeo and founded the Big Cats Initiative. 5 years ago he wrote, “People have shot, speared, trapped and poisoned lions relentlessly. We have chopped up their habitat, introduced diseases and, lately, we’ve begun to change the climate they—and the rest of us—live in. Most of all, we are swamping them by our sheer numbers. The 20,000 lions cling to the last remaining habitat our 7 billion people have not yet got to.” (http://www.defenders.org/magazine/fall-2010/can-we-save-lions)
To those who say that trophy hunting a few lions helps their conservation, Joubert points out “Each year an average of about 500 lion trophies or skins enter the United States from trophy hunting in Africa. If you do the math, you quickly see that this is not sustainable. Because male lions operate in coalitions of two or three, each male lion that is shot leaves the remaining male outmatched in the next territorial fight, and he is expelled. There is no future for expelled lions, so one license effectively kills two males. At the same time his eight females (on average) and their 24 cubs are left without defenders. The new alpha males are genetically wired to kill all cubs and start the breeding process again with their genes. So one license is really cleaning out between 20 and 30 lions each time—and if Americans are responsible for 500 of those licenses, they are effectively killing lions at an enormous rate.” Zimbabwe has sighed with relief that Jericho, Cecil’s brother, has allowed Cecil’s cubs to live, probably because they are from the same gene pool.
What’s the big deal, you may ask. Why do we need lions, anyway? Lions in Asia are down to 300 in the wild, so they will be extinct very soon. Didn’t know lions extended into India? Well, they don’t anymore. If we lose our apex predators in the wild the prey numbers become larger and larger. They overgraze their environment which can cause soil erosion. The habitat is now covered in weeds and not supporting the larger herbivore populations. The population collapses.
And don’t forget, 80 billion dollars a year goes into Africa for safari tourism. Seeing lions in the wild is at the top of the list for tourists on safari. They won’t fork over huge amounts of money if there are no lions to see, which will collapse the economy which many African nations are dependent on. A live lion is worth a lot more than a dead one.
So what can we do? We can support lion conservation foundations like Big Cat Initiative. Please click on the link to see how you can help. Other organizations can be found by clicking on Who to Support: World Lion Day. The whole world has expressed horror at the death of Cecil in Zimbabwe. Save his species by clicking on the above links!