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Found 149 results

  1. Hi all at Safari Talk I have a 5 hour layover (6;15am to 11:15am) at ORT in May before connecting to a domestic flight to Polokwane. Has anyone had experience using the Bidvest Lounge (pay for use) in the domestic terminal. Just need a clean shower room and a decent cup of coffee after my flight from Australia. Thank you Elaine
  2. Text: Noelle van Muiden of RvM Wildlife Photography Photos: Roel van Muiden of RvM Wildlife Photography *Names have been changed so as not to compromise any of the Anti-Poaching Rangers identities. Socks. The number one item on their wish list is socks. ‘So the guys do not get Trench-Rot.’ *Steven Kruger blows the words out as if expelling demons, as we sit in the heat of the veldt, smoking cigarettes after a rifle training session. ‘Water dispensers - 25L, Training - Specifics on intel gathering, gas cookers, and night vision thermals. That is what we need.’ Steven has been doing Anti-Poaching full time and voluntary for nine years; first in the Balule Game Reserve and then the Klaserie Private Game Reserve. Both lie inside South Africa at the frontline of the poaching incidents. He earned a measly R1800 a month. There his main encounters in Anti-Poaching, ‘was shooting dogs.’ Stray, un-spayed dogs, that come through from the townships and villages surrounding many of the game reserves and National Parks. The dogs bring diseases like Mange and Canine Distemper that threaten the wild populations of Black-Backed Jackal and Wild Dog. They can also bring in Tuberculosis (TB), which can endanger any, and all, wildlife. Steven takes off his sunglasses and hands me a smoke of my own. He tells me of how the lion and rhino poaching has increased over the past six years where he is now working after leaving the Balule. The elephant poaching as well. One hundred rhinos were killed in South Africa in October 2013 alone. The latest numbers have the total number of rhinos poached thus far this year at seven hundred and ninety. A staggering four hundred and seventy-six of which were poached in Kruger National Park. The Black Market need for rhino horn, (used in Traditional Medicines in places like Vietnam and China and in ceremonial dagger horns in Middle Eastern countries), has driven the price to well over USD$30,000 per kilogram. Some reports say well over USD$65,000 per kilogram.. There has not been a rhino poaching incident on Steven’s current reserve since April 2013. Here he is a volunteer Anti-Poaching Ranger. ‘We are the reaction unit.’ When the kak hits the proverbial fan Steven, and several others like him, join the permanent Anti-Poaching team to sort the problem out. Field Guide by day Anti-Poaching Ranger. When asked who he encounters as Poachers, where do these people originate from, ‘Mozzies and Zims’ comes the reply as the smoke curls around his head. Disdain has never been worn so well. Scorn and a resilience one does not see often outside the armed forces. No local South Africans involved in any incidences in his province, excepting the strong held suspicion of one local vet who used to work on the property. Not enough evidence but they know who he is he tells me. The Poachers use ‘.375’s and .458’s [the same calibre rifles needed to be a walking Trails Guide in South Africa. Easy to use and easy to buy.] Kitted with homemade suppressors and making on average R300,000 - R400,000 per person per horn.’ A staggering amount of money considering these men would normally earn around R3000 - R5000 a month if anything at all. South Africa is home to over eighty percent of Africa’s remaining rhino population with a mere twenty-five thousand left in number. The horn is made of the same keratin that makes up human hair and finger nails. With these staggering numbers of deaths, and the large sums paid to attain the horn, how can we stop this onslaught and save our National Heritage? As well as save the Continents last remaining stronghold of two ecologically important species, the Black and White Rhino? None of this even starts to touch the poaching issues surrounding elephant ivory and now the threat against the few remaining wild lions. There are only seven viable wild lion populations left in Africa. Two, or three depending on the source, are left in South Africa. Lion bones are high on the priority list of many eastern Nations. Their meat is served in restaurants in The States and Europe. These days, poaching is reaching almost epic numbers. Rangers literally risk their lives for the lives of animals like rhino and elephant and all they are asking for is socks. Canine units, special forces units, and traditionally trained anti-poaching units. These make up the front lines, and sometimes the last line, of defense for South Africa’s rhino populations. With rhino poaching syndicates becoming ever more intelligent, cryptic, and stealthy, the upkeep of our Anti-Poaching Rangers is of upmost importance. Without them we do not stand a chance in stopping, or even curbing, the decline to extinction of these iconic animals. Steven agrees, more pay, more training, more socks. *Matthew van Zyl wanted to be a farmer. Then a Field Guide. Now he is a permanent Anti-Poaching Ranger. Both he and Steven feel it is their duty to protect their National Heritage. Their countries’ special wildlife. Mat makes R6000 a month. Actually, he tells me, all his guys, across the board no matter the hierarchy, make R6000 a month. ‘We have to pay for our own food, medical supplies, pension, and medical evacuation out of that R6000.’ His men have to feed not only themselves but their families on R6000 a month. They are provided housing but it comes bare, no beds, no mattress, no couches, not even spoons and forks. Mat had to buy fridges out of pocket. ‘ If one of my guys needs medical help I am only allowed to drive him to clinic. I am not allowed to call on the reserve’s medical team as we are under contract. I will not be reimbursed if I pay for his medical treatment. Where would the money come from? We are a permanent unit but under contract to the reserve. They will not pay for medical evacuation or assistance.’ All of that is paid out of pocket. The Anti-Poaching Rangers spend twenty days in the bush with their kit, paid for out of their pockets and consisting of webbing, water, an R1 rifle, and army rations and not much more else. They then get eight days of leave. No rest for the weary. If the team gets taken on a permanent contract they will be able to use the reserves medical back-up, but they were promised a year ago it would become a permanent contract and still nothing has materialized. The Canine Unit both Mat and Steven work next to is fully paid for from private donations. A new vehicle, dog food, training for the dogs, but the men who work with the dogs and the men who work alongside these teams have to scrounge for their own food and beg for socks in their wish lists. Many people do not understand that an Anti-Poaching Rangers basic needs are hardly met, so they spend their donations on the dogs, thinking all the time that they are keeping South Africa’s wildlife safe. Steven and Mat both agree the Canine Units are useful and more than needed. Mat needs not only socks for his team but more training. To date they need the following qualifications to become an Anti-Poaching Ranger on his team: Self-loading R1 competency, Anti-Poaching experience - ‘There are really only three providers of Anti-Poaching training with Protrack out of Hoedspruit and Quemic being the best two’ Mat states matter-of-fact as he cleans up finished rounds, doppies, from the sun parched ground.. - Big Five experience - ‘Like Guiding’ - survival experience and they must be between eighteen and forty years old - ‘Thirty-five years is better. Forty is a bit old.’ When asked if South Africa has been successful in rehabilitating Poachers into Anti-Poachers like in North Luangwa National Park, Zambia, Steven says no. ‘Not here!’ with a very decisive turning of his head. His hard lined lips say it all. ‘They disappear too easily into the communities around the park here.’ Mat explains. ‘In the Lowveld the parks are closer together and people speak to each other, but here, if they make it into the communities or over the border to Botswana, that’s it.’ Most of the Unit’s intel comes from community members but these types of reliable sources are few and far between. Mats biggest wish after more socks and more training, ‘Salaries of R10,000 to R12,000 with Medical Aid and Pension.R6000 per month is not enough.’ To put this in context, Petrol Station attendants went on strike recently in South Africa to up their salaries to R6500 a month. That is R500 more than what Mat and his unit are making and Petrol Attendants only fill up your car, they do not put their own lives on the line in the heat, the cold, the dry, the wet, to save the lives of South Africa’s wildlife. Why are they not being paid more? Why are salaries and benefits so low? How can we fight against the scourge of poaching with syndicates that rival the cocaine syndicates in South America in money, power, and resources? How can we expect someone who is earning so little and doing so much not to take a bribe? The easy answer, put your money where your mouth is. Support our Troops, as it were. Donate to Anti-Poaching units and speak up. These guys do not go on strike. They do not complain. They carry on and do the dirty work the rest of us do not necessarily have the stomach for. And all to protect wildlife that can be seen on game reserves all over South Africa. An average guides salary is more than R6000 a month and he or she is the one who is taking overseas, and the local guests who can afford the lodges, to see the animals that Steven, Mat, and thousands of other men and women all over South Africa and Africa, spend days and nights out in the bush to protect. A few days later I meet Mat and some of his men for a training exercise, Jungle Lane. They are shooting at manlike targets. ‘Two shots. To kill.’ *Charles, like Steven a volunteer Anti-Poacher, mumbles around his Stuyvesant Blue. He and Edger help Mat train the guys in weapon handling. It is over thirty-eight Celsius in the noonday heat and the young men, shiny faces smiling at my hello, are still soft around the eyes. These are new recruits learning the ropes. They are in full kit, the sweat is pooling around the straps and seeping through their camo ensemble. Each taking their turn to half run, a bit hunched, leaning into their R1‘s as they shoot their pseudo-poachers. They earnestly attempt their drill. The only difference between this exercise and the real deal is that poachers shoot back and they shoot to kill. I share a small silence and a cigarette with these men. With Mat, with Charles, with Edger and their new recruits. Lighting my cigarette, I look at these men. Black and white. South African men who decided that this is what they wanted to do. Whether as a heart felt National Duty, or as a way to feed their families, these men with kind eyes and big hearts. Paid peanuts if anything at all, have the resilience, or buddings of, that of a Black Mamba. They do all of this in thirty-eight degree heat to save rhinos, elephants, and lions. The heat is stifling now. I glance at the small pup-tents and take a long drink of my now warm water. I look at these sweaty men. Some smiling at a small joke. Others in deep discussion with a trainer. I look off into the bush. The heat is rising in waves. I look forward to when we can find a seat free of biting flies and dusty wind. And all they ask for is socks...
  3. Here's a video we just made and thought you might enjoy watching! Tswalu Kalahari - South Africa’s largest private game reserve, covering an area of 100,000 hectares. It is situated in the north-west of the country near Botswana and Namibia and is in a malaria-free region: If you like this, check out our YouTube channel here for loads more Africa safari videos!
  4. My first safari experience was in a private game reserve in South Africa, and although it was over two years ago, I wanted to write about it as it was the trigger for the other trips! The duration of this trip was just 3 nights, and I didn’t make any notes so I will just write about the things I remember (and maybe make something up along the way). So here we go, my first trip report …. We didn’t know what to expect from a safari, we were interested in wildlife and loved the documentaries on Nat Geo and BBC, but always thought it couldn’t possibly be as amazing as on TV. The other thing that worried us was ‘the set routine’, especially the early mornings, it was a holiday after all! As we were going to Cape Town on a holiday, to escape the winter here in the Netherlands, we decided to visit a game reserve for a couple of days to see if we would enjoy it. We were not demanding, we wanted to see wildlife/have a safari experience, didn’t want to stay in a tent (I am a city girl) and it had to be close to Cape Town. So we went to a private game reserve in the Eastern Cape, a place called Kichaka. Not to be confused with Kichaka in Ruaha, Tanzania – the experience couldn’t be more different! Preparation for this trip… pretty much none, no need for malarone, or vaccinations, had no clue about photography, didn’t bring binoculars, clothes in neutral colours? Far from. You guessed it – typical people on their first safari! Luckily most people were, so no one noticed – I think…
  5. Wilderness Safaris have announced their 6 countries summer special starting from 1st November 2013 and ending 15th April 2014 (excluding December 20th to January 10th). Minimum number of nights reduced from 6 to 5. Many accommodation rates reduced, particularly in Namibia and Zimbabwe Children staying in a family room with full paying adults receive 50% of the adult rate More info to follow
  6. 1)Name of property: Madikwe Safari Lodge 2) Location: Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa 3)Website address if known: 4) Style of camp – ie; Lodge, permanent camp, mobile camp It is a lodge, with the rooms being pretty solidly constructed. 5) Solo/Independent property or part of a group / chain Part of a group. Was previously owned by &Beyond, now part of More hotel group 6) How many rooms, tents 20 rooms spread over 3 sections. Dithaba, Lelapa & Kopano. Dithaba is probably the most exclusive section with just 4 very large suites. 7)Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known) january 2013, high season 8)Length of stay: 3 nights 9)Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? It was recommended as one of the better lodges in Madikwe. 10)How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Booked through an agent. All handled very smoothly. 11) Are you a regular safari traveller? Yes 12)To which countries? Most frequently Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa, but also other African countries and elsewhere in the world. 13)Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Motswarai, Lion Sands, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge 14)Was the property fenced? Yes, to keep out elephants and buffalo 15) How was your room or tent? a> Space inside - vast b> furniture – comfortable sofa, spacious bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers, wood burning stove (it gets very cold in winter) c> bed & bedding, was it comfortable? yes d> was there a view? not really. e> To the best of your knowledge are all the rooms of similar standard No, there are some suites which are extra large and which can be converted into family rooms and but the standard rooms are still very spacious. 16) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. The food was great. Plenty of choice and variety although the chefs do need to brush up on their braai skills. 17) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Menu was varied with choices at each meal. Because breakfast is always taken so late (after return from morning game drive) lunch was a very casual affair whereby each person ordered from a menu and could take their lunch whenever they wanted. Neat idea. 15) Can you choose where you eat, ie privately or with other guests, guides? Single tables or communal dining? Braai meals in the boma had people grouped together with others from their game vehicle and their ranger. For most meals though each party had their own private table. 19) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Don't know. 20) Did the lodge / camp have its own game drive vehicles? (Include photo if possible) Yes. 21) How many rows of seats? How many guests per row? 3 rows, 2 guests per row. 22) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Morning game drive lasted about 3 -3.5 hours. Afternoon game drives were about 1.5 hours due to sun setting at 6pm. Routes were varied to some extent but we covered a lot of routes over and again due to the location of the lodge. 23) Are game drive times flexible: ie, if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, ie not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Yes. We didn't do it but it is possible. 24) What wildlife is this Park/property known for? Did you get good sightings? Madikwe is renowned for its wild dogs. We did manage to get good sightings of two seperate packs of dogs as well as lots of other game too. 25) How was the standard of guiding? (Please detail any particularly good or bad experiences.) generally very good. 26) How would you rate the staff in the camp / lodge? Were they attentive and efficient? Yes, Excellent 27) How would you rate the camp/lodge on a value for money basis? It is not a cheap lodge but the price includes most drinks so overall the value was pretty good. There are no really cheap lodges in Madikwe and this one is somewhere in the mid range. It gets better if you drink a lot – which I don't. 28) If you visit this park / region again would you choose to stay in the same camp or would you look for somewhere different? If yes, please explain why. I think I would look for a different lodge. Nothing against Madikwe Safari Lodge but I would like to try a different location in the park to see how it affects the game drives/viewing. 29) Trip report link: Madikwe game drives - day 1 Madikwe game drives - day 2 Madikwe game drives - day 3 30) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: 31) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. I don't generally take photos of camps and lodges as I find their own photos are much better and can be downloaded from their website if needed.
  7. Hi All, We are a new company that has started Self Drive vehicle rentals. All our vehicles are brand new Landcruisers & Hilux's and fully equipped. If your looking for a vehicle, drop us a line and we can assist.
  8. With The Earth Organization's 8-day Eco Safari you will get closer to wild Africa then you maybe ever thought possible! And you will be helping to save our beautiful planet all at the same time! Each day, accompanied by an experienced guide, you'll strike out into the reaches of the world-famous Thula Thula no-kill animal reserve, and explore rural Zulu villages. Our rangers will show you the animal kingdom in its raw, awesome beauty. And at night, after the drumbeats and bonfires have died, you'll relax in the softly-lit comfort of your five-star accommodations. Our upcoming Safari dates for 2014 are: March 15 to March 23 June 1 to June 9 July 27 to Aug 4 October 19 to October 27 Also, if you live in the US, part of your trip will be tax deductible since we are a non-profit! If you want more information on how we can make your African safari adventure come true, click here, or just E-mail us at **We are currently offering a 25% off, early bird special on all 2014 safaris! So contact us now to reserve your spot!
  9. Reports To read the full article click here. As per the comments, what back ground checks and follow up is done to ensure these lions don't end up being hunted? Is it the responsibility of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife? I never would have known it would need the removal of so many males for the introduction of 1 new one.
  10. 1) Name of property: Umlani Bushcamp, Timbavati, Kruger 2) Website address if known: 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known) May 2010, shoulder season 4) Length of stay: 2 nts 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? We used it for our photo safaris 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Direct, all efficiently handled 7) How many times have you been on Safari? Ah, it is too many. Approx 4 times a year since 1980 8) To which countries? Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Egypt, Oman, Yemen, India 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Motswari Private Game Lodge 10) Was the property fenced? no 11) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? There is not much of a view from the rooms. Each room is seperate hut with thatched roof, they have reasonable privacy. 12) How comfortable was the bed - were suitable amounts of blankets/duvets/pillows provided? The bed was comfortable but the plumbing/bathroom facilities were a bit basic. In fact the whole room was basic. This was not a problem as our clients wanted/booked 3 start accom 13) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Food was good. Lovely elevated position for the dining room, overlooking a dry river bed. 14) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) There was enough choice. What was especially impressive was that camp laid on a special group dinner in the river bed. Fantastic effort made for a fantastic evening – tables set in the riverbed, lanterns all around to provide light. 15) Can you choose where you eat, ie privately or with other guests, guides? Single tables or communal dining? We ate as a group in the dining room. There was not a huge amount of space where people could eat seperately but I am sure that the staff would have found something if requested. 16) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Didn't use one 17) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. Game drive vehicles were open sided with 3 rows of seats 18) How many guests per row? Up to 3 19) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Approx 3 hours 20) Are game drive times flexible: ie, if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, ie not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Yes 21) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Timbavati is known for leopards and white lions. We saw both. 22) How was the standard of guiding? Very good. 23) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? N/A 24) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: Guides were very professional, friendly and responsive to client requests 25) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Excellent 26) Trip report link: 27) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: Very well run camp that offers all the right things at a great price. Accommodation is simple but hospitality is first rate Not for those seeking the height of luxury – and all the better for it. 28) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings.
  11. Motswari Private Game Lodge 1) Name of property: (Please also include name of property as topic title and include as a tag.) Motswari Private Game Lodge 2) Website address if known: 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known) May 2010 4) Length of stay: 2 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? Recommended by a colleague 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Direct. Communications were clear an concise. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? Ah, it is too many. Approx 4 times a year since 1980 8) To which countries? Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Egypt, Oman, Yemen 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? I have stayed in several lodges of higher and lower standard than this one 10) Was the property fenced? Don't think so 11) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? Each room is a private chalet type hut, adequately seperate from its neighbours. No view to speak of. 12) How comfortable was the bed - were suitable amounts of blankets/duvets/pillows provided? All good 13) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Outstanding in both quality and quantity. Great chefs. 14) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Yes the menu was varied. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style. 15) Can you choose where you eat, ie privately or with other guests, guides? Single tables or communal dining? I could choose as the lodge was not full when I stayed. Maybe when full that would not be possible. 16) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Didn't have one 17) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. Open land rovers with 3 rows of seats 18) How many guests per row? Max 3 per row 19) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Approx 3 hours. Very varied 20) Are game drive times flexible: ie, if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, ie not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? DK 21) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Leopards and white lions are the draw cards. We saw both. Excellent leopard sightings and pretty good lion sightings. 22) How was the standard of guiding? Top class 23) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? No issues 24) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: Guide was very receptive to clients wishes and extremely professional. Stayed on much longer at leopard sighting because we were all so enthralled. 25) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Yes 26) Trip report link: 27) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: 28) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings.
  12. First I want to thank everyone here for all your trip planning advice and which gear to rent as well as the wealth of knowledge on this site! I'm not sure our trip would have been nearly as amazing without your help! Sun Destinations We booked our safaris and our transportation from/to each safari through Sun Destinations. Nadine, who handled our booking was great to work with and she always responded to my emails and questions promptly. Everything on our trip went smoothly and we were extremely pleased with their services. Africa on Foot This was our first safari and trip to South Africa and Africa on Foot was exactly what we were looking for and more than we expected. We flew into Heodspruit Airport and were greeted by Rein. We got our luggage and drove to camp seeing giraffes and baboons along the way. When we arrived at the camp we were greeted by Christina and Matt and went over the rules of the camp, itinerary and signed the indemnity paperwork. Since the camp has no fences they stressed the importance of always being aware of your surroundings because wildlife walk through the camp; we woke up on our last morning to a herd of probably over 100 Cape Buffalo just outside our chalet! The chalet was very comfortable and we loved the fact that there were just screens on the windows; almost every night we heard animals and several nights we listened to lions roaring. That was very special! We were in a chalet with an outdoor shower and sink, which we enjoyed, especially when the buffaloes showed up, it gave us a perfect and protected viewing spot. The camp is a "green" camp so there was limited electricity and we were asked to charge our devices in a central location which was located in the dining area. Our guides Matt and Rein worked really well as a team, and each day they would trade off either tracking or guiding. Whether we were walking or driving they were extremely knowledgeable about the bush and we learned a lot! We absolutely loved the 3 hour walks every morning. Since not many camps offer this option, this was definitely a draw for us and one of the reasons we booked our safari here. Learning about the little things in the bush was very interesting and we always felt safe; one walk we enjoyed watching giraffes and our final walk we successfully tracked the buffalo that had come into the camp. The camp sleeps 10 and is very intimate and it felt like a very personal experience. We had a lovely welcoming letter in our chalet and our last day we had a personal postcard thanking us for our stay with our itinerary for our transfer. Our guides ate with us for every meal and Christina always greeted us when we returned from a game drive as well as joining us before and after dinner. We stayed 4 nights/3 days, which was just perfect and gave us plenty of opportunity to see lots of wildlife. Matt and Rein were always accommodating and we felt like they were truly interested in providing us with the best safari experience. The food was very good and each meal everyone sat around one large dining table. One evening we returned to camp after our game drive to find a beautiful dining table set out under the stars, which we enjoyed tremendously. When we arrived we went on our first game drive and saw the Ross Pride finishing the carcass of an elephant; there were 2 cubs that were so cute! What an amazing way to start our safari!! A few weeks ago an elephant hurt its foot and was in pain and suffering, the herd had left it behind so the Klaserie ranger decided to put it down. They said normally the lions would have taken it down but for some reason they kept missing each other. Each game drive we saw something big and the guides always seemed to want to make sure we were seeing what we were interested in. We saw 4 of the Big 5, missing the leopard. We had several elephant experiences, one very memorable experience where the bull was no more than 10 ft from us and staring right at us. Exhilarating and terrifying at the same time! The camp is definitely not for everyone, the rustic chalets may not appeal to a lot of people as well as the long game walks, but we thoroughly enjoyed our time there and highly recommend Africa on Foot. Umkumbe Safari Lodge We arrived at Umkumbe after a very hard drive from Africa on Foot. It was about a 2.5 hour drive and the roads were terrible, lots of rough, dirt roads. We were greeted by Jason, one of the guides at Umkumbe and were taken to our room and given a tour of the property. Umkumbe had a very different feel than Africa on Foot, instead of a chalet we had a "hotel" room, which was very nice, and the camp felt a little bit more upscale, with a gym as well as a nice lounge with a pool table. Our room had paper thin walls with the adjoining room so we could hear our neighbors very clearly. The camp had a less intimate feel, there were separate tables for meals and guests seemed less inclined to get to know each other, but you can't beat the location which is absolutely stunning, with a pool and deck overlooking the Sabi Sands River. The evening before we arrived there were thunderstorms (we had a great lightening storm during our last game drive at Africa on Foot) and the weather turned overcast overcast and gray, so our first game drive that afternoon at Umkumbe we didn't see a lot. The next morning Jason offered to take a few of us on a bush walk instead of the drive. I don't think that is something they normally do so we decided to take advantage of it. As the weather started to improve later in the day more animals seemed to come out. We stayed at Umkumbe for 3 nights/2 days, so we ended up having 5 game drives (we missed the morning drive on our last day because we needed to leave for the airport). We ended up seeing cape buffalo, rhinos and giraffes, as well as many other small animals. One male rhino had adopted a young male rhino whose mother had been killed by poachers. And on our final afternoon/evening game drive we finally saw two leopards! A couple of things we noticed during our stay at Umkumbe: Umkumbe didn't seem as organized as Africa on Foot…we never even signed an indemnity form. I think this can be attributed to there being no "manager" keeping things organized, it just seemed to be the guides handling everything. The guide and tracker had an odd relationship, there were several times the tracker wanted to go one way and she overruled him. I'm not sure how the relationship of the guide/tracker is supposed to work but it seemed a little odd. The game drive in the afternoon starts at 4pm and we typically didn't get back until 8pm so we felt the night portion of the drives was too long (at least 1.5-2 hours in the dark). While there were definitely animals we saw at night that we wouldn't have seen during the day, we enjoyed the day drives much more, so that will be something we look for in the future. We were amazed at the tiny creatures the trackers found at night, including a chameleon in a tree. The website states they sleep a maximum of 14, but one night there were 18 people on the game drive. We definitely prefer the smaller camps and I know they can get quite large. The morning game drives there was no tracker and they let guests sit in the tracker seat. I think this would be a safety issue and I would have preferred the tracker to join us to help locate wildlife. It kind of felt like a "theme park ride" at that point. I don't want to let these few things paint a negative experience because we really did have a great experience at Umkumbe. These things didn't take away from our stay, just observations we made and things that we will be more cognizant of in the future. One of the things we enjoyed most at both camps was that at any sighting there were never more than 2-3 vehicles and everyone seemed to respect each others views and experience. Overall we had the most AMAZING safari experience, it really was life changing. We are already talking about planning our next trip hopefully to Botswana and Victoria Falls!
  13. Apparently South Africa are considering charging Brits a visa fee in response to the uk charging their nationals to visit here. Naturally the tourism industry is concerned this will further depress uk visitors to south Africa.
  14. If you had 3 weeks to spend in Kruger National Park and restricted yourself to SANParks accommodation, what would be the perfect itinerary? I am hoping @@Panthera Pardus and @@Sharifa provide some expert input into thread. I last visited Kruger NP in 2002 and only briefly explored the southern section, going as far north as Skukuza. When I return, I would like to explore as much of the park as possible and would be happy to dedicate 3 weeks. SANParks have some great accommodation options for families of 5 or 6, so I would be happy to stay out of the private concessions bordering Kruger and invest the money saved in a private guide.
  15. We are a family, 2 adults and 2 boys aged 5 and 9. Our route will be something like : Kruger 10 nights(and thanks for the help with that itinerary ) Swaziland Kwazulu Natal (Hluhuwe-Imfolozi, St.Lucia,Ithala etc.) Garden Route Cape Town We will be hiring a 4x4 with camping equipment. Any recommendations for some great of the beaten track campsites on that route? We will love places close to nature and enjoying a good barbeque. But since we have kids with us, campsites that belongs to a lodge will be good too. So that we can use their facilities and svimmingpool And do we have to book in advance in februar/march? It´s not the schools holidays as far as I can see...
  16. I used fodors and lonelyplanet for my previous trip plannings, but they seem pretty dead(actually got some good advice on LP, but most of the time nothing), then I found a post saying, that a lot of people moved to safaritalk and I see why. Loads of info So here we go: In Februar 2014 we will go to Kruger as part of our 6 weeks vacation in South Africa, but I am having some problems with our itinerary in Kruger. I have been to loads of websites including and, so I have a lot of info, but just as many questions....... We are 2 adults and 2 kids aged 5 and 9. We will be hiring a 4x4 with camping equipment (I know it´s not necessary for Kruger, but we love camping ). I think I can convince my wife that we shold book 9-10 nights (and if she don´t agree, I just do it anyway and take the hassle afterwards ). Since we are camping I thought something like: Punda Maria 2 night Tsendze Rustic camp 2 nights Sable overnight hide 1 night (do anyone have experience in booking this?) Balule 2 nights Lower Sabie 2 nights Berg-en-Dal 1 night. I am little woried that we use too much time in northern and central part and miss the best gameviewing in the south, but I like too se as much of the park as possible. Any comments or input for the itinerary, it will be highly appriciated Anyone by chance have experience with the 4x4 trails in Kruger?
  17. Reports To read the full article click here.
  18. The number of rhinos killed for their horns in South Africa so far this year has shot up to 618. This is well past last year’s shock record of 448 and substantially more than the tally of 550 predicted at the beginning of 2012. And still there is no sign of the onslaught letting up. This, despite tightened security and a range of strategies devised to counter the gruesome trend. Fears have even been expressed that the way it is going, the already endangered species could be extinct in a few decades’ time.
  19. We finally booked our November trip to Southern Africa. We tried to get in the Wilderness Summer special (Chitabe, Tubu Tree & Vumbura), but it didn´t work out to get any 6 or more nights on a stretch in these camps. Now it´s Kwando once more: 4 N. Lagoon, 1 N. Little Kwara and 2 N. Kwara, followed by 2 n. Planet Baobab for Meerkats. Food and wine in the cape region at the end of our trip. We almost booked flight with Air Bots from Maun to Cape Town, which they cancelled last week. Also the 13.00 flight from Joburg to Maun is cancelled. There´s only a 11.40 flight on that specific date now. Air Botswana is getting more and more unpredictable. So luckily there´s now SA airlink also connecting JNB with Maun. Thomas
  20. The Patient Travelers in Zimbabwe and South Africa – October 2-22, 2012 Something most travelers have in common is a desire to learn and be engaged in something, or some place, different from home. We were first drawn to Africa in 2004. Our safari experience in Botswana, flying between three different camps over a weeks’ time, charmed us from the first moment. It seemed everyone else we met was on their fourth, or tenth, or even eighteenth safari. We were blown away by the intelligent and enthusiastic guides, trackers, and camp staff we met and felt we “knew” after sharing but two days and nights. The bush and the delta landscapes were mesmerizing. The wildlife – the primary “drawing card” – did not fail to amaze us. We knew that while we may not become as experienced as most of our fellow guests, we would be back again. Having just returned from our second set of adventures in Africa, I’m struck by how much wider my eyes were opened on this trip, how much more I’ve learned about the countries and people we visited, and how important it was to remain patient and let everything unfold at its own pace. More than being a “slow traveler” in Europe or elsewhere, Africa demands time and patience, and patience is always (eventually?) rewarded. Wow. Impressed myself with the prosaic introduction. Now I’m going to have to pump up the journal entries I made on the little note-pad app to match that level, so here goes: There are more flight options from the US to Africa now, and this time we flew Delta’s non-stop from Atlanta to Johannesburg, after a shorter flight from Raleigh-Durham. Delta now offers an affordable upgrade to “Economy Comfort” for those of us who don’t have the points or budget for Business or First Class. I had taken advantage of this offer for the flight over and we were pleased that I had done so. Every seat on the flight was filled, and extra legroom plus a deeper seat recline is invaluable on a 16-hour flight. So too, was the ability to arrive at our destination with fully charged electrical devices. The safari portion of this trip was booked through Zambezi Travel’s Victoria Falls Office. Chris Worden and his staffers, Liz and Helen, took care of every detail and provided us with excellent information about what to expect from each stop, transfer, and activity we booked. When we arrived in Johannesburg, a driver was there to greet us and help me find the Voda-Com desk, where I could purchase sim cards for my phone and iPad (I knew these wouldn’t work in Zimbabwe, but I wanted to be ready for the Cape Town/Garden route portion of our trip when we returned from safari, ten days later.) Our driver took us to Outlook Lodge, just far enough from the airport to provide peace and quiet, and an EXCELLENT bed and bathroom with a huge tub and wonderful walk-in shower. And yet, it was still hard to sleep. We awoke around 4:30AM, made ourselves stay in bed until 6:30, then took advantage of the fantastic shower once again. I REALLY needed sunshine, and fortunately that morning was gorgeous. We walked the pretty grounds, played with the two dogs, and then had a wonderful breakfast before we were again picked up and taken to the airport to catch an 11:25AM BA flight to Victoria Falls. Oops. First snag: the BA flight was delayed from 11:25 til 2:00. Meaning we lost the day to travel. But at least they gave us vouchers for a meal, and we met a charming young American couple on their first Africa trip. They were headed to one of the Botswana camps we’d visited back in ’04, so we gave them our glowing reviews and kept their spirits up. Once we arrived at Victoria Falls and gathered our two checked duffel bags, a driver from Wild Horizons was there to whisk us to Ilala Lodge. While we had planned to see the Falls that afternoon, it was 5:00PM by the time we checked in, and although we knew the Falls were a short walk, the helpful lady at the front desk told us the park closed at 6PM and we might prefer spending more time there the next day. Probably good advice, we decided. Our brains still felt like mashed potatoes. The Ilala hotel is nice. We had a good room with a great bed. We enjoyed a couple of Windhoek beers at the inviting and comfortable outdoor bar. Chatted with an Aussie couple and their 20-something son, who was planning to do EVERY adventurous offering possible. Oh to be that young and athletic again! The menu looked interesting and seemed well-priced, so we decided to eat dinner there. I’d read some mixed reviews about the hotel’s food, but we very much enjoyed a kudu steak, grilled loin of warthog, and a glass of a good South African Cabernet. Plus the waiters were charming, easy to chat with, and the night had cooled. The next morning we’d scheduled to meet Charles Brightman, of the Victoria Falls Anti-poaching Unit at 6:15AM. Steve wakes me with a start...It's 6 AM! Woke me from sound sleep, only to discover it was merely 12:30. We finally get up at 5:30, shower and dress to be in the lobby at 6:15 for pickup. About 6:45, we have the desk clerk call, and discover they had us down for the next morning. To be honest, we really didn’t mind postponing to the next morning. This was, in all truth, the first actual day of our vacation. We have the luxury of all that time ahead of us. Besides, the breakfast buffet they were laying out in the dining room looked scrumptious…and we very much enjoyed it. About 9AM, we take the walk to the Falls, and nearly have it to ourselves. Amazing. Yes, the water levels are “low” but this still is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Mist, rainbows, DOUBLE rainbows, flowers, beautiful birds, some cute banded mongoose (mongeese?) We make our way down to the bridge overlook, and watch to see if there are any bungee jumpers. No takers, maybe it is too early? Too hot? On the way back, we have a great view of folks climbing into the Devils’ Pool on the Zambia side. The temperature has climbed to the mid 30s C. We sweat all the way home and, possibly because of the heat, are only approached by one or two fellows selling carvings, who are easily dissuaded when a couple of uniformed guys appear on bikes. While not as exotic as the Devils’ Pool, we decide to take dip in the hotel pool. WONDERFUL. We are joined at the pool by two couples from Florida. They had broken away from a tour that had been at several safari camps, and the heat had been too much for them. They decided to go to Victoria Falls to stay in air-conditioned comfort for a couple of days ahead of their group, who would be finishing up with a night across the street at The Kingdom. They had spent one night there, and decided it was too much like Las Vegas, so they were happy to get rooms at Ilala instead. It seemed they made the right decision for them. In the meantime, the hotel’s lunch menu was quite inviting. I LOVED my grilled crocodile and potato salad. Told my husband it tastes kinda like…. alligator. We headed back to our room to nap before walking into town to check out the market and shops. We had AC off, the fan on and the windows open. The birds were singing…there was just something about that breeze…the sunshine we’d enjoyed…that nice cold Zambezi beer with lunch…I actually fell asleep, and I’m not a napper. It’s hard to think about buying souvenirs at the beginning of a long trip, but having seen what the JNB airport shops carried, I figured we might do a bit to contribute to the Vic Falls economy. First we walked into "town". I thought I would at least see a pharmacy, maybe a grocer...but mostly it was just tourist goods in shops. On the street, the touts try to sell you 10 billion+ Zimbabwe bills...for $1. It is sad when you think that one time – and only a few years ago -- someone worked hard for that currency, saved it, etc. Now it is virtually worthless. There are some wonderful bargains to be found. We particularly liked the “Elephant Walk Market”, simply as it was located in a grove of shade trees, and caught what breezes there were, plus manufactured them with strategically placed fans. Inviting shops, and a small cultural exhibit detailing Zimbabwean crafts. There are beautiful giant sculptures exemplary of Shona stone carving. You would need to be wealthy enough not only to buy them, but to ship them home. I limited myself to three woven flat bowls with geometric designs. I negotiated a price of $6 per piece. I know similar pieces were selling in the airport gift shops for two to three times that price. Showered and dressed for dinner we headed to the bar for drinks. I’ve decided I like Zambezi beer, but that night, I enjoyed the Ilala 's special Pimms cocktail: ginger ale with muddled mint, garnished with Granny Smith apple sticks. Steve’s rather a devotee of IPAs, and is pretty much out of luck, so he must stick with lager. We chatted with a couple from England. She had been awakened early in the morning, and looked out their window to see a leopard! We had only seen warthogs, baboons, vervet monkeys and an elephant or two. We are a bit surprised a leopard would show up in such a populated area. We had an excellent dinner with a bottle of Molderbosch rose wine. I had a baked brie appetizer, Steve had Kingclip fish cakes, then I had the warthog and Steve a rib-eye steak. This hotel has a very good chef. The waiters are proud of their knowledge of the menu - where the vegetables come from, etc. Finally, both of us had a good night sleep. We woke around 5:30, dressed and were picked up by Charles Brightman at 6:15 to tag along with the Vic Falls Anti-poaching unit. Charles is an enthusiastic and dedicated professional. He gives an informative presentation of how they are working to stop poaching, not only of animals, but also of indigenous hardwoods. At one time, poachers were mostly people trying to provide for their families, but now there is a professional element that is more dangerous, and for whom the financial rewards are great. Yet the VFAPU has seen continued success over the past several years, and they need to keep their focus and continue their programs of policing, education, and community involvement. We then piled into Charles’ vehicle and drove to a park entrance, where after coffee and a brilliant tomato-and-cheese sandwich prepared by Mrs. Brightman, we picked up a young scout and walked a trail looking for evidence of poachers’ snags. For us it was mostly a wonderful walking safari. We saw tracks of a busy previous night: giraffe, water buffalo, elephants, leopards, hyenas, various species of antelope, etc. I thought I got some good pictures of a couple of amazing maribou storks and a flock of parrots. (Later, something happened while downloading my photos, and I seemed to have lost them, along with some we’d taken at the Falls the day before). We learned so much about fauna and flora, and discussed many environmental issues that relate to the economically challenged Zimbabwe of today. We asked if the lady’s sighting of a leopard right outside her hotel window was possible, and he confirmed that it was. Leopards are very adaptable, and he had recently lost some house cats to a leopard. We saw some impala, and a large herd of buffalo. We picked up a couple plastic bags, and plucked a large white poachers' bag from the river’s mud. It was a wonderful experience and much more worthwhile to us than any of the touristy activities on offer in Vic Falls. He offered to comp the tour, as he was truly embarrassed to have had us down for the wrong date, but we refused. The money was “spent” and we would rather have the money go as a donation to VFAPU. Besides, our trip was unfolding at its own pace, and we were becoming adapted to a smaller world that has challenges and frustrations that are much more basic than those of a couple of retirees on vacation from North Carolina. Back at the hotel, as we readied for the road transfer to Imbabala, the TV news has reports of power and water shortages in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo. Obviously, it wouldn’t impact our trip. And of course, the results from a recent Cricket Test-match: Tourism and Sports are bright points in Zimbabwe daily life. People with jobs in tourism and wildlife management know they are fortunate, and are contributing to their country in a positive way. Nearly everyone we met seemed to be confident and professional, and eager to share their knowledge, carefully phrased opinions, realism, and humor. Next: On to the Safari Camps
  21. I am brand new to the forum, but I wrote up this report after returning from our first trip to Africa in June 2012. At Matt's request, I am posting it here. We were gone from home about 3 weeks, but slept in Africa 19 nights. The trip was entirely in South Africa. 1 night Johannesburg 3 nights Sabi Sands (Londolozi) 4 nights Kwazulu-Natal (Phinda) 4 nights Eastern Cape (Kwandwe) 3 nights Eastern Cape coast - Jeffreys Bay 4 nights Cape Town WARNING - this report is VERY long. I will post it in separate entries covering the different areas each in it's own post so that if an area doesn't interest you, you can skip that post. Here is the first stage, covering our flight and the 24 hours or so we spent in Johannesburg and visiting Soweto. As we flew off into the San Francisco night, I breathed a deep sigh, marveling at how we'd managed to get my, my husband's and our two daughters' things all stuffed into our soft-sided, non-wheeled luggage just 2 days after the last day of school. I'd wrapped up all my Room Mom duties, finished putting on the early 10th-birthday party my youngest insisted on having before we left since she had to have the INSULT of having her 10th birthday in Africa of all places! We were FINALLY on the plane! As the long flight began, I pondered all the things that might go wrong. Could I survive a 15+ hour flight without panic attacks and claustrophobia? (I am a nervous flier whenever there is turbulence, and just the idea of being cooped up on a plane for that long made me feel panicky! I did procure some medication from my dr. just in case, but it turns out I never used it). Would my kids be bored and complaining for the whole trip? Would my extremely picky almost-10-year-old find anything she would eat for the 3 weeks we'd be in South Africa? As it turned out, my fears were mainly for naught. We - a middle-aged Mom and Dad with two daughters, one 13 and the other about to turn 10 on our trip from the San Francisco Bay Area of California - Silicon Valley, to be precise - were heading off for our first trip to Africa. The only place our kids had been out of the country before was Costa Rica about a year and a half prior, so taking them on this trip seemed a bit adventurous to us. However, I had decided we should take this trip to celebrate my 50th birthday. I've always wanted to go to Africa to see the animals and we even considered it for our honeymoon 16 years ago, but decided at the time it was too expensive. We’d do it some time in the future. Then life and kids and work happened, as they do, and the trip never did. In thinking about turning 50, I had the sense that this was a momentous occasion, that life is short and 50 is not that young any more. We never know how long we have on this earth and I wanted to do this now. I spent many months planning and agonizing over minutiae, with the help of many on various forums, and with the help of my great agent, Petro from And Beyond, and now the day was finally here! We were flying on Emirates via Dubai and then on to Jo'burg. I'd have preferred to go via London and spend a few days there. My kids haven't been to Europe and I know they'd enjoy London - Especially my youngest, a budding Anglophile and huge Harry Potter fan. But with flying time and all the things we'd planned to do IN Africa, we'd already be gone 3 weeks - my husband couldn't take any more time off from work than that. And with the budget already stretched very thin from the Africa activities, adding more hotel nights and activity costs didn't seem wise. When we realized that flying on Emirates via Dubai saved us about $500 per ticket over almost any other airline or route, that clinched the deal. Emirates is famous for it’s in-seat entertainment, and it was pretty sweet. We each could pick individual movies and tv to watch and there was a plethora of it. Between the first flight to Dubai and the second 8-hour flight to Jo'burg, my husband must have watched 7-8 movies. The kids had plenty of content they enjoyed watching as well, movies and tv. To help break up the trip, we were glad that Emirates gives you a free hotel room and meal at the hotel if you have a layover more than 8 hours. Since our layover was 9 hours, they put us on a bus to the hotel, which was only about 5 minutes away, and we were glad to have a shower and a meal that was not being eaten off a tray in tight quarters. It was a buffet and, while not gourmet, decent enough considering it was free. After a nap, we were back to the airport and on our second flight. Let’s just say from now on, a 5-hour flight to the east coast or Hawaii will be a breeze! However, I think it’s kind of like childbirth (sorry, guys) - it’s bad while it’s happening but the result makes you forget how bad it was and willing to do it again - i.e. I’m already planning my next trip to Africa! Johannesburg: We were picked up at the airport by Ilios Travel, prearranged by my agent. They had all our vouchers for all the lodges and activities that we’d pre-paid, and after taking out some money from the ATM and picking up our pre-reserved SIM card at Vodacom, we were off to our hotel. Our driver told us interesting facts about Jo'burg as we drove there, pointing things out, but we were pretty much zombies and I’m not sure how much I remember. We stayed at the Protea Balalaika in Sandton. When we arrived, our guide who was going to give us a tour of Soweto was already there waiting for us (he was early). We quickly checked in, put our things in the room, and came down to meet our tour guide. His name was Bongani from KDR Travel, and he was extremely articulate, knowledgable and interesting as a guide. I had read about him on Tripadvisor, and had requested he be our guide. He is one of the principals of the company. I was sad to hear that he plans to be less involved in doing the actual tours in the future as he is starting an additional business doing autobody repair! He implied he wasn’t making enough money doing the tour guide work alone, which I thought was a shame as it seems so worthwhile to do. However, I’m sure plenty of people also need autobody repair. He drove us through more than just Soweto, taking us into Johannesburg CBD as well, and told us all sorts of history and facts about the City and Soweto. When we drove by Nelson Mandela’s house, there was a police officer there that Bongani knew guarding the house. He stopped for a minute to say hello to him, then asked us if we’d mind giving him a ride as his shift was over! We did not mind, of course, and that was an interesting experience - probably wouldn’t happen in the U.S.! It was interesting to see how even in a big city, Bongani knew several people along the way. We stopped and got out at the Hektor Pietersen museum. This was very moving, but it was hard with the kids who were literally asleep in the car and we had to wake them up and drag them out (their body clocks were so messed up). Also, they were freezing - even though we’d told them it would be cold, none of us were quite prepared for how cold it was inside some buildings - many buildings in Jo'burg don’t have heat and it was just freezing in the museum. By far the most interesting and moving part of the whole tour was when Bongani took us to Kliptown. Kliptown is a very poor township within Soweto with which Bongani has a relationship. He is on the board of the Kliptown Youth Program, which is seeking to improve conditions for the poverty-stricken community members there. A community of 44,000, Kliptown is without running water in the homes, without schools, legal electricity or proper sanitation. The people use a giant line of porta-pottys as their bathrooms. They must line up outside at one of the spigots that provide water and gather it in buckets to bring inside to bathe and cook with. Their homes are tin lean-to type shacks. Although this way of living is so disadvantaged compared with how people live in most of the U.S., Kliptown is being enriched greatly through the Kliptown Youth Program which provides tutoring, use of computers, food for kids who may not be getting enough at home, sports and arts programs, etc. We were given a tour by a very enthusiastic young man named Mo, 24, who heads up the tutoring programs there. He made sure to point out to our kids and us as we stepped out of the comfort of our tour van into the dusty, smoky atmosphere outside that we were welcome there, and that he was going to give us a tour not to scare us or upset us but just to show us how they live and what they are doing there to improve things for themselves. I could immediately see why he had given us that introduction, as it would be easy for the kids to feel scared when one first steps out into such an unfamiliar environment. The conditions under which the residents of Kliptown live are sobering for us coming from the First World and privilege of Silicon Valley. I can tell you my kids sure woke up when we got out to take this tour. My eyes filled with tears when Mo looked at my kids and said very sincerely that they should be grateful their parents took them on a trip like this and for every little thing they have because, as they could see, many children have very different lives. We were invited into a home and sat on a couch with the family while the mother was cooking dinner and saw the computer center where the kids are tutored after school. We also were treated to a private Gumboot Dancing performance by some of the kids! These kids were excellent, and have actually traveled around the world performing. It is ironic that they have travelled to parts of the world I have not, yet their day to day lives are so impoverished. Here is a video I took of the kids I don’t know where they get all their funding, but they did mention that they have a strong relationship with some donors from the Boston, MA area. Before we left, we bought two t-shirts commemorating their 5th year of having this program in place and this helps provide a little financial support to the program. Bongani also gave some of the money we’d paid him for the tour to Mo to contribute to the programs. I think it was an extremely worthwhile visit, and I encourage everyone to visit Kliptown when you are in Joberg. You could do it through Bongani and KDR but can also contact Kliptown directly. You can read all about them and how to contact them on their website here: They are very warm and friendly and welcoming and I really wish the community there the best of luck. It was a very emotional and interesting beginning to our trip. P.S> Johannesburg addendum. I neglected to mention a little glitch that occurred when we arrived in Jo'burg that first day. After we’d gotten off the plane and were standing in a big line to go through customs or passport control or whatever it was called, I suddenly realized I didn’t have one of my carry-on items: my CPAP machine. In case you’re fortunate enough not to know, this is a machine with a mask you wear at night if you have sleep apnea - you have to plug it in to an outlet and it forces air into your airway so you don’t stop breathing or snore! By the time we got through passport control and were able to ask some folks from the airline about it, they found out the plane had been cleaned and had left for another gate and was flying out again in a few hours! They said they’d try to find my item (and trying to explain what it was was not easy). They gave me a number to call to check on it later if I didn’t hear from them, and I gave them the name of my hotel. I was worried. When we got back from our tour of Soweto and Kliptown, though, we had a message the airline had called and they had my CPAP machine! We were so tired and really didn’t want to go back to the airport it that night and I knew we’d be back at the airport the next morning to go to Londolozi, but not to the same part of the airport. So I asked the hotel did they have anyone going to the airport to pick anyone up that might be able to get my machine? Luckily, they did and they picked it up for me. That was the good news. The bad news? The damn thing never worked the entire trip. Yup. I dragged this heavy thing around on tiny planes and big planes and in Landcruisers up and down hills for no reason for the entire trip! At each lodge we tried with our converter/adaptor thing (which worked with any other American plugged device) and it wouldn’t work. Some of the lodges told us other people had been able to use CPAPs there, others said that people had had problems. When we got home .... it wouldn’t work either! I thought maybe the airline had tried taking it apart thinking it was a bomb or something and put it back together wrong? Well I took it to the CPAP dealer and turns out the plug and big black square power thing were dead. So who knows if it was just coincidence as to when it died, or if the airline dropped it, no clue. I had debated not bringing the darn thing and I wish I had just left it at home!
  22. Dear President Zuma, By JIM RIES | Published: Oct 27, 2012 Rhino poaching is nothing new, but what is new is the increased demand for rhino horns and the desperately low numbers of remaining rhinos left in the wild. When Olivia and Carter started One More Generation, it was so they could raise awareness to the issue of so many species being added to the endangered list. It seems like everytime you turn around, there is a new, even longer list of species in jeopardy of becoming extinct. OMG has teamed up with the folks at SPOTS (Strategic Protection of Threatened Species) in South Africa in an effort to help raise awareness to the dire issue of Rhino Poaching. Unless we can motivate South African President Zuma to take stark actions to immediately curb poaching in South Africa, Rhino’s will go extinct in our lifetime. We are asking students (and adults) to help us show President Zuma how urgent it is for him to get involved. We can make a difference for these animals by writing a letter to President Zuma asking him to do something now. Our goal is to collect 1,000 letters and or drawings addressed to President Zuma. We plan on having the letters personally delivered to President Zuma to show him and his staff how much we in America (and all over the world) care for these animals. Why has poaching for Rhino horn increased so dramatically? South Africa is home to the Big Five. While all of them are at risk, on average two rhinos are killed every day through illegal and cruel poaching. The reason for the increasing slaughter is that the horn is sold into the Asian traditional medicine markets. Rhino horns are composed largely of the protein keratin, also the main ingredient in hair, fingernails, and animal hooves, yet is has no proven medicinal value. In many cases the horn is hacked off while the animal is still alive. It is time to stop the animal cruelty and diminish the belief that the horn has any proven medicinal value. Ground-up Rhino horn powder is now valued at six times the price of gold. How are Rhino’s Killed? Syndicates use helicopters to shoot or dart a rhino with a tranquillizer gun to bring the animal down and then close in, hacking the horn off and then leaving the animal to bleed to death. However, Rhinos are more often shot with high powered hunting rifles than tranquilized with a dart gun. Often, if the cow has a calf, it is killed as well, both for the little bit of horn that it may have, but also to prevent it from interfering with the poachers as they hack the mothers horn out. Sometimes poachers are highly skilled professional hunters, who operate at ground level in a highly organized manner, with logistical support in the form of vehicles and other back-up. Less sophisticated poaching groups may consist of 4 to 6 individuals who are well armed and will infiltrate a community to get information on rhinos in the area. They will plan their kill, often shooting the animal in the knee to keep it from running away, or killing it outright. The animal is usually slaughtered and the horns are usually roughly removed with an axe or panga. Here is a video that breaks down the cold hard facts for you: Why you should get involved: Each and every one of us are supposed to be stewards of this planet and all it’s inhabitants. We are all they have got and they are depending on us to help them. Survival of many other species depend on us successfully fighting for the rhino’s survival. If the iconic rhino can’t be saved, what chance do the lesser known endangered species have? Your involvement in playing a role in conservation will be showcased on the OMG and SPOTS websites. Make this part of your resume one day. It is something to be very proud of – show the world you did not wait for someone else to take action and solve the problem. You stood up for what’s right and made your voice heard. The OMG and SPOTS letter campaign is not only about asking questions, it is also about bringing awareness to the plight of this defenseless animal. Letters will be delivered to the South African government and the media will be invited. By getting the media involved, a larger audience can be reached Remember, extinction is forever and each one of us has the power to make a difference. Please send us your letter today and we encourage you to also contact your school, church group or other community organization and ask them to also help collect letters as well. We have created an educational document on the issue which you can use to make your own presentation to schools and other community groups in your area. We will be awarding special prizes to the top three individuals who send us the most letters. Board members from SPOTS and OMG will also be picking their favorite letter and picture. If your letter or picture is chosen, you too will receive a special gift. Remember, together we can make a difference for these animals. Click on the ‘Community Rhino Presentation‘ link below to download the complete presentation. The file is very large so it may take a few minutes to download. Please be patient. If you have problems downloading the file, please email us and we can email you a copy as well. Click here to download your Presentation: Community Rhino Presentation We also found this wonderful short kids book titled Ronnie and the Rhino Horn which is great for younger kids. You can download the story here: Ronnie and the Rhino Horn Below we have added a few coloring pages you can print out and color-in and send to us. Please make sure you write your name on the picture and make sure we can read it so we can add it below: Daddy Rhino Coloring Page Mommy Rhino Coloring Page Mommy and Baby Rhibo Coloring Page Orphaned Babay Rhino Coloring Page Here are two Template Letters you can download and use if you would like, or you can just write your own letter. Either way, please make sure you mail or email us your letter today: Dear President Zuma Letter Template (4) Blank Letter for President Zuma Please address your letters to President Zuma and send them to our office at the address below. We will scan in all letters and post them below for the whole world to see. You may also email the letters directly to us at the email address below: One More Generation P.O. Box 143627 Fayetteville, GA 30214 Here is a great new music video about the need to save Rhinos for One More Generation… and beyond: Here are the letters we have received so far. Each letter is assigned a number according to the order in which they are received. We list all letters alphabetically by last name to make it easier to find your letter. Invite your friends and family members to view your letter here: Abby #152 – GA USA Abnett, Alexia #181 – Springs, Gauteng South Africa Aiaan, #88 Alex #138 – GA USA Alex #172 – GA USA Allard, Jillian #210 – GA USA Ames, Alexandra #46 – London UK Amini, Neda #7 – GA USA Amini, Naseem #8 – GA USA Anderson, Fiona #31 Anthony #139 – GA USA Anthony, Asha #224 – GA USA Arrington, Madison #27 - GA USA Avery #122 – GA USA Avery #130 – GA USA Avery #238 – GA USA Aycock, Joan #39 - GA USA Aycock, Lauren #63 Bailey, Sean #174 – GA USA Baker, Heather #141 – GA USA Barnes, Julia #217 – GA USA Barrett, Susan #182 – Somerset UK Bath, Sheila #93 – South Africa Belfo, Karen #193 – Quebec Canada Bell, Denise #102 Bettadapura, Keerthi #10 Bosley, Sandi #100 – Mexico Boswell, Katlynn #227 – GA USA Boswell, Natalie #242 – GA USA Bowes, Belinda #272 – Montreal, Quebec Canada Boxall, Ella #266 – Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom Brady, Colt #26 – GA USA Brennan, Kyran #68a Brown, Kaitlyn #151 – GA USA Bu, Julie #254 – GA USA Cadet, Ralph #198 – GA USA Carolyn, #47 Carter #129 - GA USA Carter Paul #124 – GA USA Cassell, Courtlyn #228 – GA USA Chance #153 – GA USA Chaney #236 – GA USA Chang, Leng Kar #89 – GA USA Chino, #50 Christensten, Stella #179 – GA USA Cody, #81 Collins, Abby #231 – GA USA Collins, Ava #232 – GA USA Cornett, Samantha #175 – GA USA Crawford, Bailey #234 – GA USA Cromie, Lauren #62 – USA Cutts, Sarah #230 – GA USA Danielle, #104 – NY USA Davey #117 – GA USA David #165 – GA USA De Los Santos, Adriana #187 – OH USA Delgado, Anthony #197 – GA USA Denver, Ella #86 – South Australia Douglass, Ty #199 – GA USA Drake, Victoria #222 – GA USA Dunn, Tristan #85 Dusenbury, Allison #186 – OH USA Eade, Cynthia #264 – GA USA Ebony, #87 Edmiston, Bailey #248 – GA USA Edmiston, Christopher #247 – GA USA Edmiston, Jackson #249 – GA USA Edmiston, Jonathan #251 – GA USA Edmiston, Tracy #250 – GA USA Egresi, Lori #271 – NY USA Erickson, Allie #213 – GA USA Espinel, Nicholas #260 – GA USA Faith #178 – GA USA Faulkner, Mary Katherine #192 – GA USA Faye, Allison #24 Fisk, Celine #66 Fisk, Samantha #67 Foote, Melinda #184 – OH USA Gabe #120 – GA USA Gabe #121 – GA USA Gaivin #114 – GA USA Garcia, Valentina #60 – GA USA Glasser, Dani #219 – GA USA Goodall, Jane #112 – VA USA Grace, #57 Grace #167 – GA USA Gueli, Alessandro #11 Guerremo, Paola #211 – GA USA Guerrero, Carmen #5 – AZ USA Haefer, Adrian #218 – GA USA Hamilton, Bryant #131 – GA USA Hance, Jeremy #41 – MN USA Hannah #146 – GA USA Hannah #159 – GA USA Hannah #168 – GA USA Hannah #176 – GA USA Harbin, Beth #25 Harnage, Andrew #20 Harnage, Lily #19 Harry, #82 – South Australia Harvill, Annette #112A – GA USA Healy, Valerie #110 – Glasgow, Scotland, UK. Hennum, Anna #226 – GA USA Higgins, Joanne #183 – OH USA Holsey, Iman #223 – GA USA Hope, #54 Huff, Adyson #235 – GA USA Hury, Catherine #108 – France Isabella #142 – GA USA Jack, #59 Jackie #161 – GA USA Jackson #123 – GA USA Jackson #126 – GA USA Jacob #73 Jacob #170 – GA USA Jams, Ethan #80 Jaxon #136 – GA USA Jenny, #46 John, #52 John, #55 John #164 – GA USA Johnny, #48 Johnson, Jack #259 – GA USA Johnson, Luke #258 – GA USA Joyner, Sidney #203 – GA USA Kaitlyn #150 – GA USA King, Kyle #105 – GA USA Klimitz, Lauren #158 – GA USA Kretschmer, Estie #37 – South Africa Krykwa, Noah #33 Kuitert, Heidi #103 – The Netherlands Kyle, #84 Lansdowne, Ethan #207 – GA USA Larsen, Hailey #34 Lashley, Kacie #202 – GA USA Law, Kenneth #246 – GA USA Leal, Albert (Paw Paw) #45 - MA USA Leal, Brandon #99 – MA USA Leal, Chris #92 – MA USA Leal, Maryann #40 – MA USA Levy, Rena #42 Lewis, Kathy #132 – Brownfield, ME USA Lewis, Sophie #32 Longmeyer, Cassidy #244 – GA USA Longmeyer, Ella #225 – GA USA Lopes, Shawn #220 - GA USA Lovegrove, Corey #75 Lusk, William #263 – GA USA Lynn Ann #145 – GA USA Mackenzie #140 – GA USA Mackenzie #177 – GA USA Magee, Fionna #240 – GA USA Magee, Karyn #243 – GA USA Mallett, Emily #239 – GA USA Mannum, Community College #69 – South Australia Mannum, Community College #70 - South Australia Mannum, Community College #71 - South Australia Mannum, Community College #72 - South Australia Mannum, Community College #74 - South Australia Mannum, Community College #76 - South Australia Mannum, Community College #77 - South Australia Marafioti, Alyssa #83 Marc #116 – GA USA Mariana #155 – GA USA Mariana #137 – GA USA Marilyn #149 – GA USA Markson, Laura #113 – GA USA Martinez, Axel #196 – GA USA Martinez, Charlotte #265 – Denmark Maxmin, Chloe #38 – ME USA Mayasaha #215 – GA USA McClure, Jess #209 – GA USA Mcintosh, Jim and Kay #107 – South Africa McIntosh-Ross, Michele #252 – GA USA McLaren, Goffinet #1 – SC USA McLonaghie, Jacob #205 – GA USA McMan, Chat #125 – GA USA Mercure, Ashlyn #21 Mercure, Elise #22 Michael #148 – GA USA Mielder, Bianca #65 Mitchell, Nautica #201 – GA USA Moore, Carter #36 Moore, Tara #245 – GA USA Moss, Mackenzie #229 – GA USA Moss, Maddie #233 – GA USA Motter, Stephanie #206 – GA USA Munuz, Angela #204 – GA USA Murphy, Joan #98 – Johannesburg, South Africa Mylee, #79 – South Australia Nadia #143 – GA USA Naik, Kikaw #257 – GA USA Nason #163 – GA USA Neckebroeck, Anne-Marie #111 – Wetteren, Belgium Niebanck, Peyton #221 – GA USA Nik, #78 Noah #118 – GA USA Oliver, Joel #134 – GA USA Olivier, Joel #173 – GA USA Orgbon, Charles #64 – GA USA Orr, Avery #241 – GA USA Owen, Lorelei #6 Pabst, Tori #12 – GA USA Pavao, Cole #261 – GA USA Pearthree, Patty #9 – NC USA Peck, Michelle #188 – OH USA Perera, Diyani #96 – Sri Lanka Petrino, Francesca #237 – GA USA Peyton #160 – GA USA Porter, Austin #162 – GA USA Post, Nadia #144 – GA USA Raegan, #49 Rasigatale, Nahum #68b Riddell, M #101 Ries, Carter #2 – GA USA Ries, Olivia #3 – GA USA Roberts, Amiya #200 – GA USA Robertson, Keon #94 Rose, #56 Rose, Jenny #268 – Melbourne, Australia Rose, Susan #273 – FL USA Ryan #115 – GA USA S, Jennifer #253 – GA USA Salisbury, Ian #95 – Zambia South Africa Samantha #156 – GA USA Schmidt, Ty #147 – GA USA Scotti, Kevin #185 – OH USA Sengupta, Sue #267 – GA USA Serafln, Meghan #61 – GA USA Sermeus, Ingrid #106 – Belgium Seymour, Roxanne #43 Shaw, Lisa #191 – FL USA Shumway, Andrew #208 – GA USA Shumway, Emma #216 – GA USA Siegel, Isabella #30 Skinner, Shawna #190 – OH USA Sklar, Livia #262 – GA USA Smallwood, Trenton #29 Smith, Vicky #90 – GA USA Soto, Dacota #35 – GA USA Soto, Darius #28 – GA USA Sowlant, Arina #195 – GA USA Spaeta, Brian #214 – GA USA St.Peter, Emily #44 – GA USA Stede #154 – GA USA Stella #180 – GA USA Strawn, Heather #189 – OH USA Tess #135 – GA USA Tess #157 – GA USA Tess #169 – GA USA Thomas, Rachel #23 Tori, #53 Turner #127 – GA USA Ty #166 – GA USA Vanchipurakel, Neil #256 – GA USA Vaughn, Gina #4 – GA USA Volpe, Braxton #18 Volpe, Peyton #17 Walker, Cindy #270 – Haiku, Hawaii USA Weidmann, Mikaela #212 – GA USA Weinreb, Abby #13 – GA USA Weinreb, Kim #16 – GA USA Weinreb, Sam #15 – GA USA Weinreb, Todd #14 – GA USA Wesley #128 – GA USA West, Everet #91 Whitcraft, Samantha #109 – FL USA Wiese, Cole #133 – GA USA Williams, Alex #97 Wissink, Crystal #269 – MI USA Yaynik, Keyuri #255 – GA USA Zamlinsky, Mark #194 – GA USA Zoe #119 – GA USA Zoe #171 – GA USA Thanks in advance for your support from all of us at OMG
  23. LION ECOLOGY AND MONITORING VOLUNTEER PROGRAMME - SALE In the past few months, we’ve had a lot of interesting developments on the reserve at our Lion Ecology and Monitoring Volunteer Programme. In July, five lions were introduced into the reserve and are exploring their new surroundings and integrating well with the resident lion pride. We’ve also been busy with our leopards. After many months of hard work, we finally managed to collar a new male leopard, Matlala, and in August we re-collared Cleo (our female leopard). Such a great accomplishment and wonderful experience for the volunteers and the project Team! In the next few months we plan on re-collaring Selati and Mica and will continue our regular adventures into the bush along with many other exciting on-going activities. HOLIDAY PROMOTION! We are writing to inform you of Blue Lizard Adventures’ current promotional discount and invite you and your friends to see out 2012 in style - in the bush! 10% Holiday Discount: This 10% discount applies to you and any of your friends that would like to join us. The holiday discount is valid for bookings made between October until the end of December 2012. HOLIDAY PROMOTION PRICE LIST: Remember to check exchange rates regularly and pay even less for your truly amazing African experience! Prices in South African Rand 2 weeks - R7200 3 weeks- R10350 4 weeks - R13500 5 weeks - R16650 6 weeks - R19800 7 weeks - R22500 8 weeks - R25200 9 weeks - R27900 10 weeks - R30600 What are you waiting for? Come and join us!!! Please feel free to forward this e-mail to all your friends that might be interested in our programme! http://www.bluelizar...-programme.html
  24. Recruiting for high end luxury Lodge within the Sabi Sands who are currently looking for a ranger to join their team. This lodge has won multiple awards and is 5* Accredited. Position is live in with all meals and accommodation provided. Looking for a FGASA Level 2 Guide with Trails Guide. A fantastic opportunity to grow your career in a great lodge. Get in touch for more information or to apply-

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