Conservation- The Woes of Plastic Bags

Below is a picture of elephant dung that I came upon during a recent walk in the bush.  Ah, the sad woes of plastic bags in wildlife areas. The damage that plastic can cause is life threatening to animals.
 
Plastic refuse has become so common around wildlife areas. We are so encouraged by those areas/countries that have taken action to reduce it. Rwanda and Kenya now ban plastic bags from being brought into their countries! It is a step in the right direction.
 
If you would like to make a difference, please leave the plastic bags at home – pack with durable travel bags that go home with you. 

 

Favorite Travel Product- 12 oz. Thermos Cup

This goes with me on every jaunt, especially morning game drives!  A perfect travel product, its durable, the right size, spill-proof, and keep my morning tea HOT.  I love it!


 

 

Best Time To Go On Safari? Green Season Option

When’s the best time to go on safari? … Definitely the most frequently asked question when we’re designing trips.

We are of the thought that this common question has no absolute answer –  go whenever you can!  Every season has its characteristics, neither good nor bad.

In the “green season”, December through March, there is a chance of rain showers. The bush is thick, the wildlife is relaxed with an abundance of food and water. As a result, the condition of the animals themselves is very good – healthy, glowing coats. The animals are better dispersed, so your experience is more about quality than quantity. 

This beautiful season is the most popular for photographers. Birders love the many migrating birds, and everyone loves the baby antelopes.

Travelers appreciate reduced prices, and smaller crowds result in a more exclusive experience.

What resonates with you?

Enjoy these recent photos from green season in Hwange National Park.

Note: East Africa, Southern Africa, and the Western Cape all differ within seasons, and today’s changing weather patterns make conditions even less predictable. But not to worry – we take all of this into account, so you can trip the light fantastic at any time of year! 

For a deeper comparison of seasons, check out: What is the best time of the year to go on safari in Southern Africa?

Mountain Biking in Matobo Hills, Zimbabwe

In light of Matopos being mentioned as our special place in our recent newsletter, it seemed only natural to highlight the wonderful cycling opportunities there.

We cycled on the paths that locals use as they go about their daily lives and explored traditionally decorated homes that were beautiful to behold.

While at Big Cave, the bike path took us among the zebras, wildebeest and antelopes, the sound of their hooves delighted our senses as they beat a hasty retreat from us. The sound and sightings, brought us sheer joy.

The Matopos landscape lends itself perfectly to mountain biking (all levels), rocks, hills and flat areas. You will be rewarded with expansive views that are truly special!

Matobo Hills, Zimbabwe- Soulful Adventure

Cycling, hiking, and rhino tracking anyone? How about visiting traditional homes, viewing ancient rock paintings, and soaking up gorgeous views of the balancing rocks in this kopje-filled land? We’re just back and Infused with spiritual energy. What a magical place to play and refuel!

(Where to stay … )

For active adventures or just R&R, we thoroughly enjoy these Matobo Hills locations:

Amalinda: Wonderful service, plus its lovely, unique rooms are built right into the rock.

Khayelitshe House: For families and small groups of friends, there’s no better combination of kick-back informality and luxury.

Big Cave:  These homey accommodations for the budget-minded have fantastic views and trails.

Ecological Artist

Meet Shorai Matambanadzo – Conserving wildlife and empowering girls through art

I am an ecological artist. My responsibility is to make residents in a cluster of villages where I work outside Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, aware of the connection between art and conservation. One place I do this is Rise and Shine Girls Club sponsored by Global Sojourns Giving Circle.

The 35 girls in the club have grown up seeing their male relatives chop down trees, carve small animals to sell to tourists and ferry the curios to market. This tourism-based art model threatens the once-plentiful hardwood forests of Southern Africa, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. Erosion and other impacts of deforestation are made worse by the erratic climate.

For these girls, woodcarving is the only art they know. So Auntie Sfe and I are introducing sustainable art forms, with drawing, composition and photography lesson. All three can enhance awareness and sharpen observation, providing new and creative ways to see the world and its interconnections.

In 2018, we want to take the Rise and Shine girls to conservation areas, introduce other art forms, and assemble a team that will produce, if we can find a camera or two, a photo show or video documenting the impacts — both good and bad — of tourism on their villages.

Change must start with these girls. Perhaps they will be among Zimbabwe’s first generation of indigenous environmentalists or eco artists.

 

Special Experiences

“Young Explorers was a true gem – an experience our girls will never forget.”

We recently sent clients – a lovely couple with four daughters – on a Botswana Young Explorers safari. We knew this would be a great fit for their family as they expressed they wanted their daughters to be engaged, to learn but to also have fun! 

Young Explorers focuses on the whole family, offering up an incredible opportunity to discover the wonders of the African wilderness- together. Activities for children include learning to track animals, identify birds and start a fire with sticks. Families can explore the bush at their own pace, and expert guides offer parents a respite. 

Young Explorers is an exclusive experience. Only one family at a time has the use of the private, six-bed camp- including your own professional guide, personal chef, waiter, housekeeper and dedicated mokoro guides.  The guides are spectacular!  Engaging, entertaining, loving what they do and it shows.   

This is one of the most heartfelt and exciting experiences a family can have traveling together.  We love Young Explorers! 

 

 

Young Explorers was probably the highlight – just because it was so intimate and Opie was an amazing guide. Young Explorers Footsteps was a true gem – an experiences the girls will never forget. Having that experience first was really wonderful and got them to truly appreciate the wild. The elephants in camp on a daily basis definitely got everyone a bit excited.  Boris V.

Special Places

Just back from Kenya, GS traveler Cindy Krueger of Seattle give us a glimpse into this remote, dramatic place that filled her soul.

“Ah, Sarara — an oasis in the midst of the Matthews Range of northern Kenya. This stunning place, in the 850,000-acre1 Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, has a little of everything. You can walk to the singing wells2 or up into the hills with your guide, unusual in safari country.

“Enjoying the unspoiled/authentic Samburu culture is part of the magic of Sarara, and a village visit is possible. While they are related to the Maasai, the Samburu are distinct from them.

“The watering hole beneath the camp ensures wildlife near the lodge. It is lit at night, and watching the ‘ellies drink under a starlit sky is quite the experience. Sarara has a wonderful conservation story, which is getting better every year. Don’t miss a visit to the just-licensed elephant orphanage at Reteti Elephant Sanctuary. Feeding time for the little ones is a great time to be there.

“Your hosts are warm and welcoming. The food and accommodations are wonderful. You are the only lodge in hundreds of square miles, so tranquility is guaranteed.” — Cindy Krueger, GS traveler from Seattle

1. About 1,328 square miles, or slightly larger than Rhode Island.
2. Local men sing individual songs at wells to call their cattle to drink. Each herd knows its song