In the early 19th century, when the first European explorers, missionaries and ivory hunters pushed into the interior of southern Africa, they endured untold hardships: a mysterious river fever (that we have now identified as malaria), typhoid from the river water, and the dry impenetrable thirst-land of the Kalahari.
They didn’t know where these diseases came from, but attributed them to breathing in the dank air of river courses and swampy areas. // read more >
As 2015 draws to an end with the safari season now complete, we are busy planning for 2016 and 2017. Yet before we move on completely, I wanted to take a moment and look at some memories from safaris past.
With almost 200 days spent on safari this year, there are too many great moments to put down in one place, but I can’t resist sharing just a few: // read more >
On my last safari of the year, I had with me three very special guests. We had been talking about this safari for over three years and a lot of planning had gone into it.
It was their first trip to Africa and, needless to say, we all wanted to make sure that it was truly memorable.
So it was at Zarafa camp in the Linyanti where we found ourselves on the first evening. Flight delays meant that we got a later start than usual, but we were all happy to finally get settled into camp and were cruising through the bush as the heat of the day dissipated with a cool breeze as the sun dropped lower into the sky. // read more >
A walking safari is an experience like no other. When you’re in the bush on foot, you truly become part of the environment, and not just a spectator.
You become very aware of the sounds and smells of the wilderness, quickly tuning into the tracks that you are walking over, the alarm calls of the francolin, squirrels, baboons and vervet monkeys around you, warning of the presence of any predators nearby.
On the last canoe trail of the season, as we camped along the Selinda Spillway on our first night, relaxing underneath the clear starry sky, we were serenaded by two male lions roaring nearby. // read more >
It does seem to be getting more and more difficult today, to find myself away from the sounds of modern society. We become so accustomed to the noises of vehicles, airplanes, electric wires and refrigerators – the constant buzz of civilization. When these are removed, the silence is like a physical force and you find yourself suddenly unable to think what to do with no phone signal or wifi.
For these reasons, it is such a special experience to be able to spend five days in the wilderness without the sound of a car engine or generator – not even the hum of a fridge to hamper the sounds of the wild.
On the canoe trail, no one is going to get you from one end to the other, other than you. // read more >
Over the last few months, I have had the pleasure of guiding in the Selinda Reserve in Northern Botswana in the Linyanti, North East of the Okavango Delta. It’s a very special place wedged in between two fault lines, where the Kwando River flowing down from Angola and a small sliver of water connecting the Okavango system to the Linyanti, known as the Selinda Spillway, meet.
Needless to say, in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, any area of permanent water becomes a mecca for wildlife, and the Selinda Reserve is no exception.
It is home to three camps: Explorers, Selinda and Zarafa, as well as mobile canoeing and walking trails along the Selinda Spillway into the Zibadianja Lagoon.
I have spent a month exploring, paddling and walking all over this area, and in between safaris I have a lovely tent on the edge of a small tree island overlooking a large floodplain. // read more >
This old adage about an army is no less true when heading out on safari. A safari is, let’s not forget, an expedition to explore the wild places that connect us to what is really important. Whether it is a new area or a familiar place that we have been to time and again.
We continuously experience new adventures, and must of course ensure that we are properly provisioned for all of this.
I believe that there is no excuse for bad food. At any level, whether you are eating in a Michelin starred restaurant or cooking on a campfire under the starts, good, fresh ingredients and a passionate chef are all you need. // read more >
In March on the Selinda spillway, good rains had filled the floodplains and the warm weather presented us with a wonderful opportunity.
We rode up to the spillway and took our boots and chaps off and laid them on the bank before jumping in with the horses. Swimming up and down the channel with a family of three from England and six mad Irishmen – what an afternoon! // read more >
Rhino Poaching in Southern Africa in the last few years has escalated completely out of control.
During the eight years from 2000 to 2007, a total 106 rhinos were shot and killed for their horns in South Africa, with a high of 25 in 2002. In 2008 this rose to 83, 122 in 2009, and 333 in 2010.
2011 and 2012 saw a continued rise to 448 and 668 respectively. The numbers then jumped to 1004 in 2013 and in 2014 over 1214 rhinos were killed in South Africa alone. That is one rhino every eight hours. // read more >
As I sit back in Vancouver reflecting on our Rwanda trek, Botswana safari and Victoria Falls adventure with Michael, I pinch myself as I can hardly believe that it was real. It was the adventure of a lifetime and Michael had everything to do with that. From his contacts in Africa who arranged the travel and logistics, to his outfitters and the staff who saw to our creature comforts and physical needs, our trip was outstanding.
And then there was the guiding and tracking. Michael’s expertise, skill and knowledge were evident from the beginning and his genuine enthusiasm and love for the animals and birds we encountered was contagious. We saw and learned so much and best of all, it was fun, fun, fun.