2015 News and nuggets
2015 has been another spectacular year across all of our safari regions. Here’s a sampling of scenes and events that you might want to share with family and friends.
It must be Christmas!
Our good friend James Varden, one of Zimbabwe’s most highly regarded Professional Guides of Mana Pools and Hwange fame spent some time in Tanzania’s Grumeti Reserve recently. Here’s his shot of Zimbabwe’s national flower, the Flame Lily, found in full bloom in the Serengeti early in December
Africa’s not a country!
Late last year we turned to Kai Krause and his work to get some perspective on Africa following the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. If you’ve read that article our perspective included a promise that some things just don’t change….so yes, we did celebrate the new rains!
Vanishing Kings – the documentary
Namibia’s Desert Lion Conservation Project was started by Dr Flip Stander in 1998. One of the prides is subject of a documentary by Will and Lianne Steenkamp, “Vanishing Kings”. Follow this link for more including the short trailer. The documentary premiere took place in Windhoek in July 2015. That DVD is devilishly hard to get hold off, it’s easier to get on safari so here’s a sample of one of Namibia’s most extraordinary safaris with an opportunity to encounter both the desert lions and desert-adapted elephants of the Kaokoveld.
Brendon Cremer has been a long standing contributor to our social media albums…here’s one of his most popular: “Angry love”. Brendon is one of the many professional photographers whom we’ve celebrated this year. To mention a few others: Tom Varley, Anja Denker, Johan Elzenga, Olwen Evans, Ana Leuzinger, Tami Walker, Billy Dodson, Andy Rouse, David Lloyd, Trevor Hardaker, Zane Engelbrech, Andy Lowe, Morkel Erasmus, Fred von Winckelmann, Lourens Lee, Jeremy Woodhouse, Michael Poliza, Will Burrard-Lucas, Wim Vorster, Karl Lindsay, Keith Connelly, Marlon du Toit, Chad Cocking, Sean Braine, Noel Smith, Carole Deschuymere, Michael Lorentz, Andy Richter…thanks to all for supporting conservation efforts in Africa!
Cecil the Lion
One African story that really sold newspapers this year was about one of Hwange’s famous lions, Cecil. Get the Wiki story or better still, Scott Ramsay’s interview with WildCRU researcher Brent Stapelkamp. Here’s a clip of “Cecil the Lion” courtesy Pamela Robinson.
Tami Walker in Hwange
Tami lives in Victoria Falls. As a photographic artist her speciality is Africa wildlife, scenery and landscapes. Her work from Zimbabwe is simply inspiring! See her portfolio and follow her on Facebook.
Tusks at Dusk in Hwange by Tami Walker
Who’s king of the jungle?
Here’s an epic battle between a young bull elephant and 14 lions! Filmed on a drive from Chinzombo in the Luangwa Valley. Wait for the full retreat towards the end. Thanks to Norman Carr Safaris for sharing Steve Baker’s 3 minute clip.
Life’s an itch for elephants
It doesn’t matter how thick skinned you are the only way to deal with an itch is to scratch. Andy Hogg shows how the Mfuwe elephants go through their paces from delicate sand bathing to precision-branch-placement to fallen-trunk-rubbing to deal with things.
The elephants in the room
Every year between late October and mid December the Luangwa Valley’s Mfuwe Lodge elephants stick around camp and use the lobby to get at their favourite wild mango fruits. Here’s another from Andy Hogg…
This clip is less than a minute long – a young elephant throws down the gauntlet! (Thanks again to Andy….)
So if lions and elephants, small critters, birds, splendid vistas or some extraordinary freedom to explore remote places in Africa is on your agenda next year then take some time to read about
“going beyond the obvious” – how to plan an extraordinary safari for first timers and seasoned travellers
our “secret seasons” – how to beat the crowds and get the best possible deals
going “beyond luxury on safari“, or more correctly how to go about getting some honest African dirt between your toes
Most Fridays we poke a bit of fun on social media, if you’re not a Facebook fan then some snippets are found on our blog. This shot from Mana Pools in Zimbabwe might not have been so funny at the time but it’s fairly typical for some of these gentle giants to get up pretty close when least expected.
This only happens in Africa….transport, signs, technology, daily life with lashings of pure imagination. There’s a weekly stream of snippets on the Zambezi facebook page or click her for our Friday humour blog.
Rupert Finch-Hatton added Hoopoe guide Tito’s clip of the migration crossing near Kogatende (Serengeti, Tanzania) during the September equinox.
Old friend Alan Fox sent us a longer video version of wildebeest choosing a difficult route whilst crossing the Mara River.
Victoria Falls becomes Victoria Walls?!
Towards the end of the dry season some jokers reported that Victoria Falls had dried up! Not true – it’s all about the annual Zambezi cycle, the river’s always low before the seasonal summer floods….explore safari ideas from Victoria Falls.
Victoria Falls – wet and dry season comparison (click for the explanation)
Take some time out, you’ll find the back-issues here:
- November 2015: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park; Robyn and David Foot; desert adapted wildlife; Laikipia; Selous; Mike Unwin on chameleons
- September 2015 Equinox: surf spots around Africa; an insider’s guide to Victoria Falls; with more on Rwanda, Gonerezhou and Malawi
- June 2015 Solstice: privately guided Botswana; Tanzania’s Tinga Tinga culture; the Okavango’s ebb and flow: Saadani, Kafue and Matobo Hills
- Northern Autumn 2014: “honest African dirt between your toes”; Nyungwe Forest Rwanda; Philip Briggs in Ethiopia; “50 reasons to visit Zambia”
- Northern Summer 2014: Desert talk in Namibia, Botswana and Kenya; Botswana travel guide; “the world’s most fearless animal”; the Caprivi; Eastern Highlands
- Northern Spring 2014: Sir David Attenborough’s 5 finest moments in Africa; Livingstone’s footsteps on the Upper Zambezi; Lower Zambezi canoeing; Brian Jackman in Kenya and Tanzania; the expert’s guide to Cape Town
A sample of safaris coming up in 2016
- Special offers from Victoria Falls: a series of discounted offers in and around Vic Falls
- Small group tours: set date safaris escorted by experts in their field
- The Zambezi Wine Safaris: Victoria Falls, Hwange, Cape Town and the Cape winelands hosted by sommelier Rebecca Mitchell (sample itinerary here)
- Paignton Zoo’s Great Rhino Project: a rare opportunity to participate alongside Paignton Zoo on conservation projects in Zimbabwe (sample itinerary here)
- Explore Zambia’s Luangwa: a core safari from Mfuwe Lodge to include the remote and seasonal bushcamps – ideally customised (sample itinerary here)
- Southern Africa’s best big 5 safari: a week long big 5 trip from Victoria Falls into Hwange National Park – easily combined with Botswana (sample itinerary here)
- Classic Okavango: an 8 day exploration into pristine wilderness in Botswana with 1st class accommodation and top notch guides (sample itinerary here)
- Mountain gorilla trekking: one of the quickest and simplest safaris for experiencing gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest