If you have any questions or would like further information on anything contained within this blog or some general advice on travel to Africa please call us on: 0044 1227 753181 or email info@puresafari.com

Monday, 5 December 2011

Elephant due to give birth at Abu Camp

Sherini, one of the famed elephants of Abu Camp, is to give birth to her third calf in mid to end December 2011. Sherini is one of the original six young elephant orphans saved from a cull in the Kruger National Park. Known for her maternal attributes of calmness, patience and a loving nature, she has given birth to Pula and Abu, and all at Abu Camp are waiting with bated breath for the latest arrival of the Abu elephant family.

This wonderful event however means that certain steps have had to be taken at Abu Camp to ensure the safety of both humans and animals, from Sherini herself (to ensure a healthy birth) to the herd as a whole.

Therefore, prior to the birth, and in order to have as little stress as possible on the expectant mother, Sherini will not be ridden from the end of November 2011 until the end of January 2012 – only three guests at a time will be able to ride over this period.

Because elephants tend to become very excited at the birth of a calf, as well as very protective – particularly for the first few days of a calf’s life – no elephant experiences will take place for five days following the birth. After the initial five days, the calf should be stronger and move more confident, allowing guests to participate in our elephant activities. We believe the arrival of a new born calf will provide guests with an exciting and personal window into the life of a family herd of pachyderms. Of course the activity is immeasurably enhanced as the focus of the herd – and the guests – is all on the newest member of the Abu family. As with all our elephant safari activities, the safety of the herd and our guests during this exciting time takes precedence.

For the first few days while the calf “finds its legs,” the elephants will remain close to camp and guests will be able to participate fully in all the other elephant activities in camp – game drives, mokoro excursions, the Star Bed and more – aside from the once-in-a-lifetime experience of watching the herd interact with the days-old calf – something only a privileged few get to witness.

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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Migration Movement Update!

It was been raining on a daily basis in Serengeti which has made the wildebeest move very quickly towards the south. The smaller herds are around Central Seronera spread out between the Moru and Maasai Kopjes. The larger herds are already at Naabi around the Gol and Golini Kopjes. There is plenty of green pasture for the animals but also
great hunting opportunities for the predators!

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Friday, 25 November 2011

US military equipment to be used in fight against rhino poaching.

Stone Holdings, a specialist security design and concept company, and wildlife monitoring organisation Wildlife ACT have been successful in obtaining licensing for U.S. Military radar technology to be used in the fight against rhino and other wildlife poaching. The group will be bringing it to South Africa this month.

Trials conducted at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, a private game reserve about two and a half hours drive from Cape Town, South Africa, have proved extremely successful in identifying intruders on foot, in vehicles and in the air in a game reserve or any other fenced-off area.

The principle of the system is that it will enable reserve managers and farmers to secure the perimeters of their respective properties and to identify poachers and trespassers before they are even able to enter the area. It will also ensure that intruders are not able to approach rhinos or other animals and in this way will help to minimise the huge losses we are currently experiencing.

Dr. Simon Morgan from Wildlife ACT was optimistic about the process of securing the perimeter of reserves using this technology. "We have to keep up with the rapid advances of the poachers and prevent them from even getting close to the animals, so investigating the use of the capabilities of this type of equipment is important in the efforts against these incursions," he said.

The system will use a three prong approach to the poaching issue, with a military spec radar anchoring the system. Further testing and fine tuning of the application is currently underway to ensure that all scenarios are covered and each installation will need to be custom designed, depending on the geographical layout of the land, and the level of detection that will be required.

"South Africa presents a whole new challenge to this system and various adaptations need to be done to ensure that all the challenges are met with positive outcomes," says Morgan.

The final product, produced by the unique partnership between Stone Holdings and Wildlife ACT, will be deployed in the near future and the group is excited about the prospect of eventually being able to have this special technology available to them to fight the war against the slaughter of our rich animal heritage.

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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Ivory Seized in Hong Kong

33 rhino horns and a quantity of ivory seized in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Customs have seized 33 rhino horns, 758 ivory chopsticks and 127 ivory bracelets that were concealed inside a container shipped to Hong Kong from South Africa. This seizure may provide a unique opportunity to gain insights into the criminal syndicates trafficking wildlife goods between Africa and Asia, according to TRAFFIC.

TRAFFIC supports the South African Department of Environmental Affairs in requesting the authorities in Hong Kong to send DNA samples of the seized goods to the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of Pretoria in South Africa for examination. If the horn samples can be matched with records in the rhino DNA database it may be possible to identify the individual animals that were poached for their horns.

“Such an effort could yield major clues about who is behind this consignment,” said Tom Milliken, TRAFFIC’s rhino expert.

Destined for the Chinese market
This is the largest rhino horn seizure made in the current poaching crisis. Viet Nam is considered the pre-eminent contemporary market for rhino horn in Asia, and authorities in Viet Nam have previously seized rhino horn transported from Hong Kong by air, but the scale and method of transport suggest the shipment may have been destined elsewhere.

“The fact worked ivory was also present suggests the 33 rhino horns were likely destined for the greater Chinese market,” Milliken added.

“That’s a very worrying development given the scale of this seizure, and an important indication that the Chinese market is becoming an active phenomenon in rhino horn trafficking.”

No Arrests
No arrests have so far been made, although authorities in Hong Kong have confirmed the horns are genuine and say investigations are ongoing.

Under Hong Kong’s Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing unmanifested cargoes is liable to a maximum fine of HKD2 million (USD257,000) and imprisonment for seven years.

In addition, under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing endangered species for commercial purposes is liable to a maximum fine of HKD5 million (USD642,000) and imprisonment for two years.

“This case highlights the need for South African Port Authorities to invest in scanning equipment and up their game in terms of surveillance of the country’s export cargo,” says Markus Burgener of TRAFFIC’s fisheries programme. The port of Cape Town is also a major conduit for illegal shipments of abalone to Hong Kong.

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Friday, 11 November 2011

Client Feedback: Unguja Lodge

Hi Kylie.
We had a fabulous time in Unguja Lodge. The owners were not there but their stand in manager Martin was great. The accommodation was fabulous, the rear villas with the small pool are better, slightly larger and you have more monkeys and wild life visit you than the ones on the sea front. 

The dive master Nick is great, very professional, great at leading the dives and is fun. The staff were all very friendly and very helpful. Not an awful lot to do around Kizimkazi but that is the beauty of the place.

Great place to stay. I will recommend the lodge to friends.



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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Sad News: Rhino Poached at Shamwari Game Reserve

The Shamwari Game Reserve situated in the Eastern Cape of South Africa is deeply saddened to announce that in the early hours of this morning, it tragically lost an adult female rhino cow which was tranquillised and the horn gruesomely removed by poachers.

A 22 month old bull calf was also tranquillised and his horn also removed but he was found and taken to the Animal Rehabilitation Centre. His horn was removed with minor damage to his face and Dr Johan Joubert is hopeful that he will recover. The calf also suffered an injured back leg which is carefully being monitored.

States Joe Cloete - Group General Manager - Shamwari Group; “The investigation into the poaching incident commenced this morning with Cape Nature Conservation, Organised Crime and the SAPS being present. Rodney Visser, the Shamwari Group Security Manager, is heading up  the investigation. The scene was secured in order for the forensic team to do their work without disturbance. At this stage there have been no arrests made but the investigation continues.”

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Flippered Journey from North Island

Unlike the hawksbill turtle, numbers of green turtle females coming on land to nest differ substantially from year to year. Hence, after 2010 having been a fantastic green turtle season at North Island, with a spectacular 156 tracks, it was a pleasant surprise that 2011 continued with relatively high numbers (66 tracks). Hence more exciting turtle activities to share with guests and colleagues!

Our general "watch-but-do-not-touch" policy on North Island means that we interfere only when turtle nests are in danger. This was the case with one nest that was laid too low on the beach on the 23rd of July. Elliott Mokhobo (Environment Assistant) had therefore been keeping a close eye on the marked nest during his daily early morning patrols. On the 3rd of September, it was found in grave danger of being washing away. Together with Linda Vanherck (Resident Biologist), they decided to intervene. Enthusiastic guests joined forces to save the nest that contained 162 eggs (on average a turtle lays between 150-200 eggs). The eggs were put in a foam box, covered with sand and taken to the environmental office.

On the 16th of September, a little earlier than expected (as normally green turtle nests hatch between 55 to 60 days after laying), we were overjoyed to see our first hatchling break the surface. Subsequently, the foam box was inundated with turtles and over the next five days we released a total of 140 hatchlings that had successfully hatched out of their eggs. 

Nests in the office in the past have shown a lot of variation in synchronicity of hatching, with some hatchlings all emerging simultaneously and therewith allowing for a release in bigger batches, making it safer for them to reach the deeper waters where predation is less. This nest's hatchlings emerged in smaller batches, ecologically not good, but giving us more opportunities to share the excitement of witnessing babies begin their amazing journey to the great unknown. 

The statistic that only 1 in 1 000 or even 1 in 10 000 (when poaching occurs) turtles will reach a reproductive age sure left guests and staff convinced of the continued need for conservation of this endangered species.

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African wild dog tracked travelling 250 miles!

One of the longest dispersal distances recorded for this critically endangered species.

A male African wild dog, recently photographed in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve in Botswana, has been identified by scientists and was last seen in April 2010 in the Save Valley in eastern Zimbabwe, some 250 miles (400km) away. This is among the longest distances recorded for dispersal for wild dogs and underscores the need for large expanses of habitat to safeguard this critically endangered species.

The dog is one of two males in the same group that travelled this long distance.

The discovery is the work of four projects: The Carnivore Conservation Group, The Painted Dog Project, Northern Tuli Predator Project, and Lowveld Wild Dog Project, as part of the regional network for sharing information that has been set up under the Range Wide Program for cheetah and wild dog conservation hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

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Monday, 24 October 2011

Sad News: Another two rhino shot dead in Kruger.

Two white rhinos - one cow and her calf - have been found shot dead in Kruger National Park. The two animals were both shot on the head and only one front horn was removed, the rest still intact.

‘This is truly a despicable act and would like to encourage everybody to come forward and report any suspicious movements because criminals who conduct this evil assault on our wildlife must be put away,' said William Mabasa of SANParks.

The poachers were not arrested.

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Thursday, 20 October 2011

UPDATE: Security Situation in Kenya

Following recent incursions across the border into Kenya by Somali bandits, resulting in the murder of one tourist and the kidnapping of four other foreign nationals in isolated beach resorts and a refugee camp near the Somali border, the government of Kenya gave assurances that serious efforts would be made to enhance security along the border with Somalia to counteract the threat from Somali terrorists and to protect visitors and Kenyans from further attacks.

The government has now taken action, as promised, to have a stronger military presence along the land border with Somalia in the remote north-eastern region of Kenya to stop any further incursions into Kenya by Somali bandits or by the Al Shabab terrorist group. The Kenya Army has deployed troops along the border and has crossed into Somalia to ensure that the area all along the border is cleared of any bandits or suspected terrorists. Kenya is also giving air and ground support to the Somali government, which is carrying out its own offensive against Al Shabab. At the coast, the Kenya Navy is co-operating with the international navies present in the Indian Ocean for counter-piracy exercises, and has naval patrol boats in the Lamu area to intercept and inspect any boats coming towards Kenya from the Somali coastal waters.

As expected, the Al Shabab terrorist organisation has retaliated by issuing threats which have been publicised by the international media but security analysts have pointed out that they appear to lack the capacity for any effective military response. Western diplomats in Nairobi have praised Kenya for taking prompt and effective action to enhance security along the land border.

The wildlife parks and reserves in Kenya are all located far away from the border with Somalia and have never been considered to be under any threat, while the beach resorts south of Lamu are also considered to be safe in view of their location being at a greater distance from the border with Somalia.

Visitors can be assured that they will continue to receive the normal friendly welcome and hospitality for which Kenyans are renowned and that they can travel to Kenya for safaris and beach holidays in the knowledge that their safety and security remains a high priority for the Kenyan government and for all of us in Kenya's tourism sector.

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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

New species of antelope discovered in West Africa.

Scientists from The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Erik Verheyen, Gontran Sonet and Zoltán T. Nagy, have, with a team of international researchers, discovered a new species of antelope that is found in Togo, Benin, and Nigeria.

It is a very small antelope, measuring no more than around 40 cm at the shoulder and weighing four to six kilograms. It belongs to the duiker subfamily of antelopes. The Afrikaans name, 'duiker', meaning 'diver', comes from the habit these timid animals have of diving into the vegetation at the slightest sign of danger.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Joining forces to beat the rhino poachers.

In the face of South Africa's escalating rhino poaching problem, conservation agencies have joined forces to fast-track urgently needed anti-poaching initiatives.

Fifteen separate conservation organisations are signing up to create Project Rhino, allowing for the co-ordination of conservation efforts to eliminate poaching in KwaZulu-Natal.

The members of Project Rhino also recognise that the work in conserving and protecting rhinos from poaching is symbolic of the threat faced by all wildlife and that the poaching of rhino is indicative of the larger environmental crisis that South Africa is facing.

This initiative has been endorsed by Dr Ian Player, one of the world's foremost conservationists, founder of the Wilderness Foundation and co-founder of the Magqubu Ntombela Trust, and widely credited with saving the white rhino from extinction in the 1960s.

Project Rhino also sees highly credible and long standing organisations speaking unanimously, as a way to ensure that the public and government are consistently informed of where their support is going.

The agreement between the founders is due to be signed at the beginning of next month.

The founding members of Project Rhino are: Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Wildlands Conservation Trust (WCT), Wildlife ACT, Wilderness Foundation, Thanda Private Game Reserve, African Conservation Trust (ACT), Phinda Private Game Reserve (& Beyond), Zululand Rhino Reserve, Zululand Wildlife Security Initiative, Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA), WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project, Wildlife & Environment Society of SA (WESSA), Space for Elephants Foundation (SEF), Magqubu Ntombela Foundation and the Thanda Foundation.

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Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Migration Movement Update!

The big herds of wildebeest have started crossing the Mara River to Northern Serengeti. There has been a lot of rain, which we are very pleased about, around Kogatende and Nyamalumbwa which is providing the herds with good grazing. Our clients have been lucky to spot numerous crossings as well as rhino with calves and few cheetah and lions enjoying the return of the wildebeest and zebra in bigger numbers into the Serengeti. If the rains continue we do think that the herds will be arriving down to central Serengeti quite quickly this year.

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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Client Feedback

Hi Bruce,

We arrived back in the UK on Saturday from our magical holiday. The Safari and all arrangements were fantastic, we loved the Porini Mara camp it was perfect for us just what we wanted.

The Breezes hotel was absolutely divine, both my husband & I think that it is probably the best hotel we have ever stayed in. The food was amazing, the people lovely and the accommodation very comfortable and welcoming.

Everything else arranged by yourselves went like clockwork and the choices you made for us were just perfect.

Kind regards.

Shelley & Ian Floody

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Client Feedback - Rufiji - Mbweni - Neptune Pwani

HI Ed,

Sorry it's taken so long - but here, in writing at last, is the feedback I gave you over hte phone...

Overall - excellent holiday.

Safari - Rufiji River Camp was great. Tents very comfortable - and family tent essential given that tents are not very close and you can't walk around after dark. The game drives were great. We did a mix of full day and half day, mixed in with boat drives. We were never more than 7 on a safari. We didn't come across many other people, our guide / ranger was very knowledgeable and we saw lots of game. Boat safaris were also very good for seeing elephants, hippos crocs and birds. Only (marginal) complaint about the camp was the quantity of food. It was brought to the table by staff and you felt somewhat obliged to eat it even if you didn't want it.

We then flew to Zanzibar and spent 4 days at the Mbweni Ruins. Mbweni was a good base for exploring Stonetown and the shuttle bus was useful during the day and taxis were easy. As it was Ramadan, some of the restaurants in Stonetown were closed for August. Took a day trip to Chumbe Island from the hotel - which was great. Best meal of the holiday and the snorkeling was fab. It would have been fun to stay on Chumbe and have another go at snorkeling as you only get to do it for about an hour / hour and a half each day.

Neptune Pwani - great rooms (seaside). Great pool and generally hotel was good and staff were very friendly. Internet access was extortionate. Made good use of some of the animations and also the water sports centre - the windsurfing etc and the instructors were good. Also used the kite surfing at the adjacent hotel - somewhat disorganised but good fun. Had an excellent spice tour and also visited the north of the island for a jet ski safari. The evening entertainments in the hotel were quite fun. Main complaint was the quality of the food - which (with the exception of the pizza restaurant) wasn't great for the level of hotel.

Hope this is helpful.

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Monday, 26 September 2011

Zambian elections a truimph!

From an Atta reporter in Zambia:

There was some anxious waiting, some inevitable controversy, some reports of protests in the towns – but we now have the results of our tri-partite elections. After 20 years in power – MMD have listened to the people, bowed out and handed over the reins to new President Michael Chilufya Sata of the Patriotic Front ,the 5th President of Zambia .

Outgoing President Rupiah Banda said in his farewell speech :

He was gracious in defeat and the elections were free and fair. We have just watched the inauguration on TV. The sight of outgoing President Rupiah Banda together with the First Republican President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, accompanying the President Elect to the stand to be sworn in, surrounded by tens of thousands of cheering onlookers, was something to behold mbians are today extremely proud that this country is beacon of democracy and peace in an otherwise troubled world.All Zambians are today extremely proud that this country is a beacon of democracy and peace in an otherwise troubled world. We thank the outgoing President and wish President Sata all the best in his new role.

All Zambians are today extremely proud that this country is a beacon of democracy and peace in an otherwise troubled world. We thank the outgoing President and wish President Sata all the best in his new role.


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Saturday, 17 September 2011

Client Feedback


Thank you for this info.

I was happy to call and let you know that we had a very successful holiday. Everything you told me panned out and the accommodation booked (Kichanga, Saadani, Neptune Pwani, Chumbe and Mbweni Ruins) were all exactly as you had described. Each place easily matched or surpassed my expectations. Saddani in particular was a real treat -the place was beautiful, well run and idyllic and the bush babies at Mbweni were an unexpected treat! You were very patient with me at the outset, working out numerous options which worked within budget - offering options and thoughts on what would be good for my family. The planning was worth it as the trip offered great variety and something for everyone. The whole family had a fantastic time.

I must confess I was very anxious before we left at the prospect of the unknown and taking my three sons to Africa. Each time I spoke to you, or any of your team, I was always reassured as it was obvious that the staff really do have an excellent knowledge of the country and all matters associated with travelling to Tanzania and Zanzibar in particular. It was very comforting to speak to people who had an active knowledge of the place. An example of this was the precise advice on levels of tipping expected/usual. Details which are very helpful when you are feeling clueless! The team were always ready to answer all questions and could not have been more helpful.

The service from your guys on the ground in Zanzibar was also excellent. They were quietly efficient, all transfers/pick ups, seamless and well organised.

My only regret is that we didn't get to see more!

Next time!

Thank you again. I only hope we manage to sort another trip out in the future -possibly a more substantial safari.....

I will be recommending your service to anyone who remotely suggests a holiday!

All the best,


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Thursday, 8 September 2011

Serengeti Highway update.

We would like to update you by this email about the developments concerning the project a building a road across the Serengeti.

We have been informed by the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) that the East African Court of Justice has agreed to hear and determine a Reference filed by Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) demanding Tanzanian Government to stop the construction of 800km road across Serengeti National Park. Justice John Mkwawa delivered the much awaited EAC Court judgment that dismissed Tanzanian's government objections to the application filed by Africa Network for Animal Welfare (Anaw).
However, Tanzanian Attorney General who objected EAC Court jurisdiction arguing the country has sovereign right to develop infrastructure within its boundaries has indicated that Tanzania Government will appeal against this rulling.

Dismissing the objection, the judge agreed with Anaw lawyer Saitabao ole Kanchory that whereas Tanzanian government has a right to develop infrastructure, the court has the power to determine whether such developments were within the law. He observed that case was rightfully before the court and will proceed to full hearing.

Anaw moved to the regional court on December 10, 2010 to stop the project on grounds that the road would harm the park's ecology. It argues that construction of the road across Serengeti- Tanzanians largest National Park, also bordering Kenya's Maasai-Mara Game Reserve, infringes Articles 5, 89,111, 112,114 and 116 of EAC Treaty.

TATO and other parties objecting the construction of the said road anxiously await the decision of this matter.

We shall keep you posted on any new developments.

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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Client Feedback

Hi Bruce

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you but I have had my hands full since my return.

I am glad I requested the Norfolk and it was not one you had recommended as it was very disappointing. The hotel it’s self is very nice as were the staff. However the food was very expensive and very poor quality. The organisation or lack of was a problem as we were told to be ready at 6.30 for our game drive in Nairobi National Park. We were told that they would provide packed breakfast and lunch. However we didn’t actually get picked up until 8.30 and would therefore have had time to eat breakfast in the restaurant. When we were finally ready to go the hotel had forgotten our lunch. Nobody was able to tell us when we were being picked up for transfer to the mara and they didn’t find the itinerary that had been left at the desk for us until we paid the bill to depart. I would not go back there and would not recommend this hotel to anyone. Not the best start to our holiday.

Fortunately your choices were much better and I loved the Mara Porini camps. Although I had requested 5 days in one camp as I didn’t want to move around we were actually in the Ol Kinyei Camp for 3 days and Lion Camp for 2. I was a bit miffed at first but soon realised it was not a bad thing at all.

Ol Kinyei was the best place I have ever stayed in. The camp was really well appointed but the staff, the food and the service were just amazing. The small touches they add to look after you and ensure you enjoy your stay are extremely thoughtful and really do make a big difference I have never been so well looked after anywhere in the world. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Kenya this is a must go to place. The wild life was wonderful and local area outstanding.

Lion camp was less well appointed and the staff were wonderful but not to the same level as the Ol Kinyei Camp. However the guides were totally awesome and the game was much more prolific. They managed to find not just one Leopard but two and they then managed to go back at right time to find the young male Leopard hunting as they had predicted. I am overall glad that our stay was split but I don’t think I would be as keen to stay at the Lion Camp again. I will however be going back to the Ol Kinyei Camp.

Samatian Island Lodge was the most amazingly tranquil place I have ever been. Why people rush to the coast when this totally wonderful chilled out place is available I will never know. The food, staff and management were all wonderful and certainly gave Ol Kinyei a run for its money. Our every want was accommodated. The one and only down side was the bugs and insects which got a bit much once or twice. Everywhere was spotlessly clean so I’m not talking anything nasty or unexpected but the time of year was certainly a factor. I would highly recommend the lodge to anyone. This is definitely Africa at its best and most relaxed.

The Giraffe Manor more than lived up to my expectations. I have been waiting 20 years to visit here and it did not disappoint. The most wonderful way to end our holiday.

As you know I had to really persuade Dave to visit Kenya and was very nervous about going there in case he didn’t like it. However Dave fell in love with Kenya and said he thought this was the best holiday we have ever had. It clearly was head and shoulders above anything else we have ever done. All the transfers went like clockwork without any delays or problems. Well done to everyone involved in organising our trip it was fabulous.

Many thanks for all your efforts Bruce you are a star! You didn’t let me down :-) Well done!

With Kind regards and best wishes


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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Nairobi National Park Bypass

A new bypass could destroy the migration to Nairobi National Park

What's it all about?

Some leading environmentalists are raising concern for this new Bypass which they claim will destroy the migration of wildebeest and zebra into the Nairobi National Park

What bypass?
The proposal, financed by the Chinese, is to construct the "Greater Southern bypass" near the Nairobi National Park .This is not the Southern bypass which goes north of the Nairobi Park, but the road that goes south of the Park. The Greater Southern by-pass will link the Mombasa highway with Nairobi- Narok- Bomet- Kisii highway at Suswa. The road will be constructed from Lukenya through Kitengela-Ongata Rongai to Ngong where it will branch into two; one heading to Rironi while the other runs up to Suswa.

What are they saying?
If constructed along the proposed route, this road will effectively strangle Kenya’s oldest and one if her most important National Parks, and Nairobi’s greatest asset, the Nairobi National Park. The highway will sever the migration routes of wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, Cokes hartebeest, eland, Grants gazelle, Thompson’s gazelle, and many other wildlife species including endangered cheetah and lions which depend on the land south of the National Park. The Nairobi Park is dependent on this wildlife resource for its acclaim and the wildlife depends on the Park for its survival during the dry season.

Nairobi Park is a globally recognized model park because of its location in a capital city. It is Kenya’s oldest National Park and is visited by tens of thousands of visitors (both international and local) every year; is a major environmental education resource for Kenya and generates over US $500,000 annually from park fees alone.

Is all the tourist industry against this bypass?
Not necessarily. Many feel that urban creep so close to this huge city is inevitable. The traffic jams are so bad now that it is affecting tourist transfers to and from central Nairobi, Wilson airport and JKIA international airport. These new bypasses are essential to get traffic moving again and there is bound to be some effect on this National Park within the city. Some believe the key is to find a balance between the inevitable growth of this burgeoning African capital, and the protection of this unique and valuable park with its wildlifecorridors.

What is the solution?
Environmentalists are offering to provide an environmental, social and economic justification for an alternative and less damaging route that involves upgrading an existing road network south of the Nairobi Park via Malili, Konza, Isinya, Kiserian and Ngong. This proposal will bring major social and economic benefits to the communities who live along that existing road, and will not lead to major degradation of this important ecosystem.

Alternatively, others suggest that tunnels for the proposed road could be built in places allowing the migration to continue as before. The benefits derived from constructing wildlife crossings to extend wildlife migration corridors over and under major roads, appear to outweigh the costs of construction and maintenance and have been used successfully in other parts of the world.

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Monday, 22 August 2011

Elephant Pepper Camp awarded.

Elephant Pepper Camp has been awarded the highest form of eco-rating certification by Ecotourism Kenya, for demonstrating outstanding levels of socio-economic investment, responsible resource use and environmental conservation.

There are only 2 other Gold rated facilities in Kenya, proving the high level of practices required for such a recognition. Ecotourism Kenya has applauded Elephant Pepper Camp for attaining this level of excellence, and has commended the camp's commitment to responsible tourism.

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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Baby Gorilla Rescued

An infant mountain gorilla has been confiscated from poachers by Rwandan police in the town of Gisenyi on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Police arrested the Congolese poachers holding the infant as well as two Rwandans who were helping the poachers. The gorilla had been captured near the Bukima area of Virunga National Park, according to the poachers, indicating that it belongs to a critically endangered population. The poachers claimed they kept the gorilla for about six days, feeding him bananas and sugar cane until attempting to smuggle him to Rwanda.

Veterinarians from Mountain Gorilla Veterinarian Project (MGVP), partners of Virunga National Park, took the infant gorilla, estimated at about 8-months-old, to the orphan care facility of Kinigi in Rwanda where they will perform a full health check. According to the veterinarians, the infant seems to be strong despite suffering from a bad cough and runny nose.

If you would like to see gorilla's in their natural habitat please visit our Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge page for details.

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Client Feedback - The Tides

Morning Bruce - just a short note to let you know that we arrived back from our holiday at The Tides late last night (to a country in some disarray!). We could not be happier with the standard of care we received throughout our holiday and the excellent arrangements you made went (pretty well) without a hitch. You have made it possible for two rather unadventurous travellers to have a really amazing experience and we will definitely use Pure Zanzibar again if ever we are to return to Tanzania - and we hope we will. We will certainly recommend your service to anyone who should ask. Please pass on our gratitude to your colleagues at Dial-a-Flight who also contributed to a trouble free experience.

We particularly enjoyed our visit to the school at Ushongo Mbaoni and, now that we are back home, will try to make arrangements to continue to support it in some way.

Thank you again,

Lesley Abercromby and Roger Street

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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Client Feedback - Kilindi


Kilindi was absolutely outstanding in every way. Without doubt one of the most impressive properties I have ever stayed at – it was exceptional in every way.

We will be heading back .. Thank you for persuading us to change – money well spent.

All the best,


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Saturday, 9 July 2011

Poaching Update

Rhino poaching surge continues in 2011

June 2011. Nearly 200 rhinos have been killed in South Africa during the first half the year, according to statistics from the national parks department. The rate of poaching, if not curbed, could exceed 2010 levels when a record 333 rhinos were killed in the country.

193 rhinos killed in 2011 so far - 126 in the Kruger alone
South Africa has lost at least 193 rhinos during the first six months of 2011 with Kruger National Park continuing to be hardest hit. The world famous safari destination has already lost 126 rhinos to poaching this year in addition to 146 killed there in 2010.

"Poaching is being undertaken almost without exception by sophisticated criminals, sometimes hunting from helicopters and using automatic weapons," says Dr. Joseph Okori, WWF's African Rhino Programme Coordinator. "South Africa is fighting a war against organized crime that risks reversing the outstanding conservation gains it made over the past century."

South Africa is home to the largest populations of African rhinos, including white rhinos and critically endangered black rhinos.

Arrests and convictions
In response to the recent poaching crisis, law enforcement measures have been increased resulting in 123 arrests and six successful convictions so far in 2011. Last year South African authorities arrested a total of 165 suspected poachers and convicted four. Judicial proceedings are ongoing for many of the suspects.

"We are pleased to see more successful convictions of poachers," said Dr. Morné du Plessis, CEO of WWF South Africa. "Applying strict penalties for wildlife crimes such as rhino poaching will demonstrate the South African government's commitment to maintaining this important part of the country's heritage."

In June, neighbouring Swaziland lost its first rhino to poaching in nearly 20 years sparking fears that the crime wave could be spreading. Authorities in Swaziland arrested three suspects within days of the killing, but have since released them on bail.

WWF opposes the granting of bail to poaching suspects due to the gravity of their crimes and their high flight risk. Suspects at large continue to pose a threat to rhinos and can cause delays to judicial proceedings.

"We cannot allow poaching to proliferate across rhino range countries," Dr. Okori says. "Swift prosecutions of wildlife crimes and strict sentences for perpetrators will serve as a deterrent to potential criminals. Poachers should be shown no leniency."

‘Traditional medicine'
Rhino poaching is being fuelled by demand for horns in Asia, where they are highly valued for traditional medicine, although rhino horn has no scientifically proven healing properties.

"The poaching surge shows no sign of abating," says Tom Milliken, Elephant & Rhino Programme Coordinator with TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring group. "Only a concerted international enforcement pincer movement, at both ends of the supply and demand chain, can hope to nip this rhino poaching crisis in the bud."

WWF and TRAFFIC provide technical assistance to wildlife management authorities and support greater inter-agency law enforcement cooperation. In May WWF financed the purchase of an ultralight aircraft for rangers patrolling against poachers in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province.

TRAFFIC is a joint programme of WWF and IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Migration Update

Our guides have reported that the migration is hugely fragmented. Some herds in the Western Corridor and some other sizeable ones around the Lobo and Mbuzi Mawe and Togoro Plains Areas. There are also reports of trail blazing herds stretching from Kleins and up into Bologonja. The afternoons have been mostly rainy with some amazing thunder storms at times. This very unseasonable weather could explain why the migration is so broken up since we should be in our dry season!!

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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Client Feedback


I meant to get back to you.

Geoff had a fantastic time on "MY DREAM HOLIDAY". The safari experience was unreal and the hotel, diving, service and food at the Palms was outstanding apparently.

Some day I may be able to afford a similar holiday. I've always wanted to go after Christmas but its perhaps the most expensive time.

Bruce I'm known it the drinks trade in Ireland as "Minister for Tourism" with the level of incentive trips we do. I am always asked for advice and opinion from people and customers (bar owners) re various holidays. I will have no hesitation in recommending you and Pure Zanzibar in the future. You will definitely get business out of it in the future.

Thanks for everything.

Kind regards


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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Client Feedback

Dear Ed,

Hope you are well. I have booked my Emirates flights for the agreed dates. After 3 months of researching, having everything booked for my honeymoon is a dream. Me and my partner are so excited and I have to admit that I am much more excited about my honeymoon than my wedding.

I owe you a massive thank you. I re-iterate that the whole process of dealing with yourself was one of the best customer services experience I have ever had. You have been very very patient throughout several conversations we have had right from the start. You always came across very friendly and were fully happy to hear what I wanted, in order to cater for my needs and budget. I found all your help and advice very honest, completely impartial and all in my interest. Personal recommendations such as exactly which room/suite to stay in a specific hotel for its decor and better views is just stunning and is something that will always stick in my mind. Little things like where to eat and what tours to do. You never expect such detailed advice. Such local knowledge is invaluable in deciding an important trip. I also appreciate you trying to get good deals and offers from your providers for our honeymoon.

All in all, I am so happy to have booked my honeymoon through yourself. I absolutely love my itinerary and find the price to be competitive. Having all local flights, transfers and hotels organised really has taken all headache away.

I hope the trip itself is as good as the experience of organising and booking it has been. It has been a pleasure and I would certainly book with Pure Zanzibar and most certainly with yourself again.

Thank you.

Dr. Khan

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Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Antelope Release Success

Action for the Wild, Colchester Zoo's charity, is thrilled to report on the release of several antelope species at the Umphafa Private Nature Reserve in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

In total 7 impala, 21 red hartebeest and 22 blue wildebeest were introduced to the reserve in April and have settled in very well. It is hoped that the introduction will increase the future breeding populations of antelope species at the reserve. Antelope are important for providing a prey base for carnivorous species, like the cheetah, but are threatened by the spread of human settlements, increased farming and increased demand for meat.

Breeding stock
Rebecca Perry, Conservation Director said ‘These recent releases are exciting developments for UmPhafa. The releases of the wildebeest represent the first for this species on UmPhafa and the new populations of red hartebeest and impala will serve to top up our existing herds. It is hoped that these species will go on to breed in the future and help us on our way to reaching carrying capacity for these species.'

Action for the Wild opened the reserve in 2006 and has been working to rehabilitate and restore the previously over-cultivated land of the reserve, whilst introducing native species to create a haven for South African wildlife. The reserve has already released thirteen species to date including giraffe, zebra, blesbok, servals, African rock pythons, common reedbuck, nyala, waterbuck, leopard tortoises and white rhinos. The white rhinoceros release has been particularly successful with the introduced females having both given birth to new young this year.

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Monday, 6 June 2011

Gorilla fee reduced for off-peak treks.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has announced that it is to cut the cost of gorilla tracking permits in low demand periods.

The new rates will be:

Foreign non-residents will now pay $350 - reduced from $500
Foreign residents will pay $250
East Africans will pay Shs100,000 from Shs250,000.

Gorilla tracking is the major earner in the Uganda's tourism industry. Uganda's two parks are home to more than 50% of the world's mountain gorilla population, thought to be around 840, across Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda is habilitating two new families of gorillas which will join six others later in 2011. Each gorilla family is allowed eight visitors a day.

It is thought that the reduced rates will apply from March to May and October.

Please follow the link for more info on Gorilla tracking and Clouds Mountain Lodge.

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Thursday, 2 June 2011

Three Poachers Shot

Soldiers have shot three poachers in the north of the Olifants River in the Kruger National Park.

"The poachers fired on the South African soldiers who then returned fire," says spokeswoman Lieutnant Colonel Marinda Meyer. "An AK47 rifle, one Bruno .458 hunting rifle, two axes and two cell phones were found in their possession."

Anti rhino poaching role
The troops are patrolling the border area within The Kruger Park, as well as in the Mbuzini and Komatipoort areas. The troops are working with the police, South African Revenue Service and other government departments involved in crime-combating operations, the military said. The SANDF contributes and plays a very critical role in the curbing of rhino-poaching as part of their support to SAN Parks along the Kruger National Park which borders the neighbouring countries."

In April SA Army soldiers deployed in the KNP arrested four Mozambican nationals, also for suspected poaching. They were in possession of a hunting rifle, cell phones, binoculars and axe, the Department of Defence said in a statement at the time.

The state BuaNews agency reported in late March that some 165 troops had been deployed to patrol the international border between the park and Mozambique to re-establish state authority and combat poaching. "For the safety of our borderlines and the escalating rhino poaching incidents we have decided to add our troops and divide them so that others will help in the Kruger to [combat] rhino poaching and other cross-border related crimes," said provincial SANDF commander Colonel Nceba Bobelo.

South African National Parks (SANParks) chief executive David Mabunda last month said that 71 rhinos have been killed at SANParks reserves since the beginning of this year, while 333 rhino deaths were recorded last year. Since the beginning of January 2011 159 rhinos have been poached throughout the country, 134 suspects arrested and 17 suspects fatally wounded.

All borders to be patrolled
The SANDF is currently deployed along stretches of the Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho borders At the end of the financial year 2012/13 the SANDF hopes to patrol the entire 4471 kilometres frontier between South Africa and Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Lesotho.

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu overnight warned poachers that the military will return fire with fire in the KNP and other areas along the border. "The SANDF will do anything to protect our national asserts, we will not allow criminals to do as they wish in our parks, we also want to send a very strong message that poachers who shoot at soldiers must know that we will return fire with fire", the minister said.

The minister added that the SANDF and the South African National Parks will cooperate in protecting all national parks. The cooperation will include joint operations, sharing of information and training.

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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Special Offer - Londo Lodge


Londo Lodge, set amidst lush African baobab bush and abundant coral reef, along virgin Indian Ocean coastline, offers a truly luxurious and authentic African beach holiday. Resting alongside East Africa's finest beaches, the seven spacious villas of the small boutique lodge afford stunning views over the private beach on Pemba Bay - a member of the exclusive group of UNESCO most beautiful bays in the world.

In line with our portfolio of unique and luxurious properties throughout Mozambique and Africa, Londo Lodge offers a true sense of luxury, style and individuality. Bountiful once in a lifetime activities are available to enjoy, including discovering virtually unexplored coral reefs, bush walking in and around the stunning Quirimbas National Park and world class game fishing around Pemba and the Quirimbas archipelago. Kayaking on the azure waters, relaxing on romantic dhow cruise and mangrove river boat trips are also on offer, as well as an abundance of other exhilarating or relaxing pastimes.

Privately owned, this intimate getaway is renowned for excellent service and revered for its fine food. As the 2011 Winner of the Good Safari Guide Awards for "Best Safari Cuisine", the fresh and imaginative food makes the lodge stand out from the crowd.

The open restaurant sits quite literally on the edge of Pemba Bay while the bar affords magnificent views. There is a cliff top spa offering a fine menu of treatments and the infinity pool on the cliff edge seems to drop right into the ocean. Londo Lodge is sheer uninterrupted luxury.

Pay for 3 Nights & Stay 5 (valid until 01 Jul 2011).

Need more info?

Please visit our Londo Lodge, Mozambique page.

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Thursday, 28 April 2011

South Africa sends in the army to stop rhino poaching in the Kruger

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) had been asked by South African National Parks (SANParks) to play a strategic role in the protection of South African National Parks, especially the Kruger National Park. The SANDF deployed to the Kruger where the park borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe at the beginning of April 2011.

333 rhinos killed in South Africa in 2010
A total of 333 rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa in 2010, including ten critically endangered black rhinos, according to national park officials. The yearly total is the highest ever experienced in South Africa and nearly three times the 2009 figure when 122 rhinos were killed in the country. An additional five rhinos have been lost to poaching since the New Year.

146 rhinos killed in the Kruger in 2009
Kruger National Park, the world famous safari destination, was hardest hit losing 146 rhinos to poaching in 2010, authorities said. The park is home to the largest populations of both white and black rhinos in the country. Rhino poaching across Africa has risen sharply in the past few years, threatening to reverse hard-won population increases achieved by conservation authorities during the 20th century.

4 arrests
The South African Minister of Defence, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, has congratulated SANDF for arresting four alleged poachers in the Kruger National Park. The Mozambican nationals were found in possession of hunting rifle, binoculars, axe and cell phones. They will appear at Skukuza Magistrate Court.

"We congratulate the SANDF members for arresting poachers. It has been 15 days since they deployed into the Park and we can see the results already. We will continue to work with the law enforcement agencies to secure our borders and to deal with rhino poaching", said Minister Sisulu.

"Our national parks are major assets, and we will protect them for the future and those who pose any threats to our animals will meet the full might of the law. We have declared war with poachers in all our parks," added Minister Sisulu.

The SANDF is currently deployed along the Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho borders. At the end of the financial year 2012/13 the SANDF will cover the entire over 4471 kilometres of land between South Africa and Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Lesotho.

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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Dehorn or Poisoning?

Last week there was a dehorning by poachers of a rhino in the Save Conservancy. The most horrifying aspect of this atrocity was that the mutilated rhino did not die in the attack and was left wandering around in agony. Coincidentally, as seen on the South African TV programme, Carte Blanche last Sunday, a very similar incident happened in South Africa recently where the horns were hacked out of a rhino and it was also left alive. The footage was extremely upsetting.

Dehorning - Limited success and other issues

Various methods are employed to try and prevent rhino from falling prey to poachers but the slaughter and maiming of this endangered species continues unabated. Dehorning is quite a popular method but this doesn't seem to deter the poachers. The rhinos endure a certain amount of stress in the dehorning exercise and once their horn has been removed, they no longer have that defence mechanism. In the case of female rhinos, when they give birth to a calf, they need the horn to help the newborn rhino to its feet. The other disadvantage of dehorning is that the horn grows back and the dehorning process has to be repeated on a regular basis throughout the rhino's lifetime.

Poisoning rhino horns.

Instead of spending money on dehorning, we believe that the best and most cost effective way to minimize the poaching and try to prevent the extinction of the species is to administer poison to the horns. This was done by a farmer in South Africa and he says the poison, whilst deadly to humans, has no effect whatsoever on the rhino. This may seem like a drastic measure but the only way to prevent rhino poaching is to discourage people from buying it and it would only need to be done once to each rhino. Signs could be erected where rhinos are kept warning poachers that the horns are poisoned. Warnings could also be issued through media campaigns worldwide and the word would soon get around that consumption of rhino horn could prove fatal.

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Pick of the week.

Campi ya Kanzi - 'Camp of the hidden treasure'

This eco-friendly lodge lies on the slopes of Kenya's Chyulu Hills (The Green Hills of Africa of Ernest Hemingway), which look toward Tanzania's majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. Most awarded eco lodge in East Africa, chosen in the best 50 eco lodges in the World by National Geographic, it is built from local materials and uses solar technology to supply hot water and electricity to the six luxury tented cottages and two tented suites.

The 400 square mile Maasai Reserve has many different environments, reflecting in a great array of wildlife. Beside the famous Big Five (elephant, rhino, leopard, lion and buffalo), many other uncommon animals are present, like wild dog, cheetah and lesser kudu. Together with classic game drives, a game walk with your professional Maasai guide and Maasai tracker will be the highlight of your safari.

Campi ya Kanzi is proud to have tried a new way of conservation, through the complete involvement of the local Maasai landlords. Guests assist with this by contributing a daily conservation fee of $100, which is spent toward the welfare of both men and wildlife. Responsible eco-tourism preserves the wildlife heritage of this important East African wilderness and allows the Maasai to continue their traditional way of life - more than a millennium old.

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Monday, 18 April 2011

Mount Meru Hotel - Press Release

To most people, the annual trek of the Wildebeest across the planes of the Serengeti is limited to a documentary on the Discovery Channel, and they are left to their own devices to imagine the smell of adrenaline in the air, the sound of thousands of hooves running through water masses and the impending humid anticipation of lurking danger. But to get up close and personal with one of nature’s most spectacular scenes does not imply surround sound or sitting closer to the screen.

Annually thousands of tourists journey to Tanzania to witness the famous voyage of herds of wildebeest across its grasslands. While the phrase “the rain falls mainly on the plane” may have become famous in the movie “My Fair Lady”, the meaning rings true to the vast numbers of wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, and smaller numbers of Grant's gazelle, Thompson's gazelle, eland and impala who traverse these planes in search of fresh grazing and better water supplies.

Migration begins just after the first rains sweep the planes of the Serengeti in November. Towards the end of February, herds celebrate the arrival of the next generation of wildebeest and by May the trek moves North seeking water. The scene is indescribable – a wild series of moving columns, often containing hundreds of thousands of animals – any nature lover’s dream.

Situated between the highlands of the majestic Kilimanjaro and ground zero of the Serengeti, is the city of Arusha, Tanzania, boasting one of Africa’s leisure bastions, the Mount Meru Hotel. This newly refurbished sanctuary is the gateway to the migration and specializes in giving guests a truly African experience.

Professionally trained and friendly staff members will ensure that your voyage to the flatlands of Africa is not a stampede, but a leisurely experience of tranquillity and luxury. They will gladly assist in organizing an unforgettable experience, not only of the Serengeti, but also of Tanzania. If roughing it is not your cup of tea, put your feet up and relax in style whilst surrounded by the best of African hospitality.

According to the hotel’s resident “herd tracker”, aerial surveys have confirmed a vast increase in the wildebeest population in the 2010/2011 season. Heading into May (when the herds start with their epic journey North) the anticipation is palpable. Weather forecasts predict normal rainfall patterns meaning that the herds will remain in the central Serengeti for quite a while - the ideal time to make your Serengeti experience a live one, one where you can’t hit the pause button, you just have to roll tape.

You are invited to come and discover a place with broader horizons than your flat screen, a place where the heavens meet the earth, where the rhythm of nature pounds to the beat of an African drum, and where life is all about a revival of the primal spirit. Take in Africa’s splendour – visit the Mount Meru Hotel, your gateway to life’s most spectacular experiences.

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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Save the Rhino charity cycle ride.

Support Save the Rhino Trust via a charity cycle ride through Namibian desert.

These unusual images show a recent relocation by Save The Rhino Trust (SRT) of ten desert-adapted rhinos into a remote, wild pocket of Northern Namibia, known as Kaokoland. The rhino population there was poached out many years ago.

If you want to support SRT, then there's an especially adventurous way to do so - the Mike Hearn Memorial Cycle Ride, a ten-day pedal for charity across the neighbouring region of Damaraland, a wild place of eternal skies and gorgeous desert. Organised by Desert Venture and fully-supported by local specialist Wilderness Safaris, the trip consists of seven days' wild cycling - along rugged tracks and Namibia's famous dirt roads, and via craggy campsites, huge desert canyons and a study base known as World's End - and a final day of ‘chilling out', which means tracking rare rhino. There's an SRT guide on hand for this purpose, and participants might also run into desert elephant, desert lion, giraffe, oryx and springbok.

Departing 25 May, the trip costs £1,675 pp including all transfers, bike hire, cycle support, nearly all meals (seven nights camping), wine with dinner and the rhino tracking. Flights are additional. Next year's dates, if these come a tad too soon, are 12-22 May. Participants cycle around 30-50 km per day, riding during the morning then taking an afternoon siesta.

Each participant is expected to fundraise, with a final target of £1,500. Proceeds go to SRT and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. The cost of the cycle trip is very subsidized by Wilderness Safaris, in lieu of the fundraising commitment by participants. It should cost a lot more. The fundraising is totally separate to ensure maximum transparency.

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Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Reintroduced cheetahs now thriving!

Mountain Zebra National Park - South Africa

Visitors to Mountain Zebra National Park can now join a guide in searching for the elusive cheetahs by means of tracking with radio telemetry equipment.

Cheetah were introduced to the Park in 2007 following an absence of over 100 years from the area. The species has adapted very well to the Park, increasing in number from four in 2007 to over 30 animals. A number of cheetah have been relocated to new locations in the last few months to ensure that the integrity of the natural ecosystem balance is not affected.

The new activities include two new guided walks: a three-hour route and a hike up the Salpeterskop to view a chessboard relic from the early 1900s. Guided walks, cheetah tracking and guided drives are led by fully qualified, knowledgeable guides. The opening of guided walks follows the closure of all hiking trails in July 2010 following the tragic death of a hiker who was attacked by a buffalo on one of the hiking trails.

Walking trails
The two short walking trails (1-kilometre and 2.5-kilometre trails) are available to visitors as self-walk options, having been enclosed, along with the rest camp area, with electrified fencing.

The three-day hiking trail has yet to re-open but the two mountain cottages, formerly used exclusively as hiking trail huts, are now available as an ideal rustic getaway option for visitors with high clearance vehicles.

Need more info?

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Monday, 21 March 2011

Serengeti Watch Legal Defense Fund

A court case against the Serengeti highway has been filed in the East African Court of Justice. This court is the instrument for settling disputes among members of the East African Community, which are Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.

You can donate specifically to the Serengeti Watch Legal Defense Fund fund here.

If you or your organization are able to support this effort in other ways, please let us know.

The case is significant because it seeks to permanently restrain the government of Tanzania from the following:

• "constructing, creating, commissioning or maintaining a trunk road or highway across any part of the Serengeti National Park."

• "degazetting (removing) any part of the Serengeti National Park for the purpose of upgrading, tarmacking, paving, realigning, constructing, creating or commissioning" the highway.

• removing itself from UNESCO obligations with respect to the Serengeti National Park.

It states that the highway is first and foremost an infringement of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. It would cause "irreparable and irreversible damage to the environment of the Serengeti National Park and the adjoining and inseparable Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya."

Under the terms of the EAC Treaty, partner states are required to cooperate in the management of shared natural resources, notify each other of activities that are likely to have significant transboundary environmental impacts, and to follow protocols for Environmental Impact Assessment.

Other obligations cited fall under: the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity, the United Nations Declaration on the Human Environment, the Stockholm Declaration, and the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

The legal action was filed last December by the African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), located in Kenya. See the news article below.

Activists file suit against Serengeti Highway move

Serengeti Watch is supporting ANAW in their legal fight by providing funding and seeking help from other legal and environmental organizations.

This case is important. As in any court battle, there is no guarantee of immediate or even eventual success. But it is worth the fight - this has the potential of not only stopping the highway but of warding off future threats. The next time such a plan is brought forward, there will be an important decision on the books and and legal precedent to follow.

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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Lions in crisis: UK and US told they must act.

AT RISK: Lion numbers have nearly halved in the past 30 years.

The US and UK governments are being asked to take urgent action to help save the African lion, now seriously under threat.

The Foundation believes that unless current trends are reversed, it is possible that the continent's population of wild lions, already down to less than 40,000 animals from nearly 76,000 in 1980, will collapse. Ten years ago, lions inhabited 30 African countries. That number is now down to 27 and it is likely that they will disappear from more countries in the years ahead unless immediate action is taken.

The Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA, together with representatives of the International Fund for Animal Welfare(IFAW), The Humane Society of The United States/Humane Society International and Defenders of Wildlife, have submitted a petition to the US Secretary to the Interior calling on him to designate the African lion as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The US is the single biggest importer of wild lion body parts and trophies and may be responsible for more than half of the lions that are killed for trophies each year.

Listing under the ESA would prohibit the general import of lion trophies into the US unless it could be shown that the importation enhanced the species' survival or was for scientific purposes. This single measure could dramatically cut the number of lions shot for ‘sport' by US citizens.

Will Travers, CEO of the Born Free Foundations explains: ‘The pressure on lions comes from all sides. Loss of habitat due to the impact of a sub-Saharan human population that is predicted to grow from 518 million in 1990 to 1.75 billion in 2050; loss of the wild animals that lions naturally prey on, due to the ravages of the commercial bushmeat trade; the impact of deadly diseases often transmitted from livestock or companion animals; retaliatory killings - the spearing or poisoning of lions after they have attacked livestock; and high levels of unsustainable trophy-hunting and body part trade.'

‘Trophy' lion parts also coming into Spain, France and Germany Although the US is the largest importer of trophies, Europe is not far behind. Between 1998 and 2008 lion trophies were imported into Spain (958), France (565) and Germany (525) amongst others. During the same period, the UK imported 87 lion trophies. The impact of an ESA listing and strong lion-protection measures in the USA could be undermined if trophies continue to be imported into the European Union.

Will Travers concluded: ‘Today, the Born Free Foundation has written to the UK Government's Minister for Biodiversity, Richard Benyon, asking him, on behalf of the British Government, to intercede with our European Community colleagues to take urgent action to end the import of lion trophies sourced from wild animals into Europe.'

Need more info?

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Monday, 7 March 2011

Serengeti Highway - Update.

German government offers a solution.

The African Regional Manager for the Frankfurt Zoological Society, Mr. Gelrald Bigurube, confirmed that the German government will finance construction of tarmac roads that will link dozens of rural villages adjacent to the Serengeti National Park.

He also said that the World Bank and the German government are also ready to finance southern route that will link the Arusha region with the Lake Victoria regions without crossing the Serengeti.

According to an interview with the Daily News, Mr. Bigurube said, "Linking rural villages in Serengeti and Loliondo districts with the their district headquarters is the best way of addressing economic needs of the communities living near the park."

The news article says Mr. Bigurube "disclosed that the German Federal Ministry for Development was ready to finance feasibility study of the rural roads in the districts if the idea will have blessings from the government of Tanzania."

He said the "international community is also concerned with the needs of the people in an environmental friendly way but the road should not be close to the park because it will have serious impact that cannot be mitigated."

The next step is up to President Kikwete who recently turned down an offer from the World Bank to fund the alternate route.

Find out more and join the campaign to save the Serengeti: http://www.savetheserengeti.org

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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Elephant Migration

Tanzania - Lake Manyara & Tarangire National Parks

Northern Tanzania presents a map of administratively independent National Parks that are actually interconnected and interdependent. Following the different seasons, rain patterns and other natural “rules”, different animal species move in the Parks as they have done for hundreds of years following their instincts to ensure their survival and the survival of their small ones.

The best known of these migrations is the one conducted every year by thousands of wildebeest and zebras in Serengeti and Masai Mara following the rains and searching for fresh grass. But it is not the only migration in Northern Tanzania, and wildebeest and zebras are not the only migrating animals.

We would like to report a less known migration, but equally fascinating, another survival lesson taught by nature, that will also help us being passionate about East Africa and professionals of the travel industry, to book our clients in the most convenient locations either in Tarangire or Lake Manyara National Parks depending on the season and clients´ requirements. With all the focus on the Serengeti migration, the enormous seasonal game movements which take place in the greater Tarangire area tend to be very much overlooked and little understood. The Serengeti migration is estimated at around 2.5 million animals, including 0,5 million zebra and 1,7 million wildebeest. The remainder is made up largely of lesser antelope species.

Running perhaps 250,000 large mammals in total, the Tarangire migration is around only a tenth of the size of the main Serengeti migration, especially in terms of zebra and wildebeest but it includes a much wider range of species, including giraffe, buffalo, oryx, ostrich and lion and, by far, the most significant component of this migration is the elephant population, which is thought to involve 5,000 to 10,000 animals. If one were to call it the Elephant Migration, it might achieve a much greater recognition.

As we start understanding this Elephant Migration, it should be noted that whilst the Serengeti migration tends to stick together for large parts of the year and is accessible as an entity in various locations, the Tarangire / Manyara migration is much more of an annual aggregation and dispersal pattern, therefore only being a visual phenomenon for the period during which it comes together. Tarangire National Park covers a very large area of 2,600 km2, but lies at the heart of an ecosystem which is around ten times that size.

The Tarangire National Park forms part of a bigger wildlife ecosystem covering over 20,000 sq km, which include the Lake Manyara National Park in the north, as well as five other surrounding wildlife controlled areas. The key to this wildlife ecosystem is the Tarangire River, and the local animal migration in the area begins from this river, at the start of the short rainy season around October every year. At the height of the long rainy season, the animals, which include wildebeest, Thompson gazelles, zebra and even African elephants, will be widely spread out over this 20,000 sq km area. When the wet season ends, the animals begin their migration back towards the river and spend the dry season July to October, concentrated in large numbers around the river.

The animals mostly disperse during April and May, when there is widespread greenery, vegetation and standing water to encourage all the grazers further afield. In June, the eland and oryxes begin to return, followed by elephant towards the end of the month. Tarangire is a great spot for elephant gatherings at the end of the rainy season in June, and zebra and wildebeest return together through July.

By mid-August all the animals are congregating around their last reliable water source, the Tarangire River. The calving season falls in the early months of the year, through January, February and March, and so makes the most of the fresh grass during the rainy season. There are a number of permanent year-round water sources in the area, which is crucial for the survival of animals.

The most significant of these water sources is the Tarangire River, which arises at the foot of the nearby Rift escarpment, flows into the park and then evaporates from its terminus at Lake Burunge on the western border of Tarangire NP.

During the dry season, July to October, game migrates to Tarangire National Park from the enormous hinterland and gathers in very high concentrations within the Park, and particularly along the central river valley. During the converse season, November to June, the presence of seasonal waterholes enables the game to migrate outwards, spreading across the surrounding game control areas.

Although the in and out movement is common, different species tend to move on different routes at different times. Wildebeest and zebra mainly move northwards towards Lake Manyara and beyond in the direction of Lake Natron, crossing the main Arusha to Serengeti highway along the way.

The main bulk of the wildlife, including buffalo, gazelle, elephant, kongini, eland and oryx move out onto the plains to the east and southwest. Other herds of wildebeest, zebra, buffalo and eland also move in a more southerly direction. Resident species which remain within the park include waterbuck, impala, warthog, duikers, giraffe and lesser kudu.

With regards to elephants, as migratory animals, sustainable management of African elephant populations, both within and around protected areas, is a major challenge in the conservation policy of many African countries. Migration routes in the zone are characterized by higher cover (open and closed forest) than core areas.

Outside the park poaching occurs at times, and hence it looks like elephant management must be considered across park boundaries and migration corridors must be protected against human disturbance and land cultivation. Society problems linked to elephant conservation can be solved by creating alternative, sustainable, use of natural resources that enhance the livelihood of local communities.


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