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Monday, 24 January 2011

Client Feedback

Lake Manze - Selous Tanzania

Michalik x1 7-11 January

I came without any expectations, but what I’ve experienced was beyond my imagination. I loved the African bush and your hospitality. I will be back.


Lister x2 13-16 January

To all the staff at Lake Manze: Thank you for an amazing few days – a truly magical experience. All aspects of our stay have been beyond our expectations – the organisation and flexibility – the friendliness – the knowledge of our guides – Victor is amazing and Omari the best driver ever – the boat safari and fishing were also both great experiences – Thank you to our guide. We couldn’t have asked for a better start to our stay in Tanzania. Sarah, thank you for everything, you should be, and I am sure you are, very proud of the team here. Our very best wishes for the future.
Beryl and Frances

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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Client Feedback

The Palms - Zanzibar

HI Bruce

Just to let you know that Taryn and I had an amazing time in Zanzibar, We really loved the palms and would recommend it highly. The staff were great, very friendly and efficient. The rooms were great, with ample space and well cleaned daily. Food was good, but did get a bit much with four courses every meal, but not really a complaint.

All in all a fantastic venue/holiday.



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A new Sudan?

This Sunday, more than three million people in South Sudan are expected to vote in a referendum to create a new nation in Eastern Africa. As they do so, there is a historic opportunity, perhaps unprecedented, for wildlife conservation, sustainable natural resource management, and environmentally-friendly ecotourism to be integrated into the nation-building process.

Land-use issues loom large in the election. Vast oil deposits in southern Sudan account for roughly 98 per cent of the region's current revenues and will come under the South's management if it becomes a separate country. The White Nile flows through southern Sudan toward Khartoum, adding water to the region's resource issues.

Home to spectacular 1.3million antelope migration
The hidden jewel in this unique landscape is its stunning wildlife. Before civil war broke out in 1983, southern Sudan boasted some of the most spectacular and important wildlife populations in Africa and the world's second-largest wildlife migration - of some 1.3 million antelope. Large populations of buffalo, antelope, elephants, and chimpanzees were neglected and presumed lost during the two-decade war.

At the request of the provisional government of South Sudan, the Wildlife Conservation Society surveyed Sudan for wildlifein 2007, thanks to funding from USAID and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The magnificent antelope migration and vast tracts of savannas, wetlands, and woodlands remained largely intact.

The government's task now is to establish conservation and sustainable natural resource management as part of the region's development strategy.

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Friday, 14 January 2011

African Elephants are two different species.

Contrary to the belief of many scientists, new research confirms that Africa has two - not one - species of elephant. Scientists from the University of York, as well as America's Harvard Medical School and the University of Illinois used genetic analysis to prove that the African savanna elephant and the smaller African forest elephant have been largely separated for several million years.

The researchers compared the DNA of modern elephants from Africa and Asia to DNA that they extracted from two extinct species: the woolly mammoth and the mastodon. Not only is this the first time that anyone has generated sequences for the mastodon nuclear genome, but it is also the first time that the Asian elephant, African forest elephant, African savanna elephant, the extinct woolly mammoth, and the extinct American mastodon have been looked at together.

‘Experimentally, we had a major challenge to extract DNA sequences from two fossils - mammoths and mastodons - and line them up with DNA from modern elephants over hundreds of sections of the genome,' says research scientist Nadin Rohland of the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

Split between two elephants as old as that between humans and chimpanzees
According to David Reich, associate professor in the same department: ‘The surprising finding is that forest and savanna elephants from Africa - which some have argued are the same species - are as distinct from each other as Asian elephants and mammoths.'

Researchers only had DNA from a single elephant in each species, but had collected enough data from each genome to traverse millions of years of evolution to the time when elephants first diverged from each other.

‘The divergence of the two species took place around the time of the divergence of the Asian elephant and woolly mammoths,' says Professor Michi Hofreiter, who specialises in the study of ancient DNA in the Department of Biology at York. ‘The split between African savanna and forest elephants is almost as old as the split between humans and chimpanzees. This result amazed us all.'

The possibility that the two might be separate species was first raised in 2001, but this is the most compelling scientific evidence so far that they are indeed distinct.

Previously, many naturalists believed that African savanna elephants and African forest elephants were two populations of the same species, despite the significant size differences. The savanna elephant has an average shoulder height of 3.5 metres whereas the forest elephant has an average shoulder height of 2.5 metres. The savanna elephant weighs between six and seven tons, roughly double the weight of the forest elephant.

DNA analysis revealed a wide range of genetic diversity within each species. The savanna elephant and woolly mammoth have very low genetic diversity, Asian elephants have medium diversity, and forest elephants have very high diversity. Researchers believe that this is due to varying levels of reproductive competition among males.

‘We now have to treat the forest and savanna elephants as two different units for conservation purposes,' says Alfred Roca, assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois. ‘Since 1950, all African elephants have been conserved as one species. Now that we know the forest and savanna elephants are two very distinctive animals, the forest elephant should become a bigger priority for conservation purposes.'

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Thursday, 13 January 2011

Poaching Report

A total of 333 rhinos were lost to poaching in 2010, CEO of South African National Parks (SANParks), Dr David Mabunda, said yesterday. In the first 10 days of this year, five rhinos have been killed.

Last year 162 people were arrested in connection with poaching and most recently, SANParks confirmed that five poachers died in two separate incidents at the Kruger National Park (KNP) after poachers opened fire on rangers at the Crocodile Bridge and Pretoriuskop.

The worst hit areas last year were the KNP with 146 rhinos poached, North West province with 57, Limpopo province with 52 and KwaZulu Natal with 38. Provinces with fewer rhinos were least targeted by the criminals.

“The year 2010 will always be remembered as being one of the worst years for conservation in South Africa because of the ruthless assault on our rhino populations by merciless criminals,” said Dr Mabunda.

The 162 people arrested last year range from actual poachers to couriers. “The number of arrests made is considered to be an indication of the meaningful interventions brought by the National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit (NWCRU) as the figure for arrests in the KNP alone for 2009 was 29 people and in 2010 the park arrested 67 suspects,” Dr Mabunda added.

Dr Mabunda said it was unfortunate that about five suspected poachers died during encounters with rangers on patrol in the KNP and one in the North West Province as the country would have preferred these suspected criminals to have their day in court and explain to the nation why they would commit such an unforgivable crime. “As much as the killings are regrettable, it is also an indication of how serious SANParks and the entire conservation fraternity are about fighting the surge in poaching happening in protected areas.”

Dr Mabunda said this year the NWCRU was planning to increase the intensity of investigations and arrests by reaching the higher echelons of poaching syndicates. “With the help of the international community we are confident we will be able to break these syndicates.”

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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Uganda decides against game hunting.

Uganda has yielded to pressure and decided not to permit sports hunting in the country in the immediate future. The decision is the result of considerable controversy over the fact that game numbers in the country had not been verified and also in response to suggestions made by Ugandan hunting promoters that the endangered Sitatunga gazelle would be ‘available' as a trophy - despite the fact that it is CITES protected. The Ugandan Wildlife Authority has now agreed to carry out a game survey while expressing doubts over the sustainability of hunting in view of Uganda's reducing game numbers.

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Uganda - Bridge over the River Nile

The Ugandan government has announced that the new bridge across the Nile in Jinja, worth 109 million US Dollars and largely financed by the Government of Japan, is expected to be ready by 2016.

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Elephants slaughtered to feed Mugabe’s party

On 7th October 2010, in Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe held a ZANU PF rally combined with the official opening of the Women's Empowerment Bank.

In order to entice people to attend this event, 3 elephants, 3 buffaloes and a number of smaller animals were shot and cooked. It is common knowledge that under the current economic climate, many people in the rural areas are starving and will make an effort to attend any function where free food is available.

Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. Please help them if you can.

Monday, 10 January 2011

What should you bring on Safari?

We are often asked: What should I bring on safari?

Naturally it depends a little on your choice of safari destination and the time of year you are travelling, however please see our useful guide to the most common items.

Please see our: What to bring on Safari page.

Please contact our safari holiday experts for more info or call: 01227 753181

Mountain Gorilla Census

The endangered mountain gorilla population in Virunga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is growing steadily according to the latest census.

GROWING POPULATION: But there are stillfewer than 500 mountain gorillas living inthe Virunga Massif.

There results confirm that as well as a 3.7 per cent increase year on year, over the past seven years the population has grown by just over 26 per cent.

Please follow the link to read more or contact our safari holiday experts.

Liwonde National Park Aerial Census

October 2010 saw the most comprehensive aerial survey report for Liwonde to date. The fact that the Wilderness Trust has funded this survey for the past four years, means that it is possible to see the benefit of our long-term support for this exercise which is beginning to illustrate meaningful trends.

Please follow the link to read more or contact our safari holiday experts.

Botswana Promotion

9 Camps, 1 rate

Please follow the link for our latest Botswana Safari Promotion.

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Thursday, 6 January 2011

Botswana FAQ


What are the differences between the Nxai Pan & Tau Pan?

Please follow the link above to find out.

Zambia Departure Tax

The cost of the $5 for international departures is NOT in the ticket and this is payable at departure in Cash at the same desk where the departure tax is paid for internal flights. This tax will eventually be in the ticket but as of now the above procedure has to be undertaken. This also applies for all international travel regardless of where the tickets were issued or the date of issue. This causes long lines at the airport and passengers should check in at least 3 hours before departure until this tax is in the ticket.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Client Feedback - Lake Manze

Please view the latest feedback writen by our guests in the Lake Manze guest book.

Angeli x4 21-24 Dec.

Jambo. Had a beautiful time here at the camp, the people were really very nice and open. Don?t want to go, will be back soon!

A fantastic place, with wonderful views, so many things to do, so much to see, not enough time. Staff and camp are excellent, the real Africa! A return trip a definite.

Jambo, incredible and wonderful scenery! (nini) what a safari. Everything is as it should be! The wild life is amazing! The staffs are brilliant. Just perfect. Thanks

Monday, 3 January 2011

Seychelles Guide

Looking for a guide to the Seychelles? Look no further. Please follow the links.

Looking for somewhere to stay in the Seychelles? Check out the stunning, North Island in the Seychelles - absolute paradise.

Two more windmills

In Hwange, there are no natural rivers and so wildlife must get their water from pans that are filled in the rainy season. In the dry season though, these pans must be pumped. Up until now Wilderness Safaris and Wilderness Trust have been helping out in keeping some 22 diesel pumps working throughout winter so that our wildlife will survive. Recently, with the support of Hwange National Park, we have been looking into erecting windmills instead as these are more environmentally friendly - although they do not draw as much water from the depths. One windmill - or wind pump - was tested over the past year to great success.

We are therefore extremely grateful to report that there two more windmills in the Wilderness Safaris concession, thanks to the kind donation of Rich Jones. These 12-metre wind pumps were installed at two very active waterholes by the manufacturers Villiers Aqua Engineering from South Africa. Fraimie Vorster and his crew of six came from South Africa to install the pumps at Ngamo Pan and Airstrip Two Pan.

Installation took about two days per wind pump and within 36 hours of being active, the Ngamo Pan pump had drawn 22 000 litres of water. The maximum output of these pumps is roughly 30 000 litres per day and they seem to average about 10 to 15 000, depending on the wind. Flow meters were installed on both to monitor output and these records will go a long way to helping design an efficient water-management system within the concession.

Water is life in Hwange and animals come in their droves to the waterholes each evening. It is gratifying to see them slake their thirst on the new water pumped by the windmills. We have recently seen herds of up to 200 elephant making their way to the new water.

Space at these pans is shared between all the wildlife - eland drink neck to neck with buffalo while the elegant sable line up along the water's edge with giraffe in the heat of the day. Inquisitive jackal dart in amongst the elephant feet as the light fades and quickly drink before heading off into the night. Flocks of sandgrouse fill up their feathers as the light finally fades and are seen flying off to distant places in a flurry of near silent wings.