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

Thursday, 31 May 2012

New flights to Serengeti National Park

Auric Air Services Ltd proudly announces its new flights to Serengeti National Park.

The flight departs from Arusha daily at 08.00am to connect all airstrips in Serengeti National Park and Lake Manyara National Park and arrives back to Arusha at 12:20 pm. They will fly to all the major airstrips such as Seronera, Grumeti, Klein’s Camp, Kogatende, Lobo, Manyara, Ndutu, and Sasakwa. Fort  Ikoma on inducement.

Please contact our safari experts for more info.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Safari Feedback

I recently went on a Great Wilderness Journey with two families, with the trip starting at Jacana Camp and ending at Linyanti Discoverer where we had great sightings. The area around Jacana camp was inundated with the water from the annual floods - so the three days that we spent here were spectacular. We focused on water activities, enjoying a peaceful mokoro trip, as well as an afternoon boat trip. We also did some game drives on the bigger Jao Island and it was very educational. We had a lovely sighting of Glossy Ibis killing a frog and of three lions crossing the flood plain. On our first drive we also had an amazing sighting of two lioness’ stalking red lechwe and after a considerable wait, they were successful. They caught a male red lechwe just a few meters from us...we were incredibly lucky! We continued to watch them feed on the carcass for a while.

At Khwai Discover we enjoyed sightings of general game with the highlight being a sighting of three wild dogs hunting late in the evening very close to camp. We went on a night game drive where we encountered hyenas patrolling the area and hippos grazing. We stopped in the bush and had a talk about astronomy, as the sky was so clear and the stars so bright...On our last morning we woke up to some visitors - there were two young male lions relaxing in the camp by room number 4.They moved off far enough so we could get to breakfast, but only left camp island that evening.

At Linyanti Discoverer, we enjoyed an unbelievable sighting of a female leopard feeding on a dead hippo. We witnessed a face to face stand-off, between a hippo (in the water) and a lioness which was feeding on a partially submerged giraffe carcass along the Linyanti river system. The hippo was "guarding" the carcass, and the lioness was actually on top of the carcass. It was amazing to watch the lioness growling, hissing and spitting at the hippo - defending her meal. There were about 15 Nile crocodiles, waiting in the wings for the lioness to move away from the carcass, so that they could come and feed on it…a once in a lifetime sighting!

The Chobe boat cruise was very productive, as we spent some time watching white fronted bee-eaters preparing their nests in the banks of the river. It was a fantastic way to finish up what was a truly spectacular trip!

The staff at all camps were fabulous.              


Please follow the link for more info and reservations: Great Wilderness Journey

Friday, 25 May 2012

Happy Africa Day!

Africa Day is the annual commemoration on May 25 of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). On this day, leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In 1991, the OAU established the African Economic Community, and in 2002 the OAU established its own successor, the African Union. However, the name and date of Africa Day has been retained as a celebration of African unity.

2012's theme of Africa Day is "Africa and the Diaspora." The New York celebration was held in New York City on May 31, 2011. In Nairobi, it was celebrated at Uhuru Park Recreational Park. It should also be noted that Africa Day is observed as a public holiday in only four African countries, that is, Ghana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. However, celebrations are held in some African countries, as well as by Africans in the diaspora.

Please contact us for more info and to find out about Safari's to Africa

Fly Uganda Goes Carbon Neutral

We took the decision to go Carbon Neutral in April 2012 as part of its ‘green’ commitment to lead Africa’s aviation fraternity in becoming more environmentally aware. Becoming Africa’s first “Carbon Neutral” Aviation Company.

We have purchased a number of Plan Vivocarbon credits from the acclaimed Trees for Global Benefits project in Bushenyi. This project is a smallholder tree-planting scheme located just south of Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Uganda. The tree growers not only increase biodiversity in the area, but they are protecting the watershed, controlling soil erosion, and are increasing household incomes from the payments they receive for the carbon stored in their trees. The project provides technical advice on tree growing to farmers.

Please follow the link for more information on safari holidays.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Planet Earth Live - What is the point?

Bits of the Planet, screened all over the Earth, Occasionally Live
BBC is considered the best in the world at making wildlife programmes, and rightly so. They have set the standard with pioneering techniques, the best presenters and innovation. Planet Earth Live has none of these qualities, and there appears to be little live about it either.

Been done before
Almost all the wildlife has been covered in a similar fashion before. Big cat diaries, Elephant diaries, Big bear week, Meerkat manor, Last Chance To See - The Great Grey Whale - All great programmes that were eventually taken off the TV due to falling viewing figures.

Planet Earth - Hardly
Hardly global coverage for this ‘global' programme. With just 9 locations (3 in Africa, 3 in North America, 1 each in Peru, Sri Lanka & The Arctic) and the key species being studied all being mammals, it covers a very narrow spectrum of species and locations. Planet seems to mean it is broadcast all over the world, rather than filmed.

The choice of presenters has created much debate too. We question why none of the BBC's range of outstanding wildlife presenters were chosen? Perhaps the Beeb wanted to create more mass appeal by bringing (dumbing down?) more mainstream presenters, or perhaps none of the wildlife presenters wanted the job?

Ultimate global wildlife drama - Or just the last?
BBC's strapline for Planet Earth Live is "Join us for the ultimate global wildlife drama. Real animals. Real lives. In real time." Look ‘ultimate' up in the dictionary - it means last. Frankly, I am not surprised.

For more info and safaris that make the difference please visit: http://www.puresafari.co.uk



Kizingoni beach will be offering  low season rates on all your 2012 bookings that are confirmed with full payment, before 30th June 2012 (not including Xmas Season).  So hurry up and book this super special with us. 

Please call: 01227 753181 or email: info@puresafari.co.uk for more. 

Client Feedback: Kalahari Plains Camp

The group arrived in Maun off air Botswana where I met them before flying to Kalahari Plains Camp. The stay here was really excellent all round, we saw some amazing game in the valley. We had good sightings of three lioness and leopard hunting springboks not far from the camp. The valley proved to be productive as we managed to pick up a female cheetah with 2 sub –adults males. On our last night at this camp we had the privilege to have a male lion pass through the camp roaring. One of the other highlights was a surprise bush brunch set up by the Kalahari team at deception valley.

Need more info?

Please contact our Safari Experts on 01227 783181 

Monday, 21 May 2012

Halted: Reintroduction of cheetahs into India.

The Indian Supreme Court has halted the planned reintroduction of cheetahs into India. The court rejected the plan after the state of GujaraT objected to the plan, Project Cheetah.
In 2009, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) was invited to participate in a programme by the Indian government to reintroduce cheetahs to that country after nearly 60 years of extinction. The plan, headed by Dr. M.K. Ranjitsinh, who served as India's first Director of Wildlife Preservation and is now Chairman of the Wild Trust of India (WTI), aimed to reintroduce cheetahs in stages over the next decade.

The Palpur-Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary
In an advisory capacity, CCF had conducted field inspections in order to determine the most viable release areas. The Palpur-Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, a 344,686 square kilometre (133,084 square mile) reserve in central India, had been chosen for the first reintroduction. The sanctuary is home to many species, including wolves, leopards and nilgai --Asia's largest antelope. 
However many people has questioned the reintroduction, and the cost, as India is struggling to protect its population of other iconic big cats, tigers and lions.

Need more info?
Please contact our Safari Experts now.

Call: 0044 (0)1227 753181

Friday, 18 May 2012

Virgin Atlantic will stop flights to Kenya


Virgin Atlantic is to cease all flights between London and Kenya from 24th September, cutting a service that has been running for the last five years.Sir Richard Branson, president of the airline, said" falling passenger numbers and rising fuel costs were to blame"

Customers who have already booked flights are being assured they will be able to get a full refund, or move to a different carrier after September of this year.

He said: ‘A combination of record fuel prices, higher and higher taxes imposed by the Government and a poorly timed slot not providing connections from London, have made it uneconomical to fly from Nairobi. Governments must be more realistic about the aviation taxes they impose and we urgently need to increase capacity at Heathrow. Since the service launched in 2007, fuel costs have increased by more than 50 per cent, the airline said, with Air Passenger Duty (APD) rising by more than 100 per cent over five years.

Virgin Atlantic will continue to fly passengers to and from Nairobi over the coming months, but its last flight to Kenya will be on September 23

Branson added: 'Virgin Atlantic is extremely sad to be withdrawing from Kenya..Virgin remains committed to the future of Kenya and it is a well known fact that I love the country and its people. For the past five years our team in Nairobi have worked incredibly hard and we hope to return should the economic situation change.'

Need more info?
Please contact our Safari Experts now.

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Thursday, 10 May 2012

Update: Refurbishment and new management staff at The Retreat, Selous.

The Retreat are delighted to welcome two new staff members to The Retreat Team: Chris Saviere, a FGASA qualified guide and teacher and James Tisibele, a professional hotelier, both from Zimbabwe will be in charge of the management and guest relations at The Retreat for the coming season.   The Retreat Selous will close for the rains between April and May. This time will be used to uplift our suites to ensure that guests get the comfort and luxury expected while remaining close to nature. Our spacious suites will be gleaming in new splendour with new masoned bathrooms, new palm-roofs and new hard wood floors. The whole lodge has been constructed to harmonise with the pure and authentic habitat surrounding it. Our fleet will be enlarged by three specially customized Land Rover Safari Jeeps to provide superb comfort during game drives in Africa’s largest protected wildlife sanctuary. We will keep you up to date with all of our improvements in due course.

Need more info?
Please contact our Safari Experts now.

Call: 0044 (0)1227 753181

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Big game hunting in Africa is economically useless - IUCN

In Tanzania 26% of the territory creates 0.22% of GDP - Big game hunting

Today in sub-Saharan Africa, very large areas are used for big game hunting (approximately 1.4 million km²), which is 22% more than all national Parks of the region. Therefore, it is an important component of African rural landscapes. This study clarifies the role of big game hunting, with an emphasis on West Africa. The data gathered has been analysed to clarify the pertinence of big game hunting according to conservation, socioeconomic and good governance criteria.

Regarding conservation, big game hunting shows mixed results. Some areas are geographically stable, and wildlife populations are significant, but this is not the norm. Large disparities are seen between areas. Where management levels are similar, the conservation results from big game hunting are lower than those of neighbouring national parks or reserves. Hunting areas are less resistant to external pressures than national parks, and thus will play a lesser role in future conservation strategies. An undeniable positive result is that the conservation results that are obtained are entirely financed by the hunters, without support from donors and often without government commitment.

Big Game Hunting and Gross Domestic Product

An important item of data for analysing development is Gross Domestic Product (GDP): in
absolute terms, per unit of surface area and per capita. The table above presents the figures
for the main big game hunting countries.

16.5% of land creates 0.0001% of jobs
The economic results of big game hunting are low. Land used for hunting generates much smaller returns than that used for agriculture or livestock breeding. Hunting contributions to GDP and States' national budgets are insignificant, especially when considering the size of the areas concerned. Economic returns per hectare, for the private sector and for governments are insufficient for proper management. Returns for local populations, even when managed by community projects (CBNRM) are insignificant, and cannot prompt them to change their behaviour regarding poaching and agricultural encroachment. The number of salaried jobs generated (15 000 all over Africa) is low considering that 150 million people live in the eight main big game hunting countries, and that hunting takes up 16.5% of their territory. To summarise, the hunting sector uses up a lot of space without generating corresponding socio-economic benefits.

Good governance is almost non existent
Good governance is also absent from almost the entire big game hunting sector in many countries. Those who currently have control of the system are not prepared to share that power and undertake adjustments that would mean relinquishing control. They attempt, thanks to a fairly opaque system, to keep a largely exhausted management system going. This position serves individual interests, but not those of conservation, governments or local communities.

Hunting as a conservation tool
Hunting used to have, and still has, a key role to play in African conservation. It is not certain that the conditions will remain the same. Hunting does not however play a significant economic or social role and does not contribute at all to good governance.

The question, however, can be summarised today as: can we do conservation better than big game hunting has up until now, in those areas where big game hunting is practiced? This is not at all sure, all the more so in that big game hunting pays for itself.

The advent of consideration of environmental services and sustainable financing makes it possible to envisage financing these networks from a new angle. The environment is increasingly seen as a global good which cannot be used exclusively for individual interests or those of a minority.

In modern protected area networks, hunting areas still have an important role to play in conservation: that of financing and maintaining the peripheral areas around conservation blocks.

The scale of big game hunting in Africa

The People
Around 18,500 tourist hunters go big game hunting in Africa every year. Hunts are organised by approximately 1,300 organisations that employ around 3,400 guides and 15,000 local staff. On average, a hunting safari organisation will only have an average of 14.5 hunt clients per year and each guide will only take 5.5 hunters out annually.

The Places
Big game hunting areas take up huge areas of land: for the 11 main big game hunting countries, the surface area occupied is 110 million hectares, in other words 14.9% of the total land area of these countries. In addition to these hunting areas, protected areas occupy, in these 11 countries, 68.4 million hectares, i.e. 9.4% of the national territory. The sum of the hunting areas and protected areas therefore represents 24.3% of the surface area of these countries. This leaves a proportion of the country for human habitation that is difficult to reconcile with the development of these countries, the population density of which averages 34 people per km.

Animals Killed
Tourist hunters kill around 105 000 animals per year, including around 640 elephants, 3 800 buffalo, 600 lions and 800 leopards. Such quantities are not necessarily reasonable. It can e noted for example, that killing 600 lions out of a total population of around 25 000 (i.e. 2.4%) is not sustainable. A hunting trip usually lasts from one to three weeks, during which time each hunter kills an average of two to ten animals, depending on the country.

Financial Flows
The annual turnover for big game hunting in Africa is estimated at $US200 million, half of which is generated in South Africa and the rest in the other countries of Sub Saharan Africa. The contribution to the countries' GDP is 0.06% for the 11 main big game hunting countries.
The contribution to national budgets is also low: one percent of the land classified as big game hunting territory contributes 0.006% to the government budget. The contribution of hunting to the national budget is highest in Tanzania, where it is still only 0.3% and uses 26% of the national land area.

Returns per hectare in big game hunting areas
On average, big game hunting generates a turnover of $US1.1/ha in the 10 big game hunting countries (excluding South Africa), which is very low compared to agricultural use (300 to 600 times more), in a context where the peripheral zones of protected areas are already occupied. This figure does not reach the minimum ratio for the cost of developing a protected area (at least $US2/ha), and can be seen as the sole explanation for the gradual degradation of hunting areas. The local community's share is around $US0.10/ha (or 50 FCFA/ha), explaining their lack of interest in preserving hunting areas and their continued encroachment and poaching.

Low productivity of big game hunting
On average for these 11 countries, the surface area occupied by big game parks is 14.9% of national territory, and the contribution of big game hunting to the GDP is 0.06%. This makes the economic productivity of these hectares very low. This information shows that hunting is not a good option for land use, in particular in a context where priorities are to reduce poverty and establish food security. However, big game hunting (unlike small game hunting) is essentially carried out on land exclusively reserved for that purpose.

The least productive countries per hectare are Ethiopia (hunting areas have virtually disappeared there), Burkina Faso and Benin (where hunting trips are very cheap), Cameroon (where hunting areas are under high pressure from agriculture). These are the countries where closing down of hunting could make the biggest contribution to development by freeing-up land that is not very economically productive (but what would the consequences be for conservation?). These are also the countries where it is most difficult to change local communities' attitudes to conservation, due to the lack of any gain for them.

Find a more productive and eco-sensitive option
Those who are doing the best economically-speaking are Namibia and Botswana. And yet, Botswana decided that better value would be obtained from running safaris and they closed down hunting in the Okavango in 2009. This option should be studied in more depth in the other countries.

What is the place for big game hunting in this context?
The socio-economic contribution and the contribution to development of big game hunting are virtually nil. Therefore, the main overall interest of big game hunting lies in its value as a conservation tool. It is this value that should be increased by better integrating hunting into conservation strategies.