Our Guests on Safari
After so long without being able to get on a plane overseas, it seems like many of us are taking to the air with a vengeance and making up for lost time. If our recent guests, the Lilley and Kozil family's safaris in Botswana, are anything to go by, it's well worth overcoming your doubts and getting out there. Africa is waiting for you and it's even better for the wait! Read below what our guests visiting Botswana in the last couple of months had to say after they got home. We love feedback like this! For USA-based Andrea, who had been to Africa before, it was her desire to share the experience with her daughter that led to this beautiful mother-daughter safari in Botswana. For the Lilley family, Christopher and Margot wanted to share the magic of Africa with their kids. Botswana never fails to disappoint when it comes to family holidays and the smiles really say it all in these photos.
"Our time in Botswana will live on in our hearts forever. A day hasn't gone by where we haven't talked about some amazing and beautiful memory. In addition to all of the animals and beautiful scenes, we were so touched and enriched by all of the local people we met. The guides and staff were all so lovely. We were blessed to be able to connect with some of them. Despite growing up and living in such different circumstances, we spent time together talking, laughing, hugging and sharing stories. I've traveled enough to not be surprised by this connection, but it will never seize to touch my heart and enrich my life. The guides all loved my daughter and she loved them right back :). Needless to say, bringing my daughter back to Africa was such a powerful and meaningful life experience. Our time in Botswana enriched our lives and we are so grateful."
Andrea Kozil, USA
"We set out for a family adventure - and got exactly what we dreamed of.... all five of us loved every minute of the 10 days......Animals - breathtaking moments pretty much everyday.... ....Leopards stalking its prey on the road in front of us..... ....Lions mating before us, like a live biology lesson for the kids!! .... wild dog pups playing near their mum... .....families of mother and baby elephants drinking from the chobe river..... 3 metres from a sleeping croc on a river bank... too close for me!!!... impala's galore... the winners and losers....... happy hungry hippos sunbathing......Birds - "lordy lordy the "Birds of Botswana".....truly outstanding birdlife.... one day maybe 20 years from now... Margot and I will probably return to Botswana just to bird watch!!! The people - "Chief" our driver was remarkable - his communication skills with adults and our kids were superb... great humour, tremendous patience and an ability to read situations. an encyclopedic knowledge of the animals and an uncanny knack of finding the very best animals early each morning."
Christopher Lilley, Sydney/UK
Singapore Elephant Event - Royal Geographical Society: 8th September
Two years ago I was about to head over to Singapore to speak about my elephant work in Rwanda at the Royal Geographical Society, but then Covid kicked in... It's been a while Singpaore, but I'm delighted to say that I'm coming back to talk about elephants for the Society on the evening of Thursday 8th September from 7-9pm at Catapult, #02-01 Rochester Commons, 1 Rochester Park, 139212 (Auditorium 2). I'll be sharing the latest results on our work to create the first photographic identification database for elephants in Akagera National Park, our work to build local capacity among local guides, park staff and researchers, and plans for the future of the project. There will also be an update on all things elephant news from the last few years, including during the Covid-19 pandemic. If you've ever wondered what Rwanda is like, it's a good chance to learn more about this amazing part of Africa, home of the mountain gorillas. Bring your friends!
Elephants and Climate Change
CITES' Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) program recently reported that illegal killings (poaching) of elephants has continued to decline since about 2014 (latest report here) on the back of the global outcry against illegal ivory trade that led to the ivory bans in China and the USA in 2016/17, but a lot of people aren't aware that climate change is an increasing issue for elephants. Kenya's Ministry of Environment and Tourism just announced that climate change is now killing more of Kenya's elephants than poaching. Climate change is making much of Africa drier and hotter, creating greater extremes like droughts, and this is placing more pressure on already limited water supplies shared by elephants and people. We are going to see more human-elephant conflict as a result. An adult African elephant can drink about 200 Litres in a day and eat up to 400kg of food. The drought currently affecting countries like Kenya in the Horn of Africa is severely impacting peoples' lives, causing famine, and as we all know, when people suffer, wildlife ends up suffering too.
If you're still contemplating going on safari in 2023, why not snap up one of the rooms on my safaris in Botswana and Tanzania in May/June? I have one room left at a cracking price for a couple on my Green Season Serengeti Safari (23-30 May) and two rooms on my Botswana Highlights Safari (17-24 June). I'll be setting off for Rwanda in a few months with my group of citizen scientists to get back into the field data collection for Akagera's Elephant Database and to run a field course in elephant identification for Rwandan guides and Akagera National Park staff. I can't wait!