11 Night Guided Conservation Adventure in the Congo Basin
Oct28

11 Night Guided Conservation Adventure in the Congo Basin

This 11 night professionally guided conservation adventure in the Congo Basin offers a unique way of exploring one of Africa’s forgotten places. Designed to appeal to those seeking a deeper and somewhat more intellectual safari experience, this adventure is ideal for conservationists, ornithologists, primatologists and those with knowledge of the area. It’s a hands-on, insightful journey into the depths of Africa’s ancient jungles under the guidance of two visionaries : Paul Telfer and Rod Cassidy. In the 90s Paul Telfer worked as a primate specialist in the relatively unchartered regions of Sierra Leone and Gabon. Paul spent a large portion of his time researching and investigating the link between HIV and primates; and other primate related viruses. He is currently the CEO of the the Congo Conservation Company that drives low-impact tourism in the Congo Basin through research, community and conservation. Renowned ornithologist, Rod Cassidy, hails from South Africa. His first visit to the rainforests was back in 1999, and nearly ten years later he purchased Sangha Lodge. In Sep 2009 the first guests were welcomed. The lodge is now home to a rehabilitation centre for wildlife and is part of many research projects in the area. To date, Rod and his team have successfully rehabilitated over 70 pangolins. This adventure experience is the brainchild of the Congo Conservation Company, who have adopted an innovative approach to low-impact and conservation friendly tourism. This perfectly laid out itinerary introduces eager primatologists and environmentalist to an untouched, unexplored environment in one of the most exceptional parts of the world. The Congo Basin is equatorial middle Africa, a region dripping with jungles and rich with primate activity. It’s completely remote, untouched and untravelled. A rather significant area in terms of wildlife. Did you know that the rare okapi is one of 1,500 animal species endemic to the Congo Basin? The Congo is not only famed for its plethora of wildlife, but also for its exceptional music scene. To best way to understand the Congo, is to visit the area. Should you decide to join this 11 night intrepid journey, you will be accommodated at Sangha Lodge, Ngaga Camp, Lango Camp, and Mboko Camp. Ngaga is gorilla central, and is located outside the park boundary in the Ndzehe concession overlooking an ancient jungle forest. There are several groups of western lowland gorillas in the area. Sangha Lodge is the perfect place for conservation and rehabilitation activities, and the grounds of the lodge comprise a main area with bar and a total of 7 well appointed bungalows. Lango Camp offers driving, walking and boating activities in the midst of pristine surrounds. Lango’s 6 guest...

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Find Out How to Pack for a Purpose When Visiting Africa
Oct18

Find Out How to Pack for a Purpose When Visiting Africa

Pack for a Purpose is a charity initiative encouraging people to pack specific supplies for struggling communities in the countries that they are visiting. The Pack for a Purpose website provides a list of supplies needed in each region, making it quite easy to source country-specific items.  Numerous hotels, camps and lodges within various countries across the globe have joined this highly successful and much needed initiative. You simply check the website to see if your hotel/lodge is part of the program, click on the link to see the projects that they’re involved in, and then build up a package containing their list of items needed. Pack for a Purpose bridges the gap between people wanting to donate material items to communities, and what is actually needed by those communities. If you follow the guidelines laid out by the charity, there won’t be a surplus of unnecessary items – and communities in dire straits will receive exactly what they need to survive and thrive within the educational, conservation and medical sectors.  Africa is a large continent with contrasting countries, unique cultures and mixed economies. This is vibrant continent and melting pot so rich in resources and natural beauty, but poor in monetary wealth. It’s not uncommon for pockets of rural communities to live without water, electricity and food. Communities urgently need donations from first world countries, but their list of items often differs from what we think they might need. The on-the-ground teams in each country keep inventory of what surrounding communities need, and constantly update the Pack for a Purpose website. Pack for a Purpose guides visitors towards the information needed to contribute effectively to communities – and don’t forget, a small contribution can have a massive impact. Below are a few of the items needed in popular safari destinations, with a handful of the lodges that Sun Safaris books on a regular basis. Each of the listed lodges has specific projects that they are involved in, which you can read about when you click on specific links. Pack for a Purpose in Botswana  Botswana is focussed on improving education and providing basic classroom supplies to the underprivileged. You are encouraged to donate school supplies, writing utensils, knitting utensils and notebooks.  3 lodges in Botswana involved in Pack for a Purpose. Click on the links to read the list of what is needed at each camp’s delivery point, and what projects are currently underway. Jao Camp in the heart of the Okavango Delta Duba Plains Camp is part of Great Plains Conservation and is located in the Okavango Delta. Vumbura Plains on the edge of the floodplains in...

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South Africa joins Brazil and Indonesia as world’s most biodiverse nations
Oct10

South Africa joins Brazil and Indonesia as world’s most biodiverse nations

South Africans, indulge in a moment of national pride: ZA is ranked as the third most biodiverse country in the world! It comes in after Indonesia in second place, and Brazil, which takes the gold medal in the category. The land of biltong, Ouma rusks, the Vuvuzela, and Walkie-Talkies (not the two-way radio kind) is also one of the planet’s megadiverse countries, meaning it has at least 5000 species of endemic plants and borders marine ecosystems. Not only is South Africa considered megadiverse, it is ranked third in the world. Our biologically diverse country is surrounded by two oceans – Atlantic and Indian – and occupies only about 2% of the world’s land area, while it hosts an impressive 10% of the world’s plants, 7% of the reptiles, birds and mammals, and 15% of coastal marine species. While we’re talking numbers, wrap your head around 850 species of birds, and 300 species of mammals occurring across our landscape. We can also boast about our nine different biomes, three of which have been declared global biodiversity hotspots: the Cape Floristic Region, Succulent Karoo, and parts of the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany. The Eastern Cape of South Africa is one of the world’s top 10 coral reef hotspots, while the Cape Fold Belt is an important freshwater ecoregion. What animals are endemic to South Africa? A few famous examples of animals endemic to South Africa include the Cape grysbok, bontebok, and riverine rabbit in the mammals category; the Cape sugarbird, Cape parrot and Cape rockjumper for birds; the geometric tortoise and Knysna dwarf chameleon as endemic reptiles; and the Table Mountain ghost frog as one of our endemic amphibians. The list goes on with plenty of insects, invertebrates, fish, and of course endemic plants. Take a look at a more in depth list of unique species and genera in South Africa here. Urgency to protect this unique biodiversity This climb in the ranking to third place comes after the declaration of 20 new Marine Protected Areas in South Africa, which will now protect 90% of the country’s marine habitat species. This, of course, is good news as it is an indication of the steps being taken by government to keep these sensitive and globally significant ecosystems safe from unsustainable overfishing, unethical recreation, and poaching among other things. The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy said: “In terms of government priorities, these ocean parks will not only protect our rich marine biodiversity but will also contribute to the sustainability of our fisheries and our fishing industry – a perfect example of sustainable development, evidence-based policy-making, and a valuable outcome of the Operation Phakisa: Oceans...

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How to Travel with Purpose in Africa
Sep18

How to Travel with Purpose in Africa

A few blog posts ago we spoke about ethical travel, conscious safaris and a new breed of traveller seeking more meaningful travel experiences. We refer to this as “Travel with Purpose”. This recently coined term can mean anything from enjoying an impactful holiday encouraging small changes day-to-day living, booking a holiday with a company that contributes to charity, joining conservation safaris, purchasing locally made artefacts, and ultimately booking holidays with a more philanthropic mindset and going beyond face value digging into each destination’s story, history and community. Meaningful interactions and moments; as opposed to flying through 100s of countries to churn out over edited pictures for brag factors. We’ve listed a few ways in which you can travel with purpose in Africa, and how these holidays could possibly impact your own lifestyle, and that of the country you’re visiting. Here’s how to travel with purpose in Africa and how to become more aware when you return home. Join activity based safari holidays : Going on safari is already an activity based holiday. Designed to introduce guests the nature, the dynamics of the wild and how to disconnect from modern living; a safari can be a life-changing experience. Fresh air, wide-open spaces and a slow pace of life encourages a back-to-basics awakening within us. Take this concept of disconnect back into your daily life, and find urban parks, and somewhere in nature that brings back this safari feeling. Teach others about the importance of wildlife roaming free and encourage respect of animals. A safari teaches you the art of disconnecting and the authenticity of the simple life.  Walking safaris put a whole new spin on the safari experience, and go a level deeper in terms of connecting with nature. Walking safaris in southern Africa offer a unique way of seeing the wilderness. There is nothing better than being ground level with wildlife, and learning about the fauna and flora from knowledgeable field guides. Exploring the wild and learning about the biodiversity of your surrounds carries meaning. While on foot you are more connected to nature, which leads to a productive safari experience. It’s on foot where you’ll learn about the microhabitats of small terrestrial animals, and get to know the incredible uses of vegetation – knowledge that you can take home with you. Take stock of the tranquility you feel inside when walking in nature, and recreate this journey by joining walking groups when you get back home. Look at the trees in your neighbourhood and understand the important role they play in the environment. Plant trees in your neighbourhood/garden and encourage others to do the same.  Wilderness Safaris has...

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3 Sun Destinations Properties Offering a Conscious Safari Experience
Sep02

3 Sun Destinations Properties Offering a Conscious Safari Experience

Those who travel are redefining how they travel. A new generation of travellers are seeking out destinations offering them a closer connection to the simple life, and opting to stay in places that respect their environment.  This change in mindset has infiltrated the types of holiday people are booking, with a shift towards earth-conscious people wanting to stay in places that are eco-friendly, tread carefully on the environment or tightly partnered with charities. When it comes to luxury holidays, environmentally aware holidaymakers want to ensure that they’re giving back in some small way. Most safari lodges and camps in South Africa do help, but there are a few where you can become actively involved in the safari experience. These are not volunteer programs but rather safaris that make a difference, while still offering a signature safari experience. The following 3 camps/lodges within the Sun Destinations portfolio offer a safari with an impact. Roam Private Game Reserve in the Western Cape’s Great Karoo Roam Private Game Reserve is located on 5000 hectares of malaria-free scrubveld in the Great Karoo, an ancient and endless semi-desert landscape covering 400,000 square kilometres in its entirety.  The focus at Roam is on eco-tourism and providing visitors with the opportunity to experience the remote wilderness of the Karoo. There are 3 accommodation options, each catering for a different type of guests. The Manor House is an exclusive use house ideal for families, the Explorer Camp is ideal for adventurers and the Roam Safari Lodge is perfect for couples. Roam has an incredible conservation program that affords guests an opportunity to become involved and help with various conservation initiatives on the reserve. Guests can help tag and band birds for research purposes, help with veld monitoring, track cheetah, and learn about the day-to-day running of a reserve. The idea at Roam is to offer a conscious safari experience; one where guests enjoy the activities synonymous with a typical safari experience, but also help to conserve their “holiday” environment. Ugebezi Explorer Camp in the Blue Canyon Conservancy Located in the heart of the uncrowded Blue Canyon Nature Conservancy on 10 000 ha of mixed savanna, acacia and mopane thickets; lies the intimate and rustic Ugebezi Explorer Camp. This discreet tented camp offers an immersive, hands-on safari experience where the focus is on conservation, walking safaris and getting to know the Kruger wilderness. There are only 4 tents, which means an intimate and personalised safari experience. A main bedouin tent houses a classic and tastefully decorated lounge area, complete with chocolate colour leather couches and wooden artefacts and games.  Ugebezi is actually an extension of Nkombe Rhino, an...

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The Electric Safari Vehicle Revolution
Aug04

The Electric Safari Vehicle Revolution

It’s safe to say that Electric Safari Vehicles have the ability to change the game in the world of safari experiences. Not only are these state-of-the-art conversions much more environmentally friendly than normally aspirated vehicles, like the typical Land Rover Defenders or 4.2-litre diesel Toyota Land Cruisers, but they virtually are silent while running. This vehicle is revolutionary for game drives, and we’ll tell you why. It handles rocks and river sand just the same, if not better, than fuel-powered engines Field guides who expertly navigate the bushy terrain with their guests on the back of their six or nine-seater 4x4s have reported on how seamlessly the converted vehicles perform over the same rocky obstacles, through the thick riverbed sand, and across water crossings. The electric safari vehicle has the same capabilities as a Diesel engine and does not hinder access in typical safari landscapes. Precision control, torque, and 4×4 capabilities are impressive to say the least, so that’s point number one! It’s completely silent when running The electric conversions make an ordinary engine completely soundless. There is no loud turn-over of the engine as the key turns in the ignition and no roar of the engine coming to life before settling at a steady, rather loud, rumble. Cruising through the wilderness, listening for the sounds of animals and birds has never been easier. Many seasoned safari guests and field guides can’t believe the difference in what they can hear without the usual “chugga-chugga” of the Land Cruiser. Guides express being able to hear alarm calls in the bush, birds calling, and grass rustling all while driving. No more switching off of the engine to listen out for that telltale kudu bark! Plus, guests on the back of the vehicle can communicate easily with their guide in the driver’s seat without the sound of the engine. It emits no fossil fuels and charges on solar power Perhaps the most important aspect of the new electric safari vehicle is its eco-friendliness. By converting ordinary fuel-powered engines to electrically charged engines eliminates those harmful emissions from the atmosphere in environmentally sensitive areas. One of the most powerful ways in which we can change our impact on the environment is to reduce fossil fuels, and so for every engine converted, the greater the safari industry becomes for the planet. What’s more? It charges on solar power, taking it even further off the grid and utilising the sun’s abundant energy. It perfectly matches eco-friendly lodges that have already switched over to solar, completing the package and sealing the deal. It’s perfect for photography and videography The electric vehicles are so smooth and still and have...

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Tanzania Joins Kenya in Banning the Use of Plastic Bags
May25

Tanzania Joins Kenya in Banning the Use of Plastic Bags

Plastic is one of Planet Earth’s arch enemies. The toxic man-made fibres used to create plastic shopping bags, fishing nets, toys, toiletries, and other disposable items, continue to poison our planet. Population growth has led to a huge increase in plastic pollution, and the desire for more material items to suit our fast-paced lifestyle has led to further manufacturing of ease-of-use products. When we’re done with something, we dispose of it. That waste pollutes landfills, strangles our marine life, clogs up water systems and all those “plastic” chemicals seep into our systems, killing us slowly. A number of eco-conscious African countries are already involved in banning the use of plastic bags, with Tanzania being to latest to join the countries of zero plastic bags. This is a massive step forward towards saving our planet from a slow death, an undertaking that requires plenty of logistics and creative thinking. Banning the use of plastic bags is a small change that can be implemented in your own household, and at country level. While it might be a minuscule change in the grand scheme of things, it’s a start. The good news is (there is some), is that people are becoming more aware of the dangers of plastic and how single actions can create a snowball effect within communities and countrywide. Many earth-conscious people have promised to change their ways, and have implemented their own changes. We’re witnessing a progression towards using proper bags for shopping, buying eco-friendly ear-buds, the industrious crowd designing outdoor furniture from recycled plastic and take-out junkies opting to use eco-cups and bamboo straws. It has become trendy to be environmentally conscious – and when something is trendy, it takes shape in social media, print and other sources of media. Politicians and countries need to lead by example, and we’re seeing massive actions taking place in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and now Tanzania in the war against plastic. These countries have a raw, wild and untouched landscapes with wildlife roaming free. Tourism sustains these countries, and they cannot afford to have our last remaining wild regions tainted by the careless efforts from blissfully unaware humans. As a result, they’ve banned the use of plastic bags – a drastic action taken, but a much needed one. Kenya implemented the ban in 2017 and currently has the harshest plastic bag ban. Producing, using and selling plastic bags can see culprits facing up to 4 years in jail or a hefty fine!  More money, more convenience and more of a throwaway society. So what exactly does “banning the use of plastic bags” mean for travellers to Tanzania? Visitors to the country won’t...

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