Rocking for Rhinos Festival : Get Your Tickets
Oct04

Rocking for Rhinos Festival : Get Your Tickets

The CITES (CoP17) wildlife convention took place in Sandton, South Africa and is currently drawing to a close. The convention is a massive global event where numerous countries gather to discuss the plight of wildlife. It is an international treaty and agreement about trade in wildlife and plants – its’ major aim to prevent the extinction of species. One of the issues at the forefront of the rhino poaching issue was Swaziland’s move to legalise the trade of rhino horn; which was rejected. With this massive conference happening on our shores, we thought it fitting to chat about the Rocking for Rhinos festival happening on the outskirts of the Kruger’s safari capital, Hoedspruit. This two day festival promises a line-up of bands, entertainment, food stalls and a whole lot more. And guess what? 100% of your proceeds go towards helping to save rhinos. Even if you can’t make the festival and still want to donate, then please buy a ticket as your donation towards saving rhinos. Your money goes towards a number of organisations involved in helping rhinos. The beneficiaries include: Rhino Task Team ( NPO Number 164-507) Bongi’s Quest children’s book Black Mambas APU – since 2014 Rocking for Rhinos have donated over R100, 000 towards the unit. Social upliftment on behalf of Transfrontier Africa The Bushbabies Environmental Education Awareness Program Rhino conservation and research in the Balule Nature Reserve and the Rhino Revolution Rhino Orphanage and Hospital. Lauren Saad, from Ezulwini Game Lodges, is a director of Rocking for Rhinos and she says, “Rocking for Rhinos is a registered Non-Profit Organisation (NPO number 137-976) working towards not only the abolishment of rhino poaching, but also the protection and management of the remaining rhino population. We are audited and all our beneficiaries, Protrack Rhino Task Team, Black Mamba Anti-poaching unit and Bongi’s Quest, can be contacted to validate our legitimacy from our start in 2012.” Follow Rocking for Rhinos on Facebook to find out more about these organisations Click here to book tickets for the event...

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Cycling iMfolozi to Save African Wild Dogs
Jul20

Cycling iMfolozi to Save African Wild Dogs

When it comes to exercising, there is no better motivation than to do it for a good cause. When the exercise is heart-thumping, pedal-beating mountain biking and the cause is conserving African wild dogs, there is just no better reason to jump in the saddle! The Wild Series iMfolozi Mountain Bike Challenge offers the ride of a lifetime to adrenalin junkies, nature lovers, and mountain bikers all in the name of saving Africa’s second-most endangered large carnivore. The prestigious Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve is the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa and it is a known safe haven to the largest population of white rhino on the continent. Contributing to this conservation area’s value as a wild, African sanctuary, is its protected population of some of the last remaining painted wolves. This historical game reserve in the heart of Zululand is driven towards conserving wild dogs and spreading awareness about their endangerment. The iMfolozi Mountain Bike Challenge is taking place this weekend 23 July for another consecutive year, and it is proving to be one of South Africa’s most popular outdoor events! Keen adventurers and challenge-seeking mountain bikers take to the savannahs of the Hluhluwe iMfolozi, push through gruellingly soft riverbeds, and plunge into the water crossings with heart-felt determination. Mud splatter decorates the cyclists’ burning calves, and energetic smiles spread across their faces as they embark on one of the most privileged rides of their lives: a 55km cycle tour through one of South Africa’s most esteemed natural areas. What’s more, is that entry fees for the event contribute directly to the conservation of African wild dogs – a population that has plummeted to below 5000 individuals. In the world. If you’re travelling to Kwazulu Natal’s celebrated iMfolozi to show your support for wild dog conservation, you may as well know what safari options lie ahead… The 96 000 hectare reserve is home to incredible fauna and flora, and some of the activities on offer may appeal to the non-riders of the group: quad biking, horse riding, game drives, and boat cruises. Bird-watching is world-renowned, and views are spectacular. Look at Hluhluwe River Lodge or Thula Thula Safari Lodge for memorable safari accommodation for the family, or opt for something closer to the iconic iSimangaliso Wetland Park, where Cape Vidal, Lake St. Lucia, and Sodwana Bay lie, waiting to be discovered. The Wild Series iMfolozi Mountain Bike Challenge is just one of the ways in which the public can contribute to conserving one of the most endangered predators in Africa, while bringing fun-loving people together for the outdoor event of a lifetime. It just happens to be in one of...

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Namibia: The Guardians
Nov24

Namibia: The Guardians

Namibia; a country wide conservation success story. The World Wild Life Fund and the Namibian Government have been working together to create conservation initiatives in Namibia. Wildlife protection has even been written into the Namibian Constitution and laws. Wildlife is not contained in Namibia, the animals roam freely in most parts of the country. This includes predators like lions. Small local communities have always seen these predators as pests who creep in at night and take their livestock away for food. By working and educating local communities on the need to protect and conserve these predators, most of these local communities have embraced these conservation practises.  Communities have understood that wildlife brings tourism which brings in tourism dollars.  Communities are working together with conservation officers to increase numbers of endangered animals and to educate communities on how to protect livestock and crops. The WWF has compiled this info page to show exactly what they are doing in Namibia, and here is a video on how mindsets have been shifted amongst locals....

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Farewell to Rosh, Desert Lion Legend
Jul10

Farewell to Rosh, Desert Lion Legend

The issue of human-lion conflict is one of the biggest killers of lions in Africa today. It is a seemingly unending battle to establish an harmonious existence between us and them, and sadly, where Namibia’s unique desert lions live, this battle has resulted in the tragic death of one of the most significant male lions of the Skeleton Coast. Rosh, a name given to identify him, was collared by Dr Flip Stander and Desert Lion Conservation in 2010, and has since been monitored traversing through Damaraland and the Skeleton Coast. His GPS collar was attached in order to help Flip keep track of him, study his movements, obtain biometric data, and to assist in keeping him away from the Himba villages and coming into conflict with the people. Devastating news was reported by Lion Ranger Bertus Tjipombo recently, confirming fears that this beautiful 10-year-old desert-adapted male lion had been shot. Rosh belonged to an exceptional population of lions that has teetered on the brink of survival and due to the unfailing efforts of Desert Lion Conservation and its sponsors, has defied extinction and grown to a population of about 200 individuals. The male lions in this population are crucial to the genetic stability and growth of the prides of the Skeleton Coast and as it is, there are still too few males. The desert lions suffer a massive blow in an incident like this with the loss of such an iconic male. As reported by Bertus to TOSCO Chairman, Felix Vallat, Rosh was shot by Puros farmers in retaliation after the lion killed a cow. There is an overwhelming feeling of sadness surrounding the death of this lion, as it emphasises the distance we still need to go to overcome the issue of human-lion conflict.   Hallo Felix,   We had a terrible incident where we discovered that Rosh was shot to death.   Rosh was born in September 2004 at Uniab river and then move to Hoanib river where he spent time with the lionesses of the Floodplain and Okongue prides.   Mostly, Rosh covered the area around Gommatom river, Hoaruseb river, Oruhito, Giribes Plains, Kanamub and Okongue area. During his time in the Puros area, Rosh has killed in total about 6 cattle in the area.   We, as Puros conservancy Lion Rangers, are unhappy about the death of Rosh. We heard that Rosh killed 1 cow and the farmer’s horse between Puros and Tomakas, which resulted in his death.   The farmer found the lion eating the cow on the main road from Tomakas to Puros and this is how we found out. Then he proceeded...

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Would you add 1% for Africa and the Big Cat Initiative?
May13

Would you add 1% for Africa and the Big Cat Initiative?

Add just 1% to your safari cost for the Big Cat Initiative  Help save Africa’s wildlife with the Big Cat Initiative Do you think the people who visit Africa and who utilise its resources for tourism should be responsible for paying toward its protection and conservation? With over 49 million tourists entering Africa in 2011 (and that number has increased every year since), it would certainly make the difference in dollars if they did. If there was one sure way to channel your donations toward a single entity with the power and authority to re-inject those funds into the upkeep and protection of the wildlife and environment, would you add your piece? We certainly would. Africa is invaluable to us, it is irreplaceable and it is dangerously perishable. The worldwide interest in this wild place, the Dark Continent, is undeniable. The home of the safari – a billion dollar industry that sees millions of tourists onto African soil each year – it is a continent that has captured the fascination of the world, but now, its original inhabitants are paying the price of exploitation. There is such beauty in Africa, and if we can utilise just 1% of each person’s travel expense to give back to the land, then the land would be millions of dollars richer, and it would be around for millions of years longer. It makes absolute sense to us that we should be the ones contributing. That is why, since June 2013, we have donated US$ 20 of our own profit for each booking made with us. Our chosen charity for this particular cause is the Big Cats Initiative, initiated by wildlife filmmakers and conservationists, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, and in association with National Geographic. This project works to protect Africa’s big cats from their top 3 killers: habitat loss, hunting, and human-wildlife conflict. We pledge this idea to our guests and promise to give US$ 20 to the Big Cat Initiative every time they finalise a booking with us. We also ask them to match our donation, or raise it, if they believe in the cause as much as we do. Either way, we make sure that every time a guest books with Sun Safaris, we donate on behalf of that guest. Unfortunately we have most often donated alone, without the extra contribution from our guests, so we hope to encourage many more with the new notion of ‘1% for Africa’, pioneered by Colin Bell, conservationist and author of Africa’s Finest; and Great Plains Conservation, belonging to Dereck and Beverly Joubert. These safari heavyweights addressed a group at a conservation lab recently. What they proposed was the idea of this 1%. If...

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Namibia’s Lion Rangers send an update from the Skeleton Coast
Apr03

Namibia’s Lion Rangers send an update from the Skeleton Coast

We’ve mentioned in previous blogs how honoured we are to be affiliated with the Desert Lion Conservation (DLC) project in Namibia, and when we receive updates from the field, we are reminded of just how important our sponsorship of the project is. Lion Rangers – a select few men from the affected conservancies in northwestern Namibia – are employed by TOSCO Trust and DLC to patrol and protect their communities from conflict with lions. Human-lion conflict is one of the biggest problems facing the survival of lions today, and as the population of people in Africa grows, the less space there is for humans and predators to co-exist, and predators end up killing farmers’ precious livestock. The farmers’ retaliation of these attacks is what is destroying the lion population in many rural areas of Africa. It is vital that this conflict is prevented in order to spare both the lions’ lives and the welfare of the local communities. The Lion Ranger programme is not without its challenges and has not prevented the killing of either livestock or lions altogether, but the improvement is vast and the value being placed on the lions is the most important change of all. Bertus Tjipombo is one of the Lion Rangers working and living in the remote Kunene region of Namibia, and here is his most recent update – a sign of growth and success in the programme, and for the first time, no attacks or deaths reported. Namibians are thankful for the recent relief of rain that has filled the rivers and watered their land, and there is also speculation that the provision of more water for all will keep the wild animals and the domestic animals to themselves! Dear Felix, Hope you are well. We had some few drops of rain here in Purros so i hope there will be less animal conflict. We have been to Wereldsend for a workshop based on lions’ behaviour and how to track them. Workshop was attended by four different conservancies whereby people shared ideas and problems caused by lions. In their respective conservancies, the workshop was facilitated by Dr Flip Stander and Russel and they shared very helpful knowledge with us. We received three binoculars, which were divided into three conservancies. Dr Flip said that this workshop was level 1 and the second one will be practical and dates are yet to be confirmed. About lion movement, the Terrace male is in the Skeleton Coast Park and Rosh is down the Hoaruseb River, while the lionesses are in Okongwe area. Looking forward for any information you want to share it with us, have a great day ahead. Thanks and Regards...

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The World called upon South Africa to Ban Canned Lion Hunting
Mar17

The World called upon South Africa to Ban Canned Lion Hunting

The Global March for Lions (#GlobalMarch4Lions) took place in Cape Town and in roughly 60 other cities all over the world to protest against South Africa’s canned lion hunting industry. Sun Safaris was there – a proud (yet, sole) representative of the travel operator industry based in Cape Town – and we drove our banner to the gates of parliament to address the government and ask for change. The message of the day was to ban canned hunting in this country; a plea that was echoed globally. We received updates from Aukland, New Zealand, which was visited by hurricane winds and a downpour on the day of the event, yet its dedicated marchers surged on and made their voices heard. Hong Kong, Los Angeles, London, Sydney, Madrid and New York are just a few others that reigned in the troops to roar for lions on 15 March. Those physically present in Cape Town were joined by the resounding voice of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as a recorded speech was played to the crowd as we gathered outside parliament. Chris Mercer, director of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH), captured the crowd with his practiced discourse on the truth about the industry that is so often sold as ‘conservation’. Luring well intended tourists in with promises of walking with lions, petting and bottle-feeding babies that have ‘lost their mothers’. In truth, those cubs have lost their mothers, but they have been unnaturally removed in order to be hand-reared, while their mothers are prepared to bear yet another litter of cubs, which will also be taken away in turn. Once these lionesses are no longer breeding, they are sold to canned hunting farms where they are bought by hunters and shot as trophies. Once those cubs are too big to be cooed over, they too are sold to farms, kept in groups in small enclosures and await their turn to be bought and killed by can-hunters. Mercer said on the day of the march in Cape Town that he is “tired of being told that hunters only want to kill lions to help the impoverished masses in Africa”. This is a common misconception and, statistically, the canned lion industry does very little to aid the poor communities and does very much to boost private farms’ annual incomes. Mercer elaborated and said, “Let them donate money if that is a real concern”. One of the banners at Cape Town’s Global March for Lions called to “inspect all private farms”, which is something we need to urge the government to do to expose the captive lion farms that sell tame lions to be shot,...

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