Southern Africa Country Highlights part 2

Southern Africa Country Highlights part 2

As a fast follow on to the first blog covering the highlights of Botswana, Madagascar, Zimbabwe.  This blog piece covers Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique.

Namibia:

This is like no other country on the continent! It is the land of contrasts and no two days will be the same.  The name, Namibia means vast and empty, it is vast, there is no doubt about that – but is is not empty.  This country offers you stunning landscapes with a plethora of endemic fauna and flora, allowing you to focus on the small and often overlooked creatures.  It is an unassuming country with a first world infrastructure, excellent international flight connections and local small aircraft flights, contrasted by mostly gravel roads and yet everything works so well and safari travel is remarkably easy.  The wildlife areas are still unspoilt and not tarnished by ‘use’ while shipwrecks dot the barren coastline, and names like ‘Skeleton Coast’ appear remarkably apt for the area.

The oldest desert in the world, the Namib in the South, is characterised by wave-sculptured dunes 1100feet high.  In the North West, wide, wild gravel plains are inhabited by prehistoric plants, desert elephants and nomadic tribes.  The North is wildlife country and an ideal combination for wildlife and people for a safari.

  • Etosha National Park is the main national park, built around an extinct lake bed that covers over 100 000 acres.  It offers superb game viewing, vast open spaces, starry skies at night and striking vistas.
  • Sossusvlei is a “must see” for photographers.  This highlight is iconic, red dunes meet rugged rock mountains.  These ever changing dunes were formed 55 million years ago and are 4th tallest dunes in Africa. The scenery is simply unbeatable, times stands still here and it is a place where you can “just be”.
  • Swakopmund is a quaint Deutch-African coastal town which is most reknowned for adventure activities for teenage families.  It has far more to offer though with lovely restaurants, old architecture, deep see fishing and flights over the Namib to capture where the dunes meet the Atlantic.  This city has multidimensional appeal.
  • Kaokoveld is the   Like much of Namibia the scenery is incredible unbeatable photographic opportunities especially in dry season.  This area is home to the Himba people and to the much sought after desert elephant and lion.  You will also find desert rhino, oryx, springbuck and other game.
  • Kunene region is in the far NW corner of Namibia and is one of Namibia’s wildest and most remote areas. In particular the Hartmann Valley is desolate, rugged, out-of-the-way! and a must see especially given the wealth of desert adapted wildlife.
  • Namibia has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
    • Twylfelfontein: Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes has one of the largest concentrations of  petroglyphs
    • Namib Sand Sea: is the only coastal desert in the world that includes extensive dune fields influenced by fog. Covering an area of over three million hectares and a buffer zone of 899,500 hectares The desert dunes are formed by the transportation of materials thousands of kilometres from the hinterland, that are carried by river, ocean current and wind. It features gravel plains, coastal flats, rocky hills, inselbergs within the sand sea, a coastal lagoon and ephemeral rivers, resulting in a landscape of exceptional beauty. Fog is the primary source of water in the site, accounting for a unique environment in which endemic invertebrates, reptiles and mammals adapt to an ever-changing variety of micro habitats and ecological niches. (UNESCO)

Photo credits: Canva

 

South Africa:

Pristine uncrowded beaches.  Remote & varied wilderness, game reserves and national parks.  Majestic Mountains.  Rich History.  Diverse Culture.  Exciting food experiences.  8 World Heritage Sites. Stable environment.

South Africa has it all!  As the most developed of the Southern Africa countries, South Africa is the perfect “entry” point to Southern Africa.  Your vacation will be inspired, offering you a unique and varied vacation. Experience the juxtaposition of first and third world in a stable environment with great infrastructure allowing travel to be easy and comfortable.  There is literally something for everyone.  Johannesburg is the gateway city to other Southern Africa highlights and allows for multi-country vacation.

  • World Heritage Sites: South Africa boasts 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 4 cultural sites, 3 natural and one both cultural and natural. Isimangaliso Wetland Park | Robben Island| Cradle of Humankind | uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park  | Mapungubwe National Park  | Cape Floral Region  | Vredefort Dome |  Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape
  • The Cape:  Cape Town, voted one of the top cities in the world (#12 in 2019) is fun-filled and culturally diverse. Set against Table Mountain you have access to The Winelands (Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschoek and Middelvlei) offering some of the best wines exported around the world.  Cape Town has the most restaurants in South Africa with world class fine dining restaurant’s that often end up on the top restaurants in the world lists.  It is a vibrant city, an endless playground.
  • The Garden Route offers rugged coastlines with magnificent scenery where mountains meet the ocean.  Addo Elephant Park is one of four national parks along the garden route, has 5 of South Africa’s biomes (more than any other National Park) is malaria free, perfect for families and offers a wonderful wildlife experience.
  • Wildlife:  Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal off exclusive, immersive wildlife experiences at both private and national park areas.  These lodges and camps are sophisticated, expertly managed offering fine dining, privacy and abundant wildlife including all of the dangerous game, plus cheetah, painted dogs and hippo.  If you are looking for malaria free zones, Madikwe and the Waterberg are just few hours out of Johannesburg, ideal for families with limited time.
  • Johannesburg and Pretoria.  Our two administrative and commercial capitals of South Africa should not be overlooked.  These scenic cities have abundant historical and cultural activities, world class hotels and fine-dining every night. Oliver Tambo International Airport is your gateway to the rest of Southern and East Africa.

Photo credits: Canva

Zambia:

The Zambezi river is the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and so they share the Victoria Falls at Livingstone. Zambia is like that “best kept secret” rich in wildlife destinations spreading from west to east.  They are unspoiled, wild and have some of the best wildlife viewing on the continent without the crowds!  The Kafue, Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa national parks are only three of thirteen that most travelers visit on a short safari here.  Some of these parks have rare species and migrations that will allure to the more seasoned traveller. Zambia is culturally diverse too, and has a colourful history to interest visitors as well. The World Economic Forum also puts Zambia as one of the safest nations in Africa.

  • Livingstone and Victoria Falls.  Livingstone, much like Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is the adventure capital of Zambia. Vibey, fun and full of energy it shares Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Zimbabwe.  You can see incredible views of the Falls and gorge, enjoy other land-based activities, and helicopter or micro-lite flights and even pop across the bridge to visit Zimbabwe.
  • Kafue National Park: is the largest and oldest national park in Zambia, only 2 hours from Livingstone, however it is largely untouched and offers genuine pristine wilderness.  Lodges are exclusive and travellers feel as if they are the only people there, a privilege to experience.   Spanning an area of 22.400 square kilometers, Kafue offers good game, small boutique camps, roan antelope, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, lion, cheetah and over 500 bird species.
  • Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambezi river. Lies opposite Mana Pools in Zimbabwe and offers terrific camps, very good game, boating, canoeing, fishing in season, game walks and game drives. Lower Zambezi covers a vast area of 4,092 square kilometers with most of the game concentrated along the valley floor.   “UNESCO declared several areas of the Lower Zambezi World Heritage sites, mainly because it is home to a ‘remarkable concentration of wildlife’”.[lowerzambezi.com]
  • South Luangwa National Park. 9,050 square kilometre park is centred around the Luangwa River and is the most famous park in Zambia.  This is the park that made walking safaris famous and it is still undoubtedly one of the best ways to experience a safari.  It has unbeatable wildlife with 60 species of animal and 400 species of bird, it is a wildlife sanctuary.  This national park is also one of very few around Southern and East Africa that offer night drives and you simply can’t go wrong with this park.
  • Kasanka National Park between October and December is something to behold as 10 million fruit bats arrive from their migration.  It is astonishing natural phenomenon.  But not only that, you can also see Sitatungas which are a highly elusive semi-aquatic antelope.

Image credit: SouthLuwangwa.com  (top) Kafuenationalparkzambia.com (bottom)

 

Mozambique:

Mozambique offers unique historical and cultural heritage, tropical beaches, coral reefs, spectacular landscapes, rich architecture and small unspoilt islands close to the coast, making it one of the most enticing tourist destinations in Southern Africa. It borders the Indian ocean with a coastline of nearly 2500km dotted with magnificent beaches.

The unspoilt beaches and dreamy resorts on the Bazaruto Archipelago in the balmy Indian Ocean have become world famous as exquisite island getaways – consisting of four islands plus surrounding islets and reefs. This beautiful area features inviting sandy beaches and offers excellent opportunities for game fishing. Mozambique is fast becoming Southern Africa’s top beach destination!

  • Island archipelago including Bazaruto, Benguela, St. Isabella. Pristine beaches and seas.

Photo credits: Warren Wright

Southern Africa Country Highlights part 1

Southern Africa is diverse in landscape and wilderness experiences, people, culture and highlights, giving travellers a plethora of choice, which can make choosing where to go and what to see quite daunting.

In this blog we look at 7 Southern African countries and their highlights.  Each of these countries offer exclusive, authentic and immersive safari, cultural and travel experiences with luxury hotels/lodges/camps and transport.  Some countries are more easily accessible with modern infrastructure and easy connections and others are more remote.  Each has their own appeal and character; each has their own heartbeat.

Botswana:

This politically stable country is the role model for the continent.  The government has always paid great attention to its wildlife and conservation areas, making them a priority and protecting the integrity of the wilderness areas while respecting the communities and ensuring sustainable tourism for all. The proximity to South Africa, diverse and scenic habitats, modern infrastructure and pristine wilderness areas means Botswana remains a must on any wildlife eco-tourism safari.  A safari in Botswana is the epitome of an immersive travelling experience. The Okavango Delta is an oasis of Eden, whilst the Kalahari and Makgadikgadi are endearing contrasts with an equal number of characters that inspire and intrigue travellers.

  • The Okavango Delta: is a World Heritage site, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, the largest inland delta in the world and worthy of the acclaim and recognition it receives. It is one of the world’s last remaining truly pristine wilderness areas.  It has the highest game densities and diversity outside the Serengeti making it a must-see for all eco-travellers and offers world class exclusive lodges and camps while keeping the core focus on the environment, wildlife and communities.
  • The Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the second largest wildlife game reserve in the world, is a stark contrast to the lush Okavango Delta.  It is famous for the black-maned lions, as well as cheetah, springbok, gemsbok, ostrich and wildebeest not to mention herds of oryx, springbuck, red hartebeest and the widest horizons.
  • The Makgadikgadi Pans: a salt pan– with an area of 3 900 sq. kms is one of the largest salt flats in the world.  The pans are a salty dessert but after the rains are an important habitat for migrating animals including wildebeest and one of Africa’s biggest zebra populations, as well as the large predators that prey on them. The wet season also brings migratory birds such as ducks, geese and Great White Pelicans. Bigs skies, expansive space, stars and meerkats (Timone)!
  • Chobe National Park is renowned for its massive herds of elephants and buffalo, specificall on the Chobe river. The boat cruises offer the best experiences on water with wildlife.
  • Linyanti ecosystem: this northern waterway is unspoiled, beautiful and starting to become known as one of the best game viewing areas in Africa offering prolific elephant sightings in the dry season and some of the best predator encounters.
  • Savuti is rugged and offers abundant wildlife in an area of great scenic beauty. Good predators, general wildlife viewing and lodges.

 

Madagascar:

This island is biodiversity heaven with 70% of its fauna and 90% of its flora endemic. 5% of all know fauna and flora known to man are endemic to this wonderous island.  It is the upside down world of baobab trees and home to lemurs.  You will find the worlds largest and smallest chameleon, 258 bird species of which 115 of those are endemic.  It is an outdoor travellers dream.  Slightly more difficult to travel around, more remote than other Southern African countries and islands, an adventurous spirit is needed but any effort is rewarded tenfold.

Madagascar is not only about the unique wildlife though.  It is culturally rich with 18 different tribes, the landscapes contrast from forests, to mangroves, pristine beaches, grasslands and canyons.  See dusty villages, the bustling Antanarivo and Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, considered sacred by the Malagasy for 500 years, this historical village was once home to Malagascar Royalty.

Madagascar may be small in size but it is big in character.  It is unique and startling, different from anything else and will give you an extraordinary experience and leave you full of wonder and awe.

Top highlights:

  • Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
  • Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
  • Isalo National Park
  • Avenue of the Baobabs
  • Ranomafana National Park
  • Amber Mountain National Park
  • Ankarana Reserve
  • Antanarivo

Photo credit: Canva

Zimbabwe:

Zimbabwe has a feeling, an atmosphere and a beat that is hard to capture in words. It just has that special something that you can’t quite put your finger on.  The people are warm and welcoming.  The safari experiences may possibly be some of the most rewarding Southern Africa has to offer.  This incredible country has a wealth of wildlife destinations despite years of political unrest and instability and, when done right undoubtably leaves the traveller with an attachment to the country that will last forever.   A number of outstanding national parks like Hwange, Mana Pools, Matusadona and Ghonarezhou, are accessible and the wildlife is prolific. Safari camps are excellent quality and vary from mobile camps to permanent lodges. The great Zambezi River has Victoria Falls and the famous lake Kariba both of which are major wildlife arenas for travellers to this wonderful country. Travel through the country to wildlife areas is safe and rewarding.

  • Victoria Falls, the falls and the town.  This town is full of life and vibrance and adventure. A unique town set on edge of the Zambezi River and Zambezi National Park is a quick flight from Johannesburg or Kasane. Don’t be surprised if you see a warthog or baboon in town, even bigger game take a gander through town sometimes.  The Victoria Falls themselves are a World Heritage site of immense size and intensity from December to August with the Zambezi river stretching 2km wide making it not only the widest waterfall in the world, but one of the most spectacular with the spray of the falls seen up to 20km away.
  • Zimbabwe has 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
    • Mana Pools (Natural) “The Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas World Heritage Site is an area of dramatic landscape and ecological processes” protecting high concentrations of wildlife and in particular the Nile crocodile
    • Khami Ruins National Monument (Cultural): It is of great archeological interest and the discovery of objects from Europe and China shows that Khami was a major trade centre over a long period of time – UNESCO
    • Great Zimbabwe Ruins (Cultural) “the capital of the Queen of Sheba, according to an age-old legend – are a unique testimony to the Bantu civilization of the Shona between the 11th and 15th centuries. The city, which covers an area of nearly 80 ha, was an important trading centre and was renowned from the Middle Ages onwards”
    • Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls (Natural)
    • Matobo Hills (Cultural) “The area exhibits a profusion of distinctive rock landforms rising above the granite shield that covers much of Zimbabwe. The large boulders provide abundant natural shelters and have been associated with human occupation from the early Stone Age right through to early historical times, and intermittently since. They also feature an outstanding collection of rock paintings.” – UNESCO
  • All of the national parks offer excellent walking safaris, game drives, wildlife, birding and exclusive accommodation.
  • Pamushana. An exclusive lodge in the 130 000 acre Malilangwe Reserve, SE Zimbabwe boasts high concentrations of the endangered black rhino, abundant wildlife and private access to this untouched wilderness where guests can immerse themselves in nature.
  • Lake Kariba: is the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume but it’s main attraction is its sheer beauty and wildlife.  A photographers paradise and fisherman’s nirvana, the lake offers a multitude of activities.

Photo credit: Gavin Ford (top); Canva (bottom)

 

 

 

 

South Africa’s 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

South Africa boasts 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 4 cultural sites, 3 natural and one both cultural and natural.

  • Isimangaliso Wetland Park (Kwa-Zulu Natal) “South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in December 1999 in recognition of its superlative natural beauty and unique global values.”  The 358 534 hectare Park contains three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, 700 year old fishing traditions, most of South Africa’s remaining swamp forests, Africa’s largest estuarine system, 530 bird species and 25,000 year-old coastal dunes – among the highest in the world. The name iSimangaliso means miracle and wonder, which aptly describes this unique place.  (UNESCO)
  • Robben Island (Western Cape): Robben Island is a complex, sensitive eco-system intertwined into our history it’s role in 17th and 20th centuries as a prison, a hospital for socially unacceptable groups and a military base. Its buildings, particularly those of the late 20th century such as the maximum security prison for political prisoners, witness the triumph of democracy and freedom over oppression and racism. – UNESCO
  • Cradle of Humankind (Gauteng): renowned as the place where humankind originated. It is here that the first hominid, Australopithecus, was found in 1924 (UNESCO)
  • uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park – (KwaZulu-Natal) The Maloti-Drakensberg Park is a transboundary site composed of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg National Park in South Africa and the Sehlathebe National Park in Lesotho. The site has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts as well as visually spectacular sculptured arches, caves, cliffs, pillars and rock pools. The site’s diversity of habitats protects a high level of endemic and globally important plants. The site harbors endangered species such as the Cape vulture (Gyps coprotheres) and the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus). Lesotho’s Sehlabathebe National Park also harbors the Maloti minnow (Pseudobarbus quathlambae), a critically endangered fish species only found in this park. This spectacular natural site contains many caves and rock-shelters with the largest and most concentrated group of paintings in Africa south of the Sahara. They represent the spiritual life of the San people, who lived in this area over a period of 4,000 years.
  • Mapungubwe National Park – (Limpopo) Mapungubwe developed into the largest kingdom in the sub-continent before it was abandoned in the 14th century. What survives are the almost untouched remains of the palace sites and also the entire settlement area dependent upon them, as well as two earlier capital sites, the whole presenting an unrivalled picture of the development of social and political structures over some 400 years. (UNESCO)
  • Cape Floral Region – (Western Cape) The Cape Floral Region takes up only 0.04% of the world’s land area, yet contains an astonishing 3% percent of its plant species. This makes it one of the richest areas for plants in the world and one of the globe’s 18 biodiversity hot spots.
  • Vredefort Dome – (Free State) Vredefort Dome, approximately 120 km south-west of Johannesburg, is a representative part of a larger meteorite impact structure, or astrobleme. Dating back 2,023 million years, it is the oldest astrobleme yet found on Earth.  (UNESCO)
  • Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape – (Northern Cape) The Richtersveld Community Conservancy is also the last refuge of Nama people living what is known as the transhumane lifestyle – to migrate seasonally with their livestock from mountains to the river and so make sustainable use of the fragile succulent ecosystem.  (UNESCO)

9 Africa Myths Debunked

The image of Africa portrayed by the media is most often fill with misconceptions and generalizations which leaves a lasting negative impression on the reader or viewer.

We hope to dispel some of the common myths in our latest blog focusing on Southern and East Africa.

Myth 1: Africa – a single country. Once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all

Africa is often referred to as if it is a single country when it is in fact made up of 54 different countries.  Each of these countries is diverse in culture, customs, language, natural environment, politics, history and size.  Each of these countries also has their own currency, flag, national anthem, food and identity.

There are some 1500 – 2000 languages spoken throughout Africa, with many of those languages having varying dialects.  Often the countries official language in not the language spoken by most of its citizens or the country has multiple official languages.  For example, South Africa has 11 official languages and Kenya and Tanzania have two (English & Swahili).

There are also over 3000 ethnic groups (people described by the cultural heritage and customs, not their race) who practice a variety of religions including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and traditional religions specific to their ethnic group.  These different ethnic groups and peoples of Africa also display an extremely wide difference in physical variation and so cannot be lumped into a single group.

Africa and her people are diverse, beautiful, talented and complex and by referring to Africa as a country we fall into the trap of perpetuating the narrative and the “single story” the world is shown by the media.  There is so much more to this continent.

The map gives a more accurate perspective of the size of Africa.

 

Myth 2: The food is mostly “tribal” or basic

Africa is filled with an array of diverse foods, really it is foodie heaven.  There are traditional foods from all the different cultures and if you look at the history of food you will realise it has been influenced by many cultures, Bantu, Dutch, Malay/Indonesian, Indian and European.

Southern Africa, has evolved with the rest of the world offering high quality restaurants and establishments that sometimes need bookings to be secured months in advance.  You will also find amazing street food, hip spots offering windows into the pulse of the country with delicious traditionally inspired but modern menus, chain restaurants and fast food.   We have it all.  Fine dining, a braai/chisa nyama (barbeque done South African style is an experience), eating in a local township on a tour, food festivals, farmers markets and more.  High quality food is found everywhere including the lodges and camps where accessibility is difficult, and you would not expect to find such fine dining.  We are foodies and all of these food experiences are heightened by our diverse cultures, the melting pot that is Southern Africa, glorious weather and some of the best wines in the world.

Photo credit: Business Insider

Myth 3: Africa is unsafe!

Africa has definitely be painted with one big brush as being unsafe. The media have grabbed onto stories and run with them, rarely highlighting the positive but rather using the negative and salacious to paint a picture of “Africa”.  Yes, there are some countries that should be avoided (check your countries travels warnings and familiarise yourself with the travel warning levels to make educated decisions), but that should not stop you from visiting all the other incredible countries the continent has to offer.

In 2018 there were 10 million tourists to South Africa, 2 million to Zimbabwe and 2 million to Kenya. Africa’s tourism sector has grown steadily for years and in 2018 global tourism had its highest growth since 2010, mainly driven by Africa.

No matter where you travel in the world, you should always be aware of your surroundings, use your common sense, be vigilant with your belongings and valuables and take local advice on any areas to avoid.

 

Myth 4: It’s always hot!

Southern and East Africa have generally superb weather, but it’s not always hot.  Like any country there are four seasons with weather fluctuations and changing weather and climate across a range of terrains.  In Southern Africa you will experience a hot/warm summer, cool/temperate autumn and spring and a cool/cold winter in June, July and August.  Snow falls in some of the mountainous regions (Drakensburg, Lesotho, regions of Western Cape).  What’s great is that even though mornings and evenings can get cold (think 0oC, sometimes colder), the days are beautiful and warm up to the late teens and even early 20’s.

Closer to the equator Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania the difference in the seasons is less extreme, but the winter months of June, July and August can still be chilly in the morning and at night, especially at high altitudes.  Otherwise generally warm to hot weather can be expected with a rainy season.

Anytime of year, it is always recommended to carry something a little warmer for a potentially cool or chilly morning or evening, pack to dress in layers and yes, always pack sunscreen and a hat, no matter what the season.

It is also always highly recommended to research the weather and climate for the area you are travelling to as there can be variations within seasons.

 

Myth 5: What about Wifi?! Isn’t Africa technologically backwards?

Africa is going through a technological revolution, leapfrogging computers for internet connections through mobile devices.  There are communities without running water, but with smartphones and tablets.  Farmers are using apps and drones to assist their farming production.  We have extensive fibre networks, mobile connectivity, 4G (soon to have 5G) and wifi connectivity in rural and remote areas.  It’s not uncommon to be driving along a rural road to find someone chatting on the mobile, miles from anywhere.  Extensive connectivity has spurred on techpreneurs and remarkable advancements by innovative young Africans.

Did you know that there are 90 million mobile connections in South Africa (just shy of double the population) and 20 – 22 million smart phone users?

Did you know that Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, is seen as the Silicon Valley of Africa leading the African continent in technological advancements?

Each country has innovations hubs, training and funding for tech.  We are not behind the rest of the world – these “3rd world” countries will surprise and delight you with the innovation.

Social media (FB, Twitter, Pinterest, WhatsApp) is a way to connect, be heard by other Africans and on a global scale, date, share stories and experiences and even more than that, conduct business.

We have some of the most luxurious lodges, camps, hotels and resorts in the world– you will be able to connect almost all of the time, however we hope you disconnect for just a little while and immerse yourself in your travel experience.

Photo Credit: (National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/12/africa-technology-revolution/)

 

Myth 6: Wild Animals Roam Free

If this were true it would give us a rather exciting yet somewhat dangerous life, it’s not the case, we don’t have wild animals roaming free.  Victoria Falls may be the exception to the rule (did you see the video of the elephant waltzing through town) or St Lucia in South Africa where a hippo may be seen in town occasionally.  But mostly wildlife is restricted to and enclosed in national parks or private game reserves.  In South Africa there are no unfenced parks and in other Southern and East African countries where parks are not fenced, the wildlife tends to stick to protected wildlife areas as population booms have resulted in more human animal conflict and competition for resources, consequently the animals can no longer survive outside of those protected areas.

This is not to say that the national parks or game reserves are like zoos.  They are extensive and pristine wilderness areas often larger than European countries.

 

Myth 7: Animals will jump into my open game viewing vehicle

It can be a little daunting to sit in an open game viewing vehicle when a lion walks past, or watching leopard, hyena or any other wild game up close.  What is stopping them from just jumping into the vehicle? No windows and sometimes no sides!

When you go on safari your guides will explain the rules for game viewing and how to conduct yourself in an open game viewing vehicle to ensure your safety.  As a general rule, game perceives the vehicle as one large animal, not the single entities of the people in the vehicle.  The vehicle is too large to be prey and many of the animals have become habituated to the vehicles and don’t see them as a threat.

The primary purpose of viewing game is to see the animal in its most natural state.  Standing up, stepping out of the vehicle, making loud noises, trying to feed the animals and drawing attention to yourself or the vehicle are strictly prohibited.  If you abide by these simple rules, you will be safe.

Thousands of game drives are conducted daily in Southern and East Africa in open game viewing vehicles without incident. Thousands of individuals self-drive themselves through national parks around Southern Africa without incident.  This is because they respect the rules and conduct themselves with respect for the animals.

Open game view vehicles offer incredible photo opportunities and allow you to immerse yourself in the environment.

Myth 8: You can’t drink the water!

This is both true and false.

In almost all cities and towns in South Africa the water is safe to drink.

In the rest of Southern and East Africa it is probably not advisable to drink the tap water unless otherwise stated.

However, and this is a biggie, most of the camps and lodges visited when on safari have introduced reverse osmosis to ensure guests can drink the water and do not need to buy bottled water.

Bring a water bottle and fill it up where you can.

 

Myth 9: All Africa has to offer is Safari

Southern and East Africa have far more to offer than just our incredible wildlife, beaches and mountains.

These countries are developing fast with excellent road networks, flight connections and business development.  All have fascinating political histories that can be explored in museums (Apartheid Museum, Robben Island, Kigali Genocide Memorial), talented artists (think epic street art, wood carvings, bead work, sculptures), Africa’s first art museum dedicated to modern African art (The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa), modern architecture and so much more.

Africa’s history didn’t start with colonization, rather Africa’s history dates back thousands of years.  Ethiopia has Aksum, a city in northern Ethiopia known for its tall, carved obelisks, relics of the ancient Kingdom of Aksum. Zimbabwe has the Great Zimbabwe Ruins which was the Iron Age Capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe and is UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe have rock art that dates back 2 000 – 6 000 years with some dating back as far as 25 000 years.

Africa is far more than a safari.  Africa is worth digging below the surface and preconceived ideas to understand the countries and all they and their people have to offer.

Photos: Axum, Ethiopia, Gavin Ford

Photo: Zeitz MOCAA

Kings Pool – August Property of the Month

Steeped in nostalgia and named for Scandinavian royalty, newly-renovated and elegant King’s Pool overlooks the handsome oxbow lagoon of the same name in the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, bordering Chobe National Park and at the crux of the important wildlife corridor that straddles Angola, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana.

This 100% solar-powered camp has nine luxurious thatch and canvas rooms, each boasting a large bedroom area and lounge leading to a veranda that soaks up the gorgeous views.  The river along which King’s Pool is located hosts numerous species of birds and is a magnet for game, especially elephant, in the dry winter months.

The sumptuous main area comprises a lounge, library, dining and a convivial bar area stylishly set on expansive raised decks close to the water’s edge. There is also a pool and an open-air ‘kgotla’ for evening dining under the stars.

ACTIVITIES

Game Drives: Immerse yourself in the wonders of a bush safari on morning and afternoon game drives.

The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve has abundant wildlife in a wide variety of species, but is most noted for its very large elephant population which can reach enormous densities during the dry winter months. Other game is abundant. Rarer species such as sable and roan antelope also emerge from the woodlands during the dry season. Birding is spectacular.

Night drives: Catch sight of nocturnal creatures on a night drive along the channel

Hide: Watch massive elephant feet and trunks at eye-level from the unique sunken hide.

Birding: The birding is outstanding here, from Okavango specials to mopane woodland species. Keep your binoculars close at hand!

Guided walks: Experience the wonders of nature while walking on foot in the company of an armed guide.

Scenic Helicopter flights: It’s from the air, in the Linyanti helicopter, that one can truly appreciate the wonders of the Linyanti

Barge trips: End your day with a trip on the colonial-style Queen Silvia barge along the Linyanti River (water levels dependent)

BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION

At King’s Pool, biodiversity conservation has remained the core of their purpose since opening in 1995.

With the Linyanti situated at the fulcrum of the KAZA TFCA, the camp has always understood the part that they play in the preservation of this pristine wilderness area.

Having the world’s largest elephant meta-herd and many other species passing through seasonally requires sensitive conservation initiatives that will contribute to the sustainability of wildlife as well as the area itself.

 

The sumptuous main area comprises a lounge, library, dining and a convivial bar area stylishly set on expansive raised decks close to the water’s edge.

Enjoy a fine dining experience overlooking the oxbow lagoon.

Download your local Kings Pool recipe here: Kings Pool Parma Ham and Melon Salad

 

There is also a pool and an open-air ‘kgotla’ for evening dining under the stars.

Special care has been taken to balance privacy, safety and comfort whilst still “inviting the outside in”, to create a signature immersive experience.

Then camp has nine luxurious thatch and canvas rooms, each boasting a large bedroom area and lounge leading to a veranda that soaks up the gorgeous views.

Family accommodation is also available.

Mpingo Ridge – July Property of the Month

Mpingo Ridge sits on  top of an escarpment with sweeping views across the perennial Tarangire River and valley below.

Being the sixth largest national park in Tanzania, Tarangire remains slightly off the main safari circuit but is a terrifically scenic park featuring classic African savannah, green hills, woodlands and rivers and is especially famous for its large herds of elephants, superb birdlife and giant baobab trees. Guests at Mpingo Ridge will enjoy a real sense of wilderness and excellent game viewing, and it’s both a relaxing standalone destination and a great place to start a safari.

Each of the 15 spacious tented suites have been carefully positioned to maximize not only the sensational views over Tarangire but to also take advantage of cooling breezes during hot weather. They feature en‐suite bathrooms, private decks, sunken outside lounges that convert to afternoon siesta beds and one of the suites has two bedrooms.

A special feature is the private outside bathtub—perfect for soothing the soul and washing away the African dust after a day on safari.

The elevated main lodge has a large lounge and bar, indoor and outdoor dining areas, a spa and swimming pool.

Sundowners, early morning walks and game drives in new custom–‐ designed vehicles accompanied by highly-knowledgeable and experienced guides are some of the activities guests can look forward to during their stay.

Season: The property is open year round and the nearest airstrip is a 1hr game drive from the lodge.

Families:

  • The lodge caters for families with interactive programmes designed for kids up to the age of 11yrs old
  • For families there is a 2 bedroom tent with shared lounge or a maximum of 3 beds in one tent.

Keeping the community and environment front of mind:

  • All power is provided by a combination of Solar and an Inverter system
  • Menus are created with locally sourced produce
  • Minimal environmental footprint
  • No plastic water bottles on site

Activites:

  • Game drive vehicles seat 6 guests in 3 rows of 2 seats, each row guaranteeing all guests to have a window seat.
  • Game drive vehicles are shared, but can be booked exclusively at an extra charge

Dining Experience:

  • Game package and full board available
  • Campfire sundowners
  • Private and intimate dining options on request
  • Bush dinner within the footprint of our camp (additional cost)
  • Picnic style bush break fast and lunches
  • House drinks including beers, wines, spirits, softdrinks, water and juices included
  • Premimum drinks available (additional cost)
  • Dietary requirements can be accommodated if notified in advance

Services:

  • 15 guest tented suites
  • Spa
  • Shop
  • Private Dining
  • Complementary laundry service
  • Wifi in all suites

Sweeping views of the perennial Tarangire River and valley below

En-suite bathrooms, private decks, sunken outside lounges that convert to afternoon siesta beds and one of the suites has two bedrooms

Tented suites have been carefully positioned to maximize not only the sensational views over Tarangire but to also take advantage of cooling breezes during hot weather.

Family friendly with an interactive programme for kids up to the age of 11 years

Separate dining area offering inside and outside dining outside dining

Large lounge and bar area with fireplaces offering an array of seating arrangements and amenities

The Stars and the Stars’ Road – South African Folktale

Outa Karel’s Stories
South African Folk-Lore Tales
Author: Sanni Metelerkamp
Published: 1914

Source: https://www.worldoftales.com/South_African_folklore_tales.html

Click on the image to listen to a recording of the story. (10min)

Darkly-blue and illimitable, the arc of the sky hung over the great Karroo like a canopy of softest velvet, making a deep, mysterious background for the myriad stars, which twinkled brightly at a frosty world.

The three little boys, gathered at the window, pointed out to each other the constellations with which Cousin Minnie had made them familiar, and were deep in a discussion as to the nature and number of the stars composing the Milky Way when Outa shuffled in.

“Outa, do you think there are a billion stars up there in the Milky Way?” asked Willem.

“A billion, you know,” explained Pietie, “is a thousand million, and it would take months to count even one million.”

“Aja, baasje,” said the old man readily, seizing, with native adroitness, the unknown word and making it his own, “then there will surely be a billion stars up there. Perhaps,” he added, judicially considering the matter, “two billion, but no one knows, because no one can ever count them. They are too many. And to think that that bright road in the sky is made of wood ashes, after all.”

He settled himself on his stool, and his little audience came to attention.

“Yes, my baasjes,” he went on, “long, long ago, the sky was dark at night when the Old Man with the bright armpits lay down to sleep, but people learned in time to make fires to light up the darkness; and one night a girl, who sat warming herself by a wood fire, played with the ashes. She took the ashes in her hands and threw them up to see how pretty they were when they floated in the air. And as they floated away she put green bushes on the fire and stirred it with a stick. Bright sparks flew out and went high, high, mixing with the silver ashes, and they all hung in the air and made a bright road across the sky. And there it is to this day. Baasjes call it the Milky Way, but Outa calls it the Stars’ Road.

“Ai! but the girl was pleased! She clapped her hands and danced, shaking herself like Outa’s people do when they are happy, and singing:—

‘The little stars! The tiny stars!

They make a road for other stars.

Ash of wood-fire! Dust of the Sun!

They call the Dawn when Night is done!’

“Then she took some of the roots she had been eating and threw them into the sky, and there they hung and turned into large stars. The old roots turned into stars that gave a red light, and the young roots turned into stars that gave a golden light. There they all hung, winking and twinkling and singing. Yes, singing, my baasjes, and this is what they sang:—

‘We are children of the Sun!

It’s so! It’s so! It’s so!

Him we call when Night is done!

It’s so! It’s so! It’s so!

Bright we sail across the sky

By the Stars’ Road, high, so high;

And we, twinkling, smile at you,

As we sail across the blue!

It’s so! It’s so! It’s so!’

“Baasjes know, when the stars twinkle up there in the sky they are like little children nodding their heads and saying, ‘It’s so! It’s so! It’s so!’” At each repetition Outa nodded and winked, and the children, with antics of approval, followed suit.

“Baasjes have sometimes seen a star fall?” Three little heads nodded in concert.

“When a star falls,” said the old man impressively, “it tells us someone has died. For the star knows when a person’s heart fails and the person dies, and it falls from the sky to tell those at a distance that someone they know has died.

“One star grew and grew till he was much larger than the others. He was the Great Star, and, singing, he named the other stars. He called each one by name, till they all had their names, and in this way they knew that he was the Great Star. No other could have done so. Then when he had finished, they all sang together and praised the Great Star, who had named them.

“Now, when the day is done, they walk across the sky on each side of the Stars’ Road. It shows them the way. And when Night is over, they turn back and sail again by the Stars’ Road to call the Daybreak, that goes before the Sun. The Star that leads the way is a big bright star. He is called the Dawn’s-Heart Star, and in the dark, dark hour, before the Stars have called the Dawn, he shines—ach! baasjes, he is beautiful to behold! The wife and the child of the Dawn’s-Heart Star are pretty, too, but not so big and bright as he. They sail on in front, and then they wait—wait for the other Stars to turn back and sail along the Stars’ Road, calling, calling the Dawn, and for the Sun to come up from under the world, where he has been lying asleep.

“They call and sing, twinkling as they sing:—

‘We call across the sky,

Dawn! Come, Dawn!

You, that are like a young maid newly risen,

Rubbing the sleep from your eyes!

You, that come stretching bright hands to the sky,

Pointing the way for the Sun!

Before whose smile the Stars faint and grow pale,

And the Stars’ Road melts away.

Dawn! Come Dawn!

We call across the sky,

And the Dawn’s-Heart Star is waiting.

It’s so! It’s so! It’s so!’

“So they sing, baasjes, because they know they are soon going out.

“Then slowly the Dawn comes, rubbing her eyes, smiling, stretching out bright fingers, chasing the darkness away. The Stars grow faint and the Stars’ Road fades, while the Dawn makes a bright pathway for the Sun. At last he comes with both arms lifted high, and the brightness, streaming from under them, makes day for the world, and wakes people to their work and play.

“But the little Stars wait till he sleeps again before they begin their singing. Summer is the time when they sing best, but even now, if baasjes look out of the window they will see the Stars, twinkling and singing.”

The children ran to the window and gazed out into the starlit heavens. The last sight Outa had, as he drained the soopje glass the Baas was just in time to hand him, was of three little heads bobbing up and down in time to the immemorial music of the Stars, while little Jan’s excited treble rang out: “Yes, it’s quite true, Outa. They do say, ‘It’s so! It’s so! It’s so!’”

Sanni Metelerkamp, born 1867, was an author and playwright. She was the great-granddaughter of George Rex, who founded the town of Knysna, South Africa, and even wrote his biography, George Rex of Knysna: The Authentic Story.

Quick and easy home-made rusks

A holiday in Southern Africa wouldn’t be complete without rusks!

This easy rusk recipe goes well with with a delicious cup of coffee or the perfect cup of tea.  It’s the ideal mid morning or late afternoon snack.

What a great local treat to make for your friends and share your love of South Africa with them through food.

Here’s how to make South African rusks or as the Afrikaans speaking like to say: “Beskuit” recipe.

Rusk Ingredients:

• 1kg Self-rising Flour
• 250g Butter
• 200ml Sugar
• 320ml Buttermilk
• 10ml Baking Powder
• 2 Eggs
• 5ml Salt
• 25ml Oil.

Method:

Mix the dry ingredients together then start rubbing in the butter. Afterwards add your eggs and oil, now mix well. Once you are happy with your dough, make a hole in the centre and add the buttermilk. Knead your dough well and roll them into balls in the size of your choice. Start packing them tightly into a baking dish by pressing the dough evenly into a baking sheet.

Let it bake in 180C / 350F for about 45minutes and you’re good to go!

You can make use of any of the cutting methods for rusks. If you rolled them into balls before baking you can break those up instead of cutting them. Remember to Dry out in a low oven after cutting.

Now you get to enjoy your homemade rusks whenever you want without breaking your pockets every month. This recipe is affordable, easy and delicious; there is no reason for you not to try it!

Special Tips:

1. Be very careful with the amount of baking powder.

2. The recipe should be seen as complete but not an ultimate blueprint. You can add things like muesli, bran, raisins etc. They’re your rusks, you can do as you please

3. It makes like a whole lot easier if you prepare everything before attempting this easy rusk recipe.

 

Source: https://www.inspiringwomen.co.za/quick-easy-home-made-rusks/

Gomoti Plains – June Property of the Month

Gomoti Plains is a classic luxury tented camp situated in the heart of the Okavango Delta.

The area is known for its large concentrations of wildlife which thrive on the Gomoti plains and waterways. This exclusive area has been a well-kept secret for many years.

Ideally set in a cool sheltered spot beneath a canopy of mature acacia trees, Gomoti Plains Camp is situated on the edge of the Gomoti River system and floodplains in the center of the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

The main camp area is nestled in evergreen riparian woodland, perfect for relaxing between morning and afternoon activities. By night, the camp is gently illuminated by solar power lighting and paraffin lamps.

The Tents

What can you expect ?

  • 8 classic luxury safari tents
  • 2 family tents
  • All tents are raised on wooden decks, boasting great views of the floodplains and each room has a shaded veranda.
  • the two family units comprise two spacious bedrooms with an adjoining living room in between.
  • indoor and outdoor shower with hot and cold running water, flush loos and twin basins.
  • tents are tastefully furnished in classic safari style incorporating the land and water of the Okavango delta

The Facilities

  • Swimming Pool, with loungers
  • Tented Main Area
  • Library
  • Picturesque views over the tributaries of the Gomoti river
  • Spa Therapist – treatments include massages and facials done in guests rooms.
  • Curio shop

The Activities

  • Walking safaris (Guided walks) – Walking safaris are also conducted generally in the morning with armed guides. The walks are leisurely and time is taken to observe the smaller things in the bush that one normally misses when driving. Walking is weather dependent, or dependent on the condition of the terrain.
  • Game Drives – Game drives – Game drives are conducted in the mornings and afternoon/evenings at camp. They usually last about three hours each and are conducted along the river systems and flood plains around the camp. The wildlife in the area is prolific and chances are good to see some of the larger predators, herds of elephant and buffalo and all the plains animals that occur here. Night drives are conducted in the early evening offering one a chance to see the smaller more nocturnal animals with spotlights.
  • Mekoro Safaris – This is a dug out canoe poled by an experienced poler in the shallower waters of the Okavango. It is a great way to see the waterways and is tranquil and quiet. These excursions take place in the mornings or longer day trips can be arranged. Explore the islands around camp and come back rested and rejuvenated.

THE BABOON AND THE TORTOISE – African Stories

There was a time when the baboon and the tortoise were friends, stealing figs from the farmers tree, braving the terrors of the farmer’s gun and his fierce snarling dogs.

This exciting way of life did not appeal to the tortoise who suggested to the baboon one day that they would plant their own fig trees, far away from the farmer, his gun, and his fierce snarling dogs. The baboon agreed that this was a splendid idea but being a lazy animal he neglected his tree once he had planted it, while the tortoise watered his every day.

It is not surprising that while the tortoise’s tree was sprouting branches and leaves, the tree belonging to the baboon seemed to be dying. Finally it wilted, withered and was no more than a dry stick in the ground.

When the figs appeared on the tortoise’s tree, his mouth watered at the thought of eating them, and because he could not climb the tree himself he asked the baboon to help him. “Certainly,” said the baboon, climbing up the tree, picking the ripest figs and munching them till the juice was running out of his mouth.

“But you are eating my figs,” cried the tortoise, looking up. “Throw some down for me.”

“I’m seeking the ripest ones for you,” shouted back the baboon. “I’m testing them by tasting them. You’ll get your share by and by.” And he went on eating.

Finally, he came down. “I couldn’t find any really ripe ones so I didn’t bring any down for you.” And turning three somersaults while he laughed and laughed, he ran off.

The tortoise was looking very sad indeed when a robin redbreast came a hop-hop-hopping along the sand towards him, asking, “Why so sad, tortoise? You look as if you’ve lost something.”

“I have. All the figs are ripe on my tree but I can’t climb up to get them. I asked baboon to help me but he clambered up and guzzled himself and didn’t even give me the skin of one fig. Be a good citizen, robin redbreast, and help me now.”

The robin winged his way up to the topmost branches and started pecking holes in the ripe figs. “Do you like ripe figs, tortoise?”

“Yes, indeed, the riper the better.”

“Well, only unripe ones are left now, Do you like unripe figs, tortoise?”

“Yes, please, I like unripe figs as well.”

“Sorry, there are no unripe figs left now.”

And chirping merrily, the well-fed bird fluttered away, leaving the hungry tortoise with the corners of his mouth dropping farther down in his sadness and hunger. Since that day, it is said, tortoises have never lost their sad look, and nobody has ever seen a tortoise smiling or heard him laughing.

Next day the baboon was there again, eating his fill and mocking the tortoise who by now was hungry, miserable, and very very angry.

The day after that the shepherd came along, heard the tortoise’s sad story, and offered to help him to get his own back on the crafty baboon. After he had plucked some figs for the tortoise he loaded his gun and placed it high in the tree. To the trigger he tied a long string that hung down to the ground.

In no time at all the baboon came to the tree and seeing the string asked the tortoise what it was for. “Well,” said the tortoise, pointing to the gun in the tree, “do you see that stick up there? If I pull the string one way, it causes the stick to bring ripe figs falling down. If I pull it another way, it causes thunder and lightning and clouds.”

“Thunder and lightning and clouds!” roared the baboon, “Ha! Ha! You must think me as foolish as the owl who let the swallow escape.” And he pulled the string.

“Bang! Bang!” both barrels of the gun went off, and the baboon saw lightning and thunder and clouds and in his fright ran screaming across the sands. Since that time, baboons have always been frightened of guns. They can’t stand the sight of them.

Deep down inside, the tortoise was laughing, but his face itself looked as sad as it will always. His revenge, he felt, was not complete, and he wanted to punish the baboon still further.

Next time they met, the tortoise was standing next to a bees-nest, listening.

“What are you listening to?” inquired the baboon.

“To the music that’s coming from this hole.”

“But it’s so soft, no more than a gentle humming.”

“Of course it’s soft. That’s a church.”

“It’s so soft you can hardly hear it.”

“Well, if you like them to hum more loudly, take this stick, shove it through the door, move it up and down, and bang on the church with your fist.”

The baboon did so. The humming grew suddenly louder, anger came in the sound, and the bees came swarming out of their nest, a cloud of angry bees who attacked the baboon, stinging him all over his head and body.

Screaming with pain, he staggered down to the river, the swarm buzzing after him. Splash! He dived into the water to escape from his pursuers, but every time his head came out of the water so that he could breathe, the hovering swarm was on him again, stinging, stinging, until their anger had died and they droned back to their nest.

Back on dry land, the baboon – who now had bumps all over his face and body – started to pull out the stings (for a bee always leaves a sting behind) and began scratching himself all over as the pain grew. And baboons, as you may have noticed, have been scratching themselves ever since.

By the time he returned to the tortoise, wishing to bite him for what he had done, the little fellow was gazing up at a mango tree. “You’ll wish you’d never been born when I’ve finished with you,” he shouted; but the tortoise said – calmly, though he was really trembling – “Just a moment, my friend. I did not tell you to move that stick up and down with such force, nor did I tell you to bang on the church so hard that you almost punched a hole through it. You cannot really blame me for what happened.” And he went on gazing at the mango tree while the baboon’s anger calmed down and he became inquisitive.

“What are you gazing at so intently, tortoise?”

“I’m looking up at the nice juicy mangoes hanging up there, almost crying to be eaten.”

Now the baboon’s eyelids were all swollen from the stinging so he couldn’t see well enough to realize that what the tortoise said were mangoes were actually the nests of wasps hanging from the branches of the tree. His mouth watered and he forgot his pain and climbed into the tree, grabbing at the ‘mangoes’. When the wasps attacked him, the pain was even greater than the stinging of the bees, and with cries of pain he fell to the ground and shouted at the tortoise, “You’ll suffer for this. I’ll bite off your head before I’m through with you.”

“Please,” said the tortoise, “again you are blaming me for something I haven’t done. I pointed out the mangoes to you, and you go and grab the wasps’ nests. No wonder they turned on you. Wouldn’t you have done the same in their position?”

Before the baboon could reply, a cricket came hopping and chirping by. Now, as you know, baboons are fond of eating crickets, so the baboon chased the insect who went hop-hop into the hole in a hollow tree.

“Watch me catch him,” said the baboon, putting his hand into the hole and groping around to find the cricket.

A big snake came out of the hole, bit the baboon and flung his long body around him and squeezed tight, saying while the baboon screamed for mercy, “Why are you baboons such busybodies, always disturbing other animals? Let me teach you a lesson that might help you to mend your ways.” And he squeezed again while the poor baboon roared with pain. The tortoise felt that his revenge was now complete.

From that day on, bees, wasps, snakes and tortoises have all been friends together. And the bees, who ate of the sweetness of the tortoise’s figs, have ever since then been mad about fruit and anything that is sweet. The snake who lived in the hole in the tree never went back there after being disturbed by the baboon, but decided to live instead in the branches of the tree so that he could always observe his enemies approaching. The baboon is much less of a busybody than he used to be. And, as I said before, he never stops scratching himself.