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Things get dry...



“However long the dry season takes, a seasonal river will never forget where it used to pass” - African proverb.


As we move into the winter months for Southern Africa it is getting colder with single figure temperatures at night, the bush is drying out, rivers dropping and the natural pans drying. Not always my favourite time to be in the bush as it seems everything is bracing for the hard times to come. There are however some bright spots as this is when we see the Wild Dogs go through their denning and the expectation that brings with all guides in the area betting on the number of pups that first get seen and what that may represent to the greater population. Each Alpha female can potentially give birth to 12 to 14 pups, that is a new pack per alpha pair.




The birds of prey, for most species, also nest during the winter months. These birds including vultures across Africa are under extreme pressure for a multitude of reasons, the bulk of which is purely because of human habits. being able to watch a raptors nest and the chicks fledge is also something we keenly watch.




Up in East Africa the migration herds are pushing North and moving through the Grumeti River on their way to the Northern Serengeti area before reaching the Mara River Valley. It is all looking lush and beautiful as they are getting some rains up there, so I am sure this year will see substantial herds moving more North into Kenya which has been a bit subdued over the last couple of years with the drought conditions they have experienced.





 
SOME GOOD NEWS

I think this is a first for Africa but regardless it is something that I think is a real positive step for the people of Hurungwe – this is an area that sits along the Zambezi Valley Escarpment between Lake Kariba and Mana Pools. The community here with the support of an NGO Carbon Green have established a community environmental court. This means that the community here are wanting to actively police and prosecute in a way that fits their culture when residents damage or abuse the community areas, so this may include tree cutting, illegal bush fires, meat poaching etc. A real positive step and I wish them all the best.



 
A LITTLE MORE GOOD NEWS

Garamba National Park in the DRC have just received their first Southern White Rhinos from South Africa. Originally there would have been Northern White Rhino’s but these are basically extinct now, so these are the next best thing. This is a very brave move but a real testimony to the amazing work being done by African Parks to allow this to happen. The environment there must have supported thousands of these animals in the past so I am sure if the security there persists, they will absolutely thrive. The rhinos have come from the Phinda Private Game Reserve belonging to the &Beyond portfolio - this is a company that we often use and is all part of how we can make a difference and support responsible travel. Well done and thank you to all those involved.




 
EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS


Ethiopia, a country that has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, seems to have calmed right-down and truces have been signed between the various groups to allow the country to restart and move forward. Camps are starting to re-open and I think time to start talking about going back to that fascinating country that has so much to offer any traveller with its incredible endemic species which it is blessed with many, plus all the human history and fascinating geology.




 

FROM THE CAMPFIRE


You will all be aware of the Solanum family of plants – these include tomatoes and potatoes and many other wild species that we see on our safaris and what you see in the supermarkets. But did you know that the flowers of these plants have a fascinating mechanism that essentially explodes little pollen bombs? These are triggered by the sound of vibrating bee wings, so the bees can easily get the pollen and cross pollinate the species. Symbiosis is everywhere and necessary for Ketchup and Fries – always look after bees!!!



 

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