Mwende “Loved One” Baby Elephant Born at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Kenya!

This is one wildlife organization that captured my heart from the moment I read about them… the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Now they have a new addition to the family with the birth of little “Mwende” to Mulika who was orphaned as a baby when 7 months old.  She always took an interest in caring and looking out for the other young orphans introduced to the orphanage, and was later released into the ‘wild’ herd.  Obviously she met the ‘bull’ of her dreams, and this is the result!

Read more about Mulika and Mwende and how Diane Sheldrick made little elephant lives like this possible when she and her staff turned her late husband’s dreams into reality…

The story of ‘Schmetty’ (Aisha) is particularly heartwarming as she was the first elephant orphan to drink the magical coconut milk enhanced formula that has since helped countless baby elephant orphans thrive and survive. Sadly she died of a broken heart and this insight into the ‘family’ psyche of elehants helped pave the way for the survival of all the other orphans who were saved by this family and their keepers in Tsavo, Kenya!

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What Is Down With WordPress?

Crazy tunes when your blog goes walkabout!!

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Dustin’ it off in Zambia!

Time to be heading home… I’ve been in Africa for nearly 4 months – visiting family and friends – mixing business with pleasure in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

This is my last week and soon I’ll be leaving Zambia – it also happens to coincide with National Presidental Elections in this once poverty stricken but now economically growing southern African country.

On Monday our domestic worker told me, “This is a Christian nation; we do not want trouble!” – but she feared for herself and her daughters – “Where will we run to?” she exclaimed…

Just 3 months after the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton visited Lusaka to address the 10th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, the local Christians, who are more the majority here unlike populations in the first world, are sincerely praying for peace, and I hope these friendly people will not have to run anywhere.

Yesterday, the usually busy streets were ominously quiet both on the roads and off, just one day after voting while results start to trickle in. The opposition are winning a lot of seats, we’re holding onto our own – and hoping there will be peace in Zambia – whoever wins!

On the bright side, Zambia has gorgeous sunsets!

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Volunteers ~ Summer Sun Shines on in Southern Africa

Get a taste for volunteering in Southern Africa! I was fortunate enough to spend 4 months there this year visiting family and absolutely loved having the sun on my back most days in winter on the African continent.  Those who volunteer will not be disappointed, by either the weather or the warm people they meet!  Here’s one organization which offers Volunteers a unique

African Conservation Experience

Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre!

Find out more about becoming a Conservation Volunteer at: http://www.conservationafrica.net/gallery

If you like to blend your Volunteering with beautiful beaches and local communities try a horse-riding volunteer experience on the Eastern coast of Southern Africa with the Mozambique Horse Safari.

The Retzlaff family will give you a close up and personal holiday experience volunteering with their stable both on the mainland at Nyasoro and on Benguerra Island.  Fabulous unspoilt beaches, local villages and people will give you an experience you will never forget.  This local safari know exactly what it takes to survive on the edge of paradise here, often through heart break. But they have the strength and vision to keep what they love moving forward, so find out more about how you can benefit those you touch and not just yourself on this unique volunteer safari in the clear turquoise waters and over the pristine white sands of Mozambique.  Many volunteers swear by this particular Volunteer vacation…

IT’S TRUE ~ volunteering in Africa brings you that much closer to experiencing the reality beyond tourism.  Moving a little further west inland to Zimbabwe, Zambia and back down in South Africa – travel full circle with African Impact!  This organization has over 5 years experience in organizing “responsible volunteering” in Southern and East Africa. They are specialists in hands on volunteer projects and volunteering with them could have you working with lions at their African Lion Rehabilitation project in Zimbabwe, or teaching children in Cape Town or AIDS work in Mozambique… the choice is yours and you’ll find out more on their website by clicking on this picture below!

Posted in adventure holiday, adventure travel, Africa, environmental issues, south africa, volunteer in africa, volunteer program, zimbabwe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Down South and Easy… East of Eden on the African Coast

Eco-Safaris in Paradise…

Beaches on the East Coast of Africa are endless, with stretches of hot sand, lapped by the warm, turquoise, green, indigo blue waters of the Indian Ocean; the colours of the sea changing in relation to the topography of the seabed and how deep it is below.

The shallower waters – like those close to the Islands on the Bazaruto Archipelago shoreline above – turn an aquamarine turquoise; especially exquisite above the coral reefs and pristine sandy white ocean floor.  At low tide these beaches bake under an African sun where the sand is so hot, clean and fine that your feet burn and the sand squeaks as you walk…

However, the silent cloud of pollution is sometimes evident, even here in and around Bazaruto Island… as my family and I discovered when we visited for an unforgettable holiday a few years back.  Washed in from the populated Mozambican mainland a few kilometres to the west, as the tides roll in and out, the inevitable plastic bag, coke bottle and tins wash up unwelcome and entwined with the natural debris of the sea, like seaweed, sticks and grass.

This is just the beginning – I look forward to exploring how many communities are trying to counter this, build awareness and help preserve the hidden treasures in this undiscovered corner of Paradise. (To be cont…)

Posted in adventure holiday, adventure travel, Africa, African Safari, environmental issues, family travel, family vacation, Safari, volunteer in africa, volunteer program | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Down South and Easy… African Safaris in Tanzania

What’s THE first image in your mind when you think “Safari”?          

If you’re like most of us, images of ‘Africa’, ‘Kenya’ and ‘Kilimanjaro’ are up there on the big screen, right…!  Exactly, there are dozens of the more typical ‘African Safari’ destinations, as I’ve explored here in Tanzania and the Ngoro Ngoro region.  However, if you prefer to go off the beaten track, there is also an emerging trend towards increasingly popular eco safaris where tourism entrepreneurs have tapped their vision and turned creative with ideas to use tourism to help impact positively on fragile ecosystems and threatened wildlife, as well as the local human populations who share these rich resources in Africa.  So let’s not waste any time and enjoy a taste of what’s so great about Safaris on the Edge!

Everyone has heard of Kenya, right; but this week I am focusing on Tanzania – less well known to the average tourist, but very well known as a quality Safari destination. Tanzania has some incredible National Parks including “The Serengeti”, “Lake Manyara”, “Tarangire”, “Arusha”, “Kilimanjaro”, “Ruaha”, “Mikumi”, “Udzungwa”, “Rubondo Island”, “Saadani” and “Katavi”, of which you may only be familiar with a handfull!

Then there are the protected areas with: “Ngorongoro Crater”, “Selous” and the smallest park of all, the “Gombe Chimpanzee Reserve” on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Western Tanzania, famous through decades of well documented research by renowned primatologist, Jane Goodall.

Ngorongoro towered alongside Mount Kilimanjaro nearly 3 million years ago as one of the tallest peaks in Africa. However, with the cataclysmic birth of the Rift Valley (which cuts it’s geological swathe thousands of miles south, (even through the farm my family owned in Zimbabwe) Ngorongoro blew it’s lid and created a giant crater. Today the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) covers 8,300 square kilometers of prime African wilderness, populated by diverse wildlife populations, ethnic communities and archeological treasures.

For the best Tanzania has to offer in a Safari (Swahili word for ‘travel’) look for one of the many good TOUR operators that operate in Ngorongoro and elsewhere in Tanzania / Africa e.g. Deeper Africa or Africa Adventure Consultants.  Those that have a strong commitment to the environment that sustains them, use eco-friendly lodges.  These retreats are built to sustain a low profile where they don’t “stand out” from the scenery, but blend in… you will find beautiful lodges sensitively built out of local river rock and sand, right at the edge of the Ngorongoro crater, where visitors enjoy incredible views e.g. The Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge blends in with the environment in a sustainable, minimalistic manner, benefiting both mammals and visitors while remaining completely invisible from the crater, some 600 m below!

The rich pasture and permanent water supply in the crater provide the perfect habitat for a huge and stable population of nearly 25,000 mammals who stay by choice. They remain, not because they can’t leave, but because the conditions are perfect; only migrating when the water levels get too low.  Here you will enjoy seeing mostly grassland zebra, buffalo, eland, gazelles, gnu, hartebeest and warthog; while the swamps and enormous Fever tree and Fig tree forests provide a canopy of shade for smaller populations of hippos, elephant, bushbuck, reedbuck, waterbuck, baboons and vervet monkeys.

If you want to see bird life, be aware of the seasons as this will determine what you see most during your stay. Bird migrations usually coincide with the rainy seasons, between November and May.  However, there are also sporadic migrations of flamingo, duck and storks in response to local water levels. This is an African basket full of Creation’s finest – one large volcanic crater full!

Another beautiful park to explore is the “Selous” Game Reserve, which is one of the largest in the world, four times the size of the Serengeti. The Selous park is pristine and offers a high quality Safari experience with low impact safari lodges and quality accommodations like this one at Deeper Africa.  Selous caters to discerning tourists rather than the mass tourism which has cut numerous trails across the savannah up in more popular Kenyan parks.

Deeper Africa” also have a strong commitment to their host country and those people who work for them from local communities. Both are committed to make your safari experience more memorable. Ethical Tourism is one way of giving back to both the wildlife and these communities that live alongside them in Africa.  This organization is a flag ship for those who are serious about nurturing such programs in Eastern Africa.

Here are just three of the many programs they promote – especially popular with those who climb Mount Kilimanjaro: “Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project”, care about baby elephants orphaned due to poaching and support education in the communities nearby, e.g. the “Sheldrick Animal Orphanage” and “BEADS for Education”. Click on the following links to learn more about these community projects:

Unfortunately, safaris are not without their problems. An over population of tourists can be just as invasive for resident wildlife and communities, as it is for the tourist. As tourists, we all dream of that magic “Out of Africa” experience on an open African plain, surrounded by vast silent panoramas on a hot, sunny afternoon. The luxury of the ‘now‘ with African heat, scents, sounds and light – bright and limitless can be “Oh, so spoilt,” when load after load of noisy, camera clicking fellow tourists, arrive at a lion kill… For the communities and safari operators who rely on the income from such tourism, the sustainability of their future is slowly being eroded.  To survive, tourism in it’s many forms has to be both culturally and eco-friendly.  National parks and governing bodies are increasingly aware of this and measures to protect these precious ecosystems from mass erosion by those who have come to enjoy it have become more visible.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, The Selous is a vast African wilderness which spans over 54,600 sq. kilometers with only a small portion to the north open to photographic safaris. This park used to boast close on 3,000 black rhino.  Despite it’s remoteness, populations were decimated in the 70’s and early 80’s to the point of near extinction by heavy poaching.

“The Selous Rhino Project” is part of a larger Rhino protection project being carried out through TUSK to renew the number of black rhino to their former populations. They now stand somewhere between 50 and 100, the largest in Africa, but pitifully less than they should be.  Tusk has attracted the support of some extremely well connected conservation personalities and organizations, who have helped support their work all over Africa and Prince William is one of their most popular.

Africa is a vast continent and it’s true… she will steal a piece of your heart when you spend time with her. Whatever you are looking for in Africa, you will find a way to enjoy it on Safari. Whether you choose to explore by boat trips, canoeing, kayaking, rafting her wild rivers and unspoilt coastline or digging deeper with cultural tours… you can… and you will never forget.  Some prefer taking to the air with flying safaris and hot air balloon trips… they will dream about it forever.  Others prefer safaris the classic way with game drives, horseback or camel rides, nature hikes, photography, scuba diving, snorkeling or trekking and walking on foot… it’s all possible, it’s all memorable, and it will all have an impact – on your life – and on those you leave behind!

Next month we head East for the equally unspoilt African Coast and beyond, the coastal Islands. Some of these archipelagos are Africa’s best kept secret; gateway to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean… and underwater safaris.

Posted in adventure holiday, adventure travel, Africa, African Safari, Art & Conservation, environmental issues, family travel, family vacation, Safari, travel club, volunteer in africa, zimbabwe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Down South and Easy… Travel in Cancun, Mexico!

This week, take a look at why people love Mexico & Cancun and how Travel Clubs can make it easy for you!

There are many family inspired Travel Clubs with amazing resort pricing in Mexico! In fact, members have access to 1,000s of weeks in popular resort destination condos, villas, suites & cottages around the world at better than wholesale pricing! With a Travel Club you can save up to 70% on your very next holiday…

I grew up in a Timeshare family… for decades we enjoyed vacation weeks in South Africa where we frequented the golden sands at Umhlanga Rocks, north of Durban. However, even though my family thought we had a good deal at the time, it cost my parents a considerable sum to invest in, and the annual levies and maintenance fees made it a regular expense, whether we used our Timeshare weeks or not.

COMPARE that scenario to the unlimited accommodation week prices we have available as Travel Club members.  To get an idea of how a Travel Club membership can give you access to the exact, same resort weeks other families have spent tens of thousands of dollars to own, let’s visit “Balansera” and their Travel Weeks by clicking Public Access below ~ this is where the golden savings are 🙂

Search by:   * Destination   * Month    * Year

and HAVE SOME FUN 🙂

This is L I V E inventory, so the longer it takes to load, the better.  That means their Travel Partners are loading a LOT of choices for you to see… New accommodations are added constantly, with the majority in North America which is great if you want to travel to Hawaii, Mexico, Canada or the hundreds of fabulous destinations inside the US!

MEMBERS can book up to a year in advance, AND within 48 hours of joining!  When you see something you like they urge you to compare prices on the web (or call the resort direct), especially in Mexico!  Imagine 6-8 people sharing a 3-bed luxury suite for as little as $299 and never more than $950 🙂 Believe it? We do, and they are available 52 weeks of the year.

As you can see Travel WEEKS are an intelligent way to save on family travel accommodation! Read the customer reviews & testimonials, and just imagine… what you could do and where you could go with the money you save?

OUR Family have saved hundreds using our Travel Club memberships to book luxury resorts around British Columbia and international air fare to Africa. The inventory is wonderful, even showcasing those very same popular resorts we owned with our Timeshares in South Africa. Now we can enjoy them at a fraction of the price.

If you live in North America – Mexico is THE place to make the most of Travel Club savings.  They have so many resorts – something for everyone’s taste, and you will literally save $1,000s on your very first stay!

Next weeks… Safari in Africa!


Posted in adventure holiday, adventure travel, club sea breeze, family travel, family vacation, timeshare, travel club, travel discount, travel member, travel savings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments