These are three words you will undoubtedly come across when planning your safari adventure through Africa: The Big Five. The photographic safari industry borrowed the term from the game hunting industry and adapted it for their own marketing efforts. The term Big Five was given to the five mammals that were the most dangerous to hunt because of their unpredictable behaviour.
Today, for safari enthusiasts, photographing the Big Five, is very sought after and ticking these off your list, is highly regarded in game viewing circles.
So, who are The Big Five?
The African Elephant
The Cape Buffalo
The African Leopard
The African Lion
The African Rhino
The AFRICAN ELEPHANT is the largest of the Big Five and also the largest land animal in the world.
Fascinating facts about the African elephant:
- An adult elephant eats up to 375 lbs of plant material a day
- Baby elephants are breastfed up to the age of four or five years. This is also the time when their tusks start to grow
- At aged ten to twelve, a young elephant will leave its family
- Elephants are very communicative and sociable. They use a wide range of sounds to communicate with each other, sounds which can be heard up to six miles away
- Elephants live in herds of up to 100
The name CAPE BUFFALO covers four species of the African Buffalo. It’s one of Africa’s most dangerous animals and a formidable adversary for lion – Africa’s supreme predator.
Fascinating facts about the Cape Buffalo:
- Cape Buffalo live in large herds – up to 1 000 animals
- They need to drink daily, so you will find them near water holes, lakes and rivers
- Buffalo protect their calves by placing them in the middle of the herd so that they are protected by all the adults
- The Ox-Pecker is a bird who is the Cape Buffalo’s personal cleaner. The Ox-Pecker will sit on the Cape Buffalo’s back, eating all the parasites and making the buffalo much more comfortable
The LEOPARD is common in many of the African national parks. It is master of disguise and can be elusive.
Fascinating facts about the African leopard:
- Its coat provides perfect camouflage
- Leopards are roaming loners: they’re solitary and won’t stay in one place for more than a few days
- Leopards will pull their kill into trees so that lions and hyenas can’t get to it
- Leopards are extremely dexterous – excellent swimmers and capable jumping ten feet high from a standing postion
THE AFRICAN LION. For thousands of years we’ve been fascinated by this beautiful, elegant and robust member of the cat family. Lions are impressive and excellent hunters, although you will more likely find them resting in the shade.
Fascinating facts about the lion:
- A lion can sleep for up to 20 hours a day
- Female lions support each other in rearing their cubs
- Female lions are responsible for most of the hunting, whilst the males are quick to arrive at mealtime!
- A lion’s roar can be heard up to 5 miles (8 km) away
There are two types of RHINO in Africa: the black and the white rhino. The black rhino is highly endangered with their population currently estimated to be only 4,000 animals throughout Africa. There are larger numbers of the white rhino – about 17,000 animals. Most of these occur in South Africa, but are in recent years are under serious threat of poaching.
Fascinating facts about the African rhino:
- An adult white rhino is big, weighing in at an impressive 6000 lbs
- Rhinos are short-sighted and short-tempered
- A rhino’s gestation period is 15- 16 months
- A rhino horn weighs up to 6 to 8 lbs
- Although bulky, rhino are surprisingly fast, capable of speeds of 35 mph
Information courtsey of African Geographic
Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park is widely regarded as one of Africa’s finest wildlife sanctuaries. You can see why by clicking on the arrow to view new video footage of the park’s many highlights. Video courtesy of the Bushcamp Company
TAS TEAM IN LOVE WITH VENICE!
To celebrate a fantastic year, the Trans Africa Safaris team travelled to Venice last week on an incentive trip. For some in the office, this was their first time abroad, and, WOW, did we all have fun, or what …?!
The sights, the food (gelato is food too, right?!), the excursions and the shopping – what is there not to love in this beautiful city?!
We’re back home now and working hard towards our next target.
A special thanks to the IC Bellagio team for all their assistance in making this such a wonderful visit.
TRANS AFRICA SAFARIS PARTNERS WITH FROST ATTORNEYS FOR CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS PARTY
Lesley Botha and Jennifer Paterson are Rotarians with Kirstenbosch Rotary Club and through Rotary were introduced to John Muir of Frost Attorneys. John has been involved with Eldene Primary School in Elsie River, Cape Town for the past four years and formed the Kidz Club to help these pupils. Many of these children come from impoverished and/or abusive backgrounds and are facilitated every alternate Saturday by the Cape Town Church of Christ.
Approximately 200 leaners from the school are supported through this psychosocial intervention. Interventions are required for children who are made vulnerable at an early age as a result of various social factors
John comments “a successful transition into adulthood depends heavily on these types of interventions as well as consistent support through all key developmental stages. Services offered to the children also include nutritional support. Key to this is ensuring that nutritional support programmes continue during the holidays when the school is closed.”
John adds that it has been said “IT IS EASIER TO RAISE STRONG CHILDREN THAN TO REPAIR BROKEN MEN.” Sage words indeed …!
Through John, Trans Africa Safaris, organized a snake show for the children and gave each of the 200 children a Christmas hamper comprising various sweets, chocolates, drinks and a toy. TAS is not sending Christmas cards this year and decided to support this school in lieu of cards.
We recently hosted a fantastic group of agents on an educational trip of Cape Town, the Winelands, Victoria Falls and Botswana. The group comprised mostly American agents, with one Canadian and one American-Australian.
We were graciously hosted by One&Only Cape Town, Belmond Mount Nelson, Royal Livingstone, Great Plains’ Duba Expeditions and Belmond Eagle Island – wonderful partners, each and every one of them!
A great time was had by all with many exceptional experiences – lovely wines and cuisine in Franschhoek, shopping in Cape Town, a delightful Zambezi River cruise, a lion hunt, boating & canoeing in the Okavango Delta, a helicopter flight, a bush dinner and a milestone birthday on safari to boot!!
We have no doubt that our group of ladies all returned home with a stockpile of life-time memories and we look forward to showing many more our agents and their clients our magnificent destination. As has often been said before, “You may leave Africa, but Africa never leaves you ….”!
If you would like to be considered for future educational trips, please do let us know.
All the very best for the last few weeks of 2016!!
|Trans Africa Safaris has been an ardent supporter of Uthando for the past 8 or so years and we really embrace all the wonderful work that the organization does for impoverished communities.|
Uthando (Love) South Africa is a unique and innovative Non Profit and Fair Trade in Tourism accredited company whose aim is to raise funds and other forms of assistance for community development projects in South Africa.
Recently, the founder, James Fernie, sent out this notification on the Cape Town Opera Outreach Programme.
Uthando is constantly striving to offer truly inspiring, authentic and meaningful experiences while doing good, showcasing remarkable stories and helping to raise money for innovative community projects.
We shine a light on beautiful people, doing incredible things while helping them!
Cape Town Opera Outreach
If you think that opera is elitist, with no possible relevance to impoverished communities in South Africa, Cape Town Opera (CTO) would like to invite you to think again.
As a company operating in a developing country, Cape Town Opera (CTO) embraces its social responsibilities. With two full-time staff and 10 contract workers, CTO’s Education and Outreach department maintains an energetic program of projects that annually benefits over 4, 000 learners primarily in rural/township communities across eight South African provinces.
As Africa’s premier opera company, CTO is committed to ensuring that young learners from low-income backgrounds experience the magic of opera. CTO works directly with 160 primary school learners based in Vredenburg, Retreat and Nyanga and six school teachers/administrators from schools in these communities.
These communities are rife with social problems such as teenage pregnancy, boredom, unemployment, alcoholism, drug addiction, HIV infection, and school dropout. CTO uses music and singing as a palliative to sustain hope and joy in the face of adversity.
In response to the lack of resources in township primary schools, Cape Town Opera has created Opera is My First Language, a mobile teaching resource that provides weekly in-depth music instruction to 160 young learners throughout the year.
Hailed as a cornerstone of a complete education curriculum, sadly the time spent on music instruction has unfortunately steadily decreased in public schools over the past twenty years, especially among schools that serve children of low socio-economic backgrounds. With severely overtaxed resources in township primary schools, efforts are focused on teaching basic reading, writing and mathematics skills and music has become a marginalized subject which is either taught poorly, or not at all.
For six months, the students of St. Mary’s School in Retreat have been preparing to perform an opera adaptation of the Fairy Tale, Hansel and Gretel. During two hour classes, they have been learning music notation, how to read a music score, and participating in dance and drawing classes related to Hansel and Gretel. In addition, they have been studying a written script of the play, to help with literacy.
As a non-profit company, Cape Town Opera relies on the generosity of patrons, corporates and Trusts and Foundations. As we receive no sustained government funding, we seek innovative ways to ensure the sustainability of the future of opera in South Africa.
In support of the above production, Uthando is running a VERY special tour on Friday, 28 October 2016. The focus of the tour will be visiting a school in the area of Retreat (Cape Town southern suburbs) to watch a 45-minute dress rehearsal of Hansel and Gretel, a production being staged as part of Cape Town Opera (CTO) Outreach Programme.
Clients will experience the joy of watching 70 children singing on stage, supported by 10 members of CTO, all wearing beautiful funky costumes designed by Cape Town Opera’s resident Set Designer, Michael Mitchell.
This is a rare opportunity to watch some of South Africa’s top opera singers singing on stage with children from underprivileged communities in one of these communities.
Besides visiting this project the tour will also include a visit to one of the beautiful Abalimi Bezekhaya vegetable gardens in Khayelitsha.
All funds raised will be of money will be donated to projects visited.