There is an infectious mood of positivity in the country and we look forward to the future with great anticipation and excitement.
Viva South Africa, Viva!!
This year Trans Africa Safaris celebrates its 100th anniversary and to recognize this milestone, we have produced a new brochure, a commemorative calendar, a book documenting the company’s history and we have two wonderful agent educational trips. Plus a few other surprises to be revealed during the course of the year …
The company was started in Cape Town in 1918 by two survivors of the battle of Delville Wood in France during World War 1. In 1954, the late Brian Paterson began his career with
Trans Africa Safaris. Upon his passing in 1993, Jennifer Paterson, together with sisters, Beverley and Lesley, brother-in-law, André Botha, son, Michael, and a committed team, have built the business into one of the most highly-regarded boutique inbound operations on the continent.
HELP OUR AILING OCEANS
Saturday, 16 September is International Coastal Clean-up Day and a number of Trans Africa Safaris’ staff are lending a hand on Cape Town beaches. Events are planned in Hout Bay (Cape Town), Plettenberg Bay and a number of other coastal towns in effort to spread awareness of marine pollution, and assist in beach clean-up operations.
This is a chance for us to reflect on the impact that our species has on the marine environment and hopefully an opportunity to do something, no matter how small, to relieve the pressure on the re st of the species with whom we share this space.
Propelled by the wind and ocean currents, litter – which is highly persistent in the environment – travels very long distances and becomes widely dispersed throughout the oceans. With this pollution increasingly in the form of tiny plastic bits, picking up a few bottles left on the beach can feel far removed from the massive problem of miniscule plastic bits (known as microplastics) floating out at sea. Plastic starts breaking down, or degrading, when exposed to light and high temperatures from the sun. This process known as photo-oxidation happens much faster on land than in the comparatively cool waters of the ocean.
On a sunny, warm beach, a plastic water bottle starts to show the effects of photo-oxidation. Its surface becomes brittle and tiny cracks start forming. Those larger shards of plastic break apart into smaller and smaller pieces. A brisk wind or child playing on the beach may cause this brittle outer layer of plastic to crumble. The tide washes these now tiny pieces of plastic into the ocean.
Once in the ocean, the process of degrading slows down for the remains of this plastic bottle. It can sink below the water surface, where less light and heat penetrate and less oxygen is available. In addition, plastics can quickly become covered in a thin film of marine life, which further blocks light from reaching the plastic and breaking it down. And so these microplastics can exist for many decades in our oceans.
Some of the devastating effects of marine pollution are:
• One million seabirds are killed by marine pollution every year
• 100,000 turtles and marine mammals, such as dolphins, whales and seals, are killed by plastic marine litter every year around the world
• Plastics are the most common man-made objects sighted at sea, with 18,000 pieces of plastic litter floating on every square kilometre of the world’s oceans!
• Six million tonnes of debris enters the world’s oceans every year, weighing about the same as a million elephants!
• More than 260 animal species worldwide have become entangled in or consumed fishing line, nets, ropes and other discarded equipment
• An astounding 86 per cent of all marine turtles are affected by marine debris
• Every day ships throughout the world discard 5.5 million pieces of rubbish into our oceans
• Carbon emissions into our atmosphere are killing our coral reefs! Our oceans are absorbing the excess carbon dioxide and becoming more acidic. The acid is literally ‘eating away’ the skeleton of the corals
The iconic BIG FIVE – lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard – have long dominated the list of must-sees on an African safari.
It is, however, also important to acknowledge the smaller creatures, and in particular, five small animals called the ‘LITTLE FIVE.’ Certainly nowhere near as popular as the Big Five, or other terrestrial and marine mammals, they nonetheless have an important role to play in nature and an effort is being made to draw attention these ‘Little Five.’
The list comprises:
The ant lion
The ant lion is an odd member of the bushveld, but one you’re quite likely to recognise. These creatures dig conical depressions in dry, soft sand and use these as a trap to catch ants.
Ant lions sometimes develop wings and resemble dragonflies, although they are not particularly well-adapted for flight.
The buffalo weaver
Red-billed buffalo weavers are known to be social birds that build their nests in the forked branches of tall trees. They nest in open, noisy colonies and their nests are easily recognised by their messy construction.
The rhinoceros beetle
One of the largest beetles in Africa, the rhino beetle has horns on its head that resemble a rhino’s. Both males and females are horned, but only the males are known to use their horns when fighting rivals. Other uses for the horns include digging, climbing and mating.
The leopard tortoise
Getting its name from the colour of its shell, the leopard tortoise is one of the largest breeds of tortoise in southern Africa. A mature leopard tortoise can weigh over 23 kilograms, with a shell circumference of up to one metre. Leopard tortoises live in savannah and grassland areas and like to be close to water.
The elephant shrew
This tiny insectivore is named because of its long, trunk-like snout. These shrews are found in grasslands and rocky outcrops and only grow to a length of about 250mm, with an average weight of 60 grams. Due to their speed and size, the chance of spotting one of these in the wild is slim, so seeing one before you see an actual elephant is something to be proud of!
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
Information courtsey of African Geographic