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Our May newsletter is out ... Enjoy!!

Kids on Safari

We have had more and more interest regarding family safaris in Africa.  Although the safari experience is largely an adult one, there are a few select camps that promote kids on safari and allow children to join in all the safari fun while giving their parents a well deserved break on holiday. Early wildlife and conservation education of children is essential, and we love the fact that these camps have made special arrangments for children.

Our top family friendly safari camps in
South Africa are


- Ants Nest in the Waterberg        
http://www.waterberg.net/

- Mala Mala in the Sabi Sands     
http://www.malamala.com/junior.htm

- Ngala Safari Lodge in the Ngala private reserve
http://www.ngala.co.za/safari-lodges/ngala-safari-lodge.html

- Elephant Plains in the Northern Sabi Sands
http://www.elephantplains.co.za/mini-tuskers/







The Okavango Deltawhen and why to go!
 
The Delta is surely the gem of all the wonderful safari destinations Botswana has to offer. Susie and I traveled across the dry Makgadikgadi Pans to discover this oasis in a sea of desert in our landrover, but you can also fly the short hop from Jo'burg to Maun the small gateway-town on the edge of the delta.

The best time go is in the southern winter (May to August) when the waters that fell in Angola reach Botswana and fan out into the inland delta creating lush islands and drawing in wildlife from all around. Much like the Serengeti, the Okavango Delta is a must see on anyone’s safari bucket list.
 
We have two friends who have been studying and researching this fragile ecosystem. Steve and Chris Boyes have recently been traveling the length of the Delta by traditional makoro canoes. Look out for their adventure updates on Nat Geo Wild as “The Bush Boyes”

See the below link to Steve's blog and conservation adventures.
http://bit.ly/RXhtTK


 

Pangolin Photo Safaris




We have been chatting to an exciting new company based in the Chobe region of Botswana. Pangolin Photo Safaris is operated by a group of people who are passionate about sharing their love for wildlife photography with their clients. The banks of the Chobe River provide an abundance of wildlife photo opportunities and Pangolin have found a way of getting the best out of this environment from a photo-safari perspective. Using their own custom built boat they are able to offer guided river trips, and a unimog vehcile allows space for photo gear while exploring the national park by land.

Perhaps the best thing about them is that they cater for all levels of photography and they provide all the camera equipment necessary from 500mm lenses to tripods and Nikon camera bodies. Combine all this with knowledeable and experienced instructors, and you are sure to come away with some special images and plenty of new found photographic ability.

Rich will be going to see them in Botswana towards the end of this year, and then putting together a trip for a small group interested in improving their photo skills in 2013.
Have a look at this link to one of their Youtube videos http://youtu.be/m_99lHrbsPc  visit their site www.pangolinphoto.com


Contact us



Please feel free to contact Rich or Susie at African Avenue.
We would love to hear from you.


Website:     
www.africanavenue.co.za

Call us:           

susie +27 (0)83 285 0505
rich    +27 (0)76 085 7443


Skype name:
susie.prangley

Email:         
susie@africanavenue.co.za   
rich@africanavenue.co.za

 



 



 
 



Joburg – Jozi – Johannesburg

 
This “city of gold” often finds its way onto many travel itineraries as the gateway to safari destinations like the Okavango Delta, Namibia and the Kruger Park. It is therefore out of necessity that travelers find themselves having to over-night in Joburg, often choosing hotels near the international airport, being weary of venturing too close.
 
Yes Johannesburg has a bad reputation - and yes, it gets its fair share of bad press. It’s certainly not a warm and fuzzy kind of place, and you probably would not want to spend your entire holiday exploring it. It is, however, largely misunderstood, and if you are waiting for your connecting flight you might as well scratch the surface and in the process you could well be surprised by its friendly people, great restaurants, rich political history, and the uniqueness of this crazy town.
 
With the successful development of the Gautrain system, it is now possible to hop on a world class fast-train that links the airport to the suburbs of Sandton, Rosebank, and recently the nearby city of Pretoria. This means that with enough time visitors can choose from a variety of hotels and guesthouses in these areas and don’t have to stay close to the bland and let’s be honest “ugly” airport area.
 
In 24 hours it is possible to see Soweto Township, shop at the local curio markets of Rosebank, and dine at your choice of top restaurants in Sandton. From the early days when it was a gold mining town to the modern economic powerhouse we see today, the city has always been focused on money money money.
 
Guided tours can stop in at many fascinating museums that exhibit the stark realities of the past politics of our country. The Aparteid Museum, Constitutional Hill and Hector Pieterson Museum are all worthwhile stops. There are also historical sites that focus on the gold and diamond mining with tours that showcase the city and all the rapid development we see today.
 
So next time you see “night in Johannesburg” on your African travel itinerary, it could be an opportunity to see more than just the nearest airport hotel.




Hyena Den 

A bit like Jo'burg, hyenas are often thought of as ugly, aggressive, and rather smelly, but just like Johannesburg they are often misunderstood and on closer inspection are actually rather amazing. I was recently lucky enough to spend time at a den in the wild and so dug up a few interesting hyena facts and got a couple of cute pics to go with it.
 
- Female dominated society, males are submissive
- Capable of digesting bones and teeth within hours of ingestion
- Hyenas are suckled for 8 months to a year or more relying on their mother’s milk
- Due to well established hierarchical social structure, fighting with the clan is rare
- Spotted hyenas scavenge but also hunt independently and cooperatively as a clan
 
So next time you see a hyena, take a second to consider its complex behavioral patterns and its unique survival ability. They really are incredible.



Rocktail Bay –where you can see whales, turtles, and hippos in a single day
 
Situated along a special part of South Africa’s coastline is iSimangaliso Wetland National Park a World Heritage Site. The park protects the delicate coastal dune forests, unique fresh water lakes, and a vital marine ecosystem. We recently explored this area from Rocktail Bay, one of Wilderness Safaris adventure-style camps.
 
The camp is set back from the beach and is well hidden in the indigenous coastal forest. Wilderness Safaris pride themselves on their environmentally friendly camps and Rocktail lives up to this reputation and commitment to the environment.
 
For us the big draw at Rocktail has to be the yearly nesting and hatching of turtles that come back to the same beach every year to lay their eggs in the sand. We were unfortunately a little early for the nesting which usually starts in October and goes through until February/March. The knowledgeable guides wake guests up in the night to go down to the beach and watch these giants of the sea pull themselves up and lay their nests. Rocktail Bay has played a huge role in research and protection of Loggerheads, Leatherbacks and Greenback Turtles, working with universities to gather important information on the species. We will have to return one day to witness the turtles laying, although we still got to snorkel along the shore, take long walks on the empty beach and a guided drive to see Hippos at Lake Sibaya (the largest fresh water lake of its kind in Africa). At the end of a few wonderful days, we left wanting to stay longer and enjoy the relaxation that comes with an isolated beach holiday.
 
The area is also a birders' paradise, scuba divers' treasure chest, and marine biologists' heaven. They cater for families with children, which is great to know especially since Susie is pregnant and we are expecting our first child in April next year (breaking African Avenue news!)
 




Leopards in the Kruger
 
Rich has been popping into The Kruger Park with his camera as often as possible and has seen how with enough patience and plenty of luck leopard sightings in the public areas are increasing. This could be due to these big cats becoming more accepting of the vehicles and realizing that, although they are somewhat of a nuisance, they are not threatening them directly. At times leopard in the Kruger have been seen using the vehicles as cover while hunting, much like they often do in areas like the Sabi Sands.

Letaba Elephant Museum ...
The Magnificent Seven Tuskers

 
When we were in the Kruger Park recently, we went to Letaba Restcamp to see the elephant museum. It is astounding that the original magnificent-seven ivory is still housed here and you can go in free of charge to marvel at the size of these historic treasures. The blood of these huge bulls still runs in the veins of some Kruger elephant, but it is sad that much of these genes were lost to poaching and hunting in days gone by. Nature is, however, resilient in the face of adversity and every now and then you may still see a large tusker in the wild.


 

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