The Lions At Savuti

October 21st, 2014


Wildlife filmmakers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, have filmed some of the most breath-taking and heart-wrenching footage in the Savuti region of Botswana. The largest land mammal and Africa’s most tenacious predator battle it out for survival in one of the wildest places on earth; the elephants desperate for water and the lions fraught with hunger. In the Savuti, the famously large pride of 30 lions become elephant hunters, learning how to prey on these massive beasts and revealing some of the most incredible wildlife behavior in the natural world.



It is the definition of evolution; the actions taken by this group of lions to maintain their strength and to survive the harsh, dry conditions of the Savuti in winter. The lack of ungulate prey species between the months of August and November creates a problem for the lions as they see their source of food disappear with the supply of water. Botswana’s ample population of elephants became the new target for these hungry cats, and a hunting method was nurtured and perfected, singling out the younger members of the herd and using brute strength and endurance to take down an indulgent meal.

It is quite spectacular, the will of both the lions and the elephant to fight for their survival in the battle. The lions determined to cling on to the dangerous, thrashing creature, and the elephants adament to defy the teeth and claws and weight of 5 adult lions.

Today, the Savuti is a game viewing paradise. The Savuti Channel started to flow again after an almost 30-year drought, encouraging the vegetation to grow and the animals to quench their thirst at its banks. Elephants abound and the lion prides are strong, although the famous pride of 30 has split up following the replenishment of the Savuti Marsh. This learned behaviour has travelled through the genes of the lions who fought elephants in those days of drought before 2008, and the Savuti remains the best place to view this incredible, yet horrifying interaction.



It attracts wildlife enthusiasts, filmmakers and solace-seekers every year to its heaving marshlands and plethoric ecosystems, each visitor anticipating the sight of the lions of the Savuti and the whitened skeletons of elephants that decorate the landscape.




At Camp Savuti, located on the banks of the famously temperamental Savuti Channel, travellers can find themselves in the thick of it all. With only 5 tented chalets and the surrounding wilderness to look out upon, it is truly a bushveld utopia that sings of Africa and the untamed beast that she is.




A game drive with Camp Savuti introduced us to this inspirational place, and sure enough, there were these legendary lions. A large pride, complete with cubs actively playing in the marshy shallows for all to see. Photographer Kevin MacLaughlin captured the sensational scene from Camp Savuti’s game viewer showing just how unfazed these lions were by the presence of people in their pridelands and just how much of a thrilling experience it was. Watch Kevin’s short video on the beauty of the Savuti as he filmed it from his experience with Camp Savuti:

Story Courtesy of African Geographic

Photos Courtesy of Kevin MacLaughlin

5 Must Have Dishes

October 19th, 2014

Marrakech – it’s a bubbling cauldron full of color, emotion, vibrancy, and chaos. There’s no other way to describe this city.

There are magicians that appear out of nowhere, snake charmers beguiling tourists in the city center, street food vendors peddling their wares, potters conjuring colorful tagines, and confectioners doling Moroccan breads and sweets to little kids. Then there are the street food stalls lining every alley of this North African city.


Marrakech’s characteristic hustle bustle is amplified manifold as locals and tourists alike congregate at these stalls to devour flavorful cuisine that is bound to leave an impression on every visitor. It’s hard to choose from aubergines glistening with oil, tender lamb coated with local herbs, snails overflowing from buckets, cous-cous cooked to perfection, local olives from the Atlas mountains, rich stews, and colorful tagines.


Here are 5 things that you absolutely must try when you’re in Marrakech:

1) Kebabs


Who can resist endless rows of perfectly symmetrical skewers of meat? Moroccans like to roast their meat over an open grill. The coal lends the kebabs a subtle smokiness that makes them absolutely scrumptious.

2) Tagines


If there is one dish that defines Moroccan cuisine, it is the tagine. A variety of vegetables and meats are slow-cooked in a clay pot called the tagine. The resultant dish is zesty and full of flavour. Make sure you use the accompanying bread to scoop the gravy – it’s a skill that locals have mastered to the T.

3) Orange juice


We’ll let you into a little secret. Nobody does orange juice like the Moroccans. Local Moroccan oranges are ambrosial, to say the least! The resultant juice is sure to make your tongue break into a dance. We dare you not to go back for seconds.

4) Snails


Nothing screams Morocco like a bowl full of snails. Snails are served at most roadside stalls at the Djemma El Fnaa in Marrakech. They’re simmered to perfection in a watery broth seasoned with pepper, citrus peel, aniseed, mint, and a selection of other herbs. Pluck the snails from their shells and don’t forget to slurp on the broth once you’re done devouring the snails – it’s supposed to be good for digestion.

5) Mint tea


There’s no better way to wash down a heavy meal or wind up a day in Marrakech than by sipping on a glass of sweet mint tea. This sweet concoction, served in dainty glasses, is not just a beverage in Morocco. It’s a symbol of friendship, hospitality, and so much more. Locals, old and young, spend hours catching up with each other over endless cups of mint tea and you just can’t leave the country without a cup (or a dozen?)

Once you have had your fair share of Moroccan delicacies, you should head out to discover other hidden gems in Marrakech. This list of our favorite things to do in Marrakech and our expert guide on surviving the souks of Marrakech will definitely come in handy.


Story & Photos Courtesy Of African Geographic

Brandy The Leopard

October 13th, 2014

Brandy, a pregnant leopard that was illegally snared in the Magaliesberg, South Africa, two weeks ago, has been successfully released back into the African wild. Throughout her capture and treatment, the team involved has been determined to give her and the three cubs she is carrying the best possible chance of survival in the wild.


It took the combined effort of the following organisations and sponsors to carry out this remarkable feat: John Power, Directorate: Biodiversity Management, North West Provincial Government, Dr Paul Bartels, Veterinarian: Department Nature Conservation, Tshwane University of Technology, WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) Drs Katja Koeppel and Francois Le Grange, Veterinarians: Johannesburg Zoological Gardens, Tokkie Botes: Helicopter owner and pilot, Frank Molteno: Helicopter pilot, Bob Boden provided emergency communications between the field team and the Johannesburg Zoological Gardens.


The saga started two weeks ago when John Power reported that Brandy had been severely injured in a snare in the Magaliesberg and requested Dr Paul Bartels to assist in her capture and treatment. Dr Bartels confirmed that Brandy required urgent veterinary treatment and the leopard was then airlifted to the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital’s helipad from where Johannesburg Zoo veterinary personnel collected her.

There, Drs Koeppel and Le Grange from Johannesburg Zoo then treated Brandy’s injuries which were close to her abdomen and could pose a big risk to a successful pregnancy.

The leopard was recently pronounced ready for release back into the wild. On Sunday, Brandy was airlifted from Johannesburg to her to her new release site in the North West Province, accompanied by Power, Molteno, Dr Bartels and Dr Le Grange.

Brandy was fitted with a satellite collar and will be monitored by Power. It is uncertain how the stress of being snared and injured will affect her pregnancy, but the team felt that it was important to get her back into the wild as soon as her wounds had sufficiently healed so that she would have the best possible chance of survival. Based on the data from the satellite collar, she currently appears to be looking for a den.


A program which aims to rid the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve of snares has been launched by WESSA and the Tshwane University of Technology, and will be put into action from Monday 13 October. WESSA is also involved in the Gouritz Biosphere and potentially the first UNESCO approved Biosphere Reserve in KZN.

Story & Photos Courtesy of African Geographic

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