Archive for the ‘African World’ Category

Swim Little Lions!!

Friday, October 24th, 2014

When Beverly Joubert arrives at what guides call ‘Joubert’s Island’, in Botswana’s Selinda Reserve she finds two lionesses and six cubs eyeing out a deep river crossing – a dangerous and difficult swim.


The lionesses want to cross this deep, treacherous river to go and hunt but there is movement in the water and indecision. There’s something moving in the water.


Three very large hippos are swimming through the exact path that the lionesses and the six cubs, of about 3 months of age, will have to take.



Both lionesses get in the water, making it to small island of reeds. The cubs are scared, swimming back and forth.

The mothers come back, abandoning the swim for now and the cubs seem delighted with that idea. Then one mother gets back up and starts swimming seriously while the cubs start whining.

The mother gets snapped at by a crocodile. Lots of growling and hissing ensues while the other lioness runs in to help. The females work together to charge an attack back – these two sisters are tight.


After a rest both lionesses are back in the water, with the cubs and all are making a break for it. They’re determined, the water calms and they know it’s time to cross. All the cubs follow the lionesses into the water but they’re not happy!


The cubs are torn; going back and forth while the lionesses strike out seriously for the other side. Four cubs get in the water and start to swim for their lives. The four cubs are not liking it much but on their way. The other two cubs spook and turn back to the bank whilst the others carry on.


The two females and four cubs make it across, safe and sound. The two cubs that refused to swim growl and call for their mothers to come back.


Alarm sets in. One of the mothers realizes that the two cubs are missing and starts calling for them.


There is clearly a dilemma; the river has separated the family. The lionesses return, taking the long swim through the hippos to get to the two cubs. The mothers try to get the cubs in the water but they’re not going.


The lionesses cross the river seven times in the heat of the day to try to keep the four cubs happy while getting the other two across. With all the splashing the lionesses are incredibly vulnerable to attack and exhausted. Eventually everyone gives up and the two remaining cubs suckle before everyone lies down to sleep.


An elephant herd arrives, coming to the crossing point. The cubs are out in the open, exposed and the lionesses are not aware of the herd as they are fast asleep. A lioness leaps up and charges the elephants and the elephants eventually cross the river.

The lionesses attempt three more river crossings but the two cubs are refusing to get wet. The lionesses swim between the groups of cubs, snarling as they go to ward off any attackers. The mother tries to carry a cub, but it’s too heavy so she returns on her own once more.


Suddenly a strange lioness arrives, looking at cubs. The females see her from across the bank and cross back. There is a dust up between the mothers and the lone lioness, scattering the cubs. One of the four cubs is upset and is trying to swim back to the two. The mothers lead him back to the others and settle down with the four cubs. Scared and confused, the two cubs wait in the shade of a tree.


Growling and hissing both lionesses make another attempt to get their separated cubs to join them. The lionesses stick close together giving the impression of a larger animal and offer each other support but there’s not much light left in the day. The cubs are calling on both sides.


One female tries to pick up a cub but it’s too heavy. They’re exhausted. They head back to the other four as night comes. The two cubs watch them go… They females swim across and take the four cubs a long way away.


In the morning the cubs are found shivering in the wet reeds. They had a miserable night it seems. There is no sign of the others.


There is a sharp female call and the cubs get frantic, calling loudly. The females return, alone. The mothers appear, having silently slipped into the water. They appear anxious but ready to start the process again. The two cubs go to the water’s edge to welcome them!


This time the lionesses greet the cubs and step back into the water. There is no suckling and no milk for the two cubs that spent the night alone and hungry. At last! The petrified cubs aren’t going to be left alone again and scramble to follow their mothers into the water. Cold and hungry they latch on, one digging it claws in for support. The two females and two cubs swim across, the cubs hanging like monkeys to their mothers’ tails.



24 hours later the two incredibly strong and diligent lionesses and their four obedient cubs are reunited with the two shivering cubs. This is a successful end to a major, dangerous saga in their lives and this experience will have taught them essential survival skills.


The six cubs and the lionesses are spotted the next day, all suckling and all eating a newly killed buffalo!

Story from African Geographic

The Lions At Savuti

Tuesday, 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

Sunday, 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

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