Archive for the ‘African World’ Category

The Rabbit in Madiba’s Ear

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Nelson Mandela and his legacy will continue to make headlines for many years to come but the latest news featuring South Africa’s great former leader is a bit unexpected. As NPR recently reported, it seems that someone left a rabbit in his statue’s ear!

Mandela Ear
Two sculptors who were refused permission to engrave their signatures onto their giant statue of Nelson Mandela came up with a novel solution: They hid a bronze rabbit in the statue’s ear.

Our story begins Dec. 16, a day after Mandela’s funeral, when President Jacob Zuma unveiled the statue by Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren at Pretoria’s Union Buildings, the government’s headquarters. The nearly 30-foot-tall bronze-plated work has Mandela standing with his hands reaching outward, as if embracing all of South Africa.

Prinsloo and van Vuuren then told the Afrikaans-language Beeld newspaper that they’d inserted a tiny rabbit in the ear as a “small trademark” after authorities refused to let them engrave their names on the statue’s trousers. They said they chose the rabbit because of the haste with which they had to complete the statue. The word for rabbit in Afrikaans is haas, which also translates to “haste.”

“You need a long lens or binoculars to see it,” Prinsloo told the paper. “During the molding process, a lot of people had seen the statue up close and nobody noticed it.”

They have now.

“It is unfortunate that the sculptors … chose to place an object in the statue without the knowledge of those who commissioned them,” Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said in a statement. He said the sculptors had apologized for the addition and that his department has ordered the rabbit removed without damaging the statue or compromising the sculpture’s integrity.

We wonder if they’ll be hopping to it.

African World: Africa’s Big 10

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Most people who want to visit Africa are seeking places where they can see the “Big Five: African elephants, rhinoceros, lions, Cape buffalo, and leopards. The ‘Big Five’ is a hunting term used to describe the most dangerous animals to hunt although this has now become the catch phrase for what first-time visitors want to see when they visit the African bush. Here are the famous five magnificent creatures, and stay tuned for part II where we’ve added a few more to round out our Top Ten animals to see while on safari in Africa.

1 Ele

1. Elephant

Heavily poached for their tusks, these pachyderms have a complex social structure and incredible intelligence which makes them a joy to watch. We love sitting out in the late afternoon sun with a cocktail, the engine off and elephants going about their day all around us. In 2006 a team of scientists discovered that elephants are able to recognize themselves in a mirror – the only other animals to do so are dolphins, great apes and of course, humans.

2 Rhino

2. Rhino

Another victim of the ivory trade, rhinos resemble tanks or primordial beasts when you come across them in the wild. What we know as the “white” rhino is really the square-lipped species and the common name is popularly believed to be a garbled version of the Dutch word wijd.On the other hand, the “black” rhino is more descriptively known as hook-lipped – both descriptions explain their feeding habits as the white rhino is a grazer and the black rhino feeds on leaf plants, shoots etc.

3 Buffalo

3. Cape Buffalo

This gentle-seeming herbivore boasts a touchy disposition and extremely sharp horns and hooves – a combination which makes it the most dangerous of the Big Five. They are fiercely protective of their young and have been known to chase lions off and even fatally wound the big cats. Herds can be up to 1,000 animals strong during the hottest, driest times of the year when water is scarce. They can be eerie sight in the mornings with the mist coming off of their backs as they all turn to watch you watching them.

4 leopard

4. Leopard

The only non-social big cat, leopards are powerful nocturnal shadows who lead a generally solitary existence. Famously reclusive, they are often spotted lounging on a tree branch watching the world go by or taking a snooze in the late afternoon sun. Despite their furtive ways, leopards have adapted to the sprawl of human habitation better than the other big cats. They now have the widest range of any other big cat, with 9 subspecies found across Africa and Asia.

5 Lion

5. Lion

Lions remain The King of Beasts however, travelers are often surprised how like our own house-cats they can be! They sleep up to 20 hours a day, play wrestle and flop down in the most awkward of spots, albeit on much larger scale than Fluffy. There is nothing like sitting in an open 4×4 just a few feet away from a massive male lion when he displays enormous teeth and a ground-shaking roar.

Kwandwe Carbon Credit

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Our friends at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, in South Africa’s pristine Eastern Cape province, are doing their part to help keep your African Safari carbon neutral, simply by stepping back and letting nature do it’s thing!

“Thicket vegetation, prolific on Kwandwe Reserve and loved by animals such as black rhino, is one of the top five carbon-storing vegetations on the planet – it is thought that as much as four tons of carbon may be stored per hectare! As part of an on-going rehabilitation project, areas of the reserve that were once overgrazed by goats and disturbed by previous farming practices are being rehabilitated with the reestablishment of spekboom. In the process, Kwandwe is investing in a fantastic carbon neutral protected area.”

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