Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category



Getting A Lift

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

There aren’t many people who get to witness a rhino lift. I had no idea what I was in for Em Gatland, an African based photographer, was in for an amazing experience, though, when given the opportunity to join the game capture team at Lmfolozi Game Reserve in South Africa and document how it all happens.

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The annual air lift done at Lmfolozi involves the capture and relocation of rhino to other parks to reduce the chance of inbreeding, thus resulting in stronger bloodlines, which is ultimately beneficial for the future of the species. This year there were 30 rhino being darted and airlifted.

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Megan Lategan from Wildlife Act describes the operation in more detail. “Game capture and relocation is done for the benefit of the species and to ensure the strength of future bloodlines. It is a complex procedure and is only done when absolutely necessary. Thankfully the techniques used for rhino capture and relocation have significantly improved in recent years, gone are the days of large drug doses and corralling a dazed animal into a convenient location. As strange as it may seem airlifts are the best way to move these massive creatures, it allows them to be captured from any location; the rhino spends less time under anesthetic and ultimately endures less stress from the procedure. The significant improvement in this area has led to a marked increase in the success of relocating white rhino.”

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The rhino lift procedure is gentle on the darted rhino as it shortens the time the animal is kept drugged and respiration is not compromised and it avoids the need to travel over bumpy roads in a crate, which is how a rhino was transported in the past.

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The rhinos are airlifted using an old Vietnam Huey, which in itself is an adventure. They are lifted roughly 500 – 1000 meters into the air, suspended by their ankles. There is a crew of 3 vets, 3 pilots, roughly 5 ground staff and a game capture manager. What stood out the most to me is how precise this operation is; every single man has an invaluable role to play.

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Wildlife Act says, “This technique was first used on other species such as large antelope and buffalo, and proved to to be a very successful way to transport larger animals, not only by air but from the ground into a transport crate using a crane device. Since then it has been trialed and tested extensively with rhino, which included very thorough testing during the the entire process, such as monitoring blood pressure, oxygen levels, heart rate, and of course strain placed on limbs and joints.

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All four legs (and with white rhino the head) are used during the lift, this helps spread the weight evenly. From all the tests no negative impact, strains or injury has been recorded. The result is an incredibly safe and effective technique for the successful relocation.

rhinocopter7 Story & Photos Courtesy Of Em Gatland

Lesser Flamingos Return To Kamfers Dam

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Earthflight: Africa

Kamfers Dam, which forms part of the central South African pan system, has historically been home to over 2,000 different species of water birds including the Lesser Flamingo. Over time these numbers have declined due to trespassers, domestic animals, low flying planes and irregular water level fluctuations. The success of the lesser flamingo’s breeding has been especially affected causing drastic drops in the population numbers. In an attempt to help the flamingos recover from the negative population trend, an unofficial bird sanctuary was established and the pan was registered as a South African Natural Heritage Site.

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Further conservation efforts resulted in the building of a breeding island of 25 x 250 meters. In 2006, and 2007 Lesser Flamingos bred successfully for the first time in recorded history in South Africa. Kamfers Dam became only the fourth breeding locality in Africa and the sixth in the world for this species. Between 2007 and 2011 an estimated 24,000 Lesser Flamingo and 100 Greater Flamingo chicks hatched on the flamingo breeding island. Grey-headed Gulls also produced hundreds of chicks on the island. Unfortunately, the conservation celebrations were short-lived, as rising water levels in 2010 saw the eventual flooding of the island in February 2011.

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The island lay under waters spoiled by broken sewer lines for years. Now, thanks to a collaboration of The Save the Flamingo Association, Bird Life South Africa and other partners over the years, the treats to Kamfers Dam are being addresses. In re-instating the importance of this beautiful biodiversity area and its birds, around R150 million has been spent on upgrading the sewage works and constructing a pipeline to pump excess treated water away from the wetland. As a result, the water quality is improving and the water level has dropped. The island is now exposed and the Lesser Flamingos may once again breed and began to rebuild their numbers.

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Congratulations To “The Tasting Room”!

Monday, May 5th, 2014

We here at African Safari Company have been lucky enough to take part in the extraordinary coursed dinner/food journey at Le Quartier Francais’s Tasting Room Restaurant. The passion, precision and drive for excellency involved in each of Chef Margot Janse’s dishes is both undeniable and unforgettable.

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On May 14, 2014 The World’s 50 Best Restaurants (as well as the continued 51-100 World’s Best Restaurants) were announced this week in London’s Guildhall in a dazzling ceremony fit for the culinary elite.

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The Tasting Room was honoured with position number 72!

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“We’re delighted to be featured once again on this prestigious list,” said Susan Huxter, owner of Le Quartier Français. “It’s wonderful recognition and it reflects the dedication of Chef Margot and her entire team.”

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Executive Chef Margot Janse has consistently shown she can compete with the very best in the gourmet gauntlet. Chef Margot has maintained a spot on this celebrated list since 2002; in 2010 she was notably the only female chef to achieve a place in the World Top 50.

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The Tasting Room has been a recurrent competitor on the world-renowned list. In 2011, The Tasting Room took the 36th spot as well as the title of Best Restaurant in Africa and the Middle East. In 2012, the trend continued with 56th position and in 2013, 53rd.

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By now the knowledge that The Tasting Room is one of the world’s best restaurants comes as no surprise, yet the innovative cuisine doesn’t play by the same rules.

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Surprise and nostalgia take centre stage at the fine dining restaurant in Franschhoek. Diners embark on a journey of taste, guided by culinary storytellers in the most beautiful and whimsical of settings.

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If you find yourself in Franschhoek, South Africa this is the place for one of the most spectacular food adventures you will ever take!

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