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How to travel responsibly

How to travel responsibly

How to travel responsibly, being a responsible budget traveler Tourism in developing countries can be both a blessing and a curse – each individual leaves his or her mark upon a place.

Small decisions that we make along the way as travelers insure that future travelers find a place as welcoming and magical as we did.

Travel and tourism should be planned and executed as a means of individual growth and development. When practiced with an open mind, it is an awesome source of self education, mutual tolerance and for learning about the diversity and wonderful nuances that make our planet such an interesting place.

Everyone has a responsibility for creating and promoting responsible travel and tourism. Governments, business and communities must shoulder their share of the load, but as a budget traveler you can support this in many ways that make a huge difference:

  1. Open your mind to other cultures and traditions. It will transform your trip and you will earn respect and welcome of the local people. Be tolerant and respectful, making sure to observe social and cultural traditions and practices.
  2. Respect human rights. Exploitation in any form conflicts with the fundamental purpose of travel.
  3. Help preserve natural environments. Leave things the way you found it – or better.  Protect wildlife and habitats and do not purchase products made from endangered plants or animals….this includes animal products, novelty insects, etc…
  4. Respect cultural resources. Activities should be conducted in a way that respects the artistic, archaeological and cultural heritage of a place.
  5. Support the local economy – they need it. Purchase local handicrafts and products using the principles of fair trade. Bargaining for goods should reflect an understanding of a fair wage – don’t fall victim to traveler scams, but that merchant probably needs the difference more than you do.
  6. Get up to date about the destination’s current health situation prior to departure and be assured that your health and personal security will not be threatened. Make sure that you have the means to remain healthy and happy before you arrive in a new place.
  7. Learn as much as possible about your destination and take time to understand the customs, norms and traditions in an effort to avoid accidentally offending the local population.
  8. Learn the local laws so that you do not accidentally break them. Refrain from all trafficking in illicit drugs, arms, antiques, protected species and products or substances that are dangerous or prohibited.

Responsible travel is not complicated.  Getting into the mindset that you are going to leave a place in better shape than you found it by doing your part and encouraging others, will ensure that the doors will be kept open for future budget travelers!

provided by StepUpTravel.org

safari camps for elephant viewing

 Safari Camps for Elephant Viewing

Safari camps for elephant viewing by Rose Hipwood on May 06, 2015 in Accommodation, Adventure Travel, Africa, Botswana,Camping, Kenya, Leisure Travel, Regions, Resorts, South Africa, Speciality Travel, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Elephants hold a huge draw for people on luxury safaris, and it’s no surprise – these amazing animals have intricate family ties, and human like emotions. Much research has been done on the elephant and it remains one of the most fascinating animals to see on any luxury safari. Elephants are currently being heavily persecuted for their ivory, and now is the time to visit Africa and see these gentle giants. There is almost nothing better than watching baby elephants role around in the mud, or play with their siblings. African elephants are larger than their Indian counterparts and this can make watching them both humbling and awe inspiring. They move through the bush almost silently and are the real undisputed kings of the jungle. There are hundreds of conservation projects currently working on over drive to protect these magical beasts from poaching, but the battle is still very much ongoing. Here are the top ten luxury safari properties from which one can watch elephants.

1. Sirikoi, Lewa, Northern Kenya

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Northern Kenya is breath-takingly beautiful with rolling hills, views of Mount Kenya, open plains and marshes surrounded by yellow fever trees. Sirikoi is an exceptionally special luxury safari camp boasting both tents and two private houses. From Sirikoi you can often watch family groups of elephant come down to drink at the waterhole in front of camp, and once you head out onto the plains with your private Samburu guide you will be treated to huge vistas often dotted with family groups of elephant.

2. Saruni Samburu, Samburu, Northern Kenya

Samburu National Park has long been known as one of the best places to see elephant and this is due to the Ewaso Nyiro River which runs through it. Sometimes you will be lucky enough to see large groups of elephant come together to play, mock fight and frolic in the murky river waters. Saruni offers a true paradise of a lodge with exceptional guides, food and some of the best views in all of Kenya.

3. Richard’s Camp, Masai Mara, Southern Kenya

Richard’s Camp is owned by Richard Roberts who started the Mara Elephant Project, so if you do want to see elephants you can go with one of the Richard’s Camp guides, all of whom really know their stuff when it comes to the elephants of the Masai Mara. This luxury tented camp is quirky and unique with a relaxed and warm atmosphere, and you will often have exceptional game viewing from your own luxury safari tent.

4. Sausage Tree Camp, Lower Zambezi, Zambia

Sausage Tree is very special – you might even bump into an elephant on your way from your vast tented suite to the main area, as it makes its way down into the Zambezi River to feast on the long grasses and enjoy swimming (trunks make a fantastic snorkel). There are elephants everywhere here and you will not go for longer than a few minutes without seeing one.

5. Tena Tena, South Luangwa, Zambia

Tena Tena is set in its own private conservancy with the Luangwa River separating it from the South Luangwa National Park – wonderful scenes will play out before you whilst on drives or in front of camp, with elephants heading down to the river to drink. When the waters are shallow you can watch them protect the little ones from approaching crocodiles. Tena Tena is run by the famous Robin Pope Safaris and has absolutely everything you could want in a luxury safari camp.

6. Chindeni Bushcamp, South Luangwa, Zambia

Chindeni is set in a wild and remote area of the South Luangwa – your luxury rooms are elevated above a lagoon below, and you can while away the day watching elephants below from your comfy hammock. From this luxury camp you can also see the Chindeni Mountains, which make the most amazing photographic backdrop when there are elephants browsing beneath them. Chindeni is called a bushcamp, but feels exceptionally luxurious and boasts wonderful guides and delicious food.

7. Chief’s Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Chief’s Camp is one of Botswana’s most luxurious safari camps and is impossibly spoiling. Everything here is perfect and that goes for the game viewing too. Chief’s Island is perhaps one of the most famous game viewing destinations in Africa and of course the elephant viewing here will not disappoint. Often you will be watching herds of elephants from the comfort of your verandah or the main area. You don’t have to go far here to see abundant elephant.

8. Savute Under Canvas, Savute, Botswana

Savute is absolutely pumping with game and this includes elephant. Savute Under Canvas is an authentic but comfortable luxury safari camp which really feels as if it is truly in the wilds. Here you can enjoy a mobile camp without having to pay the premium to take it exclusively. Savute Under Canvas has the most magical location which will certainly fulfill all your desires when it comes to game viewing, and experiencing the romance of a luxury tented camp.

9. Somalisa, Hwange, Zimbabwe

Somalisa has a classic elegance to it which comes naturally, and this luxury safari camp certainly delivers when it comes to elephant. There are many famous photographs of elephant coming right up to the deck in front of the camp – this is because large herds of elephant congregate on the pan which is directly in front of this amazing camp. With only six luxury rooms you will certainly feel as if you are in one of Africa’s most exclusive camps, which indeed you are.

10. Madikwe Hills, Madikwe, South Africa

Madikwe Hills is incredibly luxurious but has such a warm and friendly atmosphere that you feel as if you can throw your shoes off and walk around in your dressing gown (which they wouldn’t mind about at all!). There is a waterhole in front of the lodge which attracts elephant every day, but Madikwe itself is just fantastic for elephant, everywhere you turn there will be small family groups or larger herds, and the red dust and amazing sunsets make for some magical photographs.

By Rose Hipwood

Revealing the Leopard Facts

Revealing the Leopard Facts

Leopard facts Revealing the Leopard Facts

Leopards are the ultimate cats. They are the most feline, the most intelligent, the most dangerous and, until recently, one of the least understood. They hunt from South Africa to Siberia, from Arabia to Sri Lanka, and are the most widespread predator of their size on land. A leopard is a cat that walks by itself, unseen and secretive. Leopards are the beautiful killers that live in the shadows.

Additional Facts:
  • The animal’s name derives from the Greek word leopardus, a combination of leon (lion) and pardus (panther). Of the big cats, the leopard is the only known species that lives in both desert and rainforest habitats. Leopards are generally nocturnal and do most of their hunting at night. Their large eyes and dilated pupils allow them to see well in dark conditions.
  • Leopards are incredibly athletic and known for their climbing ability. They often carry food into trees to avoid losing it to scavengers like lions and hyenas.
  • They tend to be solitary animals and rarely interact with each other except to mate or raise cubs. Leopards breed perennially with a gestation period of approximately 3 months, giving birth to a litter of 2-3 cubs on average. Despite their names, the clouded leopard ( neofelis nebulosa ) and snow leopard ( panthera uncial ) are often considered a separate species.
  • One of the rarest subspecies of leopard is eastern Russia’s Amur Leopard. There are only an estimated 30 currently living in the wild. Leopards can go for long periods of time without water, living off the moisture of their prey.
  • Leopards mark their territory with urine and claw marks on the bark of trees.

Rudyard Kipling wrote the short story, How the Leopard Got Its Spots, to offer his own fictional explanation for the big cat’s attractive coat.

Leopards are Best at Going the Distance

Leopards are Best at Going the Distancemaxresdefault Leopards are Best at Going the Distance

When an Elephant charges

When an Elephant charges

article 2303350 190EF4EE000005DC 143 964x605 When an Elephant charges

When an Elephant charges Lessons from Dereck  and Beverly 

An elephant’s age can be determined by its molar teeth, and the Jouberts conclude from them that both animals died at around 70, but still had a few years left to live. So what caused these bulls to die in the same place and at the same time? The mystery so intrigues the filmmakers, they decide to spend the next two years traveling through what would have been their home range, reconstructing the lives these elephants would have led, reimagining their birth and childhood, how they would have interacted with each other, their great migrations for water with their families and the inevitable encounters with lions.

To understand the lives of the two old bulls, the Jouberts paddle from one end of a river to the other in the Selinda Reserve, home to over 7,000 elephants in a remote corner of Botswana. Their journey brings them into extremely close contact with herds that, over time, seem to accept their presence as the couple film and photograph them.

They capture scenes of a mother teaching her new calf that he can’t have his milk until he stops his temper tantrum, and also manage to document elephants snoring. But there are moments when an elephant suddenly charges toward their canoe. When that happens, the experienced pair know it’s best not to move, but to rather remain quiet and wait. The filmmakers only discover what caused the herd’s agitation after they paddle downstream, and come upon piles of discarded bones and skulls that had been chopped away to remove the ivory.

The Jouberts explain that prior to 2014, hunting male elephants was legal in Botswana, and that it is traumatic for elephants to come across a killing field. The couple follow different herds on foot and place small cameras in strategic positions to capture them stopping to examine carcasses of dead elephants with their trunks, perhaps searching for the cause of death or remembering a friend.

The film likens the scene to a family in mourning and suggests that these elephants, whose brains are almost five times the size of ours, are feeling emotions similar to those we might feel, showing evidence of living beings with full lives and even souls. But not all threats are from man as an elephant’s raging testosterone can take its toll when one young bull is pitted against another, and a severe injury can signal death.

To track the herds as they head across the grasslands, the Jouberts take to the skies. They film the elephants following ancient networks of paths in search of their daily requirement of nearly a quarter pound of salt. Aerials also track each herd as it methodically crosses the floodplains, led by a matriarch giving commands with growls, trumpets and even the flapping of her ears. The families close ranks in a crisis.

When a mother loses her calf at a crossing and lions begin their attack, a small group of relatives helps her rescue the calf just in time. Botswana is home to over one-third of the elephants living in the wild today, and is one of the few places where these animals can still live out a natural life. The Jouberts take us into that world and bring the story of the two bulls to life. They even arrive at a solution to the mystery of their deaths. Those deaths remain a cause for celebration because when an elephant dies with its ivory intact, perhaps the soul of that elephant is at peace.

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