Monthly Archives: August 2016

Nature Roars Back

For the first time in Adelaide National Geographic Live came to town last night.

Bob Poole, photographer and videographer and film maker for National Geographic who has been working for them since he was 17 and whose passion is Africa where he spent his life since the age of four, spoke and showed us snippets of his new six part series on Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique entitled Nature Roars Back.

Despite upheaval and challenges cause by a long running civil war and ongoing sporadic fighting, and the rebels using the mountain for which the park was named as their headquarters and living off the park’s game while fighting, after twenty years of relative peace and with the help of benefactor Greg Carr and a dedicated team the park is making a come back.

Getting to know the animals in the park, the elephants who are understandably very wary of humans as the rebels shot the elephants for their ivory in order to get weapons and ammunition, the lions who are starting to return are just two examples Bob took us through as he shared his journey.  Some of the close encounters with the elephants were hair raising and the land rover did not come off so well.  Bob’s sister Joyce is a world expert on elephant and has spent a great deal of time with Bob in Gorongosa helping to habituate the elephants to the presence of humans, but even she was taken by surprise by the aggressiveness of some of the elephants.

Addo Elephant park

After the rains Bob went to an area he had seen from a helicopter where there were several species of nesting storks. The platform in the tree was small and uncomfortable but the footage of the birds, the hatching of the chicks and the flight of the birds was spectacular.  Based on his record the experts believe there were 5000 nests making this the largest nesting site in Southern Africa.   Equally, the huge number of crocodiles who largely went into the water and stayed there whenever danger appeared and this survived the war is probably one of the largest known also.

It was a fascinating evening.  It certainly reminds us why Africa as a continent is so special and habitat must be protected.  It is because their Elephant habitat was not destroyed that the animals are returning to Gorongosa.

Their website is below.

http://www.gorongosa.org/take-action

 

 

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Too good to be true?

The old adage is probably right – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

There are some very enticing ads around offering an all inclusive package to Bali, or Phuket or Penang or wherever for $999 pp – accommodation, all meals, transfers, massages etc etc etc.  They offer 5 star properties and it all sounds fabulous.

And it can be IF you are aware of what is actually involved in making the booking.

Did you know flights are not included?

Did you know you have to pay up front BEFORE they will confirm the booking?

Did you know you may not get your preferred dates?

Did you know if you don’t YOU have to ask THEM for a refund within 2 weeks or they keep your money?

It is just not worth it for most people.

My tip – start with your dates of travel, allowing for some flexibility of you can, then select your resort.

Do you REALLY need all meals?  Most travellers like the idea of exploring the local restaurants and the local culture.  Why pay for something you don’t need?

A package needs to work for you.  Buyer beware,and be canny.  Ask me to put something together especially for you to get best value for money and holiday to remember for all the right reasons.

Rainy day tips

 

Here in Adelaide we are in the midst of a particularly cold and wet winter.  Only a month from spring, it seems like we may never get there.  Walks get squishy underfoot and when it pours down we are less likely to venture outdoors.  Even the cat spends her time well and truly curled up and warm on the couch or my bed.  She’s not silly.

But what happens when the weather turns cold when you are on holiday?  It can be disheartening to see nothing but grey skies and wet everywhere when you really want to be setting out and about and seeing all the place has to offer.

So, some tips for rainy days while you are away.

  1. Dress for the weather. –  always pack a lightweight waterproof and windproof jacket that will save you when the weather turns bad.  My jacket kept me relatively dry in a sudden squall on Lord Howe Island and huddled with my back to the storm I waited it out until it eased and I could set off again.  If you can stay dry the world is not such a bad place.
  2. Investigate the indoor attractions. Museums and galleries, tours over old houses or inside churches and cathedrals and of course shopping malls, all provide shelter and offer insights into the culture and history of your destination.  The vergers at York Minster joke that the Minster is the world’s biggest umbrella as their visitor number swell in inclement weather.
  3. York Minster
  4. Use the weather as a good reason to check out the local cuisine. A coffee or tea in a local café will allow you to stay warm, hydrated and get to meet the locals too.
  5. Look out for the unexpected benefits of rotten weather. On my regular Friday afternoon walk a couple of weeks ago we got caught in the rain and it was cold and wet, but after it eased and we were coming back to our cars, the lavender on the side of the road was fragrant after the rain and was a bonus from the walk.  Singapore’s tropical storms do three things – they clear the streets so you have the place to yourself for a little while, they clean the streets and they cool the air and freshen the greenery.
  6. Use the inclement weather to spend some quality time with your travelling companions. Plan the next day, go over your favourite places so far,  catch up on your travel diary of labelling those photos, or culling the shots you really don’t need.

You could even shock family and friends by sending them a postcard, or emailing them.  The time out might just be exactly what you need.