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Why when going to Africa do people often refer to it as a "once in a lifetime" opportunity???

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Mar 24th, 2004, 02:24 PM
  #41
sandi
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Between Kings reply that tugged at my heart and brought a few tears, Safarinut and Kavey managed to get their two-cents in. Kavey is so right, we're the converts.

So now, Roccco, a new thread so none of us has to read thru glazed eyes.
 
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Mar 24th, 2004, 02:32 PM
  #42
 
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PS King, that WAS beautiful.

I also shout "Africa Africa" from the rooftops.

But some people just aren't interested - their passions are reserved for other destinations - I know some who are as passionate about Thailand or Australia or Peru or India as I am about parts of Africa.

For them I say let them be - more space and opportunities to visit Africa for those of us who love it.
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Mar 24th, 2004, 02:48 PM
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OK, ok I give up! Sorry for bringing it up. On the other hand...
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Mar 24th, 2004, 04:49 PM
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King, thank you for that beautiful quote. That brought me right back to Africa. Tashak, touching story.

Kavey, very tragic about your sister's friend. I sometimes think of friends who aren't here when I'm seeing something wonderful. When you're back in Africa you can toast to her after a particularly wonderful day. Rocco, thank you for a very interesting thread.
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Mar 24th, 2004, 08:27 PM
  #45
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Clematis,

You are most welcome. And thank you for taking the thread to a new direction and sharing about the person whom regretfully never quite made it to Africa, and to the others that shared similar stories after the fact.

King,

Thanks for sharing the passages from that wonderful looking book. It is amazing to think that we are probably only one of three or four generations in the history of this world that will likely be able to enjoy "going on safari." I don't imagine safari as it is now was available even 15 years ago. I could be wrong but I think that photographic safaris have probably grown tremendously since South Africa has become more user-friendly and ended Apartheid only within the last few years.

So, possibly the Africa that we know and love has really been available for the last ten years, if that, to, if your or the author's estimation is correct, the next 50 years.

I'll tell you one thing, I will be very sad if I live to be over 80 years old and I am healthy enough to go on safari but it is no longer an option. However, at least I will hopefully be able to live through my memories of countless amazing visits to Africa from the preceding five decades. I guess at that point I will just be forced to just be part of the masses and go on cruises with the other octogenarians.

I will be sure to look for that book immediately on Barnes and Noble or elsewhere. These days I cannot even read about anything not having to do with Africa or running. But I am always hungry to absorb all I can on these subjects, especially African WILDLIFE countries, an apparently bothersome term (to a sensitive few, at least) that I learned from Mark Nolting's wonderful book.

Anyway, thank you everybody for all the responses, regardless whether they found fault with my commentary. We are all free to disagree around here, and I completely respect the opinions of Kavey, King, Tashak, Clematis, LizF and all, well most, of the other wonderful Fodorites out there!
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Mar 26th, 2004, 05:18 AM
  #46
 
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King. Thank you for your post. I read Gary's book at your first prompt months ago and have loved it dearly. I always enjoy your perspective.
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Mar 27th, 2004, 10:10 AM
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King:

Thank you so much for steering us to Gary Clarke's "I'd Rather be on Safari".

I tried Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble and neither had it so I went onto Cowabungasafaris.com and ordered it directly. The website has interesting stories as well as future safaris.

If anyone else out there is interested in the book contact Gary directly through his website.

You expressed so precisely what so many of us feel about African travel and often have trouble explaining to those who have never been. Thank you.

Jan
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Mar 27th, 2004, 06:33 PM
  #48
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Rocco- You say safari has only been about the last ten years, as we know it. You should step back, because safari to East Africa has been around for many, many years. After Kenya stopped hunting animals and only allowed photographic safaris in 1976 I believe, there were many animals. I first went in l987 and was told by more than one tour operator last year not to go back. I quickly saw why. The animals are less than one tenth of what they were in 1987. I wondered why Wilderness Safaris went to East Africa with hopes to open a (some) camps and just left without continuing that venture. I do not believe for a minute that animal safaris will be available on your schedule. Botswana and Namibia still have hunting safaris. Animals are disappearing at an alarming rate. Africa will be for scenery and birds I would guess. I don't think it is that far away. I was very shocked to see the Mara. Very sad. Most of us have heard that Mountain Gorillas are closely monitored in what is left of their habitat. The prediction is that they will soon be gone. So for the folks who have arrived late on the scene, this is what you know, just what there is now. Sadly it won't last either. Just my opinion. But read Jan's reports for the last year of the snares all over to trap all types of the animals for meat for tourists. I'm sure this will strike a lively debate as there are folks here who have been going far longer than I have. What say you? Lets hear your opinions. Liz
 
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Mar 27th, 2004, 07:05 PM
  #49
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Liz,

I guess that is more the reason to not lose any time in seeing Africa now. Although I still love Zambia, I have often read that it used to have 10x the elephant population just 15-20 years earlier. Also, there used to be a good population of rhino, but other than in a sanctuary area of Victoria Falls, they are now extinct in Zambia.

Zambia does deserve credit for reserving a full 32% of their country to National Parks. However, with such a large portion of the country devoted to wildlife, it is next to impossible to possibly patrol such a vast area.

All it will take is a little political instability in a couple wildlife countries to really wipe out what is left.

I fear that within a few years that you will only have a few Sabi Sands type parks around, but nothing like there is now.

As you have already stated, Kenya is doomed. There is some hope for Zambia and Botswana due to the fact that there human poplulations are very low.

But, to get back to what I earlier said, I still believe only 3 - 4 generations, if that many, will enjoy going on safari in Africa, as it is known today. I believe that we are already on generation #2, so only one or two more (max) generations will be able to witness this.
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Mar 27th, 2004, 07:46 PM
  #50
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Rocco-
You have a very good grasp of the situation. I'm surprised for being a relative newcomer. Are you aware that hunting is still allowed in Botswana? Right next to game areas. We were in one area in 1999 where there were only two male lions in that portion of the reserve. The week before the younger stronger male had been killed by a trophy hunter and only one very old male was left to service the female pride. Only a couple of very small weak cubs could be seen. The old male slept most of the time. Very sad. In a short period of time there would be no lions left. Hunting licenses were still available I would assume, though at a very handsome price. For what? The thrill of shooting the last lion?
 
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Mar 28th, 2004, 07:14 AM
  #51
 
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On our flight to Cape Town from the US.We noticed a few people that were on their way to hunt game.A woman from South Africa, who was returning home, was setting next to us. She told us of the appalling things that were going on.It just makes my sick! I want to believe something can be done to stop this trend.It makes me want to cry to think of all those beautful animals gone.
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Mar 28th, 2004, 07:38 AM
  #52
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Unfortunately, when I share with some individuals that I am going on an "African Safari", the first question out of their mouths is,
"Oh, are you going to hunt?", and it is rarely with negative connotations.

We can blame the Asian cultures all we want for the poaching of rhinos, but Americans, unfortunately, are not helping matters out by hunting big game. It is so ridiculous...a lot of these people pay big money to kill these beautiful animals and the ultimate reward for them is to be photographed with a perverse ear-to-ear grin as they pose with the animal and hold its lifeless head up. I really think these people are sickos, but unfortunately, all too often, their wives are along for the ride condoning these activities.

I have heard all the arguments about how hunting actually is the best form of conservation out there, but I don't buy it. When, as the above example told of, there are two male lions in the entire area and the strong, healthy lion in the prime of its life is killed, leaving only the older lion, how can that possibly contribute to conservation?

If these same hunting lodges converted to game lodges specializing in photographic safaris, they would not survive or even thrive?

Anyway, we have probably all seen it at the Johannesburg airport...American or European men carrying their specialized luggage with what could only be their rifles. It makes me sick.
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Mar 28th, 2004, 09:07 AM
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Liz:

So glad to see you jumping in on this post. You have a much more extensive experience than I and your comparison of herd size is interesting.

I think all of us wildlife lovers are upset by the trophy hunting. However, I think that is a very small percentage of wildlife loss.

I personally feel the biggest threat to wildlife in Africa is the Africans themselves. The snaring going on in all the parks is decimating all species populations (check out Sheldrickwildlifetrust.org and click on their desnaring teams). The natives never used to be game meat eaters - but now they see the tourists wolfing down every kind of game and now they too are enjoying it - even down to the small dik diks.

The other, and perhaps most serious problem, is the huge overpopulation of people. More and more they are encroaching on the "animal's territory" leaving all too little room for wildlife. I read the Daily Nation and East African Standard every night. About a week ago the people were asking that the size of the parks be reduced so they would have more space to live in. Unless and until the powers that be have the guts to start preaching human population control, the future of wildlife will remain grim.

I personally saw the results of wildlife problems in January. I saw three female elephants that had been speared by the Maasai in Kimana. One of the three adults and their three babies died because of this and apparently the government doesn't care (oh for the good old days of Dr. Leakey)!

There are no easy answers, but perhaps if we all took the time to write the officials in the country we love going to the most, they might start to get the idea that if something is not done quickly they will lose what tourism they have. If it is going to effect their income they just might listen.

Jan
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Mar 28th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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Big game hunting is a burgeoning business throughout Africa. A few months ago while in Barnes & Noble, a beautiful photograph of a male lion on the cover of a magzine caught my eye. It was a magazine dedicated to hunting and the article inside listed numerous African locations (albeit private reserves with a handful of public reserves also on the list - including Selous) where there is some of the "best hunting." Locations listed included Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and one or two others. Jan, I agree with you that some of the problem is with the locals, but I also think a larger contributing factor is the unquenchable thirst people - including many here in the USA - have for exotics. Look at the many "canned" hunting parks there are here in the USA. Tanzania has set aside 1/4 of its entire land mass toward wildlife conservation, yet "big game hunting" operations are opening up there by as many as one per month. Liz, I envy you for having seen the Africa of years ago and I feel bad that you have been witness to the unfortunate changes in Kenya. You experience is all the more reason "newbies" like myself and Rocco, etc. must grasp what we can of what is left of the wild.
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Mar 28th, 2004, 11:54 AM
  #55
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The hunting areas in Botswana are separated from the game parks by an invisible line. Twice I have been in hunting territory. Both times it was quite by accident. Once with Earthwatch when the driver simply ventured 5' from the road, and another when I was in Botswana in 1999. There is no line of demarkation between the two areas. If a hunter catches you there he will probably shoot you I have heard. The animals cross that line and they are toast. This is in Botswana, my personal experience doesn't go any farther except if you do a Goggle search for anything in Namibia, 9/10ths of what comes up is for hunters. It must just be rampant there. I know the most popular restaurant in Windhoek, for steaks, is primarily for hunters, not folks like us.
I hesitated about ever posting about Kenya and reserved all of my comments on return last year for private emails with another Fodorite, rather than sour anyone's experience who is going or recently went. I finally posted some of this in reply to Rocco's dream of the next 50 years. It was a wake up call to go now. 10 years from now it will probably be small farms with transplanted animals and it is very, very sad.
Jan-East Africa is very different from Southern Africa. In most every respect. I don't think that trophy hunting is the danger in East Africa. It is the people. In southern Africa it is not the poachers, it is the hunters. I could not even venture to guess what a license costs to hunt a rhino or lion. But you can write letters until you are blue in the face, and sweetie, they don't give a hoot about your opinion. Trust me, money is here and now for them and their opportunity will be gone and they go for the bucks. Tourism, shmourism, talk is cheap. How many times has the last rhino been poached? The poacher doesn't care if this is the last one, this is money now and tourism is for the government. His kids are hungry today. Animals will exist in Africa only if the Africans want them there. Just like we killed off all of our buffalo. Why? Liz
 
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Mar 28th, 2004, 05:01 PM
  #56
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Here are the licensing and trophy fees for Botswana:

License and Trophy Fee Costs:

Baboon $50 License + $100 Trophy Fee
Lechwe $200 L + $900
Buffalo $300 License + $1,600 Trophy Fee Leopard $500 L + $3000

Duiker $50 L. + $100 Lion $600 L + $5000
Eland $250 L. + $1,200 Ostrich $100 L + $400
Elephant $5000 L + $12,000 Sable $500 L + $2,500
Gemsbok $250 L + $850 Springbok $100 L + $300
Hartebeest $200 L + $750 Steenbok $50 L + $100
Hyena $100 L + $250 Tsessebe $200 L + $600
Impala $100 L + $250 Warthog $100 L + $250
Jackal $50 L + $100 Wildebeest $250 L + $650
Kudu $250 L + $1,200 Zebra $350 L + $900

It is truly disgusting that anyone that is willing to spend $3,500 USD + lodging can legally kill a leopard, and unfortunately, if you are a baboon, you can be had for a $100 licensing fee and then all you can kill for $50 a piece.

I did read on one of these perverse hunting websites that hunting has pretty much been banned in Kenya (much to their dismay), so perhaps that does offer a little hope to Kenya in the future, although the hunters are keeping their fingers crossed that the next Kenyan president will favor hunting.

I just do not understand what sick pleasure that humans can possibly get out of slaying animals for the sole purpose of being able to pose next to the animal's carcass and having their photograph taken.

Although I should not be mistaken for Geraldo Rivera or whoever the hotshot investigative journalist of the day is currently, I would like to make sure that none of the lodges that I am staying at also have any connections, whatsoever, to hunting lodges, but I would not know where to begin, other than visiting the hunting websites, and looking for names and locations. Perhaps if I could uncover something, anything, I could put the word out, as if we are unknowingly staying at such lodges, indirectly we are also supporting the continuation of hunting. It just must be happening.

For example, I do know that until about 10 years ago, Djuma in Sabi Sands was a hunting reserve (it is right there on their website telling of their history), though I do not claim any knowledge whether or not they are connected in any way to hunting nowadays, elsewhere.
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Mar 28th, 2004, 05:41 PM
  #57
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Rocco-
I just got goose bumps that you have hit a nerve and could really make a difference on the impact of hunting in Southern Africa. If anyone can, you can surely expose this outrageous situation or whatever you call it. I am so afraid that very soon the animals will be gone. I don't think that anyone living there realizes the precious commodity they have. When animals are abundant, you think they will always be there. What's one or two, here and there? I think this may just be up your ally. Keep it up!!!!!!!!!
 
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Mar 28th, 2004, 06:30 PM
  #58
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Jan-
Look at the price on elephants. You want something to write letters about? Here is your calling! $17,000 for an elephant. Aren't you outraged? I am. And elephants aren't even my favorites. This is really something that may be able to be changed. This is outrageous. These hunting areas are simply adjacent to the parks we visit. I have just felt powerless, but maybe somehow we can make a difference. Each country is really encouraging killing the animals. I guess I must let it go. It is all so upsetting to me. Fortunately I got to see it when it was good. Not the best maybe, but it was wonderful. I saw last year that it is faded. The only animals I heard on the Mara at night is the few hippos around our tent. No hyenas, no lions. The first time I have been on the Mara at night without the sounds of the hunts of lions and hyenas. I felt cheated. There were no sounds in the night. Just Hippos! The Mara is where the lions and hyenas lived. Can you imagine there were no sounds of lions in early morning. Why would I go to Africa if not to hear the sounds of the hunt? I can camp in my back yard to see the stars. Sometimes I get too carried away, and I fear that this is one of those times. Sorry to pick on you Jan. I better let this go. Surely it has struck a nerve. It's early in the evening on the West Coast, not really late, but I don't think I want to tackle this one. I just thought for a minute that maybe we could really impact this problem. Unfortunately it isn't ours to change. Its another country. We can just visit on will, and take the consequences. Oh to be able to change things! But alas, I don't think so. Liz
This is the most you will ever see me post here. I really have a bug about this, but I just must let it go.
 
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Mar 28th, 2004, 11:32 PM
  #59
 
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This IS very shocking...
Thanks for highlighting it Rocco.
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Apr 2nd, 2004, 03:38 PM
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Liz:

Sorry I just found your last note of the 28th today.

I realize you probably feel frustrated and helpless to do anything. However,
don't "let it go".

I have been told by several experts in Africa that the outsiders opinions do make a difference with these governments - more than criticisms from within.

If we really care about wildlife in our favorite African countries then we must take a stand and let the governments know that we will not continue coming to their countries and spending our "big bucks". We will also get the word out on television, internet etc. that "sport hunting", particularly with the endangered species, is morally, if not legally wrong. (I want to look over CITES again to see if elephant hunting is indeed illegal.)

Perhaps one of the reasons why this hunting is going on is because too many of us have been silent so long.

Perhaps I am being naive about this, but if we don't try to do something we are part of the problem.

As to your other note, I don't feel picked on. I don't wish you to do anything you don't feel right about. I understand.

Jan
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