My husband and I have just returned from a fantastic holiday in Zimbabwe. We had been thinking about a visit for a long time, but when we saw some advertisements in Travel Africa, and read your supplement Travel Zimbabwe, we began planning our trip.
Firstly, I would like to say that I have been with you from the beginning, all 56 editions. When edition 55 came through my letterbox and I saw the ‘Rivers of life’ cover, a surge of anticipation went through me.
It’s a pity that you couldn’t have driven the Land Rover (what a fine vehicle, by the way) from page 125 in your ‘Essential Africa: Botswana’ column (Ed 52, Autumn 2010) and parked it somewhere on page 124.
I’ve been travelling around the African continent for the past 20 years and have been to many national parks. I see less wildlife each year, especially lion. An estimated 180,000 lions have been killed in the past 20 years...
I am definitely not “too posh to die”, but like the growing trend mentioned in your Opinion article on malaria (‘Looking for trouble’, Ed 51, Summer 2010) I did develop malaria, in Ethiopia of all places – and this despite taking prophylactic medication.
While we were on our second of many trips to Africa, I discovered your magazine when it was still in its infancy. I subscribed and promptly ordered all the back issues that I’d missed during its first year – since then I’ve used your magazines for referencing subsequent trips.
I was interested to read about iSimangaliso (‘i for iSimangaliso’, Ed 48, Autumn 2009). We spent five nights at Hilltop Camp in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi in March, and enjoyed the treat of wild dogs walking right by our car, followed at some distance by a lioness.
I recently bought your magazine for a friend of mine who is currently serving in Afghanistan. I’d not seen it before, but think it will suit him as he’s spent many years in Africa either working or enjoying holidays.
I really enjoy your magazine, particularly the regular Photoschool column. I’ve just returned from the most amazing photographic safari, and I wanted to let other photography enthusiasts know about it.
I recently returned from a safari through Botswana with Karibu Safaris, the prize in the draw you held for renewing subscribers at the end of last year, and I write to thank you for this generous prize.
I just picked up another edition of your magazine – it is just as stunning as the last and, as always, it is filled with intriguing and thought-provoking articles. In light of what has happened since Kenya’s December elections I found the Kenya article (A Question of Conscience, Ed 43, Summer 2008) compelling.
I would like to refer to your editorial (Change of guard, Ed 43, Summer 2008), which discussed the important issue of visits to national parks being financially available, or not, to the relevant country’s own citizens.
I enjoy Travel Africa greatly, and the latest edition is very nice. Regarding the self-drive article (To fill or not fill… that is the question, Ed 43, Summer 2008) that deals with fuel issues, I would like to add another helpful tip.
We have just booked a 4WD trip Botswana with some friends. Although we have done self-drive trips in South Africa, Namibia and East Africa, we are not sure about the conditions in Botswana. Do you think we should take an off-road Land Rover course before leaving the UK?
While in the process of subscribing to your magazine earlier today I had a look through the previous issues section to see if I could find any articles specifically relating to Rwanda, a country we would like to visit soon.
I enjoy your magazine and the article on Zimbabwe (Special report: Should you visit Zimbabwe?, Ed39, Summer 2007) brought back good memories. I agree with you that the decision to visit is a personal one, but your conclusion that the benefits to the local populace of visiting Zimbabwe outweigh most objections to the current political climate should have been based on a much wider array of evidence than Emma Gregg’s trip.
There is undoubtedly something special about Botswana, but nothing can equal being woken up by an enormous sun rising from a horizon that seemingly stretched to infinity – so vast it was, that the curvature of earth was visible. All around us was...nothing, except the beds of fellow adventurers who’d also spent the night on the Makgadikgadi Pans.
In Letters (Ed 36, Autumn 2006), I noted that reader Chris Phillips complained about early morning drive problems in Tanzania and Alan Jeffrey harped about the rising price of safaris. I have to wonder if they have been to South Africa?
Further to your great article on Kafue (Sleeping Giant, Ed 36, Autumn 2006), I thought readers might like to know, that as well as upmarket lodges, there are also budget options for independent self-drive travellers.
Further to Riccardo Sottocorno’s letter in the summer edition of Travel Africa magazine, I too can certainly identify with the views expressed by Craig Rix in Changing Perceptions (Ed 34, Spring 2006). It seems that many people still regard Africa as the Dark Continent.
We read with great interest the article on Zambia’s Kafue (Sleeping giant, Ed 36, Autumn 2006). We spent a week there this past August, divided between Lunga River and Busanga Bush Camps. Kafue may indeed be for the ‘discerning’ traveller: as we soon learned, you must work hard to view its wildlife.
We’d like to thank a keen-eyed reader for sending us the following: There are a lot of things I don’t know about Africa, but there are some things I’m pretty sure I do know. One of these is that most of the population of Namibia lives in the arable land along the Kunene River/Angolan border in the north, not in Windhoek as stated by Philip Briggs in The gift of water (This is Africa, Ed 36, Autumn 2006).
We have just returned from another fantastic trip to Tanzania, which must be the best African destination for both superb safaris and glorious coastline. However, we encountered the strange phenomenon of ‘early’ morning drives that only depart after breakfast at about 8.30am.
I have recently returned from a seven-week trip to Zimbabwe doing voluntary conservation work with a company called African Impact. Admittedly, there were occasions before I left when I questioned my decision to travel to Africa alone.
Adrian Bailey’s photographs (One day in an African Eden, Ed 33, Winter 2005/6) simply blew me away. I’ve
recently returned from a six-month overland trip through sub-Saharan
Africa, the result of a very spur-of-the-moment decision.
Friends and family think we have finally gone troppo in our quest to conquer Kilimanjaro in December this year! The edition of Travel Africa featuring Kili (Ed 33, Winter 2005/6) has informed and inspired us, and provided much relief for those who think it’s beyond us.
Paging carefully through edition 33 of Travel Africa (Winter 2005/06),
I noted that the letters to the editor are from people who enjoyed
nature and cared about the environment enough to give feedback, and the
articles are interesting and well written.
If Tamsin Moore (The gap year map gap, Letters, Ed 33, Winter 2005/6) would like to teach during a gap year in Africa, she might like to know that i-to-i offers a diverse range of volunteer placements in seven African countries.
I always look forward to my copy of Travel Africa arriving in the post, so when I saw Kilimanjaro: The Complete Guide (Ed 33, Winter 2005/6) I was ecstatic. It is only two weeks until I am off to climb Kili,
Sally Robertson (Batty about birds, Letters, Ed 33 Winter 2005/6) may like to source a copy of the SASOL Birding Map of Southern Africa (Struik, ISBN 1-86872-423-9). This is an excellent, inexpensive map of southern Africa’s birding hotspots.
My wife and I have read Travel Africa since its inception, and in spite of the mouth-watering articles and photos you publish, and our own history of travelling widely to the other continents, January 2006 saw us embark on our first trip to Africa: to South Africa.
I read with interest the article on the visit to Botswana by Iain Wallace (Ed 32, Autumn 2005). It would appear that Mr Wallace had a great time in Botswana with one of the region’s most prestigious and reliable operators, Kwando Safaris.
I read your article on Tunis, Meet me in the Medina (Ed 31, Summer 2005), with great interest. I have travelled extensively in North Africa, and love Tunis for its architecture, its souks and its enchanting meandering streets. The people are also welcoming and courteous.
I read with interest the article Under the sun: where to stay in SA in your magazine (Ed 31, Summer 2005). What struck me were the rates quoted for the more luxurious places, which seem to match top-end UK prices!
When I lived in South Africa some years ago, we used to pay a local rate when visiting the luxurious lodges.
With reference to Andy van Smeerdijk’s article on Damaraland Camp in Travel News (Ed 31, Summer 2005), my wife and I were at this camp in January 2004, and fully endorse Andy’s report. Lena Flory is an exceptional lady, she is big in every way. Her stature is matched by her huge enveloping personality.
On it goes: film or digital. Grahame McLeod’s letter in Letters (Ed 31, Summer 2005) caught my attention. I have recently converted to digital and I travel to Africa regularly to do wildlife photography.
In answer to your editorial, Striking a balance (Ed 30, Spring 2005), I’m so enthusiastic to hear that you like Sand Rivers as much as me. I am a science journalist with an interest in conservation. At the moment I am also the President of Friends of Serengeti Switzerland FSS, an association which has been supporting conservation in Tanzania for over 20 years. So I am quite familiar with the problem you mention concerning the balance between tourism and conservation.
It was with a depressing sense of déjà vu that I read and re-read Susie
Cox’s Opinion: Time for change (Ed 30, Spring 2005). It is the
never-ending message expressed by disingenuous politicians, ageing pop
stars and earnest NGO enthusiasts. I realize that Travel Africa is a
unique publication and, in my opinion, the best magazine of its kind.
However, if you are to publish MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) articles you
are in danger of becoming irrelevant.
I read with interest the article Photoschool: Film or digital? in your excellent magazine (Ed 29, Winter 2004/5). Although
I agree with the comments made by Chris Coe in the article, I would
like to add some more problems of using digital cameras as opposed to
film cameras. Firstly, memory cards are so small that they can easily
be lost together with all your images. Although it may be a hassle
carrying around masses of used film rolls, it would be much more
difficult to lose them all without you knowing it!
I’ve visited both townships described in your article A tale of two townships (Ed 29, Winter 2004/5) on two separate occasions, meeting Rosie Gwadiso, who does a wonderful job of feeding the children, and Vicky Ntozini and her very clean B&B. On my second visit they both remembered me even though I hadn’t told them I’d been the previous year ‐ a very pleasant surprise. I also met and admired the work of Golden Nongawuza and bought, of course. On my second trip he was considered too successful as he was selling to outlets on The Waterfront, so we visited Desmond. He did similar work but was making objects out of wire coat hangers.
Further to your article on the northen white rhino (Situation critical, Ed 29, Winter 2004/5),
the latest news from Garamba is great. Five rhinos have been relocated
to Kenya. We were in Garamba five years ago, between the civil wars. The animals were anxious, but beautiful. It would be very sad for them to be destroyed for ever.
Here's a subject you might be able to help with. Can you suggest a nice
long list of books (fiction & non-fiction) about the vast continent
of Africa that might be of use to local libraries? In my area, the
selection of titles available is extremely poor - the head librarian
himself has admitted this! Tony Pagano, Great Yarmouth, UK
The editor replies: We'd
like to open this question up to all our readers. Earlier this year,
Travel Africa magazine published a lengthy guide to the best books
about Africa (Africa's Big Read, Ed 27, Spring 2004) - but we still
barely scratched the surface. Why not share your recommendations? Just
write to us at the usual address.
I was delighted to see the article Enabling Safaris for All in Travel Africa (Ed 28, Summer 2004). I have long thought that it would be a good idea to have a feature on camps/lodges which offer access for the disabled or those with limited mobility. Might you be able to consider this as a possibility for a future special feature in Travel Africa? Or might those who advertise in your magazine be encouraged to include details if they are disabled-friendly?
Jane Wildash, UK and Cameroon
The editor replies: We'd be delighted to hear from any travellers and tour operators who would like to share their knowledge, recommendations and advice in relation to this topic.
In our last issue, Philip Briggs warned against visiting Egypt on the kind of schedule that forces you to share the main attractions with huge, jostling crowds of tourists (Far from the Madding Crowd, Ed 28, Summer 2004). Travel Africa reader Louise Ferbrache's recent trip to Egypt wasn't like that at all. She enjoyed it so much that she wrote to tell us all about it...
I went to Egypt with The Adventure Company. We travelled in June, and if you can survive 45-degree temperatures, it is definitely one of the best times to go, as the biggest tourist hordes arrive in peak season (December to February). Many of the sites Philip Briggs mentioned were relatively quiet, and we didn't have to queue.
Your magazine is enthralling! My sister, mother and I first travelled to southern Africa in 1997. We've travelled to 55 countries all over the world including far-flung places like Nepal, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco but absolutely fell for southern Africa and have been back every year since. We picked up copies of your magazine at various game lodges while on holiday. So I subscribed, and will be posting orders for two gift subscriptions for my sister and my friend. My sister and I lost our mother in August 2003 but her final trip was to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe as we celebrated her 90th birthday!
The Summer 2004 issue (Ed 28) is like being there. In Soul Attraction, Brian Jackman captures in words what our sentiments have been for seven years. Thank you for publishing a superb magazine where even the advertisements are a joy to read. Here's to the magic, mystery and tradition of Africa!
Holly Jenkins, USA
I am new to both African travel and your magazine. My first trip was in 2000 to visit my daughter who was working on an HIV/AIDS project in Malawi. Three years later (last summer) we returned for her wedding in the South Luangwa National Park, visiting friends in Malawi, and, finally a couple of weeks in Kruger. This morning, scanning previous issues of your magazine brought it all delightfully back, and then some. Thank you.
Bob Zamor, by email
As a new subscriber I would like to let you know how much I enjoy your magazine. I have not renewed my subscriptions to two other South African travel publications as I find that Travel Africa, even though it's a UK publication, is more accurate, has more passion and has more interesting and relevant articles than the local publications!
I thought the eco-tourism feature was brilliant (Edition 20, Summer 2002). I feel very strongly about it, as I'm sure the majority of your readers do, but sometimes we forget how important it is in terms of people and not just land and the environment. This feature made this very clear. As a director of an HIV charity, I've been doing some work with a project in South Africa. I often find it hard to reconcile my passion for being in Africa with the enormity of the HIV problem throughout the continent. Reading this article reminded me that we can make a difference in some way and that is really important. Moragh Reid, England
I see a movie in the making. It is incredible how Jane Bayley went from university lecturer to Moroccan eco-tourism guide (Eco-tourism in Africa, Edition 20, Summer 2002). Her love of the Berber people was strong enough for her to change careers and live amongst the people she loves. Her home in and around the Atlas Mountains is not only adventurous, it's also beneficial for readers like myself to understand these people that I may never have the privilege of meeting. She shares her knowledge through your fantastic publication! Paul Dale Roberts, California
Wendy Singleton (Letters, Edition 20, Summer 2002) raises the question of whether there are bamboo lemurs in Madagascar's Andringitra National Park, quoting from my guide book that all "four" (actually three) species are found there. Unfortunately Wendy was using the first printing of the 1999 (6th) edition, published before this reserve was designated a national park.
During the period of preparing the reserve for its national park status, intensive studies were undertaken to establish exactly what fauna and fauna were found there, so conservation measures could be put into place. The three species of bamboo lemur were indeed all discovered in the remote eastern rainforest which forms part of the protected area. This virtually inaccessible region is, however, out of bounds to visitors, so Wendy's human guide was correct that there are no bamboos growing in the high, rocky landscape of this magnificent national park.
With reference Threats and Conservation: the Future of Africa's Rock Art (Opinion, Edition 19, Spring 2002), we built the tourist lodge at Twyfelfontein that the editorial refers to. I find your article very informative and yes, we do sit with a dilemma in the preservation of this heritage.
We did, as you say, "deliberately incorporate" the engravings in our lodge entrance after consultation with the monuments council, to try and prevent further damage to the engravings by visitors to this area. We had to remove two crude new age engravings from among them and deliberately left two others to be able to demonstrate to visitors what our modern and "well educated" colleagues are capable of doing. Pathways were routed to prevent any contact with the engravings and a lot of care is taken to prevent any further damage. The site referred to as "Ceremonium Plaza" is actually about a kilometre further west from the lodge, but you cannot take anybody there. Visitors camped at this spot frequently before we built the lodge and completely defaced the area with charcoal sketches and filthy drawings and remarks. We intend to rehabilitate this area and will have to control access to the area to prevent the same from happening.
At Twyfelfontein you will also be shocked to find graffiti among the engravings, which occurred in the last two years. We are certain that our presence in the area will prevent further damage and we are as concerned as the author of the article about the long-term preservation of this national heritage. I find this publication very informative and an excellent coffee table magazine with quality articles covering an interesting mix.
Willem de Wet, Managing Director, Country Lodges, Namibia
I read your article Uganda Revealed (Sample Safari, Edition 13, Autumn 2000), where Claire Foottit travelled with Volcanoes. Soon after reading this article I booked a holiday with Volcanoes and have just returned from the most amazing trip. The reporting was very accurate and the country and the people were fantastic. Thank you. Chris Doyle, via email
Great editorial, particularly the reference to Zimbabwe (Editorial Comment, Edition 20, Summer 2002). The message should be loud and clear: Don't waste your £1.4 tempting us to visit. We will come when we consider the regime has sufficient nouse to comply with civilised norms.
We are not concerned overmuch with the safety of the flight, more with what we will find when we arrive. Show us that you can organise your country in an open, intimidation-free basis and the cheque, as they say, is in the post. Until that time don't bother to print the invites, there is no party! Fred Hodgson, via email
"Did you know that the... African pygmy falcon... has a maximum wingspan of about 4.5 inches (120mm)?" (Did You Know, Edition 20, Summer 2002). No I didn't know that and neither does anyone else. A quick glance in the book gives the wing measurement from carpal joint (the bend of the wing) to tip of primaries as being 120 - 127mm. And that's only one wing. Double this and add the lengths of the two radii and humeri plus the body width. I would be surprised if the wingspan is less than 12 inches. There are humming birds with a wingspan of 4.5 inches.
Peter Boase, via email
We've checked our sources and admit the error. Thank you for alerting us. - Ed.
My wife and I were in the Masai Mara in October where we met John Heath, who is in charge of the new Mara Conservancy, which was known before as the Mara Triangle. We had noticed the deterioration in the roads and general infrastructure on the Narok side of the reserve, north of the Mara river. In the area covered by the Mara Conservancy there is a marked improvement in the roads and the eagerness of the rangers to help and do their job.
Apparently the Mara Conservancy has received worldwide recognition for its efforts to create tourism-based, sustainable, integrated conservation through public-private partnerships. Researchers have concluded that the conservancy has achieved a dramatic turn-around in revenue collection, security, equipment and management efficiency and could become a model for similar projects in the future.
A recent report in Kenya's Travel News said that "tourism earnings for group ranches in the trans Mara have topped KShs 10 million since the Mara Conservancy was established. The three ranches bordering the Mara Triangle - Kimenet, Kerinkani and Olorien - receive a direct payment of 19% from the conservancy every month. This is aquired from game viewing fees."
It must be a first for such a renowned wildlife reserve to be run (albeit partly) by people outside of government wildlife services. Maybe this is the route other reserves or National Parks will go, especially if it puts a stop to corruption. For more information on the conservancy contact Gavin Bennett,
Alan Jeffrey, London