Hi Alex ..
I keep meaning to e-mail you and keep forgetting!!! just to say that Andrea did sterling service on behalf of Natural High, excellent organisation, bearing in mind that we did quite a lot of travelling, 2x 6 hour train journeys, and all sorts of car trips as well. You are running a first class organisation and I hope that we will be able to use your skills again before to long.. Keep up the good work..
Last week 130 of you joined us for a talk by Michael and Nicky Dyer on "Lion Conservation - a View from the Sharp End". Mark Coreth exhibited sculptures, Jeremy Hammick paintings and we all thoroughly enjoyed wine from Yapp Brothers and fish and chips.
Michael's objective was to shine a light on a subject which has remained worryingly below the radar for many people who travel to Africa. Most people who go on safari to places such as the Serengeti see lions, but the continent's lion population is in free fall. 50 years ago there were 450,000 lion in Africa, today there are fewer than 20,000. Conservationists now project that by 2020 (yes you read that right...) there may be no lion left outside the national parks. To put that in context, just 15 years ago as much of 50% of East Africa's wildlife lived outside the national parks.
Borana is leading the way in a grass roots project that puts tourism at it's heart. It's simple stuff, but effective. Tourism not only raises awreness, but it is also a contributor to Living WIth Lions - a project that collars, monitors and protects lion across Laikipia and in the most fundamental way it (tourism) creates a force for preservation of this wild and exceptional corner of Africa.
Working with Michael Dyer we are now putting together a small number of one-off trips to allow a few people to become actively involved in the project; lion are constantly monitored and new lion frequently need to be collared and at the same time thoroughly checked for health and other valuable metrics. This is a chance to see beneath the skin of a highly effective grass roots project. If you'd like to know more give us a call or email us to find out more.
The woodsmoke, the canvas, the night sky above and the night sounds all around. Whatever it is that brings out the inner scout in all of us there are few holidays that beat proper camping and there are few places on earth that beat our top five tented camps. Our favourite, all perfectly pitched in the most stunning locations, are about comfort, style and the outdoors. What we love is the intense (sorry) experience that only sleeping under canvas can bring. And when it's combined with some exceptional wildlife, it can be life changing.
Camping can be desperate rummaging for the last dry match box when the only thing to look forward to is the cold trek to the even colder showers. Or it can be breathlessly waiting for tigers to appear in Nagarhole National Park or finding yourself the only human among thousands of buffalo in Katavi, knowing that there's a hot shower and a delicious breakfast waiting for you when you get back to camp. Guess which we prefer. The combination of frontier living, freedom from monotonous reality with the added frisson of wild life only inches away is what gives it the edge over everything else.
So here are our top 5:
OK, so it's not our normal stamping ground, but a friend of ours, author, travel writer and television presenter Richard Grant, who I travelled with in Morocco last year (see The Telegraph) is opening the doors of his historic plantation house in the Mississippi Delta to a couple or small group who want to explore the rich culture and natural history of the area.
The house, Gum Grove, sits on the banks of the Yazoo River amid 6,000 acres of cotton fields, swamps and hardwood forests teeming with deer, wild turkey, beaver, otter, coyotes, and other wildlife. The river and nearby Bee Lake offer unparalleled fishing for bass, crappie, bream and catfish, and the area is a birdwatcher’s paradise, being directly under the Mississippi Flyway migration route. Other activities available on the property include boating, a spring-fed swimming pool, and sipping wine and mint juleps on the seven-columned front porch. Meals include fruits and vegetables from the organic garden behind the house.
Using Gum Grove as a base, day or overnight trips can be taken to visit the last of the rural juke joints, where the raw Delta blues is still played by elderly musicians, to the historic river towns of Vicksburg and Greenville, to barbecue restaurants, hot tamale shacks, blues museums, civil rights sites, and various local characters and storytellers of Richard’s acquaintance.
Trips are available in April/May and October, for 5 days or 7 days. Bed and breakfast is $120 per person per night, plus car hire for self-guided tours. To get picked up and dropped off at the airport in Jackson, Mississippi, driven and guided by Richard, with all meals and alcohol provided, is $280 per person per night. Flights not included. Potential visitors should be aware that there are mosquitoes, poisonous snakes and alligators in the area...if you're interested, give drop Richard an email