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Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Wildlife of the Okavango by Duncan Butchart – an invaluable guide to this magnificent oasis

Wildlife of the OkavangoStruik Nature is proud to present Wildlife of the Okavango by Duncan Butchart:

A remarkable variety of animals and plants can be found in the wilderness region surrounding the Okavango Delta. This photographic guide covers more than 470 of the area’s most conspicuous and interesting mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, fishes, invertebrates, trees and aquatic plants.

An informative introduction describes the area’s geology, climate, habitats and the key roles played by some animals, such as termites and elephants. The species accounts feature concise text describing the species’ appearance, size, habits, habitat and status, with full-colour photographs to facilitate identification.

About the author

Duncan Butchart is a naturalist, illustrator and photographer. He is the author and editor of numerous articles and books on wildlife, including Wildlife of South Africa (Struik Nature), and has worked in 11 African countries as a specialist in ecotourism communication.

Book details

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Spring botanical art exhibition at the Irma Stern Museum to mark the 50th anniversary of her death

Botanical art exhibition at the Irma Stern Museum to mark the 50th anniversary of her death
Butterflies of East AfricaBaobabs of the WorldPocket Guide: Birds of East AfricaGiant StepsLandy

The UCT Irma Stern Museum in Cape Town will celebrate the arrival of spring with a botanical art exhibition, bringing together artwork from established artists of Cape flora with new artwork that has been commissioned for the exhibition.

The Western Cape floral kingdom, with its unrivalled diversity of plant species, has attracted explorers, artists and botanists for hundreds of years.

An exhibition titled “Flora Old and New” will be held at the Irma Stern Museum in September as part of the special public programme to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the internationally renowned South African artist, Irma Stern.

The exhibition will run from 3 September to 1 October, with opening hours of 10 AM to 5 PM Tuesday to Friday, and 10 AM to 2 PM on Saturday.

The director of the Irma Stern Museum will be giving a special walkabout on 20 September at 10 AM.

Please RSVP by 15 September.

Enter the lucky draw at the exhibition to win a hamper of Struik Nature books. The winner will be notified at the close of the exhibition.

Special Walkabout Details

Book Details

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For specialist botanists and lay enthusiasts alike: Baobabs of the World

Baobabs of the WorldComing soon from Struik Nature: Baobabs of the World: The Upside-Down Trees of Madagascar, Africa and Australia:

A photographic masterpiece, this beautiful book is a fitting tribute to the baobab – an extraordinary and majestic tree found principally in Madagascar, and peripherally in Africa and Australia.

The first section offers a short introduction to the classification and general description of baobabs, details of their life history, biogeography, dispersal and their role in people’s lives. The second section comprises a guide to each of the eight baobab species, including botanical description, details of their habitat, distribution and principal uses, accompanied by clear images and line drawings of the leaves, flowers, fruits and growth habit of each species.

Interesting text and lavish photographs throughout make this book irresistible for specialist botanists and lay enthusiasts alike, and it will have particular appeal for tourists too.

About the authors

Andry Petignat is an amateur plant enthusiast with a particular interest in succulents, including baobabs. He has authored Guide des plantes succulentes du sud-ouest de Madagascar, published in 2009, and is responsible for the famous Arboretum d’Antsokay in Toliara, Madagascar.

Louise Jasper is a British photographer of nature, an artist and designer with a special interest in the diversity of flora and fauna in Madagascar. She has lived in Toliara since 2006 and has travelled widely in the country in search of baobabs. She has also contributed to a range of publications on the wildlife of south western Madagascar.

Book details

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An invaluable book for twitchers – Pocket Guide: Birds of East Africa by Dave Richards

Pocket Guide: Birds of East AfricaNew from Struik Nature, Pocket Guide: Birds of East Africa by Dave Richards:

This pocket-sized photographic guide to the birds of East Africa features 296 birds likely to be spotted in the region.

  • Colourful photographs illustrate diagnostic features and plumage differences between male and female or breeding and non-breeding birds.
  • Comparative photographs help differentiate between confusing species.
  • Important distinguishing characteristics are highlighted in the text.
  • Distribution maps and Swahili common names for all species are included.
  • Introduction features a labelled bird diagram, habitat map, glossary and useful advice to birdwatchers.
  • An invaluable guide for visitors to national parks and the many areas in East Africa that are rich in birdlife.

About the author

Dave Richards is an author and photographer who has written a number of books on travel and wildlife in Kenya. He regularly contributes articles and photographs to a range of local and international magazines and books. Dave leads photographic and ornithological safaris through Kenya and Tanzania, but also to Botswana, Madagascar, Namibia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Book details

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New Rules for Kruger National Park: Day Visitors Can Now Book a Time Slot

101 Kruger TalesKruger National Park Questions and AnswersField Guide to the Mammals of the Kruger National ParkMammals of Southern Africa Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of AfricaField Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa
Snakes and Snakebite in Southern AfricaA Complete Guide to the Snakes of Southern AfricaSasol 300 Easy-to-see BirdsLatin for BirdwatchersSasol Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa100 Common Bird Calls in East Africa

In an effort to enhance visitor access management and to avoid possible glitches this Festive Season, the Kruger National Park has implemented a new system to streamline day visitor arrivals at the gates during busy periods.

Day visitors can now book a time slot ahead of their arrival at the Kruger Park, ensuring their entry.

Kruger Park management says it expects the busiest days to be 25, 26 and 27 December as well as 1, 2 and 3 January.

Media release from SANParks:

Day Visitors will now be able to choose and book a time slot prior to their arrival from one of the following three time slots:

  • Time slot 1: Arrive 0 to 2 Hours after gate opening time. (Summer months 05:30 to 07:30)
  • Time slot 2: Arrive 2 to 4 Hours after gate opening time. (Summer months 07:30 to 09:30)
  • Time slot 3: Arrive 4+ Hours after gate opening time. (Summer months 09:30 onwards).

The Day Visitor Quota for the park is a management tool to maintain the carrying capacity of the park. Visitors will be able to book up to 80% of Day Visitor Quota per gate, via SANParks Reservations offices.

Pre-booked day visitors guest will get preference over non-booked day visitors at the gate.

For the coming Festive Season, we aim to better manage the volumes that we expect on busy days, and importantly also manage the expectations. These busy days are expected to be Saturday and Sunday and in particular 25, 26 and 27 December as well as 1, 2 and 3 January. By introducing the three different slots, we hope to improve the spread of vehicles and, as far as possible prevent unnecessary waiting periods at gates”, said the KNP Managing Executive, Glenn Phillips.

Pre-booked day visitors must ensure that they arrive within the time slots, as per their reservation. Arriving outside the booked time slot, will be regarded as non-booked and therefore not preferential. Visitors who made reservations prior to this new system have been allocated to Time slot 1. These bookings can be changed through SANParks Reservations offices

Visitors should also take note of the following important information:

  • Day Visitor bookings are subject to a non-refundable booking fee of R36 per adult and R18 per child.
  • Day Visitors who have booked will still be required to pay Conservation Fees or use a valid Wild Card to enter the Park.
  • In order to expedite the admission process, on busy days in particular, Day Visitors are requested to pay for Conservation Fees in advance or ensure that they have valid Wild Card membership.
  • Guests planning to use Wild Cards are requested to ensure membership is valid before arrival and this can best be done online at
  • The number and profile of persons (adults and children) on the reservation and actual persons arriving should correspond.
  • All guests may be required to identify themselves upon admission (SA driver’s license, identity document or passport).
  • Due to existing contractual arrangements with Open Safari Vehicles (OSVs), they are regarded as booked for all Day Visitor admissions. OSVs entering Phabeni Gate will be allowed entry 30 minutes before external gate opening time during the summer.
  • Gate Quotas will be applied and un-booked guests could be refused admission.
  • In order to make the wait in the queue at gates a bit more pleasurable, SANParks will be providing serviced toilets at strategic points on the side of the road during peak times. Further to this a community initiative has been set up that will see hot and cold beverages being available for sale to visitors who will be waiting for entry.
  • Guests are kindly requested to be patient and understanding of this new change. SANParks will be learning from this so please feel free to provide feedback through the customer feedback system.


Book details

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Tuluver: The Hoax Bird Invented to Save the Vulture (Podcast and Video)

Sasol 300 Easy-to-see BirdsSasol 300 maklik sigbare voëls van Suider-Afrika100 Common Bird Calls in East Africa

In order to raise awareness about the importance of vultures, and the threat of extinction that they face, BirdLife South Africa recently launched a hoax campaign about a “newly discovered” species: the Tuluver.

The stunt included a video of the fictitious bird, as a way of getting people to pay attention to the “beautiful birds” we are already privileged to have.

BirdLife SA CEO Mark Anderson spoke to Karien Jordaan about the video. He said that although the organisation apologises for causing trouble, the campaign got a huge amount of attention.

Listen to the podcast:


Watch the video about the fictitious Tuluver bird:

YouTube Preview Image

Book details

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Kingsley Holgate Reaches the Heart of Africa – See Photos from His Latest Adventure

Africa: In the Footsteps of the Great ExplorersIntrepid explorer Kingsley Holgate, author of Africa: In the Footsteps of the Great Explorers, recently embarked on his latest mission: to touch the heart of Africa.

With help from the University of Cape Town and the International Geographical Union, Holgate and his team, which includes his son Ross, pinpointed the geographical heart of the continent and set out on another epic expedition.

“Four or five years ago we came across this idea that if we have been able to embrace Africa through all of our travels, where is the beating heart? It’s been a growing idea that we need to find the heart of Africa,” Holgate told Richard Holmes, who reported on this adventure on the South African Airways blog, Sawubona.

Read the report for photos and stories from this incredible, and very tough, journey (which is still not over):

Holgate and his son Ross, who is increasingly taking the reins as expedition leader, turned to the University of Cape Town and the International Geographical Union to pinpoint the geographical heart of the continent. The answer? West of the Unbanji River and southeast of the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in northern Republic of Congo.

“Once we had the definitive co-ordinates, that was the turning point. That’s when we knew the expedition was on,” explains Holgate.

With the co-ordinates punched into their GPS, Land Rovers stocked and an expedition team readied, Holgate was ready to leave. In late-August he set off from the Landy Festival in Vereeniging. His destination?

17.05291°E, 2.07035°N

The heart of Africa.

Holgate has been updating the Kingsley Holgate Foundation Facebook page frequently, sharing his personal story as they go along. Read his post about the moment they reached the actual heart of Africa where they planted a beacon to commemorate their adventure:

And then the moment of truth sets in. With 1.7 kms of dangerous swamp ahead to reach the ‘Heart’ the Ba’aka realize we have bitten off more than we can chew and begin turning back. I collapse my stinking wet,aching body into a sitting position at the base of a tree that could well be over a thousand years old, is this the end? I’m so exhausted I could just give up and die. Nazaire our interpreter is ‘Man- Down’ and is at our last base camp 3 kms back. But Ross is having none of it’ “We will not fail we’ve come this far and we will not give up” – so using sign language we persuade the Ba’aka to lead us on. Later they told Naz that it was the wild determination in our eyes that they were touched by. Ross pulls me up by the hand,father and son, and with me the finest expedition team of diehards I could ever wish to journey with gather around in support. Seven hours later,in a daze of pain, I arrive at the co- ordinates as verified by the International Geographic Union and the University of Cape Town’s Department of Geographic Sciences. The hands of the Ba’aka and the expedition team slowly screw the Beacon into the roots of an ancient tree and then with some emotion I pour out the symbolic water that had been carried from the Cradle of Humankind. On the Beacon are the colors of the Republic of Congo,the words ‘The Heart of Africa’ A tribute to Africa’s Elephants and coordinates 17.05291 E. 2.07035 N. We have made it!!!

Book details

Photo courtesy of Kingsley Holgate Foundation

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New: 100 Common Bird Calls in East Africa by Dave Richards and Brian Finch, with Accompanying CD

100 Common Bird Calls in East AfricaPresenting 100 Common Bird Calls in East Africa, by Dave Richards and Brian Finch:

Recognise birds by their calls with this handy package of CD and accompanying book. These will help identify the sounds made by a range of the most common and widely distributed East African bird species.

This is the perfect starting point for those who wish to develop their knowledge of bird calls.

  • CD features 100 bird calls.
  • Each species account features full-colour photographs, a distribution map and information on habitat, behaviour, feeding and nesting preferences, as well as a description of the call or song.
  • Common bird names given in English and Swahili.

About the authors

Dave Richards is an author and photographer who has written a number of books on travel and wildlife in Kenya. He regularly contributes articles and photographs to a range of local and international magazines and books. Dave leads photographic and ornithological safaris through Kenya and Tanzania, but also to Botswana, Madagascar, Namibia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Brian Finch is a Kenyan citizen living in Nairobi. He is co-author of field guides to the birds of East Africa, the Horn of Africa and Papua New Guinea and producer of comprehensive birdsongs for the entire East African region (1,300 species). Birds, butterflies and reptiles are his main focuses, and he has convinced a multitude of people that Kenya is the most bird-friendly country in the world.

Book details

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Watch Kingsley Holgate, Kearsney College and Maritzburg College Unite for the #RhinoShoutOutChallenge

Africa: In the Footsteps of the Great ExplorersKearsney College and Maritzburg College, notorious rival schools in KwaZulu-Natal, have joined forces to take hands with Kingsley Holgate, adventurer extraordinaire and author of Africa: In the Footsteps of the Great Explorers, in the fight against rhino poaching.

Holgate and the schoolboys created a video to add to the #RhinoShoutOutChallenge – a gathering of heartfelt video messages recorded as a call to action against rhino poaching and all forms of wildlife crime.

Traveller24 shared the video along with an update on the situation facing rhinos in southern Africa. They write: “The Kruger National Park (KNP) continued to be the hardest hit area, with 290 rhinos poached from the beginning of the year until April this year, compared to 212 during the same time period last year. A total of 62 arrests in connection with rhino poaching were made here.”

In the video Holgate congratulates the boys on joining the fight and stresses that “it’s the youth that can make a difference”.

Watch the video:

YouTube Preview Image

The Kruger National Park (KNP) continued to be the hardest hit area, with 290 rhinos poached from the beginning of the year until April this year, compared to 212 during the same time period last year. A total of 62 arrests in connection with rhino poaching were made here.

Book details

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New Laws About Travelling with Children in South Africa to Bear In Mind for Your Next Family Holiday

African Adventurer’s Guide: BotswanaDiscover South AfricaThis is NamibiaAfrica: In the Footsteps of the Great Explorers

As of the first of June, people under the age of 18 will not be able to enter or exit South Africa without an Unabridged Birth Certificate along with other documents.

Rachel Robinson wrote an article for Getaway about the new laws for travelling across borders with children. It lists all the documents children need to travel, with parents, with other adults or unaccompanied.

Brush up on your knowledge of current laws before planning your next African adventure:

Why is this law being implemented?

According to the Department of Home Affairs, approximately 30 000 minors are trafficked through South African borders every year, half of whom are under the age of 14. It is hoped that this law will help curb human trafficking of minors.

Book details

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