Monthly Archives: March 2015

Fish Eagle Safaris celebrate 25 year anniversary

This year – 2015 – marks 25 years of Fish Eagle Safaris being in business!  We’re thrilled to still be around and of course it is all thanks to our many loyal clients, many of whom have travelled with us several times and have been kind enough to refer us to friends and family. Thank you.

We have seen many changes in the African safari industry over the last quarter century.  It has grown exponentially from a handful of ‘classic’ camps in three or four countries to multiple choices of destinations and hundreds  of camps and lodges of every type and size, from no-frills to ultra-deluxe and everything in-between.

What is new?  A wide range of specialty trips (photography, cooking, biking, diving, running, you name it), more multi-generational travel and lots of privately guided trips. Generally speaking everything is a bit more luxurious and more expensive than ‘back in the day’.  There are more commercial and scheduled charter flights making it possible to combine far-flung areas and to visit even the most remote of locations, such as Western Tanzania’s Katavi National Park and the Mahale Mountains National Park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.  Not too long ago those two spots were inaccessible to all but the most intrepid and well-financed of travelers.  The same is true of Rwanda, Uganda and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville).  On the safari horizon?  Gabon, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Angola.

Lions in Katavi

Lions in Katavi

Not all the change has been good.  Poaching of particularly rhino and elephant has had a devastating effect in many safari destinations with South Africa’s rhinos and Southern Tanzania’s elephants being particularly hard hit.  If the current rate of rhino loss can’t be slowed down these gentle giants may very well become effectively extinct in our lifetime.   Tourism is a great deterrent to poaching and conservation initiatives are largely financed by tourism dollars, so keep traveling to Africa to save the animals!

Habitat loss due to human population encroachment probably poses the biggest long-term threat to the survival of the African wilderness as we know it.  If you visit an area like the Masai Mara regularly every few years, you can literally see the inexorable advance of villages, people, dogs and cattle.  Likewise at Amboseli where large herds of goats are now devouring every blade of grass on the edge of the national park and sometimes inside it.  The same thing is happening in much of sub-Saharan Africa and it won’t stop until the birth rate drops significantly.  That only comes with education, lower infant mortality rates and increased urbanization.

On the positive side, there is some great work being done in the fields of conservation and community involvement.  Safari operators and lodge owners have come to realize that it is essential to co-opt the local community in whatever they are trying to do to protect the wildlife or the environment.  Without community support and direct involvement, nothing happens.  Botswana was a pioneer in this field and over the last decade or so local ownership or partnership has become a cornerstone of the safari business in many parts of Africa.

Baby elephant being fed for visitors - David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

Baby elephant being fed for visitors – David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

We hope to be able to keep helping our clients to seek out special places in Africa for extraordinary journeys, for a long time to come.

 


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