Mar 9, 2023 | News

AFRICA TALKED – FEBRUARY 2023 NEWSLETTER – for International Distribution

Imiti Ikula Empanga- ” Today’s Bush is Tomorrows Forest.” A traditional Bemba saying, Zambia

CHOCOLATE – YES! Not only is it delicious shade-grown cacao plants such as those grown in rainforests store carbon, and help preserve the environment of forestation in high rainfall areas. Planting inside the rainforest helps the trees become more resistant to disease and insects, and, in turn, benefits the environment by preserving most of the rainforest trees. Additionally, shade-grown cacao trees are more tolerant of drought and weeds and create passages for wildlife between forests, enhancing biodiversity.

Where to go in Africa.
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia.

Recognised as one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in Africa, this Park is known for its high concentration of wildlife, particularly leopards, around the magnificent Luangwa River. It is here, within the Park, on one of the most impressive oxbow lagoons that Chikunto Safari Lodge is located. Surrounded by natural beauty and prolific wildlife guests at the small exclusive lodge can experience this unique wilderness on foot, boat, game drives and enjoy the night skies from the sky-deck. /

Did you know that some female dragonflies have been known to fake death to avoid unwanted advances from
males? They simply freeze mid-flight, crash to the ground and lie there motionless on their backs until the overly enthusiastic male loses interest. (Africa Geographic)

FOR CHILDREN FREE – What better book to share than Generation Carbon, the free downloadable almanac for kids. Generation Carbon is available in 20 different languages. See if it’s available in yours. There is also a dyslexia-friendly version, an audio-book and a printed paperback.


MIRAGE by David Ralph Viviers

“What is this deep loneliness that pervades the Karoo like an electromagnetic field? You feel like a child again, gripping your mother’s hand, seeing the sky and bushes, the lightening for the first time.”
From the first page, this exquisitely written novel takes you on a journey of love and discovery. At times a little cryptic so one has to delve beneath the written word and use one’s imagination, this book combines botany, history, astronomy, astrophysics, superstition and some wonderful characters. It questions love, loneliness and the future at the same time as seeing beauty in the world around you.

Reviewed on Africa Talked
david-ralph-viviers/ ISBN 978 1 4859 0497 7 Published by Umuzi/Penguin Random

The INGWE LEOPARD RESEARCH PROJECT which during Covid times was put on hold has now been re-introduced under the management of Conservation Ecologist Marine Servonnat. Supported by the On Track Foundation, she is creating a network of reserves, lodges & camps in South Africa who will participate in a leopard monitoring project.
The aim is to bridge the gap between the safari industry and conservation organizations with the help of the academic field. Anyone who lives in an area where leopards are, as well as guides and safari guests, can all participate in this vital study and subscribe to their new newsletter to keep abreast of this important and fascinating research.

Contact directly…
Marine Servonnat []


Young entrepreneurs are designing innovative systems to help with the effects of climate change and poverty – two who
have been shortlisted for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation by the Royal Academy of Engineering are Obed Zar (right) from Ghana for a water monitoring system to help prevent pump breakdowns and water waste; and Gibson Kawago (left) from Tanzania using old laptop batteries to provide affordable power.

ZAMBIA. Chieftainess Nyanje of Sinda district declared her entire chiefdom to be designated as a community conservation area. She has encouraged all her village headpersons to embrace the ideas of conservation agriculture being advanced by COMACO. The Chieftainess has asked her traditional leaders to sensitize their community members on the importance of conservation.

NAMIBIA. In a statement released by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda stated 87 rhinos were poached in 2022; 61 of them black rhinos and 26 white rhinos. These included 15 rhinos poached on rhino custodianship farms, another 25 on white rhino private farms and 46 in Etosha National Park.

TANZANIA. Researchers in the Ukaguru Mountains have found a new-to-science frog species with a unique trait: it doesn’t make a sound. The small, silent Ukaguru spiny-throated reed frog (Hyperolius ukaguruensis) doesn’t croak, chirp, sing or ribbit.

Did you Know?
Servals have the longest legs of any cat relative to their body size. Their extra-long legs and
elongated necks giving them the nickname “giraffe cat.”

MINING. The devastating and ugly effects of mining, despite efforts by conservation and environmental groups, are still going ahead in Africa. The Kangaluwi open cast copper mine, on the Zambian side of the Zambezi River, and the mining of the Atewa Forest biodiversity in Ghana are two that immediately come to mind. Then we were sent information on cobalt mining in the DRC. Without correct regulations and greed by the ‘middle men’ this appears to be the only alternative to survive dire poverty.

OCEANS ARE FULL OF SOUND. Waves, earthquakes and calving icebergs all contribute to underwater sounds. Being able to produce and detect sound in an environment where light penetrates only a few hundred metres is crucial for animals to communicate, feed, avoid predators and navigate vast underwater habitats. Intrusive noise can cause marine mammals to feed less and to produce fewer calls and decreases the distance over which they can communicate and detect predators and prey. Even fish react to sound. Seismic surveys, drilling for petroleum and gas, heavy shipping vessels and military warships; what are they doing to our oceans?


Greg Carr and Dominique Gonçalves of Gorongosa Park, Mozambique are to be honoured at the US-based Explorers Club in New York City in April 2023.

Carr, president of the Gorongosa Restoration Project, will receive the President’s Award for Conservation. Gonçalves, manager of the Gorongosa Elephant Ecology Program, will receive the New Explorer Award for her efforts to “broaden knowledge of all phases of the universe, with an emphasis on physical, biological and natural sciences; engineering, and resource conservation.”

“This great and wonderful newsletter to me..I do love nature and ready to conserve it at time possible ..It’s conservation and restoration nature that makes the way we were today…” Rarin Kayiok James, Kenya

“Thank you for your email, we always appreciate your work. We enjoy every piece of your Africa Talked, you’re the best.” Mugume Elias, Lake Bunyoni Child Development Centre, Uganda

Clarissa Hughes (South Africa) commented on last month’s post about men taking a lion’s kill “ it’s safer during daylight hours when lions don’t feel they have the upper hand re. vision etc. I’ve been with a group of Samburu when we chased a lion off its camel kill (Samburu love camel meat). I was astounded at how easy it was.”

The African leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) derived from the Greek word leopardus, a combination of leon (lion) and pardus (panther) is the most widely distributed of the African cat families and occur in most of sub-Saharan Africa.
Generally seen in grassland, savanna and forests they have successfully adapted to most environments and can be found in rain forests and mountain ranges – they have even been seen high on the slopes of the Ruwenzori and Virunga mountains. The leopard can survive in semi-desert low rainfall areas along river courses, but not in extremely sandy areas and are rare in North Africa. They are often seen near towns, major cities and villages, causing problems for farmers with livestock.

Leopards spend most of their lives on the ground, but carry their prey up trees to protect it, holding more than their body weight in their mouths, while using their tails to help hold on. They can leap up to 6 m using their tails for balance, and run up to 58 kms per hour. With adaptive retinas leopards can see seven times better in the dark than humans.

The patterns and colours of leopards depend on their habitat; the desert leopards are lighter, whereas the forests leopards have deeper colouring. They are very solitary, each with their own territory marked by scratches on trees and leaving urine scent and their dung as warnings to other leopards. Males and females only cross territories to mate. A leopard usually makes rasping sound, similar to that of cutting wood, it has a threatening hiss, coughs and does purr!

Spot the leopard

READ – our interview with author of ZAMBEZI VALLEY : THE LOST STRONGHOLD, Silvana Olivo

( in the next
issue of the Travel & Leisure Zambia and Zimbabwe magazine

READ – AFRICA TALKED wrote about the African Baobabs for SAFARI CULTURE , and was invited to join their Experts and Explorers

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Go Well and be faithful to Nature
Lesley & Ian Thomson, Africa Talked

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