How Big is an Elephant?

May 3, 2023 | News, Uncategorized

International Distribution

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” (Warren Buffett, Philanthropist)


Crafting safaris since 2005, Leslie Nevison of Mama Tembo Tours based in Lusaka, Zambia, offers uniquely tailored experiences and tours to East, West, Central and Southern Africa. Having lived in many of these countries, as well as travelled widely in Africa, Leslie personalizes each tour to meet traveller’s personal aspirations. You can also meet Leslie and her husband when staying in their delightful Mama Tembo Cheza guest cottage in Lusaka. Email:

A postcard from the past – trader, pioneer or on safari?
Sadly we do not know the history but suspect posted early 1900’s

DID YOU KNOW Canadian Antoine Moses holds the Guinness World Record for most trees planted in 24 hours? He planted 23,060. That works out to an average of 16 trees every minute. The previous record was just over 15,000 trees, set in 2001.


CHANGING A LEOPARD’S SPOTS – The Adventures of Two Wildlife Trackers by Alex van den Heever and Renias Mhlongo

Alex van den Heever first met Renias Mhlongo almost 30 years ago. “Little did I know at this very early stage of my career, and in terms of life lessons, who Renias really was and the enormous footsteps I was about to follow in.”

Refreshingly different from many books by people dedicated to working and living in nature, Alex emphasises the importance of trusting each other, especially when tracking lions and leopards in the wilds. With self-deprecating humour, he tells of adventures and miss-adventures, of danger and the love of the wilds that he and Renias shared.
reviews/memoirs/changing-a-leopards-spots/ ISBN 978 1 77010 834 1 Published by Pan Macmillan

NISSO -The Untold Story by Nisso Benatar

This is a harrowing, but brave and true, account of an ill-starred love affair, loyalty and love from family and friends, and the traumatic experiences of being unjustly accused, acquitted, but still incarcerated in Zimbabwe’s notorious prisons. It is also a book of hope and redemption.
ISBN 978 9 6930 9247 9 Independently Published by the author (10 March 2023)

HISTORY OF LUANGWA VALLEY – South Luangwa, North Luangwa and Luambe National Parks by Gill Staden.

Following on the comprehensive History of Kafue Park, Gill Staden has written an engrossing record of the South and North Luangwa National Parks, and included the Luambe National Park. Known for the richness of wildlife in these conservation areas, Gill has delved into the history of why they became parks, who lived there before they became protected areas – and where are those people now?
With true accounts taken from diaries, letters, memoirs and books written over the ages about this partially still unexplored part of Zambia, with many archival illustrations and portraits of notable figures, this is not a dry history book, but an entertaining and fascinating read. 979 8 3741 5649 2 Independently published by the author.

TRAVEL AND LEISURE Zambia & Zimbabwe magazine is available from 1 May. Read our interview on Silvana Olivo and her important book the ‘Zambezi Valley, the Lost Stronghold’.


‘Thanks again for your beautiful newsletters, you’ve managed to get exactly the right reader hooks – short, factual, interesting reads – always making me want to go there, see that. A beautiful production, thanks to you and your team.’ Cathy Buckle, best selling Zimbabwean author and ‘Letters from Zimbabwe’.

‘I enjoy receiving your news from Africa. I would love to visit Gorongosa. What companies run tours there?’ Fettes Falconer, Australia

Traditional Ceremonies

Africa is not just wildlife – it is also its people. And what better way to share their heritage than join them in a Traditional Ceremony?
Visit eastern Zambia in the last week of August for the annual and colourful gathering of the Chewa-speaking people from Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique as they gather at the foot of the Mpangwe and Kangarema Hills in the Katete District. This, The Kulamba Traditional Ceremony brings together over 200 traditional chiefs to speak and pay tribute to Paramount Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi.

More than 30 different Nyau Dances perform at each festival with the dancers wearing a unique and fantastic mask.
Also in August is the annual Likumbi Lya Mize Traditional Ceremony of the Luvale speaking people of North West Zambia. This is a spectacular occasion with the Mikishi Dancers, representing the spirit of a deceased ancestor who returns to the world to assist young boys after their initiation. Traditionally you are not supposed to know who
the dancer is behind the amazing masks and often very
bizarre costumes.
(Ed: I have seen both the Nyau and Mkishi Dancers and
wow, they can dance – unbelievable!!)

INDABA – Durban, South Africa 9 – 11 May 2023 where Africa’s destinations and travel specialist meet. Chat to EcoTraining (South Africa, Botswana, Kenya) and Chikunto Safaris (Zambia). Leslie of Mama Tembo Tours is exploring northern Zambia and Rhodes Bezuidenhout of Shangani Trails is out walking with guests. You can read about them on

CONGRATULATIONS to CHILEKWA MUMBA of Zambia, for being awarded a Goldman Environmental Prize’. Chilekwa Mumba who runs an orphanage with his wife, won a six-year fight against Vedanta Resources, a mining company that polluted the Kafue River in Zambia. This year was the 34th anniversary of this prestigious Award known as the ‘Green Nobel Prize’ which honours one grassroots activist from each continent once a year.

GUINEA-BISSAU has become the first country outside Europe to join the international Aarhus
Convention which holds governments accountable for environmental and human rights.
Environment Minister Viriato Luis Soares Cassama announced “it will also allow public participation
in decision-making as well as access to justice when people’s rights to the environment are violated.”
Guinea-Bissau signed the convention on 4 April, bringing the total number of signatories to 47.

MAURITIUS. A sensory garden aiming to promote real outdoor experiences for visually impaired children and increase their overall development was launched at the Loïs Lagesse Trust Fund (LLTF) in Beau-Bassin.

GHANA. The council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has appealed to the government to fight illegal gold mining in the country which is causing the degradation of the Odum, Mahogany and Kokrodua trees. These trees are becoming significantly extinct, due partly to the uncontrolled mining.

DEMOCRATIC REPULIC OF CONGO. A recent study from the University of Warsaw has shown that the small-bodied eastern chimpanzees in northern DRC frequently build nests and sleep on the ground indicating that humankind’s ancestors could have moved from the safety of trees to the ground earlier than previously believed. The study also found this behaviour continued even when the chimps share their territory with powerful predators like lions, leopards or hyenas. What do
keep them off the ground are humans hunting.

CÔTE D’IVOIRE. Researchers from the University of Louvain, Belgium, report that 45% of the forest destruction in Côte d’Ivoire between 2000 and 2019 was the result of unregulated cocoa production. Tropical forest covering 2.5 million hectares was destroyed for cocoa plantations. A study by the local Waters and Forestry Ministry shows 80 % of their forests has been lost over the last 60 years. Both Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are working on improving the conditions for cocoa farmers, despite
some resistance from international chocolate producers, which will no doubt increase the price of the end product.

MALAWI. Over the last 20 years AFRICAN PARKS have reintroduced over 5000 animals of 17 species to Majete Wildlife Reserve. This includes lion, leopard, black rhino, buffalo, elephant, wild dog, cheetah, and sable antelope. African Parks also manage Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve the oldest and largest reserve in Malawi.

Don’t underestimate their size – nor their strength, intelligence and sense of humour!
Thank you to whoever originally posted this photograph.

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