Roar Africa

Exploring Africa Since 1688

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Let Out Your Emotional Creature

Lightning has struck twice for Eve Ensler, world-famous playwright and activist responsible for 'The Vagina Monologues', who has experienced similar levels of success with her newest performance, 'Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around The World'.

There is no such thing as a conventional performance for Ensler, who in this show uses rants, poetry, questions, and facts, to celebrate the authentic voice inside every girl, to empower women around the world, and to ignite activism.

But in order to celebrate and empower women, Eve believes you must share their stories, no matter how tragic or uncomfortable. And this performance does just that. Some of the main protagonists of the performance include a suburban teenager struggling with anorexia, a Masai girl from Kenya battling against the age-old tradition of female genital mutilation, an Iranian student tricked into a nose job, and a South African woman fighting to end rape culture. These stories and these women steal the show, and have left audiences from New York to London empathetic, empowered and emotional.

Staged by Obie Award-winning director Jo Bonney, with original music by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, the bold voice of a new generation takes center stage with a cast of six outrageous and talented young actors.

Beginning 06 of August, Ensler’s compelling “Emotional Creature” will have a 10-day run in Cape Town at the Baxter Theatre. If you are in the Mother City during this time, do not miss this riveting performance!

Tickets for Emotional Creature can be purchased at the Baxter Theatre, and cost only R75 for an adult, R50 for students, and R25 with a UCT student card.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

A Safari to Save the Elephants

Next month, conservation heavyweights and their loyal supporters will join forces to raise awareness and funds for the Elephant Crisis Fund, an initiative dedicated to protecting one of Africa’s most beloved and endangered inhabitants, the elephant.

An estimated 35,000 elephants are being lost every year to poachers, and these numbers continue to stabilize and even grow, due to the surge in demand for ivory throughout China and the US. The Elephant Crisis Fund was created to combat today’s bleak statistics and to preserve the fate of the majestic species.

Aptly deemed the Sundown Gala, this exclusive event will be held at the private Malibu estate of Liane & Richard Weintraub, La Villa Contenta - whose eight bluff-top acres and lush grounds will be transformed into a slice of the bush, complete with locally-grown cuisine and Africa–infused cocktails­.

Among the evening’s program of events, a ROAR AFRICA luxury safari valued at $25,000 will be auctioned to the highest bidder. The journey’s itinerary was tailor-crafted by our CEO & Founder Deborah Calmeyer to grant two travelers an intimate, educational and priceless experience built around a passion for elephant conservation.

The 10-day East Africa itinerary includes three nights at Elephant Watch Camp in Kenya, a stunning safari oasis that is so closely tied to elephant conservation that its structure was in fact built from reclaimed wood that had been pulled down by elephants or left behind by flash floods. Another remarkable stop along the journey is Chem Chem Safari Lodge in Tanzania, a property famous for their ‘slow safari’, an ethos that promotes safari as a tangible, sensual experience beyond the confines of a vehicle.

To learn more about Save the Elephants, Wildlife Conservation Network, or to RSVP to the Sundown Gala, please visit the official site of the event,

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Vinification for Education: South Africa's Wine Industry Gives Back

On 15 March 2014, the Delaire Graff Estate – which we know well for its unbeatable scenic vistas and Chenin Blanc to match – will serve as the canvas for the vibrant colors, tastes and sounds of the Cape Wine Auction.

The Cape Wine Auction is hosted annually by the South African wine industry as a way to encourage its most impassioned patrons to give back to its birthplace, the Cape Winelands. With the aim of raising funds for education in the wine lands of South Africa, the Cape Wine Auction invites South Africa’s most influential to wine, dine and shine in their summer’s finest.
Guests will enjoy a gastronomic banquet celebrating all that is great about the national wine industry. Iconic South African winemakers and an A-list culinary team lead by Grandes Chef Margot Janse will mingle with guests during a day of indulgence and fun. As well, attendees are given the rare opportunity to bid on a variety of wine-centric experiences such as special wines not available to the public, private winery tours and personal interactions with top chefs and winemakers in incredible locations.
The money raised during the auction will be delegated by the Cape Wine Auction Trust to educate children in the communities within the Cape Winelands in order to provide them with a chance for a brighter future. The Pebbles Project, The Click Foundation, and MAD CHARITY™ (Make A Difference) have been selected by the trust to be the three principle recipients of the money raised. These local charities work to enrich the lives of disadvantaged South Africans by offering opportunity through education. In the words of former President Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world.” 

The ever-stunning Delaire Graff Estate at dusk. Enjoy the views while supporting a good cause by attending the Cape Wine Auction on 15 March 2014.
For more information about the Cape Wine Auction, CLICK HERE

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Tanda Tula - To Love the Quiet

Nestled amongst 20,000 acres in the Timbavati Game Reserve in South Africa’s Limpopo province, lies Tanda Tula, a tented safari lodge and home to the Big 5.
After a much anticipated flight from Cape Town to Nelspruit, a short lodge hop to the landing strip in the Timbavati was the only thing between us and the life of wild. I was über-excited to be back in the bushveld; this was going to be another epic trip and Facebook was waiting for any update. Upon arrival, there was no sign of our transfer so my friend and I took the opportunity to stage an impromptu monochrome photo shoot next to our six-seater prop plane, channelling the likes of Karen Blixen and Louis Vuitton. Our host for the next four days, Dale Jackson, arrived tout de suite to whisk his charges away and so began our latest bush adventure.
The Timbavati Reserve is new territory for me. To its south is the Sabi Sand Reserve, one I am more familiar with and to the east, the great Kruger Park lies, its fences down, allowing a plethora of animals to roam freely (as it should be) between the two. It was not long into our transfer to the lodge before the towering sight of an elephant came into view on the main road to Tanda Tula. These giants of the bushveld are the pedestrians and to them, one must give way. The consequences can be eventful and expensive!
On arrival at Tanda Tula, we were greeted by the cheeky smile of Thabo, he basically runs the place, or so he would like one to think. He promptly set my luggage aloft on his head for transport to my tent; his little trick to try to impress the ladies! Next were our ranger, Civilized, and his tracker, Jack; a fine team that the animals cannot elude. A quick refreshing welcome drink and we were off to be shown our lodging for the next four days. Tanda Tula is a tented camp and we were certainly not disappointed by the beautifully appointed rooms, all with porches overlooking the dry riverbed. We were shown the ins and outs of securing the entry to our tent to avoid the mishaps associated with curious, mischievous monkeys who will grasp any opportunity to run amok in the tents.
We arrived in time to enjoy a little poolside lunch with views of the watering hole where impala and warthogs munched happily away. I will say this for Tanda Tula – they probably have one of the BEST chefs in the bush. This food is Michelin star worthy and Chef Ryan and his team create the most organic, uncomplicated, mouth-watering dishes. Ryan’s homemade pesto was a constant at every meal because it made absolutely everything even better. It was so good I wanted to take some home to put under my pillow! I have attempted to recreate it now that I am back at home (the recipe is on the website) but it is just not the same! Ryan’s attention to detail and his enthusiasm when he explains each meal is infectious and the anticipation you are left with is quickly satiated with the first forkful. He is a true genius at his craft. Meals are especially exceptional at Tanda Tula. Breakfast was always served in the bush overlooking the dried riverbed and the offerings were plentiful from bacon, eggs and sausage to pancakes, sautéed mushrooms and a cold buffet. Dinner at the lodge always led to late night conversations with new acquaintances accompanied by a glass (or two) of Amarula, the Bailey’s of the bush and one of my vices!
Have I mentioned that each night when I go to bed I wish I was waking up to a game drive? It’s true! So when that blessed time actually comes, there is no boundary to my excitement. In jest, I mentioned to Civilized and Jack that there were three sightings on my must-see list this time around – the white lions of the Timbabvati, a pangolin and a honey badger. Now, for those who have yet to embark on their first safari, this may sound achievable but I promise you, this is no easy task hence why it was ‘in jest’. BUT, on the afternoon of our 2nd day, Civilized announced he had a surprise for us but we would have to hurry and forego any sightings for the next twenty-five minutes if we wanted to see it. The word was out that the white lions had been spotted so off we sped to catch a glimpse! I have been on I would say close to fifty game drives and when you see an animal for the first time, it takes your breath away. The white lions were no different. Oh, I have seen plenty of lions in the wild but the white lions are something very special. They are not albino but instead a recessive ‘white’ gene has been inherited from both parents causing the fur to be white and the eyes and skin to pigment. The condition is rare and the Timbavati is one of very few places in Africa that these lions inhabit. My anticipation was limitless for the twenty-five minute drive and then we saw them; a pride of female lions, in which two were white lions. As we eked closer to them, stopping about twelve feet away, I sat quietly in awe of them before I remembered that I had to get footage to prove that they were in fact real. Simply beautiful.
Our four days at Tanda Tula were full of amazing sightings and watching heart-pumping interactions. From lionesses stalking cape buffalo only to be scattered like cockroaches when the tables turned to a 29-strong pack of wild dogs tempting fate with a mating herd of elephants complete with hyena on the periphery. We followed leopards to their kills and watched the young with their mothers yet the pangolin and the honey badger remained elusive. That was no surprise. We fell asleep to the call of lions and awoke to grazing nyalas an arm’s length away. With a different locale each evening for dinner, from the beautiful boma with its warming fire to the poolside lawn aglow with lanterns, Tanda Tula gave us a new experience in every way on every day.
I always dread my last morning at any lodge. I have never been a fan of goodbyes and Tanda Tula was no different. The attention to detail that the staff goes to to ensure that your stay lacks for nothing is a testament to the African people. I will never tire of their names; Civilized, Dolphin, Pretty, Pinky, Happiness, to name just a few. As I prepared myself for the farewell embraces before entering our van that would whisk us back to reality, I encouraged my sunglasses onto my nose to hide my welling eyes. It happens every time, only to be shed again upon my next visit. Thank you, Tanda Tula, and all of your charges for another magical notch in my travel bucket list.
The best part about leaving Africa is knowing when you’re coming back!
Zoe Mulholland
**This African adventure, as with all of my others, was designed by Roar Africa - look no further when booking your travels to Africa.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Bird's-Eye View of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Nearing the completion of the Treetop Walkway at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, horticulturists from near and far are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to see Cape Town’s ecological gem from a new perspective - above.

The 130-meter walkway snakes through the Kirstenbosch’s Arboretum, also known as the Enchanted Forest, providing an immersive experience in which one can see and hear life among the trees. Constructed from galvanized steel and timber, the walkway meanders 11 meters above ground, putting guests at eye-level with a plethora of forest-dwelling inhabitants. Due to its winding and twisting structure and its position above the trees, the walkway has been given the nickname ‘Boomslang’, which is a large, green snake native to South Africa.

In addition to wildlife spottings, the walkway will provide breathtaking views from the treetops of Table Mountain and the Cape Flats. “The walkway bursts through and above the canopy, giving you an impression of what it is like to be above the forest. At this point, the walkway provides spectacular 360 degree vistas comprising Cape Town and the surrounding majestic mountain slopes,” says Kirstenbosch botanical horticulturist Adam Harrower.

To build even more excitement, Adam Harrower has kindly shared his remarkable "in-progress" photographs of the walkway...

The walkway is scheduled to open to the public on march first and will be of no extra cost for visitors of the park.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Celebrating the Life of Mandela in NYC

13 February 2014, those touched by the lives of Mandela will gather for a celebratory memorial event at St. Paul The Apostle Roman Catholic Church in New York City. The tribute will include performances and appearances by world-renowned actor Morgan Freeman, the honorable Bill Clinton and the Grammy-winning Soweto Choir. These entertainment and political powerhouses are gathering to commemorate the life and legacy of Madiba as well as the 20th anniversary of democratic freedom in South Africa – an achievement in which he played an invaluable role.
Throughout the evening, Morgan Freeman will perform dramatic readings from the original transcripts of Mr. Mandela's letters, speeches, and personal writings. These readings will be followed by the Soweto Gospel Choir, who will fill the cathedral with songs that honor Mandela’s life and vision. Concluding the event, Bill Clinton will candidly discuss his admiration of Mandela, his work with the Mandela Foundation, and his visions for the future – a future inspired by Madiba himself. 

For ticket information and more on the event, CLICK HERE

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

First Thursday: A Cultural Concept Thrives in Cape Town

The first Thursday of every month in Cape Town has gone not for the birds, but for the artists.
Simply deemed ‘First Thursdays’, the art-walk encourages Capetonians and passers-through alike to savor the crisp evening air of the Mother City while exploring and appreciating its ever-growing art scene. Consisting of anywhere from 15 to 20 permanent galleries and pop-up venues, the walk welcomes visitors to meander from venue to venue eating, drinking, shopping and enjoying the city’s creative culture.
During First Thursdays, participating galleries are open until 9pm as opposed to the usual 5pm and the contributing galleries and exhibitions rotate in order to keep the event fresh month after month. Many of the most relevant and current African artists have displayed their works during First Thursday including Dillon Marsh, Matthew Hindley and Sanell Aggenbach. Old and new, modern and classic, South African and international – there is something for everyone at First Thursday.

But do not think you have to be a studied art aficionado to attend, the buzz and energy of the crowd is alone enough to spark excitement in anyone. It is hoped that soon the art-walk will spill between the galleries’ walls and onto the streets, exuding a more festival-esque atmosphere with shops open after hours, gourmet food trucks and music in the streets.
Began in 2012, with a consort of only eight participating galleries, the event was the brainchild of Stellenbosch University graduate and culture-enthusiast Gareth Pearson. Beyond a love of art, Pearson wanted to attract the people of Cape Town onto the streets after dusk, something atypical in the city. His challenge was met with gusto by the people of Cape Town who eagerly flock to the art walk’s main strip, the creative hotbed that lies between Wale and Strand streets.
More than just a walk, Pearson is a firm believer that interacting on the streets and in a public space can lead to rich experiences and shared little moments that reveal all the things that we, as people, have in common.
So if you find yourself in Cape Town on a First Thursday, do not miss this chance to mingle with the locals and perhaps add a piece of South African art to your collection.
CLICK HERE for more information about First Thursday
CLICK HERE for more of ROAR AFRICA’s insider knowledge of Cape Town

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tanda Tula – A New Camp to Ring in the New Year

Tandu Tula has many reasons to celebrate the coming of 2014, one of which is the recent opening of their brand new eco-friendly, exclusive-use explorer camp - Tanda Tula Field Camp.

Located on 16,000 acres of South Africa’s Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, the new addition was born out the growing demand from travelers for a completely exclusive and private African experience. Because the camp is run on an exclusive-use basis, the privacy among each group is only slighted by the 3-5 dedicated staff members that meet the guests' every whim.

In addition to providing intimacy among the guests, the camp’s emphasis on walking safaris promotes an unrivaled level of intimacy between the guests and the African bush. Entirely immersed in nature, the walking safaris are led by some of Southern Africa’s most experienced guides and trackers and focus on tracking lion, elephant, and rhino on foot.

Keeping in-line with savoring the traditions of the past, Field Camp is decorated in true East-African style. Its four custom-designed boudoir tents and its communal tent are furnished with exquisitely detailed campaign-style furniture, and Persian rugs and lanterns abound. 

One of the principle goals of Tandu Tula governing the design and build of this camp was to keep its environmental footprint as minimal as possible. In order to do this, the camp is non-permanent and there is no electricity - instead the camp features oil and solar lanterns. The use of open-air bathrooms with hot water bucket showers and eco-toilets also help shed the environmental impact.

Tanda Tula Field Camp is the newest gem in the treasure chest of Tanda Tula founders, Don & Nina Scott. They are permanent residents of the main lodge and are deeply involved with day-to-day operations. They are both ecstatic to be able to provide such a unique, hands-on experience to their guests. “This experience is all about you, your guide and tracker, and the incredible wilderness that we are so privileged to share,” says Nina.

Booking Details

· Maximum of 8 guests and a minimum of 2
· Minimum stay of 3 nights is required for all bookings
· Operates from the 1st of March to the 31st Of October annually
· Ideal for families and friends travelling together who prefer exclusivity
· Guests should be adventurous and enjoy walking and tracking big game on foot
· Guests must be walking fit and should be able to manage a 10-mile walk
· Children from the age 12 are welcome 
To plan your next African safari around a stay at Tanda Tula Field Camp, visit our website to inquire.

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Give the Gift of Hope - Adopt A Rhino or Elephant

This holiday season give your loved ones the best gift of all – the gift of a future where Africa’s most cherished species still majestically roam. By adopting an orphaned African elephant or rhino through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), you are directly supporting the sustainability of these two beloved, endangered species.

DSWT was established in 1977 with the mission of protecting Africa’s wildlife from the emerging threat of poaching, a threat that has since well established itself and today runs rampant. DSWT’s main vehicle for conservation is its Orphan’s Project, which has achieved global recognition through its largely successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation initiatives. So successful, in fact, that since its inception, DSWT’s Orphan’s Project has hand-raised more than 150 infant elephants and effectively reintegrated them back into wild herds, contributing to the births of many healthy, wild-born calves.

Unlike other adopt-a-species programs where recipients receive a photo of a generic ambassador animal, DSWT’s gift adoption program allows gift-givers to choose exactly which orphan they would like to sponsor – offering a more personal connection. Each of the 24 elephant and two rhinoceros orphans available for adoption, have an online profile which includes its name, age, multiple heart-warming photos and a brief biography explaining where the orphan came from and its charted progress at DSTW.

For example, Kamok is an 8-month-old elephant that was welcomed to DSWT when she was deserted by her herd at only one-day-old. She is believed to have been left behind because of her weak joints, which caused her to slow down the herd. Today, thanks to her compassionate keepers at DSWT, Kamok is healthy, learning what it is to be an elephant, and slowly gaining better control of her tiny trunk.

To watch a video of Kamok’s rescue CLICK HERE.

For as little as 50 USD, you can help sustain Africa’s wildlife population for years to come. So forgo the snaking lines and last-minute chaos, give your loved ones a gift that they can share with humanity – the beauty and mystery of the African elephant and rhino.

To adopt an orphaned elephant or rhino for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, CLICK HERE.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Singita's Recent Joyous Celebration

ROAR AFRICA is dedicated to sharing the majesty of Africa - its lush terrain, diverse wildlife, and beautiful people - with the world. To do this, we work closely with many lodges and hotels, fostering trusted partnerships to ensure that our guests are in the very best hands.

One of our favorites, Singita, is a portfolio of remarkable lodges that do more than just deliver an incomparable consumer experience. In an age where the destruction of pristine wilderness is seemingly beyond repair, Singita is making a profound difference in many parts of our beloved continent. They are orchestrating an interdependent relationship between communities, wildlife and tourism that ensures true sustainability, and the ability to embrace and share it. Anyone familiar with tourism in Africa will tell that it is no secret: Singita is blazing a trail which is seldom achieved on this scale anywhere else on the continent. 

The Singita properties and the people that work there are shining examples of Africa as a place for innovation, adventure, growth, and hope. Recently posted on Singita's blog, the below video is of Joyful Nghala, a recent graduate of Singita School of Cooking - an 18-month program to encourage the development of culinary skills and employment opportunities among local youth, and one of the many ways Singita is positively impacting its community. Joyful is now employed at Singita Lebombo lodge in Kruger National Park, and continues to nurture her passion and broaden her future opportunities daily. 

Watch this heartwearming video to learn more about Joyful Nghala and the Singita School of Cooking...

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ellerman House Villa Two – The Wait Is Over

Although the anticipation began long before, the excitement finally culminated on 25 November at the long-awaited reveal of Ellerman House’s Villa Two & Wine Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa.
Incomparable levels of design, decor and art wade throughout the villa to showcase some of South Africa’s most flourishing talents. Designed by up-and-coming architect Michael Dennett, Villa Two is the brainchild of collaboration between Dennett’s creative energy alongside artists Angus Taylor and Conrad Hicks, industrial designer Brian Steinhobel, and interior designers Trevyn & Julian McGowan.
The 2-story villa comprises three bedrooms, spacious entertainment area, a formal dining room, stand-alone kitchen, and infinity pool. Saturated in light, the villa overflows seamlessly outdoors onto private terraces with and on warm days, fold-away glass doors blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors. Natural stone, airy textiles and nude wooden floors accentuate the astonishing panoramas seen from its floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the aptly named Clifton. Walking through its sun-drenched halls, one feels simultaneously calmed and overwhelmed by the villa’s ability to attain lightness and drama – to be organic yet completely unnatural.
The seemingly inaccessible level of contemporary style achieved by the villa is met with vigor by the wine gallery on its ground floor, which is home to Ellerman House’s award-winning collection of more than 7,500 bottles of South African wine. The concept behind the Wine Gallery was to deliver more than just a tasting room, rather an interactive wine experience that would reveal the history of South Africa through innovative, custom-designed artistic features and displays. Exemplary of Ellerman House’s ability to offer their guests an unparalleled level of unique experiences, the new wine gallery is an intimate experience only open to guests of the property.
Villa Two and the Wine Gallery effortlessly blend into Ellerman House’s overall atmosphere  - one of luxury, exclusivity, elegance, and a clear appreciation for beauty in one’s surroundings. To view more about Ellerman House's Villa Two & Wine Gallery, or to inquire about booking the space for your next visit to Cape Town, CLICK HERE.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Spotlight on Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Last month, ROAR AFRICA board member and African-bush expert Henry Smith revisited some of his favorite safari spots - namely, Londolozi. His pictures, included below, attest to the amazing game viewing in Sabi Sand Game Reserve - he even spotted the elusive leopard! 

Sabi Sand is the birthplace of sustainable wildlife tourism in Southern Africa, and is the oldest of all the private reserves in South Africa. Although it is not a part of the Kruger National Park, it does share its eastern border with the park, and animals pass unhindered between the reserves.

Its incredible game isn't the only thing that sets Sabi Sand apart - some would say the lodges in the region set the national standard for level of design, decor and service. Its 5-star lodges along with second-to-none game viewing create at incomparable experience for visitors that is certain not to disappoint - perfect for first-time safari-goers.

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"An Evening with WildAid" - saving endangered species

Last week ROAR AFRICA had the privilege of attending "An Evening with WildAid", hosted by Peter Knights and Rand Rosenberg, for a presentation on WildAid’s unique approach to stop the illegal trade in endangered species including elephants, rhinos, sharks & tigers.

A privilege it truly was.  It was both heartening and humbling to witness the positive effect and reach of a few people at WildAid.  The genius here is leveraging the fan-base of celebrities such as Yao Ming, David Beckham, and The Duke of Cambridge to to tackle the demand side of the equation.  180 celebrities and counting are reaching millions and millions of fans.

We need to protect wildlife itself (the supply side), but every USD/CNY/EUR spent on reducing demand seems to go so much further towards solving the crisis. Generous donations of peoples' time, pro-bono media support, and the right message has reportedly curbed the demand for shark fin soup by 50-70%.  That's phenomenal!  This is simplified, but if 73 million sharks are finned per year then this campaign could have already saved 36 to 51 million sharks in one year.

WildAid showed us some drafts of new video campaigns targeting Rhino horn consumption.  With enough support perhaps we can see rhino horn consumption drop 70% next year.

ROAR AFRICA intends to get more involved with WildAid and we encourage you too as well.

"When the Buying Stops the Killing can Too"

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Kirstenbosch Gardens: 100-Years Beautiful

A flourishing sanctuary just beyond the city, Kirstenbosch Gardens has been stunning its guests for the last century. Now christened the Most Beautiful Garden in Africa, Kirstenbosch Gardens commemorates its 100th Anniversary with a yearlong celebration and a look back at the birth and evolution of South Africa’s first Botanical Garden.

A Diamond in the Weeds

It was 1911 when South African botanist Henry Harold Welch Pearson stumbled upon a craggy nook of unkempt farmland nestled into Table Mountain’s eastern slope.  Although the land was overrun with rampant weeds and wild boar, Pearson did not allow its current state to cloud his vision. He embraced the lands potential when he declared, “This is the place!”

Two years later, in 1913, Pearson’s labor of love was officially founded, heralding the name Kirstenbosch Gardens. Namesake established, much work still needed to be done. In the early days, as well as the first 50 or so years, most of the work was done manually, using trolleys, mules, carts and crawlers.

Among all the hardships the garden has faced, without a doubt the greatest challenge was coping with the death of Pearson in 1916. Pearson was buried in the garden and is still regarded as the father of Kirstenbosch. Luckily, Robert Harold Compton came along to fulfill Pearson’s vision and under Compton, along with curator J.W. Mathews, the garden garnered an enormous amount of progress and success.

The Jewel of South Africa

Today, the 36-hectare garden is home to exotic forest, brilliantly unique fynbos, and a vibrant variety of animals and birds. More than 6,000 indigenous plants are cultivated at the gardens, and in 2004, the gardens were included within a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the first botanic garden in the world to be included within this prestigious accolade.

Commemorating its 100-year anniversary on 01 June 2013, the gardens will celebrate with yearlong centennial walks and discussions, a VIP event, the launch of a collector’s edition of garden-inspired postage stamps, and an outdoor poster exhibit highlighting the garden’s year-by-year history.

Generational Adoration

Without a doubt, many of these centennial walks will be led by ROAR AFRICA’s friend and Kirstenbosch botanical expert, Andrew Jacobs. Raised across the road for Kirstenbosch in Protea Village, Andrew’s relationship with the garden blossomed early on when in 1963 his father became a plantsman. As a child, Andrew would run barefoot across the canal to deliver his father’s lunchbox. Little did young Andrew realize how closely connected he and the garden would become. Today, the third generation of Jacobs has joined the Kirstenbosch ranks, Andrew’s daughter, Andrea, who has recently begun working in the gift shop.

And after all the years, the honeymoon stage of Andrew’s love for the garden has yet to dispel. “This place is everything to me,” says Andrew. “If the air were any fresher we’d be in heaven.”

Join the celebration by visiting the garden and our friend Andrew this year. A must-see for anyone visiting Cape Town, and a favorite daytrip among many ROAR AFRICA guests, Kirstenbosch is the perfect place to reconnect with the environment, inhale deeply, and bask in the unremarkable beauty of nature

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