Sadly, the story of the African elephant has - since 2006 - been one of overall decline, one which conservationists across the continent are doing their utmost reverse. One fine and extraordinary example of this work is the Gorongosa Restoration Project, a 21-year old conservation partnership between the Carr Foundation and the Mozambique government.
A battlefield during Mozambique's civil wars, 95% of Gorongosa's elephant were wiped out by 1994, either hunted down for meat or for ivory, which was traded for guns. While not yet what they were, numbers have rebounded, the park an excellent habitat, the restoration project successfully tackling poaching through its emphasis on human development and on sustainability.
However, the scars remain - physical and emotional. While things are changing, Gorongosa's elephant are famously skittish when it comes to humans. 51% of older females are tuskless, a rare genetic trait (in unstressed populations) selected and passed on down to the next generation of females, of which 32% are tuskless. Families and clans headed up by tuskless matriarchs are observed to be less cohesive, leading conservationists to speculate that they are more likely to have been formed by war-orphaned or 'floater' females.
This said, time is a great healer. So long as the restoration project is afforded the peace and support to continue its excellent work, the number of tuskless elephant will naturally diminish, while numbers will grow, families will become increasingly cohesive, and human presence will be gradually regarded as non-threatening.
The picture of this little calf was expertly snapped by our very own Sales Manager @hrayn1 on her trip to Botswana a few years ago 📸 The infographic comes from the National Geographic (Dina Fine Maron, Under Poaching Pressure... 2018)
An incredible moment captured by @jamessuter in the early hours of last Saturday morning, as he was guiding some of our super-guests in Botswana on their helicopter trip 🦁🚁 They were lucky enough to come across a large herd of elephants, followed by an even larger herd of buffalo 🐘 🐃 Absolutely stunning stuff!
According to @WWF, the number of wild mountain gorillas has exceeded the 1,000 mark. This is incredible progress, seeing as just under a decade ago there 480 known gorilla in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Virunga Massif, which spans across the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. The director for African Species Conservation at WWF says: 'This is fantastic news. It’s because of decades of collaborative conservation work between the three countries and their partners. They’ve given us a model for how to restore our planet’s precious biodiversity.' Despite this, the mountain gorilla continues to face considerable challenges, with climate change, disease, and human development all impacting on habitat and mortality rates. 📷: @sabyinyo_silverback_lodge
Journalist @sophy_roberts is someone we work with regularly at Journeys by Design and @wildphilanthropy. For the last 16 years she and founder Will Jones have spent a great deal of time on the road together - from East Africa to the Congo - looking for stories about deep conservation work and how best to connect it with the philanthropic strand of high-end travel. Right now she's in Tanzania, in the Serengeti, back where she and Journeys by Design started working together 16 years ago, the first time she set foot on the African continent. That’s what this place does to you. It becomes an obsession...
Greystoke Mahale is an incredibly unique piece of accommodation. Situated on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, in Mahale Mountains National Park, it was built by Roland Purcell and is today looked after by Nomad.
The lake itself lies at 730m, but the park’s highest point is 2,462m, which accounts for the presence of four ecological zones, beginning, in the foothills, with mixed open canopied woodland and followed by a small band of rainforest, Afro-montane forest and, towards the top, moorland.
Apart from its extraordinary beauty, Roland came here for its chimpanzees, which at the time were known only to locals and an intrepid group of Japanese scientists. Having hosted the likes of Bill Gates, REM and the late Robin Williams, it is today a renowned chimp destination, one that provides travellers with extraordinary experiences. This from a recent guest: 'Learning about the hierarchies (and shifts over time) and behaviours of chimpanzees was the most interesting thing I learned. You always hear how closely humans resemble chimps, but you can’t appreciate it until you’re in the wild watching them in action.' Despite it's fame, Purcell and Nomad after him have managed to ensure that the habitat and its wildlife benefits from the sort of low volume high impact travel model that has served the mountain gorilla so well.
2 33626 June, 2019
11 members of the Journeys by Design team have spent a total of 365 days researching 12 of our many destinations in the past year. Here are just some of the incredible moments they experienced.
5 6521 hours ago
Our very own @simonjmorris looking proud of his new upcycled jumper. The patterned elephant fabric came from a top in a local charity shop. Simon stitched the elephant onto an existing jumper, not only creating something wonderful & Africa-inspired, but also contributing to the local community.
This female elephant - along with its herd - was photographed crossing the road in Lake Manyara National Park, northern Tanzania. Elephants move between Lake Manyara and neighbouring Tarangire National Park through a protected wildlife corridor. It's a narrow and fragile pathway sandwiched between growing human settlements on either side, as humans too compete for space with wildlife for survival. This further raises the importance of supporting those involved in protecting the corridor and its delicate balance with civilisation. The park which was established in 1960, is a massively underrated destination, and has much to offer adventurous travellers, including an abundance of physical activities, such as bush walks and cycling. Image @thebushbru
This week Journeys by Design is celebrating 20 years of trading. The team decided to surprise the directors with a lovely cake baked my our very own Operations Manager Rosanna (@rosannatat), along with some bubbly & branded cupcakes! 🎂🧁🥂 It has been incredible to see the company evolve over the years - here is to the next 20! 🎉💖
17 15722 May, 2019
@journeysbydesign are extremely proud to once again be supporting the @msdreamhomelottery .
Purchase your tickets before Midnight, Friday, 24 May 2019, and you will be in the draw to win one of 20 incredible Bonus Prizes, your choice between a dream international holiday of your choice through Journeys by Design or $10,000 in gold! We hope you pick the holiday!! Click on the link in bio to purchase your tickets for this incredibly worthy cause. https://msdreamhomelottery.com.au/buy-tickets
When you buy a MS Dream Home Lottery ticket, you’re helping to change the lives of thousands of Australians living with multiple sclerosis (MS).
MS is the most common chronic neurological condition affecting young Australian adults, like Mark. There is no known cause and no known cure.
Not only will your ticket purchase help improve the lives of Australians living with MS, but you’ll also have a 1 in 15 chance of winning from over 6,600 prizes including the Grand Prize, the choice between a $2.6 million Porter Davis Home and Land Package or $2.6 million in gold." #msdreamhomelottery#journeysbydesign#multiplesclerosis#dreamhomelottery#amazingcause#help#ms
1 302 hours ago
JBD’s Mia enjoying the tourist life in Quito visiting the Middle of the World.
Did you know the main tourist attraction isn’t actually marked correctly? You need to walk a few minutes away to the real location to say you’ve really been to the Middle of the World. •
Journeys by Design's Sales Manager Hannah Rayner recently visited Botswana with Will Jones, his father Allen Jones & journalist Mike Carter. Despite having been to eight African countries in the last seven years, experiencing the Okavango Delta from both a helicopter and boat was a whole new experience for Hannah. No matter how well you know Africa, there is always something new and special to see and experience. Make sure to have a look at her Instagram account for more wonderful images of her past (and future) trips to Africa: @hrayn1
Image by @mikecarter59
JBD crew profile...Mia has just celebrated her 3rd JBD Birthday in the Amazon on board the Delfin III. This was her first attempt at fishing for a piranha. •
Mia has been in the travel industry for 8yrs after returning to Australia from a working holiday in the UK & New Zealand.
You’ll catch Mia mingling with the locals, looking for a great coffee or red wine to enjoy with a local dish. •
Mia has travelled to Cambodia, Croatia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, England, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Vatican City, Indonesia, Netherlands, New Caledonia
New Zealand, Scotland, Spain, Turkey, Dubai, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Vietnam, Mauritius, USA, Wales, Gibraltar, Thailand, Vanuatu, Andorra and many places in Australia.
Also hoping to tick off Singapore later this year with her mum. #journeysbydesign#travel#travelagentlife#livingthedream#supportsmallbusiness#melbourne#jbdontour
The giraffe is a feat of evolutionary mechanics. It’s prehensile, 18-inch, purple tongue is perfect for reaching for and tearing off leaves. Its 6-foot neck allows it to reach for the unreachable and is also used as a club against competitors. It’s legs are as long as its neck. It has four stomachs. Needed to pump blood to its extremities, it’s two-foot, 25-pound heart is a giant. Capable of holding 12 gallons of air, it’s lungs are similarly large. In the wild, it sleeps an average of three to four hours a day, snatched in half hour sessions. It’s an extraordinary animal! 🦒
Happy World Penguin Day! As you may know, penguins are not only found in cold climates such as Antarctica but can also be found in South America or southern Africa. The little guys in this picture are African penguins and can be distinguished as such through distinct pink patches of skin above their eyes, as well as their white bellies and black mask-like facial colouring. The pink gland helps the penguins deal with the varying temperatures, by increasing blood flow to the gland and thus being cooled down by the surrounding air.
We specialise in frontier experiences, offering places that are raw and beautiful. When visiting such off-grid places our primary concern is the preservation of these ecosystems, leaving everything as we found it. Here is a picture of a some pyramids during a haboob (a Sudanese sandstorm) in Meroe, northern Sudan. Photograph taken by April Mon @ariesvoyage on her trip in 2018 with Journeys by Design.
1 23517 April, 2019
So many amazing experiences so far & I’m only a few days in.
This beautiful lady was all smiles for us as we were introduced to the traditional Andean textile weaving techniques. I’ve fallen in love with Peru.
Ideally positioned in the northern area of Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park, Jabali Ridge is a first rate safari lodge consisting of eight bandas, a central lounge and bar, a spa and an impressive infinity pool. Activities at Jabali Ridge include walking safaris, bird watching, day and night wildlife drives. A new addition to the @asiliaafrica collection, the lodge adheres to the company’s fine reputation for eco-luxury accommodation in the most remote parts of Tanzania.