I love giraffe, perhaps it’s because I am so short (I have a tall personality) 😁 that I in awe of these majestic creatures. I imagine that they are the supermodels of the animal world. So this week, I thought I would share with you my fascination of this incredibly beautiful creature. Every time I go on safari, my heart is filled with joy when I see these graceful creatures gliding through the bush.
And I am reaching deep into my heart to find moments of joy in these apocalyptic times…. Oh Corona! Oh Corona!! The whole world truly hates you!!!
A giraffe is an African even-toed ungulate (hoofed mammal), and the tallest living land animal. Giraffe used to be found in north and west Africa. But today, unless they are in a zoo, their natural habitat is confined to sub Saharan Africa.
There are four distinct species of giraffe:
The northern giraffe
The southern giraffe
The reticulated giraffe
The Masai Giraffe
How tall and heavy is a giraffe?
Tall. Taller than I am for sure! They are the tallest mammal in the world. The tallest giraffe ever recorded was 5.9meters, but on average they are between 4 and 5 meters tall. They weigh about 1900kg. picture this, taller than a double decker bus, heavier than most cars. And yet, they move with so much grace!
How many bones do giraffes have in their necks?
Seven. Imagine that…. And guess what, that’s the same number as in a human neck!! Go figure!!
How does a giraffe drink?
With great difficulty! Because they are so tall, when a giraffe drinks, it has to splay it’s legs. Fortunately, they get most of their water from the plants they eat, and will only drink actual water once every few days.
What do giraffes eat?
Leaves and twigs, favouring the thorny acacia trees. But, believe it or not, they actually also eat bones!!!!!!! This is a behaviour known as osteophagy. Because of their huge skeletons, they need more calcium and phosphorous than they would get in their purely vegetarian diet. So, bones, not flesh, bones. I have many friends who refuse to touch meat that has bones, they know not what they are missing out on….
Some more random giraffe facts if you are still reading this….A group of giraffe is called a tower. You have to smile…. But of course, a tower of giraffe. It makes so much sense. The size of a giraffe hoof is the 30 cms in diameter, about the size of your dinner plate. Giraffe give birth standing up, and the new born fall 2 meters to the ground. Yikes, that’s way more than my height. In order to survive, a new born must be able to stand and run within an hour,
Every giraffe, just like human fingerprints has a unique pattern. No two are alike. The hypothesis is that the pattern on giraffe helps with temperature control as well as camouflage.
How long is a giraffe’s tongue?
Giraffe tongues are huge! They’re bluish-purple, prehensile and between 45-50cm long – perfect for carefully ripping fresh leaves from between the spikes at the top of acacia trees.
Do Giraffes Fight?
When fighting, male giraffes will push and shove against each other. This occasionally escalates into powerful blows delivered by their muscular necks. The loser can be knocked out, and sometimes even killed.
How big is a giraffe’s heart?
A giraffe heart can weigh approximately 11kg, making it the biggest of any land mammal. It can pump 60 litres of blood around its body every minute at a blood pressure twice that of an average human.
How long do giraffes live?
Giraffes in the wild tend to live between 20 to 25 years.
*look out for more facts and interesting titbits on giraffe this whole week*
We will travel again!
All around the world, the numbers keep rising, of the infected and the dying. But, there are also many stories of hope, of love, of kindness, of bridges crossed to lend a helping hand. Let’s take a moment, breathe in deeply, and appreciate that simple act of being able to breathe.
And the people stayed home.
And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.
And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
- Kitty O'Meara
Dear Friends in Travel,
We find ourselves in unusual and extraordinary times.
Many airlines have had to ground their planes and airports are dealing with the battle of “musical chairs” never, have so many aircraft at any one time been on the ground, and needing space in a hangar. Before coronavirus, at any one time, the majority of planes were up in the air.
Travel has essentially ground to a halt. Many countries, and South Africa is the latest to join a growing list of these, have closed their borders. So far, 35 countries have imposed a total lockdown in an effort to stem the spread and infection rate of this insanely aggressive and dangerous Covid 19 virus. Lives and businesses have been disrupted as governments scramble to release emergency funds to avoid a total economic meltdown.
At the moment, the number of infected people on a global scale is a moving target. It stood at just over 300 000 on Sunday. Deaths are constantly and consistently increasing, especially in Italy and Spain.
On 23 March 2020, South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation and advised that from 26 March at midnight, to 16 April 2020 South Africa will go into lockdown. To date 402 people are infected in South Africa. The salient points in the speech were:
From midnight on Thursday 26th March until midnight Thursday the 16th of April:
Read the full speech here.
Friends, let us remember to be kind to one another. This is a common enemy, but it can be defeated. Wherever you are in the world, I wish you health. We will still be here. Reach out to us for information, ideas, or just a chat. In our isolation pods, at least we will have access to technology 😁
Stay well. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Above all, BE KIND.
When I was a child, I devoured all sorts of information, useless and useful, fascinating and annoying for everyone around me. I constantly referred to the book 'The Students’ Companion'… way before google and smartphones. In line with our safari theme, allow me to share some funny, interesting, weird and downright apt collective nouns for animals and birds:
We created this list to make you forget about Covid-19 for a few moments and hopefully smile! Feel free to comment and share …..
Apes: a group of apes is a shrewdness. And boy are they shrewd!
Alligators: a congregation
Baboons: a troop. All that’s needed is a captain to shout out orders. Oh wait, they kinda already do have a leader in the troop.
Bees: a bike, swarm, colony, nest. Yes, you read right, a bike of bees! Bike is an old English word that means colony, swarm, or nest.
Butterflies: a group is a kaleidoscope or a rabble. I prefer kaleidoscope… it is such a descriptive word for lots of butterflies in one area.
Bats: a cauldron… the darkness, the noise, the chaos….. yep, recipe for a witch’s brew.
Buffalo: a gang or obstinacy. Have you ever seen a herd of buffalo… they DO look like an obstinate gang that refuses to shift, until they are ready.
Cats: a glaring. Oh my goodness, anyone who has ever been at the receiving end of a cat glare will understand this one. One cat glaring at you can freak you out…more than one. Find a hex!
Caterpillar: an army. Just imagine their little feet: Left. Right. Left. Right
Camels: a caravan, or train, and when you see them move, this collective noun will make absolute sense.
Cheetah: a coalition
Cobra: a quiver. I would not be comfortable near a quiver of cobras. One is more than enough.
Cockroaches: an intrusion. All the time, any time. One is an intrusion. I don’t need a confirmation of how intrusive I find them.
Crocodiles: a float/nest … oh yes, and not like a carnival float. Have you ever watched how they move in the water….?
Dolphins: a pod, school, team. They work as a team. They play like school children having a good time. They are just fun happy animals.
Dogs: a Cowardice of dogs/litter. I don’t get this collective term, cowardice, but that’s what it is.
Donkeys: a drove, pace. Makes me think of donkeys hitched to a cart.
Elephants: a herd, a memory and boy do they have a long memory. Elephants never forget.
Ferrets: a business or busy-ness, and they DO get busy!
Frogs: army… with sound effects too.
Flamingos: flamboyance, stand, a flock. When a flock is gathered they are flamboyant in every sense of the word.
Flies: business, because they always want to be busy in your food and drink and conversation business.
Giraffe: a tower…. Well…. What else could they be?
Hippopotamus: a bloat or thunder of hippo… both descriptive and appropriate
Ibis (hadeda): congregation, stand, wedge. Speaking of, have you ever heard a hadeda’s call? Especially early in the morning.
Jellyfish: smack , brood
Lions: a pride. They are proud, they look proud. They are a pride.
Monkeys: a tribe
Nightingales: a watch. Better than alarm. Their singing voices are beautiful.
Otters: the collective nouns for otters are bevy, family, lodge, romp (being descriptive of their often playful nature) or, when in water, raft
Pangolin: also known as an anteater- a group is called a candle
Platypus: largely solitary so no accepted collective noun, but a paddle of platypus is acceptable
Porcupine: a pickle of porcupines. Avoid the pricks!
Quails: A group of quails is a covey.
Rhinoceros: a crash
Ravens: an unkindness. Ravens are a type of crow, they make a thrill annoying sound, and perhaps that’s why their collective name is “unkindness”
Sharks: a shiver…. Because you shiver when you encounter more than one?
Tortoises: A group of tortoises is called a creep. Not to be confused with turtles, as a group of them are known as a bale, turn, dole, or nest.
Vultures: group of vultures is called a wake. Enough said.
Woodpeckers: a descent, a gatling, and whirlgust
Greetings from Cape Town,
I cannot believe that the second month of the year is almost over!!! I hope that, so far, the year has started out on a good note for you with joy, love, and great plans for travel in the year ahead.
I write today to implore you all to think very seriously about why you would ever consider travelling without travel insurance.
When you travel, and we ask for details of your next of kin, your home address, your medical and travel insurance details, we are not being nosy, or pushing to sell you One. More. Product. It is for your safety, and ours. If you should fall sick while on holiday, and be incapacitated, someone has to take responsibility and make the decision to take you to a hospital. And then contact your next of kin, and if need be, evacuate you to your home country, or fly in your next of kin to be at your side to assist you.
I will use a fictional scenario to illustrate a point. We had a client scheduled to go on a full day wine lands tour. At 8am, the driver turned up to collect him, and he would not answer the door nor his phone. We had booked a private apartment for his stay, not a hotel. The concierge service and security told us that they had not seen him for two days, the last time I had also communicated with him. The curtains were drawn, and no amount of banging on the door, or calling out his name received any reaction from within the apartment. We were worried.
Finally at about 11am, we got hold of a spare set of keys and with security in tow gained access into the apartment where, we found our client semi-conscious. We called an ambulance, and rushed him to the hospital. He was checked, treated, kept overnight for observation, and released. He had had a bad bout of food poisoning. In this instance, it all ended positively and I am so very glad. He had travel insurance, so it was a quick matter of getting permission from his insurance company for authorisation to the hospital that they would cover ALL medical requirements.
Travel insurance is a grudge purchase, like all insurance, but you DO need it. And travel insurance will cover a wide range of emergencies, including, but not limited to:
· an insolvent airline
· delayed travel
· lost or delayed baggage
· accidents you caused while driving, or were involved in
· sporting injuries
· all other injuries
· civil unrest
Insurance is AWESOME!! They will be there. They will assist. They will get you home safely. Amen and Hallelujah!! I am done preaching 😁😁
And now….in planning your trips…. This year, our focus will be on Safaris. We urge you to get out there. Take opportunities to travel, and immerse yourself in nature, restore your soul and help with conservation.
Check out our offerings.
I left Tanzania when I was six years old. I became a child of the continent, but the roots of my land are firmly planted in me. I rejoice when I hear Swahili spoken anywhere in the world. I cringe when words of this beautiful language are mangled or barstardised. And every so often, I go back to rub shoulders with my folk and kin, to eat “home” food, to snuggle up next to my parents, and laugh with my siblings and extended family. And to explore. For the country is changing. New roads are being built every day. New hotels - making tourism that much more accessible to everyone.
When I set up Peku Peku, one of my plans was to take as many people as possible to explore parts of Tanzania with me…. Life interfered, and I have only taken a handful of people with me…. But I have encouraged many people to go without me.
I digress…. So, in July 2018, I took a friend and work colleague with me to explore business opportunities. I was her guide, her counsel, her translator, her companion and her confidant. It was a short visit, I had had heartache and a personal tragedy that rocked my world and I was lost and needed my parents. And yet, I recognised that the opportunity to take her with me would be the start of something special, and the realisation of a dream for both her and I.
We had a week, a short, short week. But at the end of it, we both left with hearts filled. Mine with the love of my family, and yummy fruit – it was pineapple season… I ate until I could eat no more, and my companion, left full of the taste of spicy rice, coconut rice, plain rice… to this day, she talks about the taste of rice and appreciated that it is important to know where your rice was harvested when you make your purchase at the market.
Our week was filled with long days spent on the road getting from point A to B – the road network is not vast or varied, so patience was needed. But it gave us both valuable time to soak in the landscape and escape from our devises.
In that short week, we took in Dar es Salaam, Mikumi National Park, Ruaha National Park, Mufindi and its tea, avocado, and timber plantations, and Iringa, the town my parents live in. Tanzania engages ALL one’s senses, the land is open and vast, the people are warm, friendly, open and inviting, and there is a vast array of fruit and vegetables - a vegan and vegetarian’s paradise.
Take a look at some of our photos…. Be enticed, and then, make contact to book some holiday specials with us.
Founder and Owner