Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts

Video: The Colors of Africa

It's no secret that Africa is one of my favorite places to visit, and if you wonder why, you only need to  watch this video. It is a colorful, majestic place that is filled with life and energy. In this clip, you'll catch a glimpse of the people, landscapes, and wildlife that make Africa such a special place. Just watching it makes me long to go back. Enjoy.

Colors of AFRICA by Avichai Wechsler from אביחי וקסלר צילום on Vimeo.

Want to Take Part in A Groundbreaking Study on Kilimanjaro This Year?

Kilimanjaro is one of the most alluring challenges for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers from around the globe. Each year, thousands flock to its slopes in an effort to reach its lofty summit – the highest in Africa at 5895 meters (19,341 ft). But, many of those climbers never make it to the top, and some even experience serious health issues along the way. There are even a surprisingly high number of deaths not he mountain each and every year, usually due to complications with altitude.

This year, a the University Hospital of Gießen and Marburg in Germany is conducting a study of how our bodies react to altitude in an effort to learn about how to threat this suffering from altitude sickness. To do that, researchers are looking for 25 people to participate in a study that will take place on Kilimanjaro this September. But, the study isn't looking for just your average trekker. Instead, they would like to find mountain bikers or mountain runners who are willing to join them on the mountain and consent to being tested throughout the climb.

The Kilimanjaro Summit Challenge will take place from September 24 through October 1, and will begin with a three-day training camp prior to the start of the climb. This will allow participants to acclimatize to the altitude and for the researchers to study how the altitude is impacting their bodies.

Rainer Braehler, who is organizing the event, tells adventure sports journalist Stefan Nestler "Up to now, pursing sport seriously on a mountain like Kilimanjaro was a dream limited to just a few elite athletes,but with this study, ambitious amateur athletes can now test their limits at very high altitudes – with the reassurance of full medical supervision.”

If you think you'd be interested in joining the study, you can find all of the information you need, including price, dates, and full agenda, and how to apply by clicking here. Not only will you be going on an adventure of a lifetime, you'll also be helping science find ways to help us be more efficient at altitude. 

Cloud Walkers - A Documentary About Amputees Climbing Kilimanjaro – Seeks Funding

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is a bucket-list adventure for many people, and for good reason. The tallest mountain in Africa is both approachable and a great challenge, with many rewards along the way.

Recently, a team of climbers made up of amputees from San Antonio, Texas went to the mountain to try to scale it for themselves. Over the course of a year of training, and during their time on the mountain, they bonded as a group and found strength and inspiration from each other. The team made the trek to the Roof of Africa together and now their story is the subject of a new documentary called Cloud Walkers, which was filmed throughout their extraordinary journey.

But, if you know anything about filmmaking, you probably also know it takes funds to get a project off the ground and get the final product in the can so to speak. So, with that in mind, the filmmakers behind Cloud Walkers have launched an Indiegogo campaign to help make their project a reality. They hope to raise $50,000, which will mostly go to final editing, sound mixing, music licensing, and other expenses.

To get a sneak peek at what this documentary is all about, check out the video below. It gives us a taste of what this journey was about, as well as some of the amazing views and stories that were experienced along the way. To find out more, and contribute to the cause, visit the Cloud Walker's crowdfunding page.

Video: Climbing Kilimanjaro with a Drone

Want to get a great look at what it is like to climb Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak? Take a look at this video, which comes our way courtesy of Madison Mountaineering. It follows a group of trekkers as they go up the mountain, capturing some outstanding footage with a drone as they go. The group took the Machame Route, which is one of the most popular paths to the summit, and along the way they had some amazing views of the mountain and the surrounding landscape.

19 Facts About Mt. Kilimanjaro - The Highest Peak in Africa

As the tallest peak in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro always draws a lot of attention from trekkers and climbers alike. Many travel to Tanzania to nab one of the Seven Summits, while others are lured by the challenge that comes along with hiking to the iconic "Roof of Africa." But no matter what reason you have for going, it is truly an adventure of a lifetime, and one that will leave a lasting impression for sure.

With that in mind, a blog called Altitude Treks has posted an article listing 19 Kilimanjaro Facts that offers some interesting insights into the mountain. Whether you've been there in the past, are planning in the future, or just want to know more about this amazing place, you're likely to learn something that you didn't know before about Kili. 

I've to the mountain twice, and have written about it many times, and I still learned a few things from the story. For instance, the article goes into detail about the various climate zones you'll pass through on the way to the summit, which total five in all. It also offers insights into the history of the mountain, including some of the earliest attempts to climb it. You'll also learn about the East African Mountain Club, which led early expeditions to the summit, and find out who the oldest and youngest summiteers are. You'll discover how the mountain got its name, why certain areas on its slopes have their own monikers, and even gain insights into the death rate on the mountain. According to the story, about 5-15 people die on Kili each year, with 2-3 of them being visitors and the rest porters. That number is relatively small when you consider thousands attempt the climb in any given year, with about 60% of those making it to the summit.

If you're a previous Kili climber or have a trek to the mountain on your bucket list, you'll want to give this article a look. It is fairly long, but a very interesting read for those of us who love this mountain. You can check it out by clicking here

And thanks to Clare Groom for sharing the story. 


Video: Reminder - Hippos are the Most Dangerous Animals in Africa

It has often been said that hippos are the most unpredictable and dangerous animals in all of Africa. That is further underscored by this video in which a man was driving across a bridge near Kruger National Park in South Africa when he came across a hippo. The massive creature didn't take too kindly to anyone else being there apparently, as it promptly turned an charged the truck. The results are pretty impressive. And scary.

Video: Climbing Kilimanjaro's Machame Route

Ever wanted to climb Kilimanjaro and didn't know what to expect? Perhaps you've already been there and done that, but are feeling a bit nostalgic for the mountain? This video can help in either case. it is a 4.5 minute clip that takes viewers up the Machame Route, one of the more popular ways of reaching the summit. Along the way, you'll get a good sense of the trail and the obstacles faced along the path, while taking in some of the amazing views that Kili provides.

Over the past few years, the number of bookings to climb Kilimanjaro has actually decreased in no small part thanks to unfounded fears following the ebola outbreak in West Africa. Because of this, you can currently visit the mountain and experience smaller crowds. That isn't expected to last forever, so if you've ever wanted to go to the Roof of Africa, now just might be the time. Of course, I'd recommend making that climb with my friends at Tusker Trail. There simply isn't anyone one operating on the mountain that does it better.

Irish Adventurer to Visit Six Poles of Inaccessibility

Irish adventurer Mike O'Shea is getting set to embark on what promises to be quite an interesting set of expeditions. Having climbed in the Himalaya, Karakoram, and other remote locations, as well as skied across the North Patagonia Ice Camps, the South Kilimanjaro Ice Camp, Greenland, and South Georgia, he now plans to become the first person to reach six Poles of Inaccessibility on the planet.

For those who are unaware of the concept, a "Pole of Inaccessibility" is the point on the map that is most challenging to reach being as far a way as possible from certain geographical features. For instance, the North Pole of Inaccessbility is found in the Arctic Ocean, at the point that is furthest from any land mass. The South Pole of Inaccessibility is located in the heart of the frozen continent that is the furthest point from any coasts. The locations are always extremely remote, challenging to reach, and typically unmarked on a map.

So, what are the six Poles of Inaccessibility that O'Shea plans on reaching? In addition to the South Pole, he'll also visit the POI of North America (located in South Dakota), South America (found in the Brazilian Mato Grosso region), Australia (located in the Northern Territory), Africa (located in the Congo), Eurasia (near the border with China and Kazakistan). Each of these spots will be reached by whatever means is necessary, including driving, hiking, skiing, on horseback, and so on. Several will involve full traverses of the continent as well.

The first POI that Mike will attempt to reach is in the U.S., which is the easiest of the group. He should arrive int he country soon and begin his journey from New York to Los Angeles, with a stop over in South Dakota to hit the Pole of Inaccessibility there. After that, he'll move on to South America next, which will be considerably more challenging. The POI there is located in a more remote area that will be more difficult to get to. The other POI's will follow as the expedition unfolds in the weeks ahead, with Antarctica being the most difficult overall.

You can find out more about this project at ThePolesProject.com. You'll also be able to follow' Mike's progress on that site.

Big thanks to the Expedition News for sharing this story.

Video: Nat Geo Tells Us Why it is so Hard to Catch Poachers

As the world's population of elephants and rhinos wanes dramatically, many countries across the globe have stepped up their efforts to combat poaching in Africa and elsewhere. This is a battle that has been raging for sometime however, and yet we continue to hear how poaching is having a dramatic impact on the number of these creatures that roam the wild. Why is it so hard to stop these illegal activities? In this video from National Geographic Live, Naftali Honig – founder of the EAGLE Network – tells us why it is so hard to bring these people to justice.

British Explorer Walking the Length of the Zambezi River in Africa

British explorer and adventurer Chaz Powell has embarked on quite an expedition. The experienced traveler and guide is in the middle of a journey during which he is attempting to walk the entire length of the Zambezi River in Africa - covering some 1600 miles (2574 km) in the process. His journey began in August in the Kalene Hills in North Western Zambia, where the source of the Zambezi lies. From there, his route will take him through Angola, Zambia and Mozambique where the river empties into the Indian Ocean.

Powell set out on what he calls The Wildest Journey last month, and has been making steady progress so far. In fact, just a few days back he posted that he had completed 1000 km (621 miles), which is about a third of the way towards the finish line. Along the way he has faced difficult weather conditions – including heat and humidity – , rough terrain, wild animals, and health issues, mainly due to dehydration and exhaustion. But, he has also trekked through some of the most remote and seldom visited sections of Africa, all the while sharing the experience on the expedition's Facebook page. That is a great place to get updates on his progress and see what it is like for him as he marches through this section of the world.

Chaz says that he expect the journey to take about six months to complete, and judging by his pace right now I'd say that he is pretty much on schedule to finish in that amount of time. That means he should reach the Indian Ocean sometime in early February, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Considering the challenges he faces along the way, injury or illness are certainly not out of the question, as is succumbing to exhaustion, equipment failure, or lack of supplies. So far however, he's been able to overcome or avoid those issues, and is pressing onward.

While The Wildest Journey is indeed quite an adventurous undertaking, Powell isn't doing it just for the safe of the journey alone. He's also using the expedition as a platform to raise funds for the David Sheperd Wildlife Foundation, an organization that is dedicated to saving endangered species in Asia and Africa. You can donate to that cause here.

Good luck to Chaz on the rest of his journey. I'll be following along with his progress and keeping tabs of how he's doing. Hopefully he'll reach the Indian Ocean safely and on schedule.

Video: Meet the World's First All-Female Anti-Poaching Team

The Balule Nature Reserve in South Africa a team of women called the Black Mambas has been training for the past three years to combat illegal poaching in the region. They are the first all-female squad to take on such a mission, with their main goal being to protect the wild elephants that roam the area. In this video, brought to us by National Geographic, we join the Mambas as they go out on patrol, searching for the hunters who are looking to kill the animals in the preserve where they work. The short film is an inspiring look at this team of dedicated and tough women who are looking to make a difference with Africa's wildlife. It is really an interesting story.

Video: Wings of Kilimanjaro 2016 Expedition

Next week, 29 climbers will set out for the "Roof of Africa" as part of the Wings of Kilimanjaro initiative. The team, which is being led by my friends over at Tusker Trail, will attempt to trek to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa, where they will then paraglide off the mountain. But the group isn't there just to have an amazing adventure. They'll also be raising funds to support a number of projects that are improving the lives of people living in Tanzania. Those projects include installing pumps to deliver clean water, teaching local farmers to grow crops in a sustainable fashion, and improving the education of the children that live there. In the video below, you'll learn a bit more about the program, but you'll also see some amazing shots of their previous climbs up Kili, and the epic flights they've taken from the summit. It looks like a great way to see an already impressive mountain, and its all for a good cause.


Comprehensive Elephant Census in Africa Brings Sobering News

As someone who has a deep, personal love for Africa and the amazing wildlife that lives there, this story was particularly sad to read. Yesterday, the results of a comprehensive census of the African elephant population were released, and the were sobering to say the least.

The study was conducted by an organization called the Great Elephant Census, which is backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Alan's Vulcan organization. Using a method of arial data collection and surveillance, researchers have come to the stunning conclusion that there are now only 352,271 elephants left on the African continent. That population is spread out over 18 countries and is estimated to be down 30% in just 7 years. That's the equivalent of 144,000 elephants lost between 2007 and 2014.

According to the findings, the current elephant population loss is about 8% per year, with roughly 100 animals killed each and every day. Most of that is due to illegal poaching as the demand for ivory remains high in certain parts of the world, including Asia and even the United States. Measures have been taken recently to stem the sale of Ivory across the globe, but a thriving black market remains.

The 352,000 elephants counted in the census are believed to be at least 93% of the population that still exists in the 18 countries surveyed. That number could be higher, but it is difficult to track them completely precisely. Of those counted as part of this research study, 84% lived on protected lands, with the remaining population spotted outside preserves and national parks where they don't receive any kind of protection at all. That said, many carcasses were found inside those protected regions as poachers ignore laws and cross boundaries to seek their prey.

As you can imagine, with such a massive drop in numbers over the past decade, the possible extinction of the wild elephants in Africa is a real possibility within our lifetimes. Having seen these magnificent creatures up close and personal both on foot and from a vehicle, I can't imagine them not being a part of the wild landscape on that continent. But, if poaching continues at its current rate, they may be completely gone in as little as 20 years. When you consider that at one point, there were more than 20 million elephants in Africa, you begin to get some perspective about just how decimated the population is there.

Sad news for conservationists for sure. Lets hope we can turn this trend around in the near future.

Video: A Kenya Safari By Radio Controlled Car

This short, but very sweet, video takes us to Kenya, where a couple of ingenious travelers came up with the idea of strapping a GoPro camera to a radio controlled car, essentially turning it into a makeshift, ground-based drone. The results were pretty spectacular, as they managed to capture some of the most iconic wildlife of the Masai Mara up close and personal.

Swiss Climber Sets New Slackline Record on Kilimanjaro

This past weekend, Swiss alpinist Stephan Siegrist set a new record for the world's highest slackline by walking across a highline that had been set up at 5700 meters (18,700 ft) on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. His efforts weren't without their challenges however, as gusting winds, low oxygen levels, and even snow conspired to make his walk a difficult one.

The 43-year old Siegrist set up a 21-meter length of line between two rock towers located at the Arrow Glacier Camp on Kili. The rope was set at a height of about 150 meters (492 feet), which left it exposed to the elements, which included a rise in gusting winds as the day went along. The weather forecast even included snow, which doesn't happen often on Kilimanjaro, but is possible when conditions are right just about any time of the year.

While slacklining balance is always a key, but at such high altitudes the body reacts slower to just about any physical challenge. That was the case here as well, as Siegrist found it difficult to make progress, even though he is very experienced at the sport. Eventually he did manage to cross the line successfully however, officially establishing the new record.

Slacklining has continued to grow in popularity in recent years, particularly as more people like Stephen put up impressive results in remote places. The previous record had been set last year in the Ladakh region of India. That mark was established by Hungarian climber Bence Kerekes who walked a line at about 5300 meters (17,388 ft). These records are most unofficial of course, as there is no real governing body to that oversees the claims.

While I'm not much of a slackliner myself, I can't help but be impressed by these attempts. One only needs to look at the image above to get a sense of great the view was where Siegrist was walking. I suspect we'll only continue to see these daredevils push the sport to new heights, both literally and figuratively. I'm sure someone is already planning such an attempt in the Himalaya.

Congrats to Stephen on his new record.

Video: Rock Climbing in South Africa

South Africa is one of the best countries in the world for those seeking outdoor adventure. We're reminded of this by the video below, which follows North Face climbers James Pearson and Caroline Ciavaldini as they go searching for some great lines to scale, discovering sport, trad, and bouldering routes across spectacular landscapes in the Rocklands area. They also took time to deliver some much needed climbing equipment to a local climbing school as well, giving their South African adventure a different mission as well.

Mountain Biking to the Summit of Kilimanjaro

In February of this year, mountain bikers Rebecca Rusch and Patrick Sweeney set off on an epic ride to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. They spent six days riding up – and down – the mountain, which is the tallest in Africa at 19,341 feet (5895 meters) in height. They rode that challenging route to raise funds for World Cycling Relief, a nonprofit that seeks to provide bicycles for people living in developing countries. The Kilimanjaro ride managed to raise nearly $20,000 for the cause, which allowed the organization to purchase 131 new bikes.

Now, several months after cycling to the roof of Africa, Rusch was interviewed about the experience by the team at Gear Junkie. In the article she talks about how they got organized for the expedition, why they chose Kilimanjaro, and what it was like on the trail. Rebecca, who is an experienced endurance and adventure sport athlete, called it the hardest ride she has ever done, which should give you an indication of how challenging this undertaking was for her and Patrick. She also shares some insight into what the trail was like, and the gear that she used along the way too.

For an even better look at this amazing mountain bike ride, check out the video below. It is a 7-minute short documentary on the endeavor that will provide even more insights into the ride. Having climbed this mountain myself, I can tell you that it wouldn't be easy to go up or down it on a bike.


Video: Meet the Hippos of Colombia

In 1980, drug lord Pablo Escobar brought several hippos from Africa to his compound in Colombia. It turns out that the environment there was very similar to their natural habitat, and the creatures adapted quite well to their new home. But later, when Escobar was finally brought down and taken in for justice, the animals were left to their own devices. Now, they are cared for by a local conservation organization, and they continue to thrive in the South American jungle. This video tells their story.

Video: A Journey to the Roof of Africa - Kilimanjaro

For many adventure travelers a climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro is the ultimate dream trip, and one that I've made myself. In this video we join two Egyptian friends who set out to Tanzania to trek to the "Roof of Africa" themselves. The short documentary takes you from Kilimanjaro airport to the summit of the mountain and beyond. If this trip is in your future, you'll definitely want to watch.

Video: Experience Kenya From the Air

I love Africa, and thanks to this video I'm reminded why. It is a beautiful, amazing place that once it gets into your heart, it is impossible to shake. Here, we take a tour of Kenya using drone footage to explore the landscapes, people, and wildlife of East Africa. It is a wonderful look at a destination that every adventure traveler should see. The diversity of things to do there is astounding, as you'll see in this 4+ minute clip.

Kenya from the Air from Matador Network on Vimeo.