As a leading world travel brand, Craghoppers knows that the right kit can make or break a trip. That is why its designers build in key technical features to take the headache out of travel – whether its protection from sun, from insect bites or identity theft, or fabric which is easy care, the NosiLife range of stylish and performance clothing and accessories is a great choice for hot-climate travel.
If you ever worry about excess baggage charges, then the Davenport Vest is your travel essential! It incorporates an incredible 20 pockets including: 2 zipped lower, 2 zipped chest, 6 zipped inner, a dry bag, an RFID passport pocket, a touch screen phone pocket and 2 pen pockets. So the vest literally features a pocket for everything, all whilst still retaining a sleek technical profile. The lightweight, stretch fabric with SolarShield and NosiLife insect protective technology offers comfort and protection too. And for women there is the flattering Dainely Vest with 18 pockets. The Vest is available in black pepper or pebble for men and charcoal or mushroom for women, at RRP £120.
To help keep your cool in the sun, the NosiLife Sun Hat is both practical and stylish. Incorporating NosiLife sun and insect protective fabric with moisture control, this style also includes a handy concealed security pocket for small items like notes or a lip balm. It is also super packable which makes it a great addition to your travel bag! Or it could probably even fit into one of the pockets of the Vest! At RRP £25, this style for men and women comes in dark khaki, ocean blue and desert sand.
As combinations go, it’s not an obvious one. But there is nothing obvious about Elephant Gin.
Following the footsteps of 19th century explorers and their botanical discoveries, the founders of Elephant Gin spent time travelling across Africa and experimenting with ingredients to combine the exotic flavours of the continent. With a mutual passion for gin, Robin & Tessa Gerlach crafted a world-class London Dry and Sloe Gin products that truly capture the spirit of Africa. But creating an outstanding gin was only the beginning of their story…
The gin journey originated with the great initiative of giving back to the land and in particular the African elephant as it is facing the threat of extinction. In fact, every year more than 35,000 African elephants die due to poaching – that’s one elephant every 15 minutes!
Elephant Gin donates 15% of its profits of its bottles to elephant conservation charities including Big Life Foundation and Space For Elephants. At Big Life Foundation in Kenya, they currently support 35 anti-poaching rangers, covering anything from logistical support to rangers salaries, rations or equipment. The rangers’ work is crucial for the Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro ecosystem as they work tirelessly to protect elephants, rhinos, lions and other animals from poaching and retaliatory killing due to human-wildlife conflict. In fact, these brave individuals are out in the wild every day and night, living in the remote outposts, undertaking daily foot patrols, tracking and arrests poachers and providing security.
Together with Space for Elephants Foundation, Elephant Gin has funded an education centre in South Africa, called The Wildlife Spirit. The main purpose is to educate local youth and adults in the area on their country’s wildlife and environment, as well as give local and international visitors an opportunity to learn about elephants including their intelligence, importance in the ecosystem and need to protect them for future generations.
Located in the Lobombo mountains, the Wildlife Spirit offers an a breath-taking view on lake Jozini and activities on elephants, ingenious plants, local arts & craft, elephant-dung-paper making and more. In this area unemployment is rife and attractive for poachers to getting information and assistance from local communities. The strategy of The Wildlife Spirit is to get communities involved by creating employment opportunities and make them aware of the value of wildlife by educating and showing them of how to earn a living by working in conservation.
And last, but definitely not least, 15% of the miniature bottle profits support another foundation – The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT). The 50 ml mini gins feature a baby elephant with a milk bottle on the label and support DSWT’s mission to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned elephants. Elephant Gin funds contribute to round-the-clock specialist care of the orphan elephants with proper nutrition, veterinary care, a human family of full-time keepers and well-constructed and maintained stockades for safety and shelter at night.
Up to date, Elephant Gin has contributed over EUR 450,000 to its partner foundations through the sales of its bottles as well as fundraising events. By working closely with the foundations, Elephant Gin ensures that the donations arrive on the ground and are contributed to select projects that are mutually agreed upon. In order to keep up to date on the progress and developments, the Elephant Gin team regularly visits the foundations.
From its use of rare African botanicals to its staunch charitable focus, this is a maverick gin brand that stands well apart from its competitors. As important as the drink itself are the company’s efforts to help save the African elephant from extinction. And the gin itself is just as forward-thinking: made in Germany with African botanicals that create an exceptional flavour that has won the company many awards, including Double-Gold at the Worlds Spirits Award 2018. Each bottle is custom-made, while each batch named after an elephant that the foundations help to protect or a famous tusker.
Robin Gerlach, asked what would he like the legacy of Elephant Gin to be, says:
“Gin is not just about the gin itself. It carries a message that we like to spread as far across the world as possible. Our generation has the responsibility to keep this planet intact and make sure that our children and children’s children are able to experience the same landscapes and wildlife we know today. We have dedicated our efforts to the African elephant who has made a particular impact on us. If we don’t actively fight elephant poaching today, this magnificent animal that has lived for millions of years will be extinct in less than 12 years. A shocking realisation!
That said, there are a number of other species that are nearing extinction due to mankind. So take whatever you are passionate about, may it be elephants, rhinos, the local water or children in need, and do your part to spreading awareness and helping to save this planet. It is the only chance we have got!”
Top wildlife photographer Tom Mason gives us his top tips on how you can stay ‘photo ready’ and be prepared to take the perfect shot at the drop of a hat.
When heading out on the adventure of a lifetime, coming back with great photographs can help you relive the memories forever. In the excitement of the trip, or when encounters with elusive wildlife happen in a heart beat, sometimes getting those images can be a challenge.
This month professional wildlife photographer Tom Mason shares a few tips regarding how to be best prepared for your next Wildfoot adventure.
As a pro photographer it’s my job to get the shots and so when working on location I want to be as well prepared as possible. Pre planning helps to maximise my photographic opportunities and help me be more creative on location. Below are a few tips for getting the best from your next trip.
1 – Plan your images.
Get onto google and research where you’re going, look thorough images and pull them into a file for inspiration. Looking at possible shots will help you have a bank of ideas ready for when you get to your destination, helping you to quickly find compositions and create more interesting images. The overwhelming nature of incredible places can sometimes put a block in front of your creative thinking, so pre visualisation of images beforehand will help you focus in on great shots.
2 – Pre set your camera.
Wildlife encounters can happen in a flash, so being ready is vital. Preempt encounters and be sure to test your camera settings before the wildlife shows up. Having your settings dialled in means you can focus on the action, rather than having to re set the camera at the key moment.
Learn the controls before you head out and have things set up for easy access to key features for fast adjustments in the field.
3 – Variation
With wildlife photography it’s so tempting to stay zoomed in on your subject, however be sure to vary your compositions and look at the wider landscape. Giving you’re subjects space also makes for more natural images that are often more pleasing on the eye than frame filling portraits. If you have a zoom lens force yourself to work at both the long and short end for a more varied portfolio.
4 – Accessible accessories
When the action is in full swing there is nothing more annoying than a dead battery or full memory card, especially if the spare is in the depths of your camera bag! Be sure to keep a spare fully charged battery and memory card on hand and switch over when the action is at a low point to ensure you’re ready for the next key photographic opportunity. At the end of the day, charge and replace batteries even if you think the have enough juice for the next day.
5 – Back up
Imagine you’ve been away and taken a fortnights worth of once in a life time images and then happen to loose the memory card on route home…(It happens!) Ensure it doesn’t and back up your files whilst away. I always travel with a laptop and multiple external hard drives for peace of mind, however there are also options with hard drives that have inbuilt SD readers for backing up without a laptop, combined with an iPhone and cloud service they can work as a great way to keep your data safe without having to carry a huge amount of extra gear.
With planing and preparation you’ll be ready to make the most of your adventure. Giving you a head start on creating interesting and different compositions, making the most of wildlife encounters and keeping everything safe and protected to get your precious images home.
Tom Mason is a professional wildlife photographer and environmental photojournalist. He has worked around the world on assignment from the Amazon to the Falklands photographing the natural world. Passionate about conservation, his work has been awarded internationally as well as being regularly featured in publications.
For those searching for a unique, wild and exclusive safari; Robin Pope Safaris offers one of the few such adventures still possible in this day and age. Away from cars, people, electricity and most excitingly cell phone signal and internet our mobiles safaris offers a total escape from day to day life and a feeling of being totally at one with nature. This exclusive safari sets off from Nkwali Camp heading north through the National Park on the 05 road – so named as it is a straight road (pretty much) heading at 05degrees. Whilst travelling through the great African void one gets the sense that you could ask your guide to stop at any point, step out of the vehicle, walk 5 meters into the bush and stand where no one has ever stood before. The drive up to the mobiles camp takes from between 3-6 hours depending on your guide and what you see so we send you off with a packed lunch and plenty of drinks. However as soon as you arrive at your new bush home Alfred the chef will have most likely prepared a delicious cake freshly baked in the ground oven and the rest of the team will be there ready to welcome you with cold flannels and drinks.
The moderately sized walk in tents have camp cots and solar lights which offers all the comforts that you need but remaining simple and to the point. After freshening up and a cup of tea it time to head out on the first walk of the trip. A short stroll in the afternoon to stretch the legs after the long car journey is exactly what is needed and gives you a great feel and idea of what is in store for the next 4 days. Arriving back in camp for a sundowner the evening activities of shower time occurs and the room attendants warm the water up over an open fire, getting the water to the perfect temperature before filling up the bucket shower and gently whistling so that the guide can let you know that the shower is ready. Once everyone is ready dinner under the stars is served before everyone dozily retreats to their tents for their first night of sleeping under canvas.
The mornings come round all too quickly and the room attendant knocks on the canvas door to your tent, fills up your water basin outside with fresh water and while you get up the team starts cooking the toast and porridge on the camp fire and the waiters pour out the tea and coffee.
The evenings are usually filled with a chorus of the sounds of the bush and in the mornings the staff and the guides excitedly discuss what they heard and from what direction. This then gives the guide a good idea on where he is going to head. The morning walk is always the longest of the day walking only as fast as the slowest person in the group the guide takes you out along with an armed scout and a tea bearer – where would we be without a mid morning cuppa and slice of cake.
Whilst you are out on your walk – back in camp the team will pack everything up, load it onto the enormous truck and relocate to the next camp. Everything will be unpacked and put back in your tent exactly as you left it. Water will be collected, fires lit and everything will be ship shape before you stroll slightly surprised into your new camp.
During your 5 day safari you will usually move camp 3 times which enables you to experience and explore far different areas along the Mupamadzi river. The river is a beautiful clear running sand river which is heavenly to wallow in during the heat of siesta time or for those slightly less brave to have a little paddle. It also acts as a source of life for all the animals in the area and attracts everything from the small to the large. During your safari you can expect to see a whole range of wildlife however given the remoteness of the area the game can occasionally be a little skittish which adds the charm as it is not always the best way to see animals when they are habituated and don’t run away. Walking through the bush offers an up close encounter with everything from ant lions to lions. Tracking the animals, taking a sense of the wind direction, noise and approach are all things that in every day life we take no notice of. However, up on mobiles all of these are integral to a successful sighting. Sneaking up on the animals downwind using the bush as cover so that they don’t see your silhouette and sitting in the shade of a bush waiting for the animals to come down to the water to drink.
It really is an incredible adventure and one that is always started with a certain amount of trepidation but ended with total enthusiasm and wanting of more. Sadly time to leave comes around all too soon and bags are packed up and its time to head on to Nsefu which is where we usually end the mobiles trip just to have a couple of days of slightly increased civilisation before heading on to your next destination.
Mobiles safaris is a wonderful experience and one that is almost impossible to accurately describe on paper and if you have a love of nature and want to explore the bush then this is absolutely the adventure for you.