Botswana is world renowned for its incredible safaris and the wildlife on display. But there is just so much to see in Botswana that planning a trip can be a complicated and daunting prospect. To make your planning easier, in this short video, Wildfoot Travel’s Dave Cheetham runs you through a brief list of Botswana’s absolute ‘must-see’ destinations.
The S/S Mary Anne is an elegant sailing ship. At 216 feet from stern to bow, with over 1000 square meters of square-rigged canvas at her disposal, the Mary Anne is an impressive and imposing yacht. Standing on the deck of this huge, powerful craft under full sail is a truly exhilarating experience.
The ship carries nine crew and wildlife guide and although originally built to accommodate 28 passengers, today The Mary Anne carries only 16 passengers, leading to an extravagant sensation of space.
Navigating between the islands on a square rigger gives you as authentic an experience as possible, truly following in Darwin’s footsteps. Alongside the crew and an experienced guide, there is a full-time chef and an assistant who are on board The Mary Anne to prepare delicious meals.
But The Mary Anne is simply today’s showpiece in a long and fascinating tale of one family’s dedication to, and faith in, the water’s of The Galapagos.
Fiddi Angermeyer, now CEO of Angermeyer Cruises was born and raised on The Galapagos, spending a lifetime on the water, helping others explore this natural paradise.
Fiddi’s parents Carmen and Fritz moved to the Galapagos from Spain in 1934 amidst a political backdrop of pending war. Sailing to The Galapagos aboard ‘Marie’ the yacht they bought with the money form the sale of their house in Hamburg, they were accompanied by Fritz’s three brothers Hans, Gustav and Karl. On arriving in the Galapagos, Fritz began building boats.
Settling on Santa Cruz island, they built their houses from Lava rock with their own hands on hunted, fished and farmed to survive.
Among the very first settlers on The Galapagos, Karl Angermeyer was one of the first to take guests on scientific expedition voyages in the Galapagos. Today this is widely recognised as the beginning of tourism in the Galapagos.
In the sixties Karl, Fritz, Carmen and Fiddi started using their boats for scientific expedition cruises, to improve their income. Initially, photographers accounted for most of the visitors but as their photographs started to catch the public’s eye in newspapers and magazines, the Galapagos and the charter business grew in reputation, and tourists began to join their voyages.
Fiddi set out on the water as a fisherman when he was eight years old to raise pocket money. He helped his father building boats and as soon as he reached eleven, he began to help out in the charter business. Since then, he has spent a lifetime following in his parents footsteps, developing his experience afloat and developing the business.
With a heritage deeply ingrained in the Galapagos and its people, Angermeyer Cruises is committed to supporting the local economy in every way they can. Employing locally, sourcing local products and investing in sustainable local development wherever possible.
With a keen eye on customer satisfaction, Fiddi approaches the Mary Anne and their expedition cruise with one simple approach, by asking himself “What would I like?”. From the space onboard, to the food served, everything is maintained at a standard that Fiddi himself would be happy with.
In this short video, Fiddi Angermeyer tells us a little more about this unique square rigged yacht and its place in the history of the Galapagos.
The S/S Mary Anne sets sail on various itineraries through the year, ranging from 7 to 14 nights, exploring the most interesting and rewarding locations in the Galapagos.
With four cabins where single occupancy isn’t charged for, this is the only small vessel offering single cabins, this is a truly unique vessel with an additional environmental benefit as it is powered solely by the sails whenever the conditions allow.
As the Antarctic summer comes to a close in March, migratory species like the Humpback are very active, socializing and feeding in preparation for the long journey ahead, while resident species like the Minke and Orca are also abundant. Each year we will partner with scientists doing cutting edge marine mammal studies for a special scientific voyage with our own Annette Bombosch, PhD. In March 2019, we collaborated with the world’s leading independent non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research, exploration, and education in the US, on a ground-breaking Humpback whale study.
Budding Citizen Scientists will have ample opportunity to participate in marine mammal research, while photographers and videographers are busy capturing stunning images. This voyage also features all of the activities found in our standard Celebrating Antarctica itinerary.
Obviously, last season (March 2019) the BBC was on board to follow and film the scientists for the show Blue Planet Live.
Baleen whales have baleen plates instead of teeth which they use to collect shrimp-like krill, plankton and small fish from the sea. These bristly plates, made from the same protein that helps to grow human fingernails and hair (Keratin), filter the tiny food stuff from the water inside their mouths.
Amazingly, the ‘baleen’ of a bowhead whale can be up to 4 metres long. Baleen whales are grouped into four families (with very complicated Latin names). The biggest is the blue whale which can grow up to 33m long and the smallest is the pygmy right whale, which grow to around 6.5m long. Baleen whales have two blowholes on the top of their heads which means their blows are more impressive than toothed whales, which only have a single blowhole.
Baleen Whales have no vocal chords at all. But they can still make sounds. Their voices are deep, like moans or belches. They also have excellent hearing. So good in fact that it is believed they can communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away. The humpback whale is a particularly vocal baleen whale which sings complex songs that scientist presume are meant to attract the opposite sex.
Species of Baleen Whale Include:
▪ Bowhead whale ▪ Northern right whale ▪ Southern right whale ▪ Pygmy right whale ▪ Gray whale ▪ Humpback whale ▪ Common minke ▪ Dwarf minke ▪ Antarctic minke ▪ Bryde’s whale ▪ Omura’s whale ▪ Sei whale ▪ Fin whale ▪ Blue whale ▪ Antarctic blue whale ▪ Pygmy blue whale
Hayley Shephard is Director of Expedition Operations at Polar Latitudes, a polar expedition company that provides travelers to Antarctica with a “best in class” experience by working with the best guides, naturalists, and expedition crew members. Their polar vessels include Hebridean Sky & Island Sky which possess a level of comfort and safety unmatched in polar waters. Here Hayley answers a few questions from our team.
Q: You were Silver Medalist in the prestigious Wanderlust World Guide Awards in 2017, which is an incredible achievement. In your opinion, what makes a great guide?
A: To be a good guide we need to be client focused and genuinely interested in who our guests are. This means being an active listener, to have empathy and compassion and in general care about their comfort and well-being as well as helping make their trip of a lifetime (like coming to Antarctica) come true. It is important that guests feel safe when in our care, therefore as a guide we need to be competent and confident in all what we do, no matter what the environment or situation. We need to be knowledgeable and at the same time, be able to share information with our guests in a way that shows our genuine passion for the area and wildlife. A great guide has concern for the environment, and they answer questions as though it is the first time they have been asked that question. Finally, a good sense of humour goes a long way.
Why should people visit Antarctica sooner than later?
The tourism industry in Antarctica is growing rather rapidly; more people on bigger ships putting additional pressure on the land and wildlife. We as an industry are regulating ourselves and our activities to lessen the pressure but still, it is forever changing. After taking a voyage to Antarctica, it is important that people leave with more than just a tick off their bucket list. It is there duty to see Antarctica for themselves, and by default become an Ambassador and be the voice this fragile and treasured Continent deserves. The sooner the better, as Antarctica needs more voices.
For many people, the possibility to partake in a trip to Antarctica is a “dream come true”. What does Polar Latitudes do to ensure these high expectations are fulfilled?
PL are one of the few companies who still operate a smaller ship 100 to 110 passengers. This enables us to spend more time soaking in the beauty of a variety of locations where we walk amongst the penguins and zodiac cruise around ice floes where seals snooze and whales forage.
We only hire true professionals, who ultimately are there to show you the best Antarctica has to offer but at the same time doing so while also caring for the environment. We genuinely get a kick out of seeing our guests transform when their breath is taken away by the splendour and beauty of the frozen landscape. We want you to be changed after your journey with us to Antarctica.
There are a number of operators in the market now. How difficult is it for Polar Latitudes to differentiate themselves as a company?
I have worked for a number of different companies and to be honest, from my perspective we are one of the best. We are not in the travel business we are in the people business which means we care about our guests and go that extra mile to make sure they are having a trip of a lifetime.
Even though all our staff are customer oriented and are there for the needs of our guests, we have a staff person completely dedicated to the care and attention of our guests; the Passenger Service Manager.
We are one of the very first companies to initiate a Citizen Science program which enables passengers to take part in actual science and assisting real scientists. It is rewarding for passengers to be so hands on and feel like they have contributed.
Also, as a company we are a member of the Polar Tourism Guide Association which we utilize and have access to training and assessment, therefore we are operating at the highest level of industry standard in skills and knowledge.
What is your favourite Polar Latitudes itinerary and why?
I love all of our itineraries because they are all unique in their own special way. The Falkland-South-Georgia-Antarctica itinerary offers such a variety of landscapes and wildlife which are so different from the other. The abundance of wildlife in South Georgia is absolutely unbelievable.
The Whale Science voyage gives passengers an opportunity to experience the Antarctica Peninsula in depth, spending as much time as possible with some of the largest animals on the planet. People have the opportunity to observe some of the most renowned whale experts in action, in addition to assisting them with some of their data gathering. It is truly unique. Last season, the BBC took an interest in this voyage as well, filming for the series BBC BLUE PLANET LIVE.
Jamie McPherson is a wildlife documentary cameraman, producer and director and has worked on may landmark series and films including The Hunt, Planet Earth and most recently Netflix’ Our Planet. He reviews his trusted pair of Leica binoculars for Wildfoot travel notes.
I have been lucky enough to own a pair of Leica binoculars since the age of 20 and they are a vital piece of kit for my work. I’m a wildlife cameraman, but the first step in filming any animal is to find it in the first place, so I spend hours searching for wildlife in a variety of environments all over the world. My first pair of binoculars were the Leica Ultravid 8×32, which were fantastic as a lightweight option with excellent image clarity. I think they would have lasted forever as they were really well made and tough but sadly, they were the victim of an incident with a polar bear and are now sitting under the sea ice in the arctic.
I replaced my lost pair of binoculars with the Ultravid 10×42 which gives me slightly more magnification but are still lightweight and robust. Although I have added the Leica floating carry strap to this pair to ensure that they remain on the surface!
I’ve used my binoculars to find everything from polar bears in the Arctic to wild dogs in Africa, tigers in India and Orca in the Antarctic; last year they travelled with me to six continents. For anyone looking to travel to see wildlife, binoculars are an essential accessory that can make a substantial difference to the holiday experience.
At £2,000 the Leica Ultravid HD-Plus 10×42 may be expensive but it’s an investment worth making as they will hopefully be with you for life…As long as you don’t have a run in with a Polar Bear!
To follow Jamie and his expeditions around the world go to @JamieMcPherson on twitter and Byjamiemcpherson on Instagram or visit www.jamiemcpherson.com
African Bush Camps Partners With ‘How Many Elephants’ To Raise Awareness Of The African Elephant Crisis
African Bush Camps has joined forces with How Many Elephants to support their annual talk held at the prestigious Royal Geographical Society in London on 6th June. This years talk ‘On the Front Line’ offers an evening of adventure with inspirational speakers from the front line of conservation in Africa.
As a conservation driven organization African Bush Camps promote and influence travel to Africa on a global scale while operating with an environmentally sustainable footprint. Employing an ethos that strives to empower local communities in the areas in which they operate, a strong focus on conservation is at the heart of their operation.
Holly will be sharing her adventurous tales of fundraising from the summit of Everest to immersing herself with the Black Mambas, an all-female front line anti-poaching team in South Africa. Holly founded ‘How Many Elephants’, a design-led campaign, to inspire and educate a global audience about the impacts of the elephant ivory trade. To date, she has raised over £300k for charity. More at: www.hollybudge.com
Headline Speaker: Dr. Niall McCann National Geographic Explorer | Conservationist | Biologist
Niall is the Director of Conservation for National Park Rescue, a direct-action conservation organisation that focuses on preventing the slaughter of elephants, rhinos and lions in sub-Saharan Africa. Niall’s adventures have been covered in the media for many years. He presented the award-winning documentary Lost in the Amazon, and two seasons of the multi award-winning Biggest and Baddest. More at: www.niallmccann.com
Bonus Speaker: Beks Ndlovu Professional Guide | Founder of African Bush Camps
Through African Bush Camps and their foundation, Beks became not only a tour operator but a social entrepreneur and he is proving to be one of the most enterprising and inspiring players in the Tourism Industry today, one who continues to promote and influence travel to Africa on a global scale. More at: www.africanbushcamps.com
There will be a short talk by Gavin Bowyer, a trauma & orthopaedic surgeon with a passion for photography which has taken him around the globe. He has sought ways to support charities through his photography to raise awareness of welfare and conservation issues. Gavin’s monochrome elephant prints along with award-winning sand artist, Nancy Tschetner’s exclusive elephant-inspired paintings will be auctioned on the night.
All proceeds from the evening will go to the How Many Elephants Campaign which supports National Park Rescue and Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust in Zimbabwe, and the Black Mambas in South Africa.
For our VIP ticket holders, there will be pink champagne kindly sponsored by Waud Wines, alongside artisan canapes in the iconic Map Room, with ample opportunity to mingle with the speakers. Don’t delay as these tickets are limited.
“An impactful campaign which highlights the need to end the killing of Africa’s elephants by reducing the demand for ivory.” Tusk
About How Many Elephants:
The ‘How Many Elephants’ Campaign is using design as a powerful visual communication tool to raise global awareness of the devastating impacts of the African elephant crisis. Few people know that 96 African elephants are poached each day for their ivory. At this astonishing rate they will be extinct in the wild within a decade.
The multi award-winning, design-led campaign is hard-hitting in the way it showcases 35,000 elephant silhouettes, the current annual poaching rate in Africa, in a striking exhibition and also on Instagram – – launched on January 1st 2019. Every day for a year, a square of 96 elephants is posted depicting the daily poaching rate to show the sheer scale of the poaching crisis. Gruesome images of mutilated elephants have been purposely avoided. To actually see and connect with this data visually is highly impactful.
Holly immersed herself with the Black Mambas, an all-female, anti-poaching team in South Africa and documented her experiences with these role models on film. She comments: “It was a privilege to immerse myself with the Black Mambas to intimately learn what drives and motivates these pioneering women to pursue their multifaceted roles as protectors, educators and beacons of hope. Armed only with pepper spray and handcuffs, these women patrol hunting grounds of armed poachers who pose an imminent threat to the elephant species. They also strive to change attitudes towards the role of women in Africa and beyond. I have fundraised £9500 so far for the Black Mambas.”
Holly was quite literally on top of the world when she summited Mount Everest to raise awareness and funds for anti-poaching projects. To date, she has helped raise over £300k for a diverse range of charities through her adventures and charity work. As a double world record holding adventurer, Holly is the first woman to skydive Everest and race semi-wild horses 1000 kms across Mongolia in just nine days. “Holly Budge is inspiring and determined to save the elephants being targeted by poachers.” BBC News
About African Bush Camps
African Bush Camps is a private, owner-run African-based safari company that speaks to the art of service and offers you an authentic safari experience in the untamed African wilderness. Focused on your experience as our guest, our professional guides and nature enthusiasts will be on hand to ensure your journey with African Bush Camps is the very best safari experience imaginable. More info at: www.africanbushcamps.com
Date: June 6th 2019. 6.30pm-10pm Venue: Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers), 1 Kensington Gore, London. SW7 2AR Tickets: VIP: £75 Talk Only: £25. Standard prices: VIP: £85 and talk only: £30