- The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world
- It is 277 miles long and, at its widest, 18 miles across.
- At its narrowest point, the canyon is around 550 metres across
- It is NOT the deepest or longest canyon in the world. The Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in Tibet plummets to a depth of 17,567 feet, making it more than 2-miles deeper than the Grand. The Tibetan canyon is also about 30 miles longer than the USA’s Grand Canyon.
- An expedition in 1871 led by John Wesley Powell lead to the first reliable maps of the Colorado River being created. Powell is also responsible for coining the name we use today – the Grand Canyon
- The Grand Canyon National Park was established in 1919
- The Gran Canyon is host to a vast array of wildlife. 373 species of bird call the Grand Canyon home along with 91 different mammals and 58 species of amphibians and reptiles
- Three threatened species survive in the Grand Canyon. The Mexican Spotted Owl, The Yellow-Billed Cuckoo and The Desert Tortoise.
- There are thought to be around 1,000 caves in the canyon, but only 335 have been recorded. Only one of these caves is open to the public – the Cave of the Domes on Horseshoe Mesa.
- The Grand Canyon National Park is home to six species of rattlesnakes including the Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnake. The most common of the rattlesnakes in the park, the snake’s striking pink colour allows it to blend in seamlessly with the canyon’s rocks.
- Official records state that there has only ever been one fatal snake bite in the history of canyon.
Wildfoot Travel Ambassador Gay Walker took a long awaited trip to Africa recently, bound initially for the stunning Safari destination of Camp Moremi.
Here, in our latest ‘Traveller’s Tale’, Gay give us a first hand account of her adventure along with some stunning photographs.
Thank you again for putting together a trip to Africa that was so much more than we could ever have imagined. It was the best vacation we’ve ever had (and we didn’t think we would ever top Switzerland!), and we’re already dreaming of a return. Our favorite of the safari camps was Camp Moremi, due to the setting, the fabulous camp staff, and most notably, due to our guide, Aaron.
Our last evening at Moremi, we saw three leopards within 30 minutes (photographing leopards is difficult since they blend so well with their surroundings . I won’t include our sorry attempts with iPhones and a Nikon CoolPix camera. I’m sure the other couple in our vehicle did better with their fancy rented set-up). We didn’t radio in one of the leopards because it was “Grandpa” — the oldest leopard in the area. He was sound asleep on the ground in the tall grasses, and could easily have been injured if he wasn’t spotted. (He must have been deaf because he didn’t seem at all aware that we were there.) Aaron had spotted his tracks.
Leopard spotting was followed by sundowners by the water, in the company of elephants, who were just far enough away to be safe.
We would have been satisfied with our day if it ended there, but it didn’t. On the way back to camp, we first passed a giraffe who gave us a picture-perfect pose in the evening light and held it long enough for us to take his photo.
Then, we saw our first wild dogs of the trip — and not just running in the distance. They were right next to our truck. First, they stood staring at something, and then they took off at a run, moving right past us. Then, we saw what had spooked them: they had been standing between a herd of elephants and the elephants’ watering hole. It was a sight to see! (No photo of the elephants, sadly. Once the dogs passed, Aaron was bouncing us along the roads at Mach speed to make it back to the camp gate by curfew. We made it, but with just about 30 seconds to spare.)
The best day of the entire trip, though, was our final day at Camp Moremi, in the few hours before we left for the Chobe Game Lodge. A pair of lions, whom the guides believed to be brothers, had killed a cape buffalo right outside the camp gate two nights before and had kept watch over their kill. One of the lions was having seconds.
We were among several vehicles watching when our guide spotted leopard tracks out of the corner of his eye. We followed them and found a female leopard hiding within 50 meters of the lion, watching and waiting. When she saw us, she used our vehicle as cover to move closer.
The drama got even better when a wild dog, intent on chasing an impala with his herd, stumbled upon the scene. He didn’t notice either the leopard (who certainly noticed him) nor the lion until he was almost on top of the lion. He yelped when he saw the lion, then abruptly changed course. There was no sign that he ever saw the leopard.
When the lion finished eating, he moved off to take a nap, and the leopard cautiously moved in. She took a few bites, then freed what looked like a piece of the liver that she ran off with before she got caught, which was probably smart, since the other lion could have returned at any time.
This last photo is us, at Victoria Falls, just after we swam in the Devil’s Pool. We’re not big selfie people, so we don’t have a lot of photos of the two of us.
In an exciting new development at Wildfoot Travel, we’ve teamed up with top photographer John Beatty, to bring you a new kind of adventure travel experience.
John is a highly accomplished professional photographer and public speaker with a life-long passion for adventure travel and wildlife. For thirty years, John has traveled to remotest corners of the world, taking stunning photographs and gathering jaw dropping stories along the way.
From the biting cold of Antarctica to the searing heat of the Kalahari, John has documented the fascinating people and beautiful wildlife in many of the most isolated locations on the planet.
With a particular passion for dramatic landscapes, carved and shaped by the hand of time, John is drawn to wild places and the ferocious extremes mother nature creates there. Places and conditions most would go out of their way to avoid.
In the coming year, working with Wildfoot Travel, John will be leading a series of small groups on bespoke adventures to some of his favourite photographic locations round the world.
With each trip’s itinerary carefully designed by John himself, to maximise the richness of the adventure, they will use handpicked accommodation and methods of travel to ensure every moment of the trip adds to the experience. This ambitious series of adventures will launch with a trip to experience the hidden gems of the Grand Canyon, already in planning for September 2021.
Each one of these is the trip of a lifetime and an unrivalled opportunity to further your knowledge and experience. Which is precisely why they will be highly sought after.
So this is your chance to be among the first few to find out about each new adventure as soon it is added to John’s list.
If you would like to receive details of these unique wildlife-travel adventures the moment they are released, contact e-mail Simon Rowland on [email protected] or call Simon on 0800 195 3385 and we’ll get in touch with you as soon as each special event is launched.
An incredible wildlife adventure taking in five continents over four months.
We have launched a brand new wildlife adventure for 2020, inspired by the legendary natural historian Sir David Attenborough.
If you’re a fan of the iconic documentary makers’ work you’ll definitely want to find out more about our incredible new itinerary, focusing on the fascinating destinations and wildlife featured across the popular documentaries.
This brand new itinerary for 2020 combines a selection of our greatest wildlife adventures across five different continents to take in some of the most fascinating scenery and species which have been the star of the show in Attenborough’s recent works.
Starting in Antarctica in February and ending in the Arctic in June, passing through South America, Africa, and Asia along the way, this intrepid itinerary offers the chance to see everything from pumas to polar bears, painted wolves and penguins.
Read the full itinerary below.
Antarctica – February 2020 (14 Nights)
Our intrepid wildlife itinerary begins in Antarctica with an epic 14-night polar adventure in the Falklands. Our Falklands Birds and Wildlife tour takes in the remote wilderness of the Falkland Islands, offering the opportunity to see the most spectacular wildlife this region has to offer, including albatross, 5 different species of penguin, seals, dolphins, orcas and a myriad of birdlife – many of which have played a star part in Attenborough’s documentaries.
Costa Rica – March 2020 (11 nights)
The tour continues to Costa Rica with our incredible 11-night scuba diving experience in the Coco Islands. This underwater adventure offers the chance to explore one of the most impressive diving destinations in the world, home to over 300 different species of fish. Other fascinating creatures to witness here include turtles, dolphins and sailfish – all which have featured in Attenborough’s documentaries.
Ecuador – March 2020 (9 Nights)
The next leg of the tour is our 9-night Galapagos adventure, which takes in the west, central and east islands. The wildlife journey includes the opportunity to see the largest colony of marine iguanas on Fernandina Islands, a visit to a nesting site for the flightless cormorant on Isabela Island and pelican spotting on Rabida Island.
Argentina – March/April 2020 (11 Nights)
Next up is Argentina, for our brand new Patagonia, Pumas and Glaciers tour. This 11-day tour offers the chance to see pumas in the wild in the very location where Attenborough filmed his unforgettable Seven Worlds One Planet episode. This thrilling tour also includes a visit to Los Glaciares National Park and a hike along the Southern Glacier.
Brazil – April 2020 (11 Nights)
Zimbabwe – April 2020 (6 Nights)
Concluding our time in South America, we head to Brazil for our Amazon, Pantanal and Savannah tour. This trip offers a unique opportunity to see the maned wolf in the wild, as well as the jaguars and anteaters which have featured in Attenborough’s documentaries. This tour includes accommodation in eco-lodges set among the incredible nature, as you visit each of these three fascinating areas of varied terrain.
Our first Africa leg of this itinerary is in Zimbabwe, where you can visit the Mana Pools National Park which was featured in Attenborough’s Dynasties documentary. This 7-day Super Sensory Safari is a first of its kind and provides a truly immersive safari experience, with activities specifically designed to engage all of the senses, including a walking safari led by expert professional guides.
Botswana – April/May 2020 (12 Nights)
The second African safari stop is in Botswana where you can see the beauty of the African elephants in the wild at Chobe Riverfront, home to the largest density of African elephants. This Wild Botswana tour also visits Okavango Delta, known as one of the best destinations in all of Africa for wildlife lovers.
India – May/June 2020 (12 Nights)
In Asia, take in our Wildlife Special focusing on leopards, tigers and rhinos. This 12-night tour includes tiger viewing in two of India’s best tiger reserves and a safari in Kaziranga Park – home to the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinoceros.
Arctic – June 2020 (10 Nights)
This magnificent wildlife itinerary ends in the Arctic with our Introduction to Spitsbergen tour. This 10-night polar expedition will encounter polar bears, arctic foxes, whales and walruses in the wild as you explore the very best of what Spitsbergen has to offer.