Photo series: Prints for wildlife

In 2020, Dutch and Austrian photographer Pie Aerts and Marion Payr created Prints for Wildlife, a print sale of some of the most epic wildlife shots in the world.

The project was a response to the global pandemic, which had a devastating effect on wildlife, conservation projects, tourism and communities across Africa. The first two instalments of Print for Wildlife raised more than US $1.75 million dollars for conservation non-profit organisation African Parks. To get lost, the project is not only a great way to support a terrific cause, but a fantastic excuse to get an unbelievable print of an animal into your home.

We’ve selected ten of our favourites below – check them out:

The fundraiser sees internationally renowned wildlife photographers donating one of their photos to be sold for a limited time at just $100. So far, more than 15,000 wildlife prints have been sold and delivered to wildlife lovers around the world.

Prints for Wildlife’s third outing will launch on August 28, 2022, with limited numbers of prints available for $100 from over 130 photographers, including Beverley Joubert, Drew Doggett, Karim Illya, Ami Vitale, Joachim Schmeisser, Will Burrard-Lucas, Marsel van Oosten and Gaël Ruboneka Vande weghe. No less than 100 per cent of profits go to African Parks, who currently manage 20 parks in 11 countries, including Kafue (Zambia), Akagera (Rwanda) and Liwonde (Malawi) National Parks, on behalf of African governments for the benefit of local communities and wildlife, the largest and most ecologically diverse portfolio of protected areas in Africa under rehabilitation by any one organisation.

“The incredible success of Prints for Wildlife came as a much-needed reminder that, even in times of crisis, humanity can come together to spread hope and do good for our planet,” says Marion Payr. “Wildlife conservation, protecting valuable biomes and supporting communities has now found a place in the hearts and, with the stunning art of all the generous photographers, on the walls of thousands of homes across the globe.”

There are some legitimately crazy shots in this collection – just check the gallery above. If this doesn’t make you want to board a plane and head straight to Africa, then we’re not sure what will.

Gorgeous George: Appropriately named jazz-luxury in Cape Town

Forget King George or George Costanza – there’s a new George in town….Cape Town, that is.

Centrally located in the upmarket St Georges Mall, Gorgeous George has its own inimitable style that sets it apart from other cool stays, a style that could best be described as a kind of chic, jazz luxury.

The focal point is the leafy rooftop that looks out over a hip neighbourhood, with sun beds surrounding a gorgeous (there’s no other way of saying it) wading pool.

The pool is perfect for pool parties, bikini-clad influencers, people that tan, and people looking to soothe their muscles after a big day climbing Table Mountain or in Cape Town’s renowned surf.

There’s a retro-style radio in each room and funky nude artwork adorns the walls in most rooms and corridors, pleasing both sophisticated connoisseurs and pervvy people. There’s a jazz bar on level one that heaves with stylish people (but closes quite early).

But it’s the rooftop that is the highlight. Get there as the sun rises, and get the braaied boerewors – little South African sausages that pack a heap of punch in a small package. Just like George.

Miracle Maker

“Sheikh Hussein guides anyone who calls his name.” So says the Arabic inscription atop the Sheikh’s tomb, deep in the Bale Mountains National Park in the Horn of Africa. On two occasions each year tens of thousands of pilgrims – most belonging to Ethiopia’s Oromo ethnic group – flock to this shrine in the remote village of Dirre Sheikh Hussein to celebrate the man they credit with introducing Islam to southern Ethiopia almost a thousand years ago.

Over the course of several days, pilgrims pay homage to the man they revere for performing many miracles. They fall into trances, sing, dance, laugh and cry in fervour and mix prayers to Allah with pre-Islamic rites. According to Sheikh Kadir, the chief of the village and a descendant of Sheikh Hussein, religious fundamentalists who disagree with the blending of ancient local and newer Islamic traditions are a threat to the pilgrims. Some have destroyed the holy tombs of saints in surrounding mountains, but despite their intimidation they have not yet disrupted this celebration.

Photography by Boris Joseph

Tribal Connections

For the past nine years I have been travelling to the northern border of Namibia to visit Himba villages. Originally I went to the area of Epupa and my partner and I were invited to stay in a village. That evening one of the children passed away. Wanting to give the family some space, we left in the middle of the night. Later, when we learned more of the Himba’s culture in regards to death, we felt compelled to return.

Our return to the village was welcomed with open arms and led to a fascinating experience. At the end of that stay we were initiated into the village, and I return on an annual basis.

Each year I spend at least two weeks in the village, photographing the people and learning about their culture. I always bring the images from my previous trip, which cause a stir in the village and provide me with a lot of freedom.

I now run photographic tours to share my relationship and experiences with others. These tours allow the Himba culture to be experienced, while also providing the tribe with things that they need for their daily traditional lives, and it shows them they have an amazing culture worth hanging on to.

Photography by Ben McRae

Bike like an Egyptian

If you’re a motorist with a thirst for adventure, this might just be the ultimate.

The Cross Egypt Challenge, back this year after a COVID enforced cancellation in 2020, is arguably the best way to see the North African country beyond just the pyramids.

Spanning 2400km, the challenge is a 9-day motorcycle and scooter rally open to professional and amateur motorists alike.

The route starts in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, heading south to the capital, Cairo, before moving through the Western desert. It also takes in the Nile Valley, and Luxor, the capital of ancient Egypt and the largest open-air museum in the world. // 7 – 16 October 2021

Luxury Desert Tent in Namibia

Camping sure looks different these days. And we definitely like the look of this place.

When staying at Zannier Hotel’s lodge in Sonop, at the heart of the Namib desert, you can expect the rudimentary, naturistic pleasures that come with a camping trip in such a beautiful location. You can also expect otherworldly luxury, like an outdoor cinema that overlooks a heated infinity pool backing onto an extraordinary panoramic desert landscape.

There are only ten tents, minimising noise and clutter and maximising attention to detail in the 1920s British colonial base styled living spaces. The entire lodge is entirely powered by solar, which, as you’d expect, isn’t much of an issue in the Namib Desert.

The lodge covers 5,600 hectares of private reserve, where you might see oryxes, brown hyenas, rabbits, foxes, jackals, kudus and leopards roam free as you soak in your tent’s bath with a beer.

During the day, there are helicopter trips over the Sossusvlei Desert and hiking and biking trails to enjoy, and when you get home, you can sit and watch Leonardo DiCaprio strut his stuff on the big screen*.

*Watching Leo not a requirement but rather a strong statistical chance.

Hot 5 Balloon Rides

Dunes ahoy
Namib Desert, Namibia

Arid scrubland, dramatic dunes, otherworldly expanses of red sand and mountainous outcrops are all part of the Namib Desert – the world’s oldest. Operating for more than 25 years, Namib Sky Balloon Safaris is a family-run business helping intrepid visitors see regions of the Namib-Naukluft National Park that are otherwise off-limits to the public. Flights leave at the crack of dawn, so you’re high in the sky as the sun’s first rays illuminate the ochre dunes. After an hour of drifting with the wind, the experienced pilots bring you back to the ground for a sumptuous champagne breakfast. In stark contrast to the scorched surroundings, the decadent buffet of cured meats, cheeses and fresh fruit is set on a crisp tablecloth. A one-hour flight with Namib Sky Balloon Safaris costs about AU$585.

Historic highs
Aosta Valley, Italy

Next-door neighbour to Switzerland and France, the rugged Aosta Valley is the most sparsely populated of all of Italy’s regions. Here, instead, Mother Nature reigns supreme. Strewn with ragged mountains, silver fir trees and vistas largely unblemished by humans, this Alpine landscape is a veritable playground for cool climate fans. To get better acquainted with Europe’s highest peaks, including Mont Blanc among others, take to the skies. With more than 30 years’ experience under their belts, the team at Charbonnier Mongolfiere will expertly glide you past these famed pinnacles. Keep your eyes peeled for the valley’s wildlife as you rise and descend, but when you’re up high it’s just you, your basket and the mountains. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these balloons soar higher than any other on the continent, reaching between 1800 and 3050 metres. A one-hour ride with Charbonnier Mongolfiere starts at AU$277.

Urban cruise
Melbourne, Australia

There aren’t many major cities in the world that you can survey from a hot air balloon. Luckily, Melbourne is an exception, and jaunts with award-winning Global Ballooning Australia take you over the world’s most liveable city. The company encourages guests to get involved in everything balloon-related (from inflation to deflation), as well as providing in-flight commentary. Prepare to see Melbourne’s icons from a whole new perspective. Float above the hallowed turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, admire the green lung that is the Royal Botanic Gardens, spot the towering spire of the Arts Centre and follow the Yarra River that snakes into the heart of the CBD, from where you can see all the way to Port Phillip Bay. The balloon will rise before the sun, offering views of skyscrapers twinkling in the dark as the city awakens. Flights are carbon neutral and a one-hour trip costs AU$440, or $470 with a champagne breakfast.

Jungle flight
Alajuela, Costa Rica

Existing in droves, canopy walks on hanging bridges are one of the more vanilla ways to spy on Costa Rica’s resident flora and fauna. For something a little more exceptional, fire up the burners and set sail over the cloud forest canopy on one of Serendipity Adventures’ scenic flights. The operator’s launch site is located close to the mighty Arenal Volcano, which is notorious for hiding its crest above a blanket of clouds. By balloon you’ll see parts of this active behemoth that remain out of view for many visitors. The real drawcard, however, is the opportunity to cast your eyes over the country’s rich landscapes – some of the most biodiverse on the planet. You’ll fly low over small rivers, vast fields and steaming forests that bristle with monkeys, iguanas and all kinds of feathered friends. A one-hour flight with Serendipity Adventures Costa Rica leads in from around AU$513.

Holy views
Pushkar, India

Known as the Rose Garden of Rajasthan, Pushkar is one of the most sacred sites for devout Hindus in India, and one of the country’s oldest cities. The best time to visit is during the annual Pushkar Fair, a congregation of almost half a million pilgrims and merchants with tens of thousands of bejewelled camels in tow. While cultural performances, camel beauty contests and cattle races thrum on the ground hot air balloons take to the sky. Venture 365 metres into the air at sunrise to gaze over the ships of the desert crawling across the ground like ants returning to a nest. From the basket you’ll get an eyeful of the city’s holy lake and Hindu devotees perched on stone ghats (steps) leading down to the water. Countless temples speckle the land, but none more prominently than the famous Brahma Temple, dedicated to the creator of the universe, Lord Brahma. As the sun spills golden light across Pushkar the experience is almost spiritual. A one-hour balloon trip with Adventure Nation starts at AU$235.

Mozambique’s chill zone

Quirimbas Archipelago is the ideal chill location. You can nap beneath a palm trees between meals and plunge into the water, pull dinner from the ocean or if you are the active type you take the windsurfer for a spin or snokel.

Do all this and more on the Quirimbas Archipelago, one of the few parts of the earth where the marine environment remains largely untouched by human hands.

Lying just off the coast of Mozambique, the archipelago consists of 12 major islands, about 20 smaller outcrops and any number of sandbar beaches. One of the cultural gems is Ibo Island, with its strong Arab and Portuguese influences. Stay at Ibo Island Lodge, where there are just 14 rooms and a private sandbar beach for complete separation from the rest of the world – if only for a few hours.

For divers, this is a must-visit. Shallow sites swarming with tropical life are suitable for newcomers, while those with a few stamps in their logbooks will want to hit the staggeringly beautiful drop-offs. One popular spot is the southern tip of Matemo Island, where you can see dolphins, turtles, groupers and stingrays in the drift

Artsy digs in Kenya

What was once the home of a local artist is now an intimate boutique hotel. The property has just eight bedrooms spread across two buildings set on Nairobi’s fringe, close to David Sheldrick’s elephant orphanage.

Each room is minimalistic and charming and features the former artist owner’s  eclectic mix of tribal and worldly accessories and artworks lining the wall, and is furnished in rustic wood and leather hide. But best of all, this intimate property in the tranquil surroundings of Nairobi’s Langata suburb is just around the corner from your new long-necked friends at the Giraffe Centre and the orphaned elephants and rhinos of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

There are also plenty of other critters in your own backyard at OneFortyEight, from monkeys with a taste for Ferrero Rocher, to peacocks, warthogs and parrots. It’s a veritable zoo without walls.

Top 5 Overland Rallies

Put your foot to the floor
Southern Africa

SUV, RV, scooter, 1970s Volkswagen Beetle – anything goes during the annual Put Foot Rally. And entrants can expect the same loosey-goosey approach when it comes to almost every element of the race, which the coordinators declare is definitely “not a race”. A lack of organisation, resources and a general mentality of insouciance is held in high regard on this “roughly, sort of, in the region of 8000-kilometre” rally, and responsibility for organising the route, accommodation, food and insurance rests with you. Meander through six southern African nations – South Africa (Cape Town is the starting point), Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique – stopping at six different checkpoints for six different parties in 19 days.

Rove on rickshaws

You’re standing at the start line of the Rickshaw Run, 3,500 kilometres of India stretching out before you and all you have to traverse it is a three-wheeled, seven-horsepower rickshaw that is really just a glorified lawn mower. At least your trusty steed looks fly: participants design their pimped-out ride from the comfort of their own home, arriving on the subcontinent to be greeted by a freshly painted set of wheels. You’ll race with two pals for two weeks, crossing paths with other like-minded (read: non compos mentis) travellers, as you putter, slowly, across the country. Between Cochin, in India’s tropical southern state of Kerala, and Jaisalmer, a city almost encroached by desert in the northern state of Rajasthan, riders can choose their own adventure by following the ‘unroute’, i.e. making it up entirely as they go.


Time warp

Unlike the infamous Mille Miglia (Thousand Miles) endurance race that was banned in the 1950s following a particularly devastating crash, the annual amateur re-enactment – with the same name – doesn’t slap down a thrill a minute. What it does boast, however, is one of the most beautiful rally routes in the world, traversing a course of cobbled streets, Tuscan hills and lofty mountain passes. The event draws thousands of spectators each year, all of whom share a love of classic cars: only models that participated in the original races – held between 1927 and 1957 – are welcome to enter. Even so, more than 400 teams cruise in with their vintage rides from all corners of the globe. While the route varies slightly each year, these ancient engines always rev to life during May in Brescia, at the foothills of the Alps, where motor races have been held for more than a hundred years. If you don’t happen to own a 1951 Jaguar XK120 or a 1927 Bugatti T40, make for one of the checkpoints and watch these charming beauties roll by.

Outback assembly

Negotiate narrow dirt roads, career around snowy alpine passes and wobble over water crossings in deep rainforest – all from the seat of a diminutive 105cc Honda motorcycle. Alongside 50 other mavericks who have a taste for the open road you’ll tackle 3,500 kilometres of sand, gravel and dust on the Postie Bike Challenge, although mercifully you’ll also have a full support team behind you if (and when) things get a little hairy. After each day spent with wind whipping your face and Australia’s rugged landscapes sailing by, you’ll pitch a tent in rodeo grounds before recounting the events of the past 24 hours with your new pals over a catered dinner. This 10-day outback odyssey traces a different route every year, and has raised more than AU$1 million for charity since its inception in 2002. Rustle up the AU$5,650 entry fee and experience a two-wheeled endurance event like no other.

Ice rider

Quite possibly the most extreme adventure since Shackleton’s polar expeditions, the Ice Run sees motorbike riders careening across a frozen landscape in the depths of Russia’s winter. Form your own team of two and hop aboard a Ural motorcycle to traverse the world’s largest, deepest and oldest lake – a body of water so vast that it’s often mistaken for a sea – in temperatures that can reach –27°C. Three days of training preps bikers for the Siberian slogathon. Sharp gusts of 20 different winds can abruptly materialise, threatening to freeze your face; snow is pockmarked with patches of polished ice, creating a veritable skating rink; and the barren landscape, almost entirely devoid of landmarks, means riders have almost no sense of perspective. Come the big ride, the frosty beauty of Lake Baikal will take your breath away – if the freezing temperatures haven’t already – while the camaraderie will warm your heart, even if every other part of your body is frozen. The entry fee is AU$6,250 per duo, which gets you a bike and all your training. Competitors are also encouraged to raise at least AU$850 for the charity Cool Earth.