South African Airways has great legroom

Row of pink, green and yellow town houses
Bo-Kaap neighborhood in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Barry Haynes. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Flights to Africa can be long, but they don’t have to be uncomfortable. Condé Nast Traveller reports that South African Airways provides the second most legroom in the world at an average of 33.5 inches.

South African Airways flies not only to its namesake but also to Namibia and Zimbabwe. It’s a great choice when you’re planning a safari to southern Africa.

Cape Town is among South African Airways’ most popular destinations, and for good reason. On the coast, it’s a great place to start a land-and-sea safari, introducing you to penguins, seals, and other creatures you wouldn’t see inland. Spending a day or two there can also help you adjust to the time difference before you embark to the wilds, and also introduce you to the country’s diverse and vibrant cultures.

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Featured Organization: Giraffe Centre, Kenya

Photo courtesy of the Giraffe Centre
Photo courtesy of the Giraffe Centre

Though giraffes aren’t considered endangered, their numbers have decreased in recent years and some subspecies—like the Rothschild giraffe in Kenya and Uganda—have only a few hundred members.

To help the endangered Rothschild giraffe, African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya was founded in 1979 by the late Jock and Betty Leslie-Melvile. A Kenyan citizen, Jock wanted to create an educational institution in conjunction while also actively increasing the Rothschild’s population.

To that end, the new organization opened the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi. Still going strong, the center educates thousands of local school children each year about their nation’s natural heritage, raising a new generation of Kenyan conservationists. It also breeds, rehabilitates and releases Rothschilds to protected wildlife areas in various parts of Kenya.

When AFEW started, only 120 Rothschild giraffes lived in the wild. Through breeding and conservation, the Giraffe Centre has helped raise this number to 300 giraffes in five groups across Kenya.

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Explore humanity’s roots in South Africa

Maropeng Visitor Centre. Image (c) Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site
Maropeng Visitor Centre. Image (c) Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site

In the world of archaeology, one of the most exciting spots on the planet is the Cradle of Humankind. Less than an hour’s drive outside Johannesburg, South Africa, this 180-square-mile complex of limestone caves that is one of the most prolific sources of human fossils in the world. Archaeologists have found the remains of numerous hominins, early humans who are close relatives of modern humans, with some fossils dating back as far as 3.5 million years.

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Conservation Success Stories from Tanzania and Mozambique

Cyligramma fluctuosa by Tapio Kaisla
Cyligramma fluctuosa moth at Amani Nature Preserve. Photo by Tapio Kaisla. Used with permission through a Creative Commons License.

While sad stories about poaching often dominate the conversation about African wildlife, there’s been wonderful news coming lately from Tanzania and Mozambique.

Tanzania’s authorities recently arrested crime boss Boniface Matthew Mariango, who allegedly manages 15 poaching and ivory-trafficking syndicates. They also arrested a large-scale ivory smuggler based in Dar Es Salaam. Catching such high-level criminals is much more effective than arresting individual poachers at the local level, helping to staunch the demand for ivory and other poached products.

For more good news, you can read or watch this CNN segment on Tanzanians who transformed a gold mine into a biodiversity hotspot. Amani Nature Reserve opened in 1997 as the country’s first nature reserve. It’s a lesser-known safari destination with relatively few visitors. It rewards those who go off the beaten path with a chance to see many rare butterflies, birds, reptiles, flora and fauna that haven’t been found elsewhere in the world.

Mozambique has a similar success story.

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