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World Lion Day

August 10th, 2016, by Sherwin Banda

Today we celebrate World Lion Day, and we here at African Travel are always happy to share some of favorite facts about one of the most famous members of “The Big Five”. The lion has forever been a symbol of strength, power and ferocity. They are also some of the most loyal and playful creatures you are likely to find on safari.

 

Here are 10 of our favorite facts about these beautiful creatures.

 

  1. African lions are the most social of all the big cats, they live together in “prides.”A pride usually consists of about 15 lions.
  2. Male lions defend the pride’s territory while females do most of the hunting. Despite this the males always eat first.
  3. These majestic cats are threatened by habitat loss. The lions is one of the most vulnerable on the IUCN Red List Of Threatened Species.
  4. The lion is now predominantly found in Africa, with one exception: some still inhabit Sasan-Gir National Park in India.
  5. You can hear a lion’s roar from as far as 5 miles away.
  6. A lion can run for short distances at speeds of up to 50 mph and leap as far as 36 feet.
  7. A good gauge of a male lion’s age is the darkness of his mane. The darker the mane, the older the lion.
  8. A lion’s heels don’t touch the ground when it walks.
  9. A lion may sleep up to 20 hours a day.
  10. Female lions in prides are sisters and live together for life. Their female cubs also stay with the pride, even after they’re grown, but male cubs venture out on their own once they reach maturity.

 

Looking to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat? Talk to our safari specialists about crafting your once-in-a-lifetime safari to Africa today.

Mrs, Beatrice Tollman's Recipes

July 28th, 2016, by

Mrs. Beatrice Tollman is the Founder and President of the award-winning Red Carnation Hotel Collection,  which includes three properties in South Africa: The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, The Oyster Box and Bushman’s Kloof. These properties are featured on many of our luxury South Africa itineraries.

Recently, Mrs. Bea Tollman was recognized by her peers in the hospitality industry with a 2016 Catey Lifetime Achievement Award for her lifelong commitment to outstanding service, luxury and quality. She is also renowned for her outstanding recipes—many of which are featured in her cookbook “A Life In Food”. These recipes have been perfected over the years and are now staples of the Red Carnation Hotel collection.

To celebrate Bea Tollman’s achievement, we decided to roll up our sleeves and make some of her most requested desserts: Meringue Layer Cake and Honeycomb Ice Cream.

  

Meringue Layer Cake

This is a favorite at the 5-Star Oyster Box Hotel in Durban South Africa and, after sampling it ourselves, it is easy to see why! This delicious and beautiful dish was a hit with all who tried it.

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 220g caster sugar, sieved
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Parchment paper

 

For the Filling

  • 2 egg whites
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 125g sweet chocolate, melted

Whisk the egg whites in a large clean bowl with an electric hand whisk on a low speed for 45 seconds until they are foaming. Switch to medium speed and whisk for a further 2 minutes, then turn the whisk to high speed until the whites are stiff. Still on high speed, slowly add the sugar one dessert spoon at a time. Spread the mixture onto prepared baking sheets in four 15 cm circles. Place in a pre-heated oven at 140°C and leave for 30 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave for a further 4 hours or overnight.

In the top of a double boiler, over hot but not boiling water, beat the egg whites for the filling until foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar, cocoa, butter and chocolate. When fully combined remove from the heat and leave to firm as it cools. When the filling is firm enough, make a tower of meringue layers with chocolate mix spread over each.

Make a latticework of 10 mm wide strips of parchment paper on top of the final chocolate spread layer on the cake and dust heavily with confectioners sugar. Remove the paper; the sugar will have etched an attractive design.

To enjoy at its peak, the meringue circles should be left to ripen for 24 hours under a glass dome or in a large plastic container, prior to adding the icing and serving.

 

Honeycomb Ice Cream


This divine and surprisingly easy dessert is the perfect summer treat and was the most fun to make (mostly due to sampling the recipe along the way).

Ingredients (Serves 8)

  • 1 cup (250 ml) corn syrup
  • 8 oz (250 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 quart (1 liter) premium vanilla ice cream

Dissolve the syrup, sugar and vinegar over a medium heat. Turn the heat up high and boil until the syrup turns into a light caramel color. Remove the pan off the stove and quickly stir in the baking soda. Then pour the mix into a baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper and greased with butter. Leave to cool and harden; do not refrigerate. Once hardened, this brittle and crunchy slab becomes your honeycomb base.

Slightly soften the vanilla ice cream in a chilled ceramic bowl. Carefully break the honeycomb slab into various sizes, none more than 1/2" square, and quickly fold half into the ice cream. Pour the ice cream into a desired ice cream mould or back into original ice cream container and freeze again. Keep the remaining honeycomb in an airtight container to add as a topping to the ice cream when serving.

We hope you enjoy making them as much as we did, and if you are looking to experience some world class cuisine on your next safari, ask our safari specialists about our South Africa Culinary & Wildlife Safari.

My Interview With Renowned Filmmaker & TreadRight Ambassador Céline Cousteau

July 20th, 2016, by Sherwin Banda

At African Travel, Inc. we are passionate about conservation and supporting the local communities that we visit. As part of the TTC family of brands, we believe that giving back to communities is as important as showcasing the beauty of Africa to our clients. Our commitment to conservation and sustainable tourism has only been further cemented after my recent visit to the Shamwari Game Reserve. The Shamwar Game Reserve is an example of successful sustainable tourism that is nothing short of inspiring.

This month Céline Cousteau and myself sat down to talk about her passion for the environment, along with her work as an ambassador for The TreadRight Foundation. The TreadRight Foundation, established by The Travel Corporation in 2008, is a not-for-profit working to ensure the environment and communities we visit remain vibrant for generations to come. 

 

Sherwin Banda: What inspires you to keep exploring this planet? 

Céline Cousteau: There is so much to be inspired by on this planet. I feel that being able to explore and gather stories, find their relevance for other people, and bring those stories back will always be the inspiration behind my travels. Travelling has the amazing ability to create a deeper appreciation of the interconnectedness of places and people. It also creates a better understanding of the impact that we have on the planet, not just as travelers but as global citizens.

Sherwin Banda: You are a renowned filmmaker and possess a beautiful gift for storytelling. How do you decide what stories are important to communicate with the world? 

Céline Cousteau: There are three big messages that give me the inspiration and energy to keep storytelling, and help me decide which stories I will tell through my films. The first is that I strive to live a life with purpose, and even at the hardest times, believing in what I am doing and be passionate about it keeps me going. If the story is something that I believe in, I want to pursue it and share it with the world. Secondly, I strive to inspire other people by being an example, which means finding the stories and people that are doing amazing things to make a difference on this planet, and bring attention to them, creating local ambassadors of travelers and guests alike. Even if the story I tell changes the life and actions of a single person, it matters. That is the third and probably most important message - every little bit matters. When I see the efforts of people around the world improving humanitarian or environmental situations, it gives me hope which is something I anticipate will resonate with people through my films and stories. 

Sherwin Banda: What’s your next adventure?

Céline Cousteau: This summer, we officially begin the inaugural session of The Céline Cousteau Film Fellowship, an academic leadership program I’ve created currently in partnership with the University of California, Santa Barbara. We’ll be traveling with four fellows on a documentary field expedition to Namibia and will be focusing on the human elements that impact wildlife conservation.

I’ll be following that up with time in South Africa visiting with some of our TreadRight Wildlife Initiative partners, looking to share their stories. This includes a visit to Bushmans Kloof, an important wilderness reserve that is also home to more than 130 sites of bush art paintings, some dating back as far as 10,000 years.

Sherwin Banda: What about the TreadRight Foundation resonated with you and convinced you to become its Ambassador? 

Céline Cousteau: I became a member of the TreadRight Steering Committee in 2012, helping to source and select the projects that TreadRight supports. From there, it was a very natural and organic next step to becoming the TreadRight Ambassador, as it allowed me to further support TreadRight by taking my storytelling abilities to help share the message about the foundation and their project partners’ work to travelers. This role really gives me an incredible outreach opportunity to tell stories to anyone that is paying attention to what travel companies are doing when it comes to local and sustainable initiatives.

Sherwin Banda: Having traveled the globe extensively, in your view what is the greatest environmental challenge of our time? 

Céline Cousteau: The greatest environmental challenge we are facing right now is the future of human behavior and consciousness. My fear is that we aren’t going to react and act in time. We need to listen as a global community, be conscious that every choice matters, and understand that whatever happens to the environment will happen to us. We all have a common stake in the health of our planet. Hopefully, the work of humanitarians and non-profits will inspire more people to think and believe they are an integral part of the environment, and work towards sustaining our planet for generations to come.

Sherwin Banda: Africa offers a plethora of exciting experiences for environmental enthusiasts. What is your favorite African destination? 

Céline Cousteau: I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to see much of the world, but explorers are never done exploring and I’m excited that I still have so much of Africa to experience, beginning with Namibia and South Africa this summer, for a pair of projects, the first of which is for The Céline Cousteau Film Fellowship, and the second for TreadRight. 

 

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