Elephants, and Our Place in the World

A few weeks back I wrote an article about giraffes that was informed in part by the early work of Dr. Cynthia Moss from her 1982 book Portraits in the Wild: Animal Behavior in East Africa. Dr. Moss is the director and founder of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants.

I got their latest newsletter yesterday. It makes me want to urge you to read into issues facing elephant populations for yourself. African wildlife has never been under more strain and it is just heartwarming that there are people like Dr. Moss and her team who have made a life of thinking globally and acting locally (and in Dr. Moss’s case, having a global impact).

My wife and I had the pleasure of visiting Dr. Moss in Amboseli a couple of years back, and if you’re looking for a cause, we can’t think of any more worthwhile than hers. We can’t wait to get back under the shadow of Kilimanjaro, to Amboseli.

Consider signing up for the ATE newsletter (from the newsletter link above), and if you do Facebook, like ATE there. For that matter, why not consider a trip to see elephants yourself? Promise, it’ll change your life.

This photo from the EarthPhotos.com Kenya Gallery comes from Amboseli (Click it to enlarge it). Get yourself to Nairobi and there are straightforward connections out to Amboseli, and affordable lodging at the perfectly lovely Ol Tukai Lodge, as well as several other, higher-end options.

We all get caught up in our daily lives, but for those who give at least the occasional thought to our place on the planet, and how we fit in with the larger world of wildlife, a trip into the bush will be way more rewarding than a shiny new big screen TV for Christmas. Promise.

Another DPRK Travelogue

With North Korea acting evil again, here's another look inside Pyongyang from Sophie Schimdt, daughter of Google's Eric Schmidt, who was recently in the DPRK on another one of those Bill Richardson trips. She shares her photos of a government guest house, which is, as she puts it, "a bizarre mix of marble grandeur and what passed for chic in North Korea in the 1970s."

Meanwhile, this guy is into watching North Korea from above.


Extreme Travel: Iraq, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, More


"If something happens to them, I'm very sorry—I do my best to make sure it doesn't. But if it does, then that's what happened. Anyone who says they didn't know is an idiot. It's on television every day." – Geoff Hann

Hinterland Travel organizes trips to the places on its web site masthead, above, and some more. Sample prices: Afghanistan, 24 days from £2560, Iraq, nine day tour £1780. There's a long article here in Outside Magazine about a Hinterland trip through Afghanistan.

Kabul’s Safi Airways In-Flight Magazine


It's not everyday you see an ad for armouring cars … in an in-flight magazine. But then, this one comes from the Safi Airways in-flight magazine, and Safi Airways flies out of Afghanistan. The magazine features breezy articles about Herat ("People Smile") and Kabul, and lists eleven Kabul hotels from which to choose. It's interesting reading. Check it out. The whole thing is online here.

Getting Along in Afghanistan

A couple of items to follow up on this column last week, which discussed travel to and in Afghanistan including, among other things, Advice for first-time embeds to Afghanistan:

– Here’s the Survival Guide to Kabul

– Nicholas Kristof offers “advice on how to work in insecure or Taliban areas.”

Tpib And to set the stage, read Rory Stewart’s The Places in Between, about his crazy walk across Afghanistan back in 2002, just after the Taliban was deposed. It’s a quick, two day read that leaves impressions you can sum up in three words: Mud, snow and fear.

Okay, maybe a few more: bluster, brinksmanship, bluntness, dirty, machismo, austerity, and ignorance come to mind.