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The Big 5 minute Quiz – Monsters of Africa Special


Today’s quiz looks at some of the larger facts from Africa, including the snake you really don’t want to tread on…

1. How big can Nile Crocodiles grow?

a. Up to 4 metres (13.5ft)

b. Up to 6 metres (20 ft)

c. Up to 8 metres (27 ft)


2.  What is the heaviest recorded weight for a single elephant tusk?

a.  65 kg

b. 87 kg

c. 103 kg


3. How much can a Nile soft-shelled terrapin, or water tortoise, weight?

a.  30 kg

b. 40 kg

c. 50 kg


4. The Black Mamba is Africa’s largest dangerous snake. How many men could it kill with its average reservoir of venom?

a. 2-3

b. 5-6

c. 10-12


5. What is the largest frog found in East Africa?

a. The Kermit, growing up to 15 cm in length.

b. The Bull, growing up to 20 cm in length.

c. The Goliath, growing up to 1.2 m in length.


The answers are beneath the elephant below…


1. b

2. c

3. b

4. c

5. b



4-5: Bull elephant: A monster amongst trivia quiz players.

3:  Wildebeest: A solid performer but with a slightly confused look.

1-2: Dik-dik: Easy prey for the serious quizzer…

How many UNESCO World Heritage Sites are there in Africa?

UNESCO (The United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) runs a programme to protect and maintain places that are extremely important either for conservation of the environment or culturally important sites. These places are given UNESCO World Heritage Site status in order to protect them under international law and to be able to raise funds to help secure their protection for the future. There are currently 981 sites worldwide of which 759 are cultural and 193 are natural and 29 are both.

So how many are there in Africa? Well, there are an amazing 94 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and they range from all kinds of natural environment to incredible ancient cultural sites. Unsurprisingly really considering Africa is the birthplace of mankind and also home to some of the most diverse landscapes and wildlife on the planet.

In Southern Africa there are some incredible sites all worth visiting. In Zimbabwe you have Mana Pools National Park, the Great Zimbabwe Monument and of course shared with Zambia the world famous Mosi-oa-Tunya otherwise known as Victoria Falls. In South Africa you can visit various Humanid Fossil Sites or the stunning beautiful Drakensburg region. In Namibia there is the Namib Sand Sea with its enormous sand dunes and Twyfelfontein. In neighbouring Botswana its Tsodilo makes the list and in Malawi it’s the Lake Malawi National Park and the ancient rock art of Chongoni.

In Eastern Africa there are so many UNESCO World Heritage Sites you would have to return many times over to see them all. In Ethiopia there are the famous cultural sites of Lalibela, Aksum, the Omo Valley and Fasil Ghebbi in Gondar but did you know that the stunning Simien Mountains were also a world heritage site under UNESCO’s protection? Other cultural sites include Stone Town on Zanzibar, Fort Jesus in Mombasa, Lamu’s Old Town in Kenya and the rock art sites of Kondoa in Tanzania.

Of course East Africa is famous for its stunning scenery and much of this has world heritage status including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti National Park, Selous Game Reserve and Kilimanjaro National Park – and that’s just Tanzania. In Kenya the Great Lake region of the Rift Valley, Lake Turkana National Park and Mount Kenya National Park are all protected with this status. Over in neighbouring Uganda the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and the Rwenzori National Park are both world heritage sites as is the Virunga National Park in Rwanda. And last but not least one of our favourite destinations in Mozambique, the island of Mozambique itself has world heritage status.

In fact Africa has so many important sites that another umbrella group was set up to run the programme. The African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) is the first regional funding initiative within the framework of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Created in 2006 through a joint initiative by the Government of South Africa, the African Union and UNESCO, the African World Heritage Fund is an intergovernmental organization based in South Africa whose mission is to assist African countries in: increasing the number of African sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List, conserving and managing natural and cultural heritage, rehabilitating sites on the list of World Heritage in Danger, training heritage experts and site managers, and ensuring the participation of local communities in decisions concerning their heritage and to ensure that they receive tangible benefits from World Heritage. On Friday 31 January 2014, UNESCO joined forces with the African Union Commission to raise awareness and funds for the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) during the African Union (AU) Heads of State luncheon at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Participants pledged a total of three million US dollars in support of the AWHF Endowment Fund.

It is good to know that these amazing beautiful and historic places are being actively protected and that future generations will be able to enjoy them and learn from them as we have. The only problem I have is trying to decide which one to visit next……….

Posted by Ruth

Malawi Dreaming – why Malawi should be on your wish list

Real Africa has long been a fan of Malawi. Varied scenery, ranging from the dramatic peaks of Nyika National Park, Malawi’s oldest national reserve, to the stunning lake shore which separates Malawi from its eastern neighbours, along with friendly locals, a low crime rate and good network of roads means that Malawi really is ‘the warm heart of Africa’.

This compact and very beautiful country provides the opportunity to visit enriching community projects,  spend time on safari spotting the Big Five and enjoy lazy days by the lake fishing, snorkelling and swimming easily all in one holiday. It was no surprise to us to see Malawi Tourism inundated with enquiries at the recent Times Destinations Show in February. Malawi is certainly a rising star in Africa.


For families in particular, Malawi promises much. The dry season runs from May to October covering the May and October half term period as well as the long summer school holiday. A trip can incorporate adventure and excitement, with game drives or activities like hiking in the Mulanje Mountains or canoeing on Lake Malawi, with educational visits, such as one to an historic tea estate or  to a community project like the one in Zomba where visitors can dance Malawi style with the local youth group or help with the ‘feeding’ project. To top it all off,  you can then chill out on the beach – what could be better?


A visit to Malawi can combine nights in  luxurious lodges like Kaya Mawa on Likoma Island, Lake Malawi or Tongole Wilderness Lodge in the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve with a simple village homestay, fly camping beneath the stars, or a pre-hike night in a mountain hut if you wish. It really can be that diverse.


Malawi also offers ample safari opportunities with nine national parks. Nyika National Park in the North is notable for its good density of leopard.  Liwonde National Park, dominated by the Shire River, in the South has excellent populations of hippo, elephant, buffalo, crocodile and antelope.  Majete, also in the South has a fascinating back-story. It was once a prolific game refuge but by the 90s much of the big game had been eradicated due to poaching, logging and agriculture. But in 2003 African Parks Majete took over management of the reserve and a decade later, it is a model of sustainable development and biodiversity. 13 different species have been reintroduced including black rhino, elephant, antelope, zebra and leopard. Lion have just been re-introduced here and to Liwonde making Majete a Big Five destination. In addition Robin Pope’s beautiful new lodge Mkulumadzi has opened in the reserve.


Malawi’s lake shore stretches some 500km. It is a paradise of small communities, sandy shores and small islands.


This compact and beautiful country lends itself perfectly to tailor-made itineraries, Real Africa’s speciality.  You can now view sample itineraries online, including a Northern and Southern circuit which take in the main highlights, and give an excellent overview of what is possible.

  • Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

1800 square kilometres of rugged terrain are criss-crossed by rivers, the largest one being the Bua River which supports a healthy salmon population. The rainforest gives way to miombo woodland rich with flora and fauna. The best way to see the reserve is by kayaking down the river or walking with a guide.  Birdlife is fantastic and you may even be lucky enough to spot elephants coming to drink at the river or antelope in the woodland. Leopard and lion are more tricky to see.  Tongole Wilderness Lodge is a fantastic lodge, recently opened and nestled in the dense foilage. Open-fronted suites with panoramic views and raised decks allow you to soak up the majesty of the reserve.

  • Viphya Plateau

This scenic plateau is 1700m above sea level and is sandwiched between the sandy shores of the lake and an area of flat scrubland in Northern Malawi. It offers a wonderful tranquil , getaway. From Luwawa Forest Lodge you can enjoy the solitude of the river valleys, the birdlife and a range of activities from mountain biking and rock climbing to sailing and walking.

  • Ntchisi Forest Reserve

This small pocket of natural beauty, of  around 75 square kilometres, is relatively undiscovered. It is excellent for birding, with Malawi’s last remaining indigenous rainforest, abundant orchids, and elusive leopards. Ntchisi Forest Lodge offers simple accommodation in an historic colonial building complete with roaring log fires and spectacular lake and mountain views.

  • Nyika National Park

Malawi’s largest park with over 400 species of birds including Denham’s Bustard and the wattled crane and a good density of leopard. Especially good in the rainy season when wildflowers and orchids cover the plains. Varied scenery includes a waterfall and lake as well as a neolithic rock shelter. Wilderness Safaris Chelinda Lodge and Camp provide excellent accommodation.

  • Liwonde National Park

Boat and 4×4 safaris are both excellent ways to see Malawi’s most popular park. The river draws good numbers of elephant, as well as hippo and crocodile. You also have the chance of seeing leopard, lion and black rhino here. Mvuu Lodge and Camp on the River Shire’s bank is the only lodge within the park and excellent quality. The luxurious lodge offers four large ensuite tents and one stone and thatch honeymoon suite with views over the lagoon and there is also a natural rock hewn swimming pool. The camp has 12 units – a mix of stone and thatch chalets and family tents

  • Majete Wildlife Reserve

Malawi’s Big Five park! Animal re-stocking continues with hopes of making this Malawi’s number one attraction. Over 3000 animals have been re-homed here in recent years including lion, elephant, hyena, buffalo, antelope, hippos and leopard.  The introduction of Robin Pope’s stunning Mkulumadzi lodge has aided the new found popularity of Majete.

  • Zomba Plateau

This 1800m high mountain range has forest, lakes, waterfalls and abundant wildlife. In Zomba there is the chance to visit a variety of community projects.

  • Likoma Island

Right on the eastern shore of the lake is Likoma Island with its stunning beaches and luxurious accommodation in the form of Kaya Mawa. The lodge is beautifully designed, effortlessly managing to achieve a shabby chic style. This is a great spot for relaxing, indulging and soaking up the dreamy views of the Mozambique coast just 40km away. We love it.

  • Mount Mulanje

This huge slab of mountain south of Blantyre is surrounded by tea plantations and is incredibly scenic. Best explored on foot, there are trails suitable for all abilities, including 21 peaks to walk (or climb).

With so many options available, we think Malawi should definitely be on your wish list!

By Sara White