Chip & Bere Tour to New Zealand and Australia – Australia Day 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41.

Southern Africa Conservation and Communities Tour to New Zealand and Australia – July and August 2011

 

Thursday 4th August

We flew to Adelaide, arriving early evening in the pouring rain!

More than 40,000 years ago, the Kaurna Aboriginal people settled the Adelaide Plains, calling it Tandanya, ‘place of the red kangaroo’.  Unlike the other Australian states, Adelaides’s citizens were not taken from the many convicts originally sent by Britain to Australia, but were free settlers.  Attracted by the potential to build their wealth in the copper industry, or in wool or wheat, there were also those seeking safety from the religious persecution that was still present in Europe at the time.

Located on the Torrens River and surrounded to the east by the Mt Lofty Ranges and to the west by the Gulf St Vincent, Adelaide today, prides itself on its live music and arts scene, its historic building heritage and its central location to one of Australia’s best known wine growing regions, the Barossa Valley, hence it’s known as Australia’s wine capital.

 

Friday 5th August

Adelaide Central Market - Cheeses.

Adelaide Central Market - Fresh Vegies.

Visited the famous Adelaide Central Market, with Charlie’s cousin Jill, where we saw a community of people: traders, artisans and shoppers, who share a passion for food.  It buzzes with life and colour all year round.  We wandered around isles of food stalls of every conceivable kind, seafood, meat, cheese, fruit and vegies, cakes, honey, organic, coffee, chocolates and it just goes on.  People love to return again and again for the delicious aromas, the vivid colours and the atmosphere of an international melting pot of cultures.

 

Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th August

Went and spent the weekend with friends of Charlie’s, Heather, Justin and their son Ash Wynn.  Both are environmental economist and used to work with Environment Africa.  They caught up on all the Africa news and we were told about interesting  environmental issues in Australia.

 

Monday 8th August

Monarto Zoo logo.

An ex Zimbabwean, Jill Baker, had organised for us to visit Monarto Zoo as they have white and black rhino and more especially, a three month old baby white rhino called Digger.  What a special day we had with staff who are passionate and dedicated.

Charlie and Veronica visiting Unquali & Digger, Monarto Zoo.

Monarto, www.monartozoo.com.au started off in 1983 as a closed special purpose breeding area. Monarto is a biopark in the true sense of the word, representing a unique blend of a conservation park, national park and zoological park.  One of its prime objectives is to develop a high profile, quality resource for the conservation and protection of rare species and endangered animals.  Although it is called a ‘zoo’ it is more what we would call a ‘wildlife sanctuary’ spread over 1,000 hectares of wide undulating grassland areas and forests.

Unquali, female white rhino at Monarto Zoo.

The  major habitat areas that have been developed, include the Asian Steppes, arid North Africa, African plains and Asian grasslands, and habitats for the Cheetah, African Dog, African Lion and Black Rhino.

Black rhino at Monarto Zoo.

Monarto plays a major role nationally and internationally in the breeding programs for rare and endangered species.  It is ideal for wildlife from Savannah grasslands and semi-arid habitats of Africa, Asia, South America and Australia.

Monarto currently have five white rhino, two females, two males, their new baby and two black male rhino.  Digger, is the third baby born to Unquali, a 17 year old female.  Having been away for six weeks, this was like ‘being back in Africa’.  We were fortunate to be able to go ‘behind the scenes’ with the keepers and got to touch and feed the rhinos, such a privilege.  Thank you Monarto Zoo and keep up your amazing work! www.monartozoo.com.au

Jill Baker has written an amazing book, Beloved African, about her father John Hammond, one of Rhodesia’s great educators.  This is a must read: ISBN 978-1-903905-35-7, www.roperpenberthy.co.uk.

Our next stop will be Perth, the final leg of our Tour before returning to Southern Africa the home of our wonderful African Wildlife and happy smiling African People.

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