African Lion Safari

African wilderness safaris are not only fun and educational, but also make your African vacation a memorable one. African lion safaris are ultimate adventure passports, wherein one can spot the majestic animals either during an elephant ride or from an open safari vehicle. Lion safaris also offer explorers the chance to catch a glimpse of elephants, leopards, rhinos, buffaloes, giraffes and many species of antelope, as well as a wide range of bird life. However, while planning an African lion safari, one must employ a qualified game ranger to make the tour completely safe.

African lion safaris are take place in the natural habitat of lions and are found in areas like South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, and Tanzania. Some of the famous African lion safaris are in Kruger National Park, Pilanesburg National Park and Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa; Chobe National Park, Central Kalahari Game Reserve and Linyanti Game Reserve in Botswana; Etosha National Park in Namibia; Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Tarangire National Park in Tanzania; and Aberdare National Park, Samburu National Reserve and Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

Kruger National Park is one of the most famous national parks on the continent, and offers excellent game-viewing opportunities. The park was established in 1889 to protect South Africa’s wildlife, and now contains more species of wildlife than any other game reserve in Africa. Pilanesburg National Park is the fourth-largest national park in southern Africa and, being a malaria-free park, is ideal for game viewing. Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, on the other hand, is a semi-desert park between Namibia and Botswana, which also showcases a wide variety of animals.

Chobe National Park in Botswana is the third largest game park in the country and is famous for its huge herds of elephant and buffalo. Botswana also has the Linyanti Game Reserve, which is known for its large prides of lions and huge herds of elephants. Tanzania has some of the largest and most underdeveloped game reserves in Africa, with its Lake Manyara National Park (famous for its tree-climbing lions) and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area with its magnificent black-maned lions. The Masai Mara National Reserve is one of Kenya’s finest wildlife parks and supports a year-round population of lions, while lions can also be spotted in Aberdare National Park amidst spectacular scenery.

African lion safaris can be the experience of a lifetime, especially with careful planning in the company of trained naturalists and expert game spotters.

There Is An Enemy Of God Who Likes To Go Around Roaring Like a Lion Although He Is Not a Lion!

We have just returned from praying for a country in the Far East which is suffering much persecution, and I will not name it in case someone there reads this piece and causes more stress and distress to the Christian population.

All these Christians want to do is serve their nation and bless the country in which they live, but they have to experience such wicked violence, which I find very difficult to understand.

The Government and others treat the Christians ‘as an enemy’. Why do they do that? Do they not see and realise that servants of Jesus Christ always wish to be the most positive and helpful citizens no matter where they go.

Some fifteen years ago while travelling in countries which were Communist at that time the believers in Jesus Christ had a hard road to walk. Life was exceedingly difficult.

I have been involved in this work now for thirty or more years and it has been both challenging and highly spiritually rewarding.

In Sofia, Bulgaria, and in what was then East Berlin, Germany, we used to have go away outside to the hills, or into the woods, to talk with the Pastors because the Government were so opposed to those who had a real dynamic loving faith in Jesus Christ.

Mount Vitosha in Bulgaria saw us have such wonderfully rich and enriching conversations.

There were streams up in the mountains in which they used to baptise the new believers, even in the winter time, with snow and ice all around, and none of these new babes in Christ ever caught a cold.

I hear of soldiers raiding villages and destroying church buildings, and even killing any who do not manage to escape in time.

When I consider what some children in ‘the west’ will receive as ‘Christmas Presents’ this year, let me share with you what happened last year in one orphanage.

Each boy was given a pair of jeans, whilst each girl received a beautiful new skirt. The children were also treated to cookies and some soft drinks. These orphans will celebrate with songs and drama and games. Their live is enriched by things which are so very simple.

We pray for those who are standing strong in the face of daily persecution, and we remember the orphans, that they may be protected and shielded from all types of harm and that they may be receive good sound teaching which will give them a foundation for the remainder of their lives.

We pray too for those who are the persecutors that they may find the God of love and grace and mercy.

Why do people want to attack Christians? But, why did wicked religious people crucify Jesus Christ, and imprison the early disciples?

There is an enemy of God who detests those who love Christ and he continues to roam around raging like a lion. He is not a lion but he like to make the noise of a lion and upset thousands!

Sandy Shaw

Fighting Terrorism With Education

Problem: In many undeveloped Muslim countries education is not widely available to all citizens. Many of the boys and young men in these countries get their education in small religious schools called madrasas that teach a strict fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law to their students. Militant Islamic extremists use these schools as a vehicle for recruiting potential terrorists.

Solution: The citizens in these countries have shown that they are open to new schools being built with funding and assistance provided by western nations. These schools encourage women to participate and teach a well rounded curriculum free of fundamentalist teachings. The resulting improvement in literacy and understanding of the outside world creates a more moderate point of view, and reduces poverty and overpopulation.

Every year hundreds of wealthy Westerners flock to the Himalayan Mountains in Asia hoping to conquer some of the World’s most challenging peaks. Most will hire local villagers to guide them to the summit and to carry their gear along the way. These villagers do the lion’s share of the work for what usually amounts to pennies.

In 1993 American climber Greg Mortonsen decided to attempt to summit the notorious K2 in Pakistan, one of the World’s highest and most dangerous peaks. While Mortonsen did not make it to the summit he did learn a great deal about living conditions in this wild and remote region. Mortonsen had become separated from his group on the descent and ended up stumbling down the mountain exhausted and disoriented, and without shelter, food or water. Fortunately, he managed to wander into a tiny mountain village where he was taken care of by the locals until he could regain his strength. As he recovered from his climb he was shocked to see the rampant poverty and high infant mortality rates (over 30%) common to villages in this area.

When he realized that literacy had only been achieved by less than 3% of the inhabitants Mortonsen saw how he could most effectively give back to the people who had been so kind to him in his hour of need. Mortonsen felt that education was the key to lowering poverty, reducing infant mortality, and slowing birth rates. He began raising money to help build schools. One of his requirements for building a new school was that it had to allow women to attend. Mortonsen realized that educating the women was the key to making progress on poverty, infant mortality, and high birth rates.

Mortonsen was on to something. Studies have shown that in countries where women have received increased education there are consistent results that improve the quality of life in that country. Poverty rates and infant mortality drop substantially as education increases. Economies grow and birthrates drop as more women enter the workforce. Mortonsen understood that poverty and ignorance are the motivating social factors that fuel religious extremism. If he could reduce ignorance and poverty though education; especially education for women, then he could reduce the incentive for the religious extremism that is used to recruit terrorists.

When Mortonsen first began raising money he did not get much of a response from the famous and wealthy people he attempted to contact. His best response came from American school children. A group of elementary kids in Wisconsin raised over $600 in pennies to help support his cause. This got the attention of adults who began taking Greg’s mission more seriously, and was the beginning of a program called Pennies for Peace. Today, Pennies for Peace educates American school children about life in other countries and shows them how the pennies they raise can help to make the world a better place for children in other countries. The money these children raise is sent directly to Pakistan and Afghanistan for the building of schools and athletic facilities.

Today Greg Morton presides over the Central Asia Institute. The mission of the Central Asia Institute is: To promote and provide community-based education and literacy programs, especially for girls, in remote mountain regions of Central Asia. This year schools built by Greg Mortonsen and the CAI educated over 20,000 children in the 55 schools that have been built in the last 12 years. Nearly 50% of these students are girls. CAI makes sure than women are afforded access to this education by requiring that the enrollment of girls be increased by 10% each year. The curriculum at CAI schools is focused on math, science and languages. Students from CAI schools averaged 72% on exams to qualify for middle school last year. In comparison the national average in Pakistan is less than 45%. In addition to building schools CAI has also developed over 15 water projects and built four women’s vocational centers.

All too frequently in these regions the only source of aid and support for these villagers comes from Taliban militants or extremist groups funded by money from Saudi Arabia. These groups take full advantage of this dependency to suppress rights for women and herd young men and boys into the madrassas when they can be indoctrinated with extreme fundamentalist ideology, and later by recruited for terrorism. The education provided by the CAI schools offers an alternative to this path, and the opportunity to improve life in these villages without becoming beholden to warlords and religious extremists.

When Mortonsen first began his mission to provide education and assistance to the folks in remote Pakistan and Afghanistan he did not enjoy much support back at home. Even more daunting was the threat posed by the local tribal chieftains and clergy. Several times Mortonsen nearly gave his life for his mission when fatwas were issued for his death by angry mullahs suspicious that he was a spy for the US government. Mortonsen once survived an armed kidnapping by escaping and hiding under a pile of animal carcasses as they were being transported out of town. Even in the face of danger Mortonsen persisted and continued building schools and relationships until his detractors were convinced of the value of his contributions.

Apparently, results speak loudly in these impoverished regions. Saeed Abbas Risvi, the senior Shiite spiritual leader in Pakistan, was so impressed by Mortonsen’s work that he approached the Supreme Council of Ayatollahs in Iran and managed to obtain a very rare letter of recommendation for Mortonsen to help protect him from the local mullahs and clergy. As news of his success traveled home Mortonsen earned the respect of some prominent members of Congress who are now in support of the work of the Central Asia Institute.

There are many lessons to be learned from the success of the Central Asia Institute and the respect Greg Mortonsen has earned from Muslim leaders. One of these is a lesson in economics. Mortonsen has shown that making an investment in reducing poverty and ignorance may be the most cost effective solution to terrorism. He contents that, “If we could have the $1 million for the purchase of one Tomahawk cruise missile dropped on the Taliban converted to education assistance, we could strike a serious blow on terrorism.” Another lesson is that educating women may be the most effective way to combat poverty and ignorance. To quote Mortonsen; “Girls education is a mighty sword in the war on terrorism.” It makes you wonder if much of the money spent on the war on terror might have been better spent on educating women and reducing poverty and ignorance in the places where terrorists are recruited.

The Home of the Asiatic Lion – Gir in India

There was a time when the Asiatic lion roamed the wilds in India. There are proverbial tales of the Lion in Indian folk lore. The Lion is also a much respected emblem and was used by Emperor Ashoka as his symbol. After India gained independence the lion again features in most government symbols. Thus the lion is part of the Indian psyche for close to 2500 years.

But over a period of time the Lion has gone into decline. This is because of mass scale poaching and unrestricted hunting. The number of Lions dwindled so fast that had the government and wild life enthusiasts not intervened the Asiatic lion would have become extinct. But there is hope as a Lion reserve is created in Gujarat at Gir. Here the Lion lives a protected life and is slowly increasing in numbers.

The Asiatic Lion is a magnificent animal and it is a pleasure to behold it. The lion can be seen at the Gir forest sanctuary through a conducted tour. However bear in mind that travelers to the Gir Forest that you can’t choose when to see a lion; the lion chooses to see you.

The area of the lion reserve forest is inhabited by a few tribes as well, who have been educated not to harm the Lion. But once in a way the Lion is poached and that is a terrible thing. The Asiatic lion in the Gir is tamer than the earlier beasts that roamed over India. The game wardens keep a track of the beasts and their numbers and even provide game and food for them in case they are unable to hunt their natural prey like the Nilgai and deer.

The Asiatic lion is presently only at the Gir forest reserve. However some lions are reared in the Park at Banswada at Bangalore. Visiting the Gir forest reserve is an experience in itself. You can connect to Gir in Saurashtra easily by both air and road. The Forest has its own vehicles to transport you around. But in case you are heading there by road then you can use your own SUV.Do not venture inside the Jungle otherwise and without the local guides. Generally the Lions do not attack human beings in this forest, but it is best to keep a low profile and wait for the lion to appear. On my visit to the park I could sight a lion only on the second day when a pair of lions came into view. All in all a visit to the Gir Lion reserve is a wonderful experience.