Author: Amanda DiSilvestro

Feb
21

Author:

Comment

The Little 5: The Fascinating Animals Not to Forget in Africa

Posted by on February 21, 2018 · Leave a Comment  

If you’re interested in experiencing a safari in Africa, chances are you’ve heard the term Big 5. Despite the term originating as a game hunting term, these animals – lions, elephants, Cape buffalo, rhinoceroses, and leopards – are considered some of the most incredible to see while experiencing a safari in Africa, as well as a favorite of conservationists who look to protect each species. However, the Big 5 and other “big” animals such as giraffes or wild dogs are not the only animals to keep and eye out for as you experience Africa.

According to Trip Savvy, Africa’s Little 5 was a term introduced by conservationists who wanted to draw attention to the smaller creatures of the bush who can be just as fascinating as the rest. Interestingly enough, the Little 5 actually correspond to the Big 5 (pay attention to the names!). Take a look at what makes these animals unique below:

Elephant Shrew

The aptly named elephant shrew is a favorite of adventurers searching for the Little 5. With a truck resembling an elephant’s, this small mammal is no bigger than a large mouse. You’ll be able to spot them hopping along the bush (or sometimes in the city!) in South Africa and Botswana. Keep your eyes peeled, though, because not only do they blend in with the sandy color of the ground, but they are one of the fastest small mammals on the planet with speeds of over 20 mph and are known to be tough to spot. If you see one, you’ll have good luck for the year!

Fun Fact: Elephant shrews live in monogamous pairs. However, the partners don’t necessarily care for one another and are only paired up (for life) for reproduction.

Leopard Tortoise

This tortoises has gold and black markings on their back resembling that of a leopard. Found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but you’re most likely to spot one just on the side of the road. Living as long as 100 years, these tortoises can grow up to 39 inches in length, making them the fourth-largest of the world’s tortoises and the largest found in all of Africa.

Fun Fact: Seeds pass undigested through the gut of a leopard tortoise, so they play a significant role in seed dispersal in Africa.

Buffalo Weaver Bird

The Buffalo weaver bird is the easiest to spot of the Little 5. There are three species of the bird – the white-headed, the white-billed, and the red-billed – and all three species are found in East African countries including Kenya and Tanzania, and if you’re in South Africa you can keep your eyes open for the red-billed buffalo weaver. For this member of the Little 5, it’s more important to keep your ears open if you want to spot one – they’re vocal!

Fun Fact: Males tend to be polygamous and control anywhere from 1 to 8 nests with 3 females.

Ant Lion

Unlike the rest of the Little 5, the ant lion can be found all over the world. These winged-insects resemble dragonflies but have hairy bodies that helped give them their name. They have a famously savage temperament, just like their lion counterpart. According to Your African Safari, the ant lion digs a funnel-shaped crater so that “when potential prey approaches, the ant lion can pretend to be an ant falling down the funnel, stimulating the prey to lurch after the fallen ant, only to discover it has been trapped, and so the ant lion catches prey in its trap. They can survive for months at a time without food and live for several years.

Because of their small size, this may be one to talk with your safari guide about and something you get help with spotting in the bush, but they are nocturnal, so recommend a night bush walk.

Fun Fact: The predatory actions of the ant lion have attracted attention throughout history and have even been mentioned in literature since classical times.

Rhinoceros Beetle

Named for their body armor, hooked horn on the head of males, and impressive strength, rhino beetles are similar to ant lions in that they are nocturnal and can be found around the world. Those in Africa typically reside in South Africa, and they can live up to 2-3 years – impressive for any beetle. The size of the horn on a rhino beetle is a good indicator of nutrition and physical health.

Fun Fact: Rhinoceros beetles have become popular pets in parts of Asia due to being relatively clean, easy to maintain, and safe to handle.

Have you seen any of the Little 5 while on safari? If not, consider a Discover Corps trip to Kenya, Tanzania, or South Africa and talk with our expert conservationist guides about how to round out your list of all 10!

Feb
9

Author:

1 Comment

Interview from the Ground in Costa Rica: Discover Corps Guide Karla [Video]

Posted by on February 9, 2018 · 1 Comment  

There is no better way to connect with country than through its people, and in Costa Rica, the locals will tell you that wildlife is a part of their culture. As one of the most biodiverse countries in Central America, Costa Rica is home to  jaguars, toucans, sloths, gibbons and howler monkeys, and so much more. Our newest Costa Rica: Wildlife Safari nature & wildlife adventure aims to offer travelers experiences with wildlife that will leave them inspired as they experience the symphony of the forest. It is our guide that brings the experience to live.

Watch the video below and get to know Karla, Discover Corps’ guide on the Wildlife Safari vacation. As a local Costa Rican, Karla is one of the most knowledgable naturalists around, and Discover Corps is incredibly lucky to have her. Learn more about the trip from the ground in Costa Rica from Karla below!

Questions for Karla or for Discover Corps? Email us anytime at info@discovercorps.com or call us at 619-758-3030 for more information. We can’t wait to travel with you!

Feb
2

Author:

Comment

Why Eco-Lodges Are the Way to Go When Traveling (Plus: Photos!)

Posted by on February 2, 2018 · Leave a Comment  

It’s hard to plan your travel these days without hearing the term “ecotourism” – fortunately, a trend in the right direction. Choosing green hotels or eco-lodges as your travel destinations have risen in popularity in recent years, so exactly constitutes as an eco-lodge, and is there any difference between an eco-lodge and a green hotel?

In short, both terms are often taken for granted and used interchangeably. While both of these institutions rely on using materials made from naturally renewable sources and are greener, or taking initiatives to preserve the nature of our planet, in practice there are some important things that differentiate an eco-lodge from the green hotel:

  • Green Hotels. No matter how green they tend to be, hotels are demanding large infrastructure and a great amount of cash to build and maintain. It is not out of the question that a large conglomerate or multinational company is behind the entire concept of the hotel. This is not a bad thing, and in fact it’s great to see larger businesses focusing on the planet, it just means you will likely have a more traditional experience. Oftentimes green hotels are positioned inside the large urban areas and cities, which is the main differentiator between green hotels and eco-lodges.
  • Eco-Lodges. One can say that eco-lodges are a little bit less mainstream and a little bit greener than green hotels. They are often made of natural materials from the country you’re visiting, which often means you’ll see the architecture of the country and feel immersed in nature and the wildlife that surrounds you. Almost always situated in a remote area set amongst impressive terrains, eco-lodges take into consideration all that their presence touches and what it means for those native to the land.

So where do you find the coolest eco-lodges today? Below are just a few of our favorites:

Read More

Jan
23

Author:

Comment

6 Travel Apps Every Savvy Traveler Has Downloaded (Our Personal Picks!)

Posted by on January 23, 2018 · Leave a Comment  

With the turn of the New Year and getting back into the swing of things, most of us are ironing out our resolutions and making exciting plans for the year ahead. If one of your resolutions is to travel more, we’ve got you covered on which Apps will help you breeze through the tough parts so you can enjoy the journey. Between transportation, finding places to eat, getting lost, language barriers, right down to how to pay for your plane ticket in the first place, the right apps can make the whole experience seem like a breeze (and no, you don’t always need wifi). Check out our top picks below:

Read More

Jan
12

Author:

Comment

Ask An Alumni: Costa Rica Through the Eyes of a Discover Corps Traveler

Posted by on January 12, 2018 · Leave a Comment  

Discover Corps is proud to offer trips all across the globe, but no trip is more popular than Costa Rica: The Sea Turtle Initiative. The population of Costa Rican sea turtles has declined by 90% since 1980 due to boat traffic, bird preying on eggs, climate change, and increased trash in our oceans. For those interested in wildlife conservation, Costa Rica offers plenty of opportunity to aid, and a recent traveler learned firsthand how much help is really needed on the Pacific side of the country digging up hatched nests to determine the hatch success rate, releasing baby turtles back into the ocean, and warding off predators during nesting season.

Barbara went on the trip in November as a solo female traveler and became one of the few who witnessed an arribada, or a mass nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles. Read about her experiences day-by-day below!

Read More

Jan
8

Author:

Comment

4 Reasons Heritage Travel is the New Trend for Family Vacations

Posted by on January 8, 2018 · Leave a Comment  

What if you could walk across the same land your great-grandmother once traversed 80 years later? You may have never even met your great-grandmother, but chances are you can easily trace her origins back to Germany or Ireland with a quick browse on the web. Today, websites such as Ancestry and 23andMe make discovering your ancestry more accessible than ever before, which means finding the land of your ancestors is only a click away, too.

So, you’ve spit into a test tube, sent out your DNA, and received the much-anticipated results you’ve always dreamed of discovering. Regardless of your method of discovery, you’ve now uncovered the land of your ancestors and predecessors— which makes now the perfect time to put those Ancestry DNA results to use.

Heritage trips are transforming into the top travel trend across the globe. Whether you have an unrelenting itch to get out and explore or aren’t quite sure where to voyage with your family for your upcoming summer vacation, a trip to the land of your ancestors may just provide you with the sense of discovery you need.

Read More

Dec
20

Author:

Comment

Ask an Alumni: Cuba Through the Eyes of a Discover Corps Traveler

Posted by on December 20, 2017 · Leave a Comment  

While travel to Cuba may seem complicated, Cuba is actually one of the safest, easiest, and most welcoming places to visit in Latin America – but don’t take it from us. Gina runs a blog called Gypsy Family Travel where she chronicles her trips around the world, and she wrote all about her experience traveling with three women on the Discover Corps Havana Weekend Getaway trip.

While the new regulations placed on Cuba travel require the average person to travel with a tour group, this gave Gina the chance to better immerse herself in the culture and support the local people and communities. Read about her experiences day-by-day below!

Read More

Dec
18

Author:

Comment

5 Criteria to Evaluate Your Next Family Volunteer Vacation (and 8 Options)

Posted by on December 18, 2017 · Leave a Comment  

If you’re planning a unique, off-the-beaten-path vacation that’s also entertaining and age-appropriate for children, a volunteer vacation could be just what you’re looking for. This niche form of travel is a fun and interactive way to expose kids to diverse cultures and customs, while teaching them about the significance of helping others.

From bringing medical and educational resources into rural communities to protecting native wildlife from environmental impacts, the whole family can benefit from this immersive and rewarding experience. Before jetting off, keep these five criteria in mind to ensure that your volunteer vacation is unforgettable for everyone.

Read More

Dec
11

Author:

Comment

5 Ways Traveling Abroad Makes for the Perfect Mother-Daughter Trip (Plus: 6 Trip Ideas!)

Posted by on December 11, 2017 · Leave a Comment  

For many families, especially those with more than one child, it can be tough to get those special bonding moments with each. Family trips are amazing and birthday parties spent with friends help celebrate every child individually, but it can be tough to set aside the time to create lasting memories that really focus on reconnecting. Between work, soccer practice, and life’s everyday chores, it’s important to set aside time for new experiences that bring you closer together.

A growing trend is mother-daughter travel abroad. It may sound extreme, but there are plenty of packages (hint hint: Discover Corps) that make traveling easy and affordable so you can focus on creating lasting memories. Check out five reasons traveling abroad makes for the perfect trip below:

Read More

Nov
22

Author:

Comment

8 Unique Gift Ideas for Travelers [2018 Edition]

Posted by on November 22, 2017 · Leave a Comment  

For many of us, the holidays start by sitting down at the computer and thinking “what does this person enjoy.” In many cases, this leads us to typing in the search phrase “gifts for people who like to travel.” The truth is, if you’re not a traveler yourself it can be hard to find practical gifts for someone who wants to go everywhere and see everything the world has to offer. If you are the person with the travel bug, then asking for specific gifts from family and friends can be helpful during the busy holiday season (and ensure you get something you’ll actually use).

If you’re looking for a gift for the traveler in your life, check out these 9 awesome gifts for travelers below that won’t break the bank:

Read More