RE:Friends of Africa Family Safaris Ltd

Name: Joseph Xerri

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +61393114779

Message: I need your assistance, as I am trying to locate my brother (Mr Mario Xerri from Melbourne Australia), who I believe traveled with your company (Friends of Africa Safaris), he wrote (by email) to my sister on the 27th of last month to say that while on tour with the above said company their vehicle got bogged on the wet tracks and that some men stopped to help them get the vehicle unstuck, but these said men turned around and robbed them instead taking all their (the travelers on the vehicle) possessions including money and passports etc. in the last couple of days my sister and I have been receiving emails from him, which have us concerned for his well being, can you please reply to me to inform me if it was your company that he traveled with and if you know his present whereabouts and if you are able to see him or contact him please ask him to ring me on my home number of +61393114779 – I want to sincerely thank you for any assistance you are able to provide me with in this matter, Kind Regards, Joseph Xerri

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Infinite Africa is a travel company based
in Nelspruit, South Africa. We are passionate about Africa and we’d
love to show you why so many travelers rate Africa as a top destination and why so many come again and again. We offer a full range of travel services throughout the region and have knowledgeable, experienced staff standing by to assist you with information and planning your dream African experience.

The Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae.  It breeds in Africa south of the Sahara, in both wet and arid habitats, often near human habitation, especially waste tips. It is sometimes called the “Undertaker  Bird” due to its shape from behind: cloak-like wings and back, skinny white legs, and sometimes a large white mass of “hair”.


Marabou storks are attracted to grass fires. They march in front of the advancing fire grabbing animals that are fleeing. They fly in a majestic way and live mostly solitary or in small groups. Larger groups can be seen near sources of food, while migrating or during the breeding season. Like the Turkey Vulture, the Marabou Stork defecates upon its legs and feet.


Marabous breed on the treetops, where they build large nests. Like White stork (Ciconia ciconia) they like to be near human settlements. It reaches sexual maturity when it is approximately four years old and usually mates for life. They are colonial breeders, their nests are a large, flat platform made of sticks with a shallow central cup lined with smaller sticks and green leaves. Usually 2-3 eggs are laid during the dry season. Both sexes incubate; eggs hatch in 30 days. Their young are helpless at birth. Both sexes tend and feed the young. Fledging period is 3-4 months.


This is the world’s largest heron. The height is 120–152 cm (47–60 in), the wingspan is 185–230 cm (73–91 in) and the weight is 4–5 kg (8.8–11 lbs). Among standard measurements, the tarsus measures from 21.2 to 25.5 cm (8.3 to 10.0 in) and the wing chord averages around 60.7 cm (23.9 in) in length. The culmen  measures from 18 to 20 cm (7.1 to 7.9 in), while the bill from the gape measures around 24 cm (9.4 in). In flight it has a slow and rather ponderous look and, unlike some other herons, its legs are not held horizontally.


In Africa, African Fish Eagles frequently pirate food caught by Goliaths, although other large birds such as Saddle-billed Storks and pelicans may also steal their prey.Of course, prey almost entirely consists of fish. Breams, mullet, tilapia and carp have locally been recorded as preferred species. Any other small animals that they come across may be eaten, including frogs, prawns, small mammals, lizards, snakes, insects and even carrion.


Its breeding season coincides generally with the start of the rainy season, which is around November to March. The nests are large but often flimsy (depending on available vegetation around the nesting site), often measuring around 1 to 1.5 m (3.3 to 4.9 ft) in diameter.

Eggs are pale blue, averaging 72 mm (2.8 in) by 54 mm (2.1 in) and weighing around 108 g (3.8 oz). The clutch size can range from 2 to 5 (usually 3 or 4). Incubation lasts 24 to 30 days. Although they can sometimes replace clutches, often only around 25% of eggs succeed in hatching due to various environmental conditions or predation. The young are fed by regurgitation in the nest and, after a few weeks, can bill jab and practice defensive postures against each other. At around five weeks they leave the nest completely. The parents continue to tend to them for variously 40 to 80 days. Around 62% of fledgings who successfully leave the nest survive to adulthood. Locally, the White-tailed Eagle and the African Fish Eagle may be a predator at colonies. Due its size and formidable bill, the full-grown Goliath Heron may not have any regular avian predators. Despite their ponderous movements, Goliath Herons can think quickly and often take flight before mammalian carnivores (such as hyenas or jackals) can predate them.


The Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) is a species of flamingo occurring in sub-Saharan Africa with another population in India. The Lesser Flamingo is the smallest species of flamingo, though it is a tall and largish bird by most standards. The species can weigh from 1.2 to 2.7 kg (2.6 to 6.0 lb). The standing height is around 80 to 90 cm (31 to 35 in). The total length (from beak to tail) and wingspan are in the same range of measurements, from 90 to 105 cm (35 to 41 in).


In Africa, where they are most numerous, the Lesser Flamingos breed principally on the highly caustic Lake Natron in northern Tanzania. Their other African breeding sites are at Etosha Pan,Sua pan and Kamfers Dam . Like all flamingos, they lay a single chalky white egg on a mound they build of mud. Chicks join creches soon after hatching, sometimes numbering over a hundred thousand individuals. The creches are marshalled by a few adult birds who lead them by foot to fresh water, a journey that can reach over 20 miles (32 km)


Flamingos filter feed on brine shrimp and blue green algae.  Their beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they eat, and are uniquely used upside-down. The filtering of food items is assisted by hairy structures called lamellae which line the mandibles, and the large rough-surfaced tongue. The pink or reddish color of flamingos comes from carotenoids  in their diet of animal and plant plankton.  These carotenoids are broken down into pigments by liver enzymes. The source of this varies by species, and affects the saturation of color. Flamingos whose sole diet is blue-green algae are darker in color compared to those who get it second hand



The African Darter is a member of the darter family,Anhingidae , and is closely related to American (Anhinga anhinga), Oriental (Anhinga melanogaster), and Australian (Anhinga novaehollandiae) Darters.The male is mainly glossy black with white streaking, but females and immature birds are browner. The African Darter differs in appearance from the American Darter most recognisably by its thin white lateral neck stripe against a rufous background colour. The pointed bill should prevent confusion with cormorants.It is an 80 cm long cormorant-like fish-eating species with a very long neck, like other anhingas.


This species builds a stick nest in a tree and lays 3–6 eggs. It often nests with herons, egrets and cormorants.It often swims with only the neck above water, hence the common name snakebird. This, too, is a habit shared with the other anhingas.Unlike many other waterbirds the feathers of the African Darter do not contain any oil and are therefore not waterproof. Because of this, the bird is less positively buoyant and its diving capabilities are enhanced. After diving for fish, the feathers can become waterlogged. In order to be able to fly and maintain heat insulation it needs to dry its feathers. Thus the African Darter is often seen sitting along the waterside spreading its wings and drying its feathers in the wind and the sun along with cormorants which may share its habitat.


African Jacanas (Actophilornis africanus) are waders in the family Jacanidae, identifiable by long toes and long claws that enable them to walk on floating vegetation in shallow lakes, their preferred habitat. Jacanas are found worldwide within the tropical zone, and this species is found in sub-saharan Africa. They are about 30 cm long, but females are larger than males. They have chestnut upperparts with black wingtips, rear neck, and eyestripe. The underparts are also chestnut in the adults, only in juveniles they are white with a chestnut belly patch. The blue bill extends up as a coot-like head shield, and the legs and long toes are grey.


African Jacanas feed on insects and other invertebrates picked from the floating vegetation or the surface of the water.


The jacana has evolved a highly unusually polyandrous mating system, meaning that one female mates with multiple males and the male alone cares for the chicks. Such a system has evolved due to a combination of two factors: firstly, the lakes that the jacana lives on are so resource-rich that the relative energy expended by the female in producing each egg is effectively negligible. Secondly the jacana, as a bird, lays egg and eggs can be equally well incubated and cared for by a parent bird of either gender. This means that the rate-limiting factor of the jacana’s breeding is the rate at which the males can raise and care for the chicks. Such a system of females forming harems of males is in direct contrast to the more usual system of leks  seen in animals such as stags and grouse, where the males compete and display in order to gain harems of females.


The African Skimmer is a near-threatened species of bird belonging to the skimmer family. It is found along rivers, lakes and lagoons in Sub-Saharan Africa.They have very long wings. The back, hindneck, and crown are black. The forehead and rest of the body is white, with a bright, long, orange beak that ends with a yellow tip (black tip in immatures). Their short forked tail is white, and their legs are bright red. The average size is about 38 cm (15 in) long. Their voice is a sharp “kip-kip”. Their bill structure is unique. The lower mandible is much longer than the upper mandible, and flattened sideways like scissor blades.


African Skimmers fly in lines over calm waters, and dip their lower mandibles in the water to feed. When the mandible touches a fish, the skimmer snaps its mouth shut. They feed mostly at dawn and dusk.


Pairs nest in loose colonies on large sandbanks. The colonies typically consist of less than 50 pairs and each pair lays 2–3 (rarely 4) eggs in a scrape in the sand.


The Yellow-billed Kite is the Afrotropic  counterpart of the Black Kite  of which it is most often considered a subspecies. However, recent DNA studies suggest that the Yellow-billed Kite differs significantly from Black Kites in the Eurasian clade , and should be considered as a separate, allopatric  species.

 Behavior: This species is extremely opportunistic in its feeding habits, and the diet includes small vertebrates, insects (including winged termites), carrion, offal, and dead or dying fish. These kites may pirate prey from other bird species, feed on road kills and village dumps, and attend brushfires and grassland fires, sometimes in large congregations. They spend much of their time in low, searching flight, taking prey in flight, or from the ground.

Breeding: Nests are often in loose colonies and the small stick nest is lined with leaves, dung, rags, rope, plastic. bones, and other objects and placed in a tree (Bijlsma et al. 2005). In Mali, all nests were located near water. Clutch size is usually 2 eggs in southern Africa and 3 in West Africa. The eggs are white and marked with brown spots and splotches. All chicks usually survive. West African eggs averaged 50.9 x 39.9 mm (n= 15). The incubation period is about 30 days, and the nestling period is about 48 days (Tarboton 1990). The female handles most of the incubation duties and is fed by the male

The Lappet-faced Vulture or Nubian Vulture (Torgos tracheliotos) is a mostly African Old World vulture belonging to the bird order Accipitriformes which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks. It is the only member of the genus Torgos. The Lappet-faced Vulture was formerly considered monotypical, but now is separated into two subspecies. The nominate race lives throughout Africa. The subspecies T. t. egevensisn, differing considerably in appearance from African vultures (as described below), occurs in the Sinai, the Negev desert, and probably north-west Saudi Arabia. It is not closely related to the superficially similar New World vultures, and does not share the good sense of smell of some members of that group.


The Lappet-faced Vulture is a scavenging bird, feeding mostly from animal carcasses, which it finds by sight or by watching other vultures. More so than many other African vultures, they often find carrion on their own and start tearing through the skin. They are the most powerful and aggressive of the African vultures, and other vultures will usually cede a carcass to the Lappet-faced Vulture if the Lappet-faced decides to assert itself.