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Has Attenborough Influenced the Nation?

By Vicky Lessen

Last updated: 4th March 2013

Africa has commanded our nation’s attention over the past month. Attenborough’s Wednesday night programme exploring the depths of the world’s second largest continent, exposing the circle of life within the jungle, desert and sea has captivated the UK and has exploded over social media. Africa has also been appearing in our news recently with the increase of ivory poachers in the continent become a controversial talking point. So has all this coverage of this beautiful continent influenced the public to go see Africa for themselves?

Ivory has been sought after and can be used as a material for many art forms; buttons, religious objects and even forming the white eye’s on some statues. Recently there has been a high demand from Asia for the use in jewellery and therefore the African elephants are being poached for there tusks. This has caused a large decline in forest elephants in the national parks, in fact the highest in 20 years the BBC says. This has been a subject that has caught the hearts of the UK’s animal lovers.

Along with the Ivory trade striking a chord with our nation, the Attenborough fever has also been sweeping the country. Every Wednesday at 9.00PM we are glued to our screens witnessing the most amazing landscapes and animals and appreciating the fantastic camera work zooming in so far as to see each individual silver hair on the Saharan silver ant.

So has our nation been influenced by Africa’s recent coverage? We certainly think so. On the 2nd January 2013 we received a huge increase in page visits to our Africa section of the site, which is the same date Attenborough released the first episode of the series. So have people really got Attenborough fever or was this just coincidental. Whatever it is Africa is on our list of recommended destinations to visit.

For some of our staff, the Attenborough fever has made them nostalgic. Georgia, one of our travel advisors is a huge animal lover and 2 years ago visited Africa attracted by the wildlife it holds. Travelling from Mozambique on our Whale Conservation programme to South Africa on our Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteer programme and finally to Zimbabwe for some independent travel with her family. Whilst on the Whale Conservation she spent her time diving, doing research for the University and partying. Georgia says her favourite experience was being inches away from a whale shark and a hump back whale which was incredible. Whilst on the Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteer programme Georgia got to get up close and personal with the Cheetahs and other animals, feeding, cleaning and of course giving them plenty of cuddles. Going through Gap 360 gave her safety you cannot guarantee travelling on your own.

So why visit Africa? It is not only the 2nd biggest continent in the world but is also full to the brim of wonders like Victoria Falls, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Fish River Canyon. Africa is so vast that from one country to the next the landscape can drastically change from lush rainforests to dry desolate deserts. This awesome continent can offer someone a chance to explore and experience a whole new variety of cultures, see real poverty, teach and volunteer your expertise to those that need it. At Gap 360 we really love Africa and think you will too.

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