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microphone (1)Alexandra: Hello everyone. This is Alexandra Meadors of Galactic Connection.com and today is October 21, 2014. Now what I am going to be doing today is presenting you with Part 2, a continuation of “Taking a Walk on the Wild Side” with Rupert Harris and for many of you, you may not know of him, he is based in South Africa and has been studying Arachnology from actually his teens and has now developed a very interesting and successful business called Amberveld Safaris and Tours. So when I met him I was just blown away by his knowledge about nature, wildlife, insects, etc. and its spiritual connection. So I think you will really enjoy Part 2, we are going to be diving into the Big Five and some of his exciting experiences while on tour and what exactly his tours consist of, and just the ambience of what you will experience here in South Africa. For Part 1 you will just go to the BBS radio tab on GalacticConnection.com and you will find Part 1 dated 14th October 2014. So here we go. Let’s get started. Ok, so welcome back, Rupert. Thanks so much for coming back for Part 2. And how are you doing today?

Rupert: Very well, thanks. We’ve got that lovely weather out there.

Alexandra: It is, isn’t it? And just for everybody to know, today is October 21, and we are now just continuing on in Part 2 with Rupert Harris who is sharing with us an immense amount of knowledge and wisdom about the nature kingdom, the spiders and butterflies and insects and forests and now we get into some near and dear information to me which is the “Big Five” as everybody always thinks of, what do you think of if you think of Africa? You think of lions and one of the things I learned from Rupert was the King of the Jungle is the hippopotamus, right?

Rupert: Yes. Yes, basically. Well, the thing is you just got to look at things in perspective. I suppose the lion is probably the apex predator which it shares with the Spotted Hyena but in terms of the actual king of the animals I would rather say it would be the African Elephant, just given their size, just given their incredible intelligence and how organized they are as animals, how social they are. Even though lions are also social, just purely if you look how majestic they actually are, so probably the elephant.

Alexandra: You know it’s my favorite, favorite animal on the planet. I have such a thing about elephants and you told me a story the other day. Can you talk a little bit about their tear ducts?

Rupert: Yes, they have these tear ducts that are situated behind the eye, between the ear and the eye and it’s essentially like our tear ducts except it’s on a separate channel and these usually indicate the animal’s emotional state, pretty much like ours, but it’s also governed by pheromones, hormones; in the case of males that are in musk, which is actually heightened testosterone, you’ll often see the tears ducts, basically the tears running down from these ducts and maybe I should relate this story.

There was an elephant whisperer, a person that has captive elephants -but they are not really captive in the sense that they are put in boxes or cages – not far off Polokwane where I live, an old ex-Rhodesian guy and he would have people come and have interactions with these elephants, and you could actually ride the elephants afterwards. And he told me about a story once of an old man and a woman that arrived for an interaction and when this old man touched the elephant the tear ducts started running. And he completed the whole process, you know, the whole interaction and then afterwards the wife of this man came up to where the elephant was kept and actually thanked him for the interaction, this man actually had terminal cancer and just merely by the elephant touching this man, the elephant’s tear ducts started running. So this elephant knew, intuitively knew the situation with this man and possibly knew his destiny.

Of course this man was very close to the end so to say. But the mere fact that this elephant could actually pick up on that just goes to show that they are – what is the right word – sentient? Is that correct? I always get mixed up with sentient and sentinel. I think it was the Guardian – so sentient. They certainly are sentient animals. And you can sense it when you are in Kruger Park and you look at their interactions, you can sense it. There is definitely a lot more to them. They really, really are highly intelligent, highly sentient animals, just their whole modus operandi.

Alexandra: Now you would consider them one of the “Big Five”?

Rupert: Most definitely.

Alexandra: Now what are the other four?

Rupert: You’ve got lion, African lion, of course, African leopard which is two thirds the size of a lion, a very beautiful animal, something like your jaguar in South America but it’s smaller than the jaguar. And then rhino, there is Black Rhino and White Rhino but they are both considered the “Big Five” and buffalo, what we call African Buffalo. Let me just see, did I leave one out?

Alexandra: No, I think you got them all. When you say buffalo you are talking about the Water Buffalo?

Rupert: Yes, Water Buffalo. We actually call them the Cape buffalo but the association with water is true because they are usually quite close to water because of their digestive system.

Alexandra: Wow. So tell me a little bit about how the water buffalo interact with one another? Do they work in a similar type of community like the elephants do?

Rupert: Yes, they do. They are also social animals. They have these massively extended breeding herds that can be in excess of 300 individuals and it’s organized where the really hard core bulls that are really powerful will be on the outskirts and the cows and the youngsters would be organized in the central part. They are grazers and they then would move around where there is suitable grass and of course they would be migrating where there is suitable grass but also in conjunction, as I said earlier on, with water. So they are usually not that far off from water simply because they are ruminants and they are cud chewers and they need that extra water for their digestive system.

Alexandra: Are they herbivores?

Rupert: Very much herbivores but they are grazers, which means that they will only be eating grass, they are certainly not browsers, browsers being feeding off leaves and trees.

Alexandra: So, are they hanging with their woman kind of thing?

Rupert: Yes. Very much so. In the case of elephants you have breeding herds led by a matriarch and the males would be separate and you would have smaller bachelor herds of male elephants hanging out together and then, of course, with breeding herds it would be females with young males and, of course, calves and in it less experienced females hanging out with the matriarch. But in the case of buffalo you would have the males and the females hanging out with the males being on the outskirts. And every now and then you get buffalo bachelor herds, they are usually older males that can’t keep up with the rest and are usually – they form a kind of smaller group because of safety in numbers – a lot more aggressive.

Alexandra: Do they have like a major migration pattern? Or do they pretty much hang out at the edge of the water?

Rupert: They pretty much hang out at the edge of the water. It’s really just about the availability of food because they constantly have to eat, it’s a huge animal, the buffalo …

Alexandra: They are gigantic and their horns were fascinating, kind of twisted, right?

Rupert: Yes, that’s right. And you can see from the size of the male’s horns that they are usually a lot bigger, and, of course, the animal itself is a lot bigger and bulkier, but usually the boss, the section, the broadness of the horns in front just above the head where the horns actually emanate from, the broadness of these horns is usually a lot more pronounced than with the females.

Alexandra: And are they relatively safe or are they…?

Rupert: Well, they are very targeted by lions because remember lions are gregarious, so they also stick together and when they hunt they hunt for the prides. So to flaw down a buffalo is a score for them, it’s good eating for them. So they would prefer, they are the choice to try and opportunistically hunt down a buffalo. Where there is a breeding herd there is usually some lion following the buffalo for opportunistic reasons.

Alexandra: Very interesting. Now are they endangered species at all?

Rupert: No, no. However, buffalo – and that’s a big dilemma in Kruger Park at the moment – are disease carriers. And they carry a disease which is very significant called Bovine Tuberculosis and Bovine Tuberculosis, if you want to call it, has actually jumped the species barrier now and it affects lions and these lions actually get Aids-like symptoms, they die of Aids-like symptoms of this disease. So buffalo are harbourers of disease and although there are lots of buffalo, disease-free buffalo are very scarce.

Alexandra: Wow, that’s a shame. Now I’m having just a huge ‘aha’ because I work in quantum homeopathy and one of the main algorithmic codes that we run across for people is Bovine TB. So it’s not just the animal’s disease which shows me once again, where are these coming from?

Rupert: Yes, I can’t imagine for example that 2000 years ago, for example, or before there was colonialism in South Africa because there was Bovine Tuberculosis of 50 lions. So there is something funny going on, I don’t know, I can’t put my finger on it but there is strange stuff going on.

Alexandra: So tell us a bit about the lion.

Rupert: They are very territorial. The males are the King, it’s a patriarchal society and they are very, very involved, the males are very involved in protecting their territory and ensuring that there are no intruder males basically getting into their territory to attempt to pass their genes on to the pride. Basically to the females. And males usually are solitary or they form these bachelor coalitions of two males that then would be both passing on their genes or be mating with the females to pass on their genes. But every now they then they get challenged and it’s quite a horrific story when that happens because the new male that ousts the existing dominant male or the coalition of two males would then come in and kill out all the cubs of the previous male and then just start the whole process again. And that in a way, as harsh as it sounds, is actually strengthening the gene pool of that particular pride because it’s the superior male that now has its right to impose its genetics onto the females. And, all I can say, it’s a pretty harsh world out there.

Alexandra: Now, do they mate for life?

Rupert: Not, well, put it this way, as long as there is a territory and there are females in that territory you could say that that dominant male as long as he can hold his territory is then, you could say, mated for life to the females that are in his territory – yes.

Alexandra: And, tell us a little bit about what is the state of the population of lions at this point?

Rupert: Well the lions are doing quite well, certainly in Kruger Park, of course that’s the mainstay park, certainly in southern Africa. But if you look at southern Africa in general, I would say the lion population for example in Namibia in Etosha and certainly in Botswana is pretty healthy. They just, of course, have this threat now with Bovine Tuberculosis that would be the main threat that’s diminishing some of the population. But not to my knowledge has it got to a point where it’s as bad, say, the Cheetah population. The Cheetah population is in absolute dire straits. So I think the lion population is fine at the moment and to my knowledge there are 3000 or 4000 lions in the Kruger Park alone, bearing in mind that in the case of mammals there is a much higher prey to predator ratio.

Alexandra: Now, other than another male, who is the lion’s predator?

Rupert: You see that process is just a spontaneous series of events that actually happen which doesn’t really impact as such. The threat of the lion population is in fact on the contrary a process of strengthening the gene pool because a stronger, more dominant male that can defeat the existing territory holder is introducing new genes into the population.

Alexandra: What I was also asking is, who is the lion’s predator?

Rupert: Oh, ok. Hyenas, I would say. Because a Spotted Hyena is also constantly competing. They also have a social system, very complex and it’s matriarchal, but they are constantly competing with the lion, and although the lion is a more powerful animal, hyenas are very opportunistic. Both are actually opportunistic on each other’s cubs in the sense that purely it’s competition, hyenas will, if they are unprotected for any reason, simply and very opportunistically will do away with the competition and eat them, it’s food. Hyenas will eat anything, they are much like leopards…

Alexandra: Are they really aggressive like … I was hearing from Chris that’s probably the most feared animal.

Rupert: Well, I would say, if you … I often found that hyena would run away from a human. But there has been a lot of misconception with regard to hyenas’ predatory habits and its scavenging habits and it is always thought that the hyena is always the scavenger and the lion will actually run down prey and kill prey and the hyena will steal the prey from the lion, which we call a Captor Parasite but that is not the case. We found that it is both the case. And the fact that lions are also Captor Parasites, they still prey from hyenas. Hyenas are incredible hunters and they are very, very organized and they have much greater endurance, MUCH greater endurance than lions. They can sustain 45/50 kms per hour for something like 7 or 8 kms and eventually tire down their prey and, as terrible as it sounds, they literally rip their prey apart in flight. And they found that this is a much more humane way for the prey to die compared to the lions who strangle their prey. There have been some studies that in that respect they are much more efficient hunters. Yes, there is certainly much truth in it what Chris actually says, one just has, of course, to define it, has to analyze it.

Alexandra: Right. And do they also travel, do they have territories and do hang out like a community environment also?

Rupert: Yes. They have territories and what’s interesting about hyenas is that the matriarchal female has a hormone level that is 7 times higher than any of the male hyenas. And you can see, she looks about 2 to 3 times the size of them and she is just this massive, incredibly powerful animal. And she actually does marking of territories and she actually does what the male lions do. So they definitely have territories that they mark out and they usually have a den and they also have an alpha male and female breeding system. So they are in many respects semi-social similar to bees.

Alexandra: Wow, it just fascinates me. Now, the majority of the animals that you have covered so far, they still pretty much hang out in groups. I would imagine that it is far safer, right?

Rupert: Yes, it’s safer but it’s also a lot more efficient to hunt large prey instead of one large predator. It’s like pretty much comparing them with Driver Ants in the Amazon where one ant is pretty vicious. But how about a million ants? That’s just one huge, massive, powerful organism. So it’s that same effect.

Alexandra: Power in numbers, right?

Rupert: Yes, it basically is safety but also pushing up the efficiency.

Alexandra: So do the hyena and the lion and the cheetah and the water buffalo – basically who we have covered so far – are they pretty much living in the same type of …you know you mentioned like the savannahs, bush… are they pretty much all living in the same area?

Rupert: They share the same space, yes. And they are constantly competing with each other. There is an amazing video to watch called “Eternal Enemies” and it’s about the relationship and interaction between lions and hyenas, and I remember that movie or that video actually ending where a male, patriarchal lion runs down and kills a matriarchal hyena because there were just too many numbers, there was too little food – it’s really about food, I think and space of course – it really revolves about the availability of food and where for many reasons there were too many hyenas in that particular lion’s space. So something has to be done about it. And it happens vice versa as well. I actually have soon footage of hyenas ousting lions.

Alexandra: Isn’t that incredible! It’s like a built-in safety valve “hey, wait a minute, the numbers are getting too high, we have to step up our aggression a little bit more”

Rupert: Safety valve is a great analogy.

Alexandra: Well, so tell us a little bit about the leopard.

Rupert: Leopards in comparison to lions – by the way leopard and lion are the same genus – so essentially a lion is a savannah leopard that has become social. So leopards are true lions from a genetic point of view except that they are obviously more cryptically camouflaged and they are very much solitary. You hardly ever see a leopard unless it’s breeding season or there is a female on heat or there is a mother with young, leopards are absolutely solitary. So they are very different from lions in every respect. And they are stealth hunters. Now what I mean by stealth hunting is that the lions will use some degree of stealth to creep up to their prey but they’ll use collaboration, there will be a collaboration of lions that will intercept prey, one will chase the prey the other one will intercept it at some point and surprise it whilst leopards would rely entirely on undergrowth and speed and dashing at the last moment to capture their prey. And of course, their color and coat is very amazing in terms of camouflage, they can absolutely disappear into the bush. So leopards are very solitary, they are much smaller but they have apparently, I’ve read, that they’ve got a higher power of mastication than a lion, so they are a very, very powerful animal.

Alexandra: Now the lions, the cheetahs, the leopards are they all feeding on other large prey, right?

Rupert: Yes, however, there is no way that a leopard for example will try and take on a buffalo. Whilst a bunch of lions will, certainly if they are experienced enough, and I have seen that where they specialize taking on a buffalo, they would be able to capture large prey. Leopards are simply too small to do that, even though it’s more powerful. So, the leopard would focus more on a small antelope, e.g. Impala, young Kudus, a lot of small antelope you find along riverine forests etc. where you would also more find leopards simply because there are a lot more trees and undergrowth for the leopard to hunt in. There is another important aspect and that is where a leopard will – especially where there are large predators like hyena and lion – once it actually has made its kill will drag its prey into a tree to reduce competition.

Alexandra: That is amazing. They can actually carry their prey up the branch, up the tree stump?

Rupert: Absolutely. And they do it with such ease, hence their power of mastication, which I mentioned earlier, that’s one of the reason where they require this extra strength for that purpose.

Alexandra: Incredible. Now, how are the cheetahs and the leopards doing at this point regarding endangered species?

Rupert: Leopards are incredible animals, they are something a bit like your Mountain Lion and possibly a bit more like your Coyote, not in terms of numbers but in terms of this ability to exist quite to human habitation, simply because they are such stealth hunters and they keep such a low profile and they are nocturnal hunters as well. Lion also prefer to hunt at night or dawn and dusk but leopards are very, very much more stealth hunters. There are exceptions, some research has been done where they found leopards hunting monkeys during the day. Guess where? In the Soutpansberg, where you are.

Alexandra: Oh, wow! Well thanks Rupert for that information.

Rupert: By the way, there are probably leopards just up the road from you.

Alexandra: Well, how are leopards towards people?

Rupert: They are very shy, they keep out of the way of humans, even at night if you are walking around. So they are really no threat, unless they are being cornered or they have been shot at and they are wounded, then it’s like one of the most dangerous animals. That’s why they are also branded as one of the “Big Five”. I’ll get back to that a little later what is the true and original meaning of the “Big Five”. But to come back to the hunting techniques, leopards would prefer to take on smaller animals, simply because even though they might be capable catching a large animal, how would they get it up the tree? So it’s in their interest to rather catch small animals. And I tell you, leopards eat pretty much anything they can overpower, they are well known to hunt down and catch dogs, pretty much like your coyote to a certain degree. So they have got a very wide range of tastes and they often eat very small animals like rats, all kinds of different rats.

Alexandra: And the cheetah? What kind of animals do they eat?

Rupert: Cheetahs are interesting, they are diurnal animals which means they are day hunting. And if you look at a cheetah’s eyes you’ll see these dark brown eyes whilst if you look at lion’s or leopard’s eyes, they have got this kind of yellowish starlight reflecting evolution to them. So cheetahs are actually day hunting animals and cheetahs are, as everybody would know, the fastest land animals. They can run at 110 km/hour for very short distances, they don’t have endurance but given their incredible acceleration and their hunting techniques they don’t really need endurance because they just need in a very short space of time to run down their prey. But cheetah would also very much prefer Impala-sized, like your deer I would say, animals, and they are very, very vulnerable to being overpowered or prey being stolen from them by the other predators including hyena. Because cheetahs are not really these very sturdy powerful animals. They are very powerful in their own right but if you compare the cheetah’s profile, the build of a cheetah, it’s a lot smaller than that of a lion or a leopard by a long shot.

Alexandra: It’s amazing how they are very different than a leopard in many ways.

Rupert: Absolutely, yes.

Alexandra: So, because they are so accelerated in their ability to escape are they able to get away from the poaching?

Rupert: In many cases they can outrun a lion and a leopard. I have seen some footage of cheetahs that for some or other reason just weren’t fast enough or just made a wrong decision where the lion would just kill the cheetah because somehow inherently the predator or lion thinks well you are on my turf now and you are competing with me. In fact I’ve just done a tour with an American lady and we were in a reserve adjacent to Kruger Park called Timbavati and there are no borders, no fences between the two, and the host there was telling me that just a week before they were enthralled to see this cheetah that was just hanging out in the bush and it was in long grass and suddenly in front of their eyes a leopard leapt out, grabbed the cheetah, killed it, dragged it up into the tree and started eating it. So I think they are very vulnerable. And I think if there are too many other predators, then cheetahs probably suffer the most, even though they are these really fast animals, because they constantly have to be on the lookout for captor parasites that steal their prey.

Alexandra: It’s kind of like what you and I were talking about the other day where I would say probably one of the biggest days of my life is walking amongst the animals and know that no one is hunting anyone. There is no survival of the fittest, there is no death.

Rupert: That is absolutely a topic all on its own. If you just look at any food web, any “healthy” eco system and you go right down to almost the uni-cellular organisms and you go right up to the top there is that process and that is branded as harmony if you talk in terms of harmonious creation, then you have to bring that into the equation. If you think of the process of predation generally speaking and if I want to elaborate on that, if you take for instance insect parasitism and what goes on there in terms of how if you talk about a process of degradation, a process of suffering on part of the host, you might not even want to go that route, and yet it is part of the whole process of balance. So that’s a topic all on its own.

Alexandra: Ya, I know it is. So, now we are down to… we talked about the elephant which I want to come back to in a few minutes, the one that is really important to discuss is the Rhino. I was wondering whether you can give everybody just a snapshot of how they live, how they sustain themselves and what’s going on with the poaching situation in South Africa.

Rupert: Yes. Generally speaking, if I am not mistaken, the Rhino – specifically the White Rhino – is the second largest land mammal in terms of mass. It’s a huge animal, especially the bull, and they are also territorial, they are also gregarious, they live in small groups. They also have this territory that’s very, very carefully and very rigidly patrolled by a dominant bull and they have these dung demarcation posts, they are actually (?), and there is a system where the dung, the male deposits his dung on a regular basis and he also urinates, so he has got a very set, very rigid, very well regimented system of looking after his territory.

There are two species of rhino, there is the Black Rhino and the White Rhino, the latter being the larger one. The Black Rhino is a grazer, it’s usually solitary, it’s a very irritable animal, very aggressive, and it feels very insecure because it’s alone. And they are very rare, they are browsers, they eat leaves. The White Rhino is actually a grazer, it’s got these square lips, and it’s the bigger rhino. There was in the last 3 or 4 years there have been close to 500 rhino that have been poached in Kruger Park alone. And it’s all supply and demand and it’s got to do obviously with this rhino horn and this lust for the rhino horn.

Alexandra: And I want everyone to hear, he said in the Kruger Park.

Rupert: Ya, that’s just in the Kruger Park alone, I don’t have exactly the figure but you can google it and just get the latest figure and how many of these have been poached. And I tell you, certainly the largest concentration of rhino, specifically White Rhino, because that is the more common species, is in Kruger Park. And as the rhino numbers from the African continent diminishes, so the demand for rhino horn goes up. And it’s not only China, it’s Vietnam, it’s Korea, all those Far Eastern countries where this demand actually is. And it’s supposedly an aphrodisiac but I have also heard that it is for healing purposes, probably quantum mechanical, probably the power of the mind where the recipient takes the rhino horn, believes that it is of benefit to him, maybe as an aphrodisiac or whatever, and it actually does happen. It probably does bring about some effect on that person but if you bear in mind that rhino horn is actually just Keratin, there are no pharmacological effects on other than the fact that it is Keratin. It’s actually in many respects ridiculous.

Alexandra: It’s absolutely absurd. It’s pathetic. It’s so funny you bringing this up because I was sitting with Chris and Sandi last night and there is a question on one of these shows about the rhino’s horn and its effect. And they were basically stating that the aphrodisiac thing is completely, total B.S. They also said that what the Asian countries claim it’s so great for was fevers and I am thinking “do you know how many other things there are out there to bring down a fever?” And also, on top of that, consider what they have to do to get the horn from the poor creature, it’s a very inhumane way to bring these poor animals down to their last breath and so I was going to ask you, now clarify for everyone who may not understand why in the Kruger Park is a key ingredient for having this information.

Rupert: Because there is the highest concentration of rhino in Kruger Park I think there is a lot of emphasis being placed on poaching there. And I get the sense, and I have heard but I can’t confirm and I don’t want to say this categorically but I think there is also from the government’s side, from the official side, there is an inside job going on. And there is a collaboration between all kinds of organizations including, from what I have heard, the Chinese Triads. So there is so much at stake here, I think there is so much money at stake, there are just so many dark organizations out there collaborating together to get their hands on this because of the incredibly high demand. If I am not mistaken 1 kg of rhino horn now is just some ridiculous price, somebody actually told me this on the last trip and I have actually now forgotten, that runs into tens of thousands of dollars, something to that effect. So one rhino horn, bearing in mind that you get quite a few kgs out of that horn is absolutely worth millions and millions and millions of dollars. So you can see, you often talk about the compression of the Dark. Well, this is an absolute 3-D example compression of the Dark. It’s this whole desperate situation…

Alexandra: That they’ve created.

Rupert: And it’s all money based, it’s all about money. Unfortunately it revolves around money and it revolves around how expensive the horn has actually become. I think the most rhino throughout Africa have been exterminated. Here and there you’ll find the odd reserve where there are rhino and what I even heard is there are some people that actually apply for rhino breeding would, once they have introduced the rhino into a reserve and they start the breeding program, just a few months down the line would be poaching. And it is as if the application for the rhino breeding was actually passed on to some dark official and in no time you hear that rhino poaching is happening on that particular property. So, I think that it goes so deep, in fact they have discovered a white South African living here in Polokwane who has been involved with rhino poaching – I won’t name any names – but a friend of mine who knew this guy personally told me that he is so involved and so deep in with the rhino poaching organizations that he himself has actually a price on his head. So, even if he decided to come clean and got out, he actually has got a price on his head, his life is at stake. He actually has got no choice but to stay involved because he is so deep in with presidents of African countries and the Chinese Triads, it’s just one massive big mess like you couldn’t believe.

Alexandra: And so at this point how many do you feel are surviving now?

Rupert: I am not really supposed to disclose the exact amount and it is for the sake of the protection of the rhinos but there is still a reasonably healthy amount of rhino in Kruger Park at this stage. And there was talk, and quite strong talk, of actually relocating these rhinos to different secret locations in South Africa.

Alexandra: I think that’s a great idea. I also wanted to let you know, we have wild animals farms in southern California and I remember when they first brought the rhino on board, they bought two and mated them and they had an incredibly difficult time getting the rhino to bring forth successful births and I know they worked on it, worked on it and worked on it. In fact the last time which was quite some time ago it still wasn’t being very successful. So when you pull them out of their environment that isn’t necessarily the answer to helping the numbers, you know, the significant decline in their number as well.

Rupert: Well, if you have got the right kind of habitat, specifically the right kind of grass to feed on, then they don’t do too badly. Funnily enough, and I am actually inviting you, to come out to the Polokwane Game Reserve, we’ve got a healthy population of rhino and they seem to be doing very well with breeding.

Alexandra: Hey, sign me up and I’m there.

Rupert: I still got to show you that crystal spot.

Alexandra: Ya, that’s what we do.

Rupert: So yes, they seem to be doing well here.

Alexandra: Can you clarify for us exactly what the horn of the rhino is made up of and what it does for the rhino?

Rupert: It’s actually a protein, it’s made of a protein called Keratin and it’s essentially the same protein that makes up your nails and I am told your hair as well. So it’s actually not horn in the sense of buffalo horn or cow horn or something like that. And it’s actually just something that grows throughout the rhino’s life and these rhinos actually use termite mounds to hone the horns, to actually sharpen them because it’s basically their weapon. And the central lower quarter of the horn in fact still has a nervous system, and of course it’s fed by blood vessels, so that part of the horn is actually still basically a pulp like a part of your tooth and that’s the growth point. And when these rhinos get poached, they cut that whole section out. So the rhino goes through unbelievable trauma, especially if it is still alive. And a lot of these rhinos are actually tranquilized and they are in a semi state of awareness or when they wake and they get woken up in this state, it’s absolutely cruel and horrific what’s going on.

Now the important thing to understand there is the intent involved. You know, if you are a predator – and it’s also comes back to the argument we had earlier on about predation – when it hunts its prey there is intent involved. And somehow the intent from the energetic level transfers onto the prey as “well, I’m actually serving a specific purpose”. I think the intent here with removing rhino horn is absolutely dark, very dark and that makes the whole situation that much more horrific for the poor rhino.

Alexandra: Well and I keep wondering when will that day be when we wake up and be recognized that what is injured anywhere in the world is ultimately boomerang back and is backed up? We are in this together and the fact that the animal itself – whether it’s a dog or a cat, a water buffalo or a rhino – to continue to discount and think of the animal kingdom as beneath us when they themselves have so much to teach us. If we just stop and watch and listen, honor them.

Rupert: Yes, you are right. Just to come back to the relocation of the rhino to different locations, that is probably one of the only measures that we can implement at the moment but that certainly does not guarantee that the insiders involved in it are still going to be still involved in it where rhino poaching is going to happen. Obviously if you are going to relocate rhino to a new location, there are obviously permits involved in it, right? So if permits are involved in it, it means that officials are involved in it and – well, this is Africa, dare I say anymore? So in that respect, it’s still questionable as to the future of the rhino.

Alexandra: Hey, for all of you out there who write in to me wanting a purpose, wanting a passion, wanting to figure out what you can do, you can very readily see there’s so many opportunities out there to jump in and do your bit to help the animal and nature kingdom because it needs your help.

So, Rupert, we are getting into the really juicy stuff now which is… tell us, you just got back from an amazing trip and I think you said you were in Guyana, right? But can you tell us, give us a bird’s eyes view – all of you out there, this is what Rupert does, he creates amazing trips. It was a 12-day tour which he will talk about in a few minutes but you can see the plethora of knowledge that Rupert has and he can basically take you anywhere and be able to educate you on what you see, how you interact with the environment around you. So can you give us just a play-by-play of your last adventure?

Rupert: Well, what I try to do is…to start off with … people that want to come to South Africa have a certain marketing perception, as with any country. I guess if I wanted to go to the States or I wanted to go to Holland or England or whatever, I would have a certain marketing perception about that particular country. And it’s really important that aspects, the main aspects of that marketing perception be implemented or included in a particular tour. For example, what do you associate, what is synonymous with South Africa? Obviously Big Five, Cape Town, Robin Island where Mandela was incarcerated, etc., etc.

Alexandra: Madagascar …

Rupert: So certainly, when I plan my tours I bring in the icon experiences of South Africa. But what I feel and pertaining to my interests and pertaining to my inherent… what I consider to be very important is to bring in aspects into the tour which actually would go down as a sense of “well, I have experienced the icon experiences of South Africa but I actually have done something different that was almost not anticipated but that would go down as an unforgettable experience.” That’s the long and the short of it.

So what that includes then is to do a cross section, especially of this province, because it’s really an amazing province – which is Limpopo Province, the most northerly province of South Africa – where I would have a Kruger Park experience, there would be a Johannesburg experience, there would also then be a typical cultural experience, an ethnical cultural experience where people would have the opportunity to feel and see how the local tribes of Africa – not only South Africa – would live. And also combined wilderness and separation experiences but not separation experiences where you are just being left in the dark whatever, more like you are living… your accommodation is rustic but it is luxurious, but you really feel as if you have separated yourself away from civilization as an experience.

Alexandra: Man, who on this planet would not want to do that? Seriously? And what I really want to say about you, Rupert, that is very appealing, is that you have all this wisdom and knowledge about the animal kingdom and the insect kingdom but yet you are also very spiritual, very much on the same page as me, very well read, you are very adept at being able to see this really truly with a higher consciousness perspective. And I really wanted to kind of put that out there to everybody. So, go ahead, I really want people to hear about this.

Rupert: Just to give you a run down on this 12 day experience. What I would do is after an experience in Johannesburg – which is just basically the icon experience you can attend, i.e. what went on with Johannesburg’s history and the whole process of Apartheid and all the history that went with Apartheid – and there is a lot of stuff that Johannesburg has to offer. The main part of the tour actually starts here in Polokwane where we have an ethnical museum where we go to. It’s a really amazing open air museum which gives you a very good idea, an introduction to African culture.

Once we are done with that – for those that are capable of doing it – we do a cycle through the local game reserve, which is a 3200 ha game reserve. We do this game reserve tour, it’s by bicycle, and what you really do is you cycle through like essentially Kruger Park but there is only one of the Big Five there. But it’s an amazing game reserve because there are species of animals that you don’t get in Kruger Park and they are very rare species that you virtually don’t see in Kruger Park appearing there. And most of them are kind of habituated to bicycles, so you have already a sort of sense of separation for a while in this park. Really, really nice.

Then the next day I take you into the mountains about 60 kms away from here going east and for those who want to do it I put you onto a Canopy Zip tour, and it’s basically these zip lines from waterfall to waterfall through canopies of forest. Very, very amazing. That is the Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour. And that is a 2 hour experience. When we have done that I take you to the largest Baobab Tree on the African continent which has got a 46 meter girth and it’s just one of the most awesome trees on the planet – it’s not as high and not as impressive as your Sequoia Trees – in terms of its girth and how amazing it looks, just every aspect of it is really an incredible, incredible tree.

Right, when we are done there we drive up to the western Soutpansberg which is the Afrikaans word for Salt Pan Mountain, which is the mountain you are in at the moment, and we go up to Leshiba, which is basically a wilderness area, and we spend three days there as a separation experience. And they have rhino, giraffe, they have got virtually all the plains game of Kruger Park, it’s just that it is completely separated and you stay in a Venda village for three days. It’s an Eco lodge but it’s really amazing accommodation and amazing cuisine. It takes at least ¾ of an hour to get up this mountain range with a 4-wheel drive vehicle, so it really is this separation experience. And there we are going to be doing hikes, we are going to be visiting ancient Bushmen paintings, art – a guide will explain what the art is all about – it will be a really incredible separation experience and we will be doing hikes, discussing insects, butterflies, whatever.

From there we come down the mountain – that’s after 3 days – and we spend one night in a lodge which is focused on Venda African culture, Venda people being these people related to the Shona people of Zimbabwe of which Robert Mugabe is a member. They speak a similar language and that would basically be a whole experience on Venda culture which is also representative of a lot of the cultures in South Africa, there are similarities.

Alexandra: I love the Vendas, they are so lovely.

Rupert: They are. And optionally, and that is really optional for those who would like it, I can include an African healer experience.

Alexandra: Ya, now tell me a little bit about that, that’s cool.

Rupert: These are Shamans because a lot of the people are actually shamanistic, even though some of them are half Christian half shamanistic. African Shamanism very similar to the North American Shamanism, it’s just that the divining process is done with a bag of bones and what they do is that the person or the medium – what we call the Sangoma, the Shaman – actually does a reading of your whole life and gives you a run down on your life. And then thereafter, if you are interested and have more questions, whatever your situation is, it can be your health, it can be your finance, your love life, whatever, you can ask as many questions as you like and every time it’s a bone throw and then these bones get interpreted in a specific manner and advice is given to you.

You can then go further on the recommendation of the Shaman, you can actually decide to receive some African medicine. And it’s usually not pharmacological, it is usually etheric. So you would then receive this medicine and then you would actually administer it according to a recipe that is given for you. And I have seen that actually working very, very well. I have got a friend who lives in Santa Barbara who himself, he is a white person, and he is a Shaman based in Santa Barbara, California, doing it very successfully. So I really think there is a lot of clout to it working.

Alexandra: Rupert, can you share with the folks your experience that you have had with this Shaman?

Rupert: Am I doing what?

Alexandra: Are you willing to share your experience with the Shaman? Remember you were telling me the story …

Rupert: Well, because my father died at a really early age I was always interested in my future being told to me but at some point this friend of mine, his name is David Coombs, I decided to actually have my bones thrown by him and it was absolutely fascinating and that was in about 2003, round about there. What he actually revealed was that my grandmother … first of all he asked “was your grandmother an artist?” and I said “no, not an artist as in painting, whatever, but she was a concert pianist.” And he said “well, yes, that’s certainly an artist.” You know, music is art. So he said “well, your grandmother is above your head the whole time” and I happen to be a musician as well, I am a jazz pianist, and he said “it’s your grandmother that is your driving force in your life”. And it’s true because I don’t really practice piano, things just happen for me and I can’t explain why they do but they actually do. From a musical point of view.

But then towards the end of the bone throw I thought I just ask a question about my father and I said “how is it going with my father and his realm?” And he said “let me throw the bones for you again” and he did. And he said “well, your father is happy but he is just lonely in his realm.” So I said “ok, well, that’s interesting”. And he said to me “Would you like to dream about your father tonight?” So I said to him skeptically “well, why not? Let’s give it a bit a bash.” So that night he gave me a herb to sniff and I had to burn it and just sniff in the smoke, and he gave me a little necklace which was made of shells and bones and he said “put this on. Now go back to bed early tonight.”

Well, I tell you what! I had the most unbelievably profound dream, the most vivid, that is the most important thing I can remember, the most vivid dream of my father. And it was going back when I was about 7 years old and my father being at the dam and his favorite pastime, of course, was fishing. And he had this hat on and he looked so happy and he looked so calm and collected and he was showing me where the best spots where to fish and he was just so happy to connect with me.

And I cannot imagine for one moment that that was just pure coincidence. It could just be that your mind plays tricks with you, whatever, but the vividness is the important thing that I remember about that dream. How vivid it was. And I virtually never dreamt about my father before that. So I can’t recount this as being just purely coincidental, I think there is more to it than that. So really what I am trying to say is that there seems to be a lot more to Shamanism and specially predicting and having your bones thrown or whichever system is used than you could ever imagine.

Alexandra: Wow. And hey, what better ways to expand your consciousness and experience Africa all in one.

Rupert: Absolutely. The majority of the people that I had on one of these sessions have found it rather profound. Some people find the information a little bit disturbing, it depends, it depends how you embrace it. And you don’t necessarily have to interpret everything that is said as true. It could just be that they might something about you and it might just be that the message that they have got is just interpreted in a certain way which might not be the right interpretation.

Alexandra: Right. Well, it’s just like everything else, you take what resonates with you and you leave the rest behind.

Rupert: Absolutely.

Alexandra: So now what happens after the Shamanism?

Rupert: Right. Then we are done with the whole cultural experience, that’s usually one night in that Venda area and then we head out for Kruger Park for 3 days. But en route for Kruger Park we stop over at an ancient salt collecting site by a group of people known as the Tsonga people who are originated from Mozambique about 200 years ago. And the site is just basically these interesting filters that are built from natural materials and it’s a whole spiritual process for these women to actually gather the salt. They go through a whole Shaman ritual every day before they start gathering the salt so that the ancestors can actually help them to be successful for the salt gathering process that day. And this is a little bit on your way out, the route between Venda and Kruger Park is a diversion of probably something like 30 or 40 kms to this venue and we do a walk out, it’s a hike past a spiritual hot spring. There is a whole explanation of what goes on there in terms of the spiritualism involved and then there is usually this demonstration of salt by the old ladies that live in the area and that usually takes up most of the morning and by that afternoon we have arrived at one of the gates at Kruger Park.

Then for the next 3 days we basically spend travelling, traversing Kruger Park and experiencing every aspect of it.

Alexandra: Rupert, do me a favor because these people don’t know much about Kruger Park – I didn’t. Can you just give them a wrap down of the Kruger Park because it’s amazing.

Rupert: Kruger Park is certainly our flagship National Park in South Africa – we have got numerous parks in South Africa – but it’s wedged in-between the north-eastern part of South Africa against Mozambique, the border of Mozambique on the one side and the top part of Zimbabwe on the other side, or the most northerly point. It’s about 400 km long and it’s about at its widest point ca 150 km. It was proclaimed in 1898 and it was prepared and eventually by about 1923 new land was added to its existing size. So it’s been pristine basically, it’s been a pristine African park, virtually from the turn of the century and it is hardly interfered with, e.g. if there are natural fires there or natural diseases break out they just let it by. E.g. if there is an outbreak of anthrax that kills a whole lot of elephants they are just left because that is the natural process. The only time they interfere with it is if it is foot and mouth disease because it is so contagious. But otherwise it is left as pristine as possible. So what you experience in Kruger is in its absolute pristine, pristine form as it was originally and that’s the beauty of it.

Alexandra: It is. And the fact that you drive through and you are not really allowed to get out of your car in those places.

Rupert: That’s right. You are not allowed to get out. You do in fact to compensate for walking, there are walks that you can do, there are early morning walks that you can do from some of the camps; there are also 3 – 5 day trails that you can do with 2 guides that have actually rifles with them in case, so there are many options available in Kruger. In the case of my tour you basically drive from one camp to the other camp and what I try to do, I try to cover a large cross section or should I say a longitudinal section of Kruger because it is a very elongated park, as to cover as many eco zones a possible. And also with the aim of getting to the southern parts, the central and southern part of Kruger Park because there is a higher concentration of predators, specifically lion and hyena but also cheetah.

Alexandra: Mm. And you know that is worth its weight in gold, it’s to have someone like yourself who knows exactly the parts because this park is gigantic. How many days does it take to get through it?

Rupert: If you really wanted an all-encompassing experience of Kruger I would say that you would need at least 5 days because there are just so many different eco zones there. Kruger is very flat, it is not mountainous, there is one section, the bottom towards the south-western side, that is quite mountainous but it is more hilly than mountainous. The rest of Kruger is very flat and it comes across as just being one kind of eco zone. But it’s not. It’s one of the most bio-diverse eco zone parks in the world, in fact I think it’s just about THE bio-diverse park in the world, which is quite a surprise if you think of Indonesia, if you think of Thailand and all the these other places, you would think this is where the bio-diversity would occur. But in terms of actual eco zones and vegetation zones Kruger is one of the most amazing on earth.

Alexandra: I do not know that. The other question I have for you, who actually owns Kruger Park, is it the government?

Rupert: Yes, it’s a National Park. It’s South African National Parks, it’s the flagship park of South African National Parks, so it’s actually government property.

Alexandra: The other thing I just love about it are the accommodations.

Rupert: Accommodation, yes. It’s essentially a 3-Star experience, and they usually consist of huts, but the huts are very well appointed, you have got all the basic things that you need, you’ve got an en suite bathroom, you’ve got air conditioning which I would say in summer is essential because it gets incredibly hot, and then you have very well appointed restaurants and you have got amazing little shops that cater for most of your needs and cater for self-catering. Self-catering means where you want to cook for yourself, so there are a whole lot of different options that they provide.

Alexandra: The last one that we stayed in was my favorite where you walked into a special room and it was circular and then you walked off onto a balcony that overlooked like a river ravine and the showers were actually outside surrounded by pieces of wood, so you are still having this kind of outdoorsy experience but you are still not totally roughing it.

Rupert: That’s right. It is sort of to add to the ambience of the African experience. Of course, it varies from camp to camp where you would have that kind of experience. Some of them would have internal showers, some outside, it depends what experience you would want.

Alexandra: Right. So now after you have gone to the Kruger Park after 2 days and then what?

Rupert: Adjacent to Kruger, essentially wedged onto Kruger, are these private game reserves and one of the private game reserves that I take my people to is called Timbavati. And it is famous for its white lions. It is the only spot in the world where these white lions occur, which is just a genetic variation of a normal lion. The lion itself is a very cream color to a very white cream color. But there is no real difference other than the fact that they have got this different coloration. These private game reserves usually have lodges that are pretty upmarket, so it would be for the high enders to go to. But there is also in-between different experiences. But what I do is, I take people to – depending on the availability of accommodation – a lodge where part of the service – the lodge, of course, is very fancy – are these amazing game drives. What happens is, you go on a land rover or a 4-wheel drive vehicle and in collaboration with other people going on tours, you have trackers on these vehicles and there you are absolutely guaranteed to come close-up to the “Big Five”. I’m talking within about meters of the Big Five.

Alexandra: Wow.

Rupert: So for example like in my tour that I did in March, we were right up against a leopard where we could actually hear the leopard being busy stripping the bones of this impala. And we could even smell, the smell was right there. And there is very little chance of you having this experience in Kruger given the fact that leopards are so elusive. But here you have a number of vehicles on one game drive and there are a number of trackers all in radio contact who collaborate with each other. They also have this protocol where there is not an overcrowding of people at a particular Big Five sighting. So it’s done very tastefully and it also involves off-road driving to get to these animals, which is not allowed in Kruger.

So it is a very different experience and absolutely a flagship experience of this tour. So it is a combination of the Kruger Park which is really nice and very pristine and with this beautiful variety of habitats combined with this experience which guarantees – for whatever reason if you haven’t seen e.g. lion or whatever – now you are definitely going to see it, it’s almost a guarantee. But it’s also a pristine environment, these animals are free, there is no border fence between Timbavati and Kruger Park, so the animals can move in and out, they migrate. But most of them are resident animals and they are habituated to these vehicles, so they just carry on with their business and because it gets done on a regular basis they allow these vehicles to come right up to them. So you would be 5 meters away from a leopard busy stripping an impala. Or 10 meters away from a lion that made a buffalo kill.

Alexandra: That’s amazing. Now do me a favor to clarify to someone like myself coming from the States, when I hear it’s a game park, I’m immediately thinking “oh, they are just having all these animals shipped in that they can bring in these really wealthy people, they can shine a big light on them and say “oh, I hunted it” and take home a trophy.” Is there a difference between one game park and another?

Rupert: You know, I have scrutinized a lot of these parks, at least these private game reserves, and I have selected the parks, the game reserves where the authenticity is maintained. I, for example know that Timbavati is an example, is the real deal. The only difference with Timbavati and Kruger is that the Timbavati animals – although they are wild – they just got used to this land rover format that gets to them doesn’t interfere with what they are doing. They have got used to this, so they don’t actually run away from it. E.g. if you are on that land rover – one of the things they are very emphatic about it is that you may not stand up because then it confuses the animal. So these animals have got habituated to that, so they carry on with their life, everything is absolutely pristine much the same way as Kruger, it’s just because it’s a private game reserve and their policies are different, they then allow these land rovers or these game vehicles to come right up to these animals. And I think the combination with that and Kruger is actually really exciting.

Alexandra: Oh, I bet, I bet. Oh my gosh, I can’t even believe what you are offering. Is there more?

Rupert: Yes, we are getting to the end of the trip now but yes, we’ll get to that. I just give you an example, this last trip that I did about 3 weeks ago, we didn’t come across a leopard kill but we were right up against a big, aggressive, male leopard and we were literally driving right next to it and it was literally 5 meters from it. And soon after that we went straight out to a hyena den and there was a matriarch hyena busy feeding 5 hyenas of different ages. And to experience that in Kruger is not impossible but here it is actually guaranteed that you’ll see something like that. It was just amazing. And two years ago we were right up against a lion, two male lions that had just made a buffalo kill. And they were actually busy disemboweling the buffalo.

Alexandra: Wow, I don’t know if I want to see that.

Rupert: I know, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. I’m talking about just literally being 15 meters from that scenario.

Alexandra: Well, and you are completely embedded in the wild.

Rupert: I got to mention this as well. In most cases you stay in the park, the lodge you stay in hasn’t got any fences. So you need to be escorted from e.g. from the dining room to your hut unlike in Kruger which is fenced off, here you actually have to be fenced in because you might walk into a lion – which adds to the excitement.

Alexandra: Ya, big time. It’s a total adventure. I’m sure that there is not some kind of waiver that can cover the potentiality?

Rupert: Well, when you go into one of these, when you arrive you have to sign a waiver in any case. But as long as you follow the protocols then it’s fine. There have never been any major incidences, so it’s fine.

Alexandra: I would say the majority of my audience, they are guardians, they are light warriors, they are gonna be like “bring it on”.

Rupert: It’s fantastic. You can even do day walks, you request it, so there are a number of different possibilities. It’s a really, really amazing experience.

Alexandra: So you just put this whole thing together, it became so natural for you, especially growing up with your father and learning so much about the plant, animal and insect kingdom, it was such a natural thing for you.

Rupert: Ya, I just think the accommodation of the different venues and the different experiences they all blend in and it is a very good South African cross section experience.

Alexandra: Well and really giving a full flavored taste of Africa that makes sense and think it to be rather than focusing on all the …unfortunately there is so much of the world that only hears the tragedy and they don’t get exposed to the beauty of this, which leads me to my next question. Tell me about the assertive group that are working very diligently to protect all these animals, plants, species of butterflies.

Rupert: Generally speaking I think if you compare South Africa’s conservation policies to the rest of Africa, I think this is probably the most diligently protected country as a whole. Look, our Government Department of Conservation is fortunately quite well run, I think, except of course the rhino thing, I think there is just so much money at stake there that it has been compromised. So there is not much one can do to hold that at the moment, just simply because there is so much at stake. There are different private companies, non-governmental organizations that all contribute but each province – each of the 9 provinces – seem to be more dynamic than the others. E.g. the Kwazulu Natal province, which is our most northerly coastal province, their policies are more rigidly protected and there are different companies that are involved as well. Unfortunately I can’t give you all the names, but there is also so much at stake there, e.g. with regards to the turtles, and very sensitive dune forests and all kinds. That’s just another aspect of South Africa that we haven’t even touched on, which is also amazing and can be combined with this. It’s mainly the Government Conservation Departments that are playing the major roles in this process. I know a few, specifically with the rhino dilemma or shall I say crisis, where more money has been invested to try and curb the whole process and I can’t name them off-hand but there is certainly a handful that are contributing quite considerably.

Alexandra: Awesome. Good, it’s nice to hear that because you just don’t get enough of that on the other side of the world. Getting the balance into perspective that there is a lot of conservation going on. So before we tie up the interview I really would like you to answer a couple of questions and that is … I know you have gone on some really crazy trips, so what would you consider to be one of your more shocking experiences on one of your trips?

Rupert: You mean in my life? When I was 23 I met a crazy guy that said he’d like to hitchhike through Botswana. And I just confided in him and I thought, well you’ve got the plan, let’s just go along. And, of course, I was quite adventurous, and we took a military plane right up to the Angola/South African border and from there we started hitchhiking into Botswana and we ended up in Moremi Game Reserve which is on the one border of the Okavango Swamps. This guy said that he wants to hug the Khwai River, which is this little border river on the edge of the swamp. And he said, it’s going to be good, it’s going to be nice, nice nature. Let me tell you, it was in fact “Big Five” terrain. And I had a backpack and I had a hammock and we were basically just walking. And it’s literally like walking through Kruger Park. We came across elephant, lion and I had a knife, that’s all I had. I just had a knife, a smallish, medium-sized knife.

And we slept in hammocks in trees and that first night, I remember, he had a bottle of Baileys and we put the hammock up in the tree and that night we never slept. We sat at the top of the tree drinking Baileys because below us was a hippo. Let me tell you, a hippo is the most dangerous African animal. Without a doubt. A hippo has got something like 5 tons of biting power and they are very territorial and they feel very nervous. They come out to graze at night and once they are out of the water and you encounter a hippo there is a good chance that you are going to be chased and, of course, if it catches you it’s just going to bite you. Also, if you are in the water and there is a hippo in the water they just feel for some reason encroached upon. And this thing was around the fire the whole night and we were just too scared to get down to the fire. I will never in my life forget that.

Alexandra: And actually to think about it, just going through that experience really paved the way for you to be so fearless like you are now.

Rupert: And it was for about 7 days. We came across Cape wild hunting dogs, we came across, a herd of 300 buffalo, we came across elephants, it was just unbelievable. And I’ll never forget this friend of mine, Chris, he wakes me up one night when we were sleeping and says “climb higher into the tree” and as I start climbing higher into the tree, this tree not far away from us suddenly crashes down. It was this elephant pushing down trees at 12 o’clock at night. I tell you, I’ve done diving in Comoro Islands and I was in the Amazon in 2003 basically Guyana, and I have also been through Angola in 1996 where I was under the stars for 40 nights of my life but I can tell you that experience in Botswana walking there amongst the “Big Five”, if I had known what I am letting myself in for I would never have done it, never ever. I am actually not even boasting about it, I think it was pretty stupid.

Alexandra: Especially since you only had a knife.

Rupert: Ya, but somehow we survived, it’s amazing.

Alexandra: You were protected so you could bring your knowledge forth to everybody else. So what would you consider as one of your most profound and spiritual breakthrough?

Rupert: Well, I have hiked the Fish River Canyon, which is the second largest canyon on Earth, in Namibia in 1989 and I would say that just being in the base of that canyon at night with the stars and next to the fire with those canyon walls on the side and the moon coming up and just hearing that water pass by you, the Fish River, I think that was probably the most profound experience. I can’t describe the energy of that place, it’s nearly on the scale of the Grand Canyon, and it’s the second largest canyon on Earth. I would say it was the most spiritual experience just in terms of the awesomeness of that canyon. In fact I wouldn’t mind doing that in my life again.

Alexandra: So what do you feel people will ultimately walk away with when they are changed by going on your tours? What do you think is the ultimate common thread?

Rupert: I think a balance of appreciation. The aim of the tour is sort of an awakening, an awareness process of moving away from being mind-programmed just by marketing perception into a mode of seeing what else this world has got to offer for you. But also in the right environment where it can happen, where it is conducive to that. So the aim and the hope is that people actually really feel that they get an unforgettable balanced experience of what Mother Earth has to offer.

Alexandra: Ya, a close-up experience.

Rupert: Close-up experiences and also something that would initiate, I guess, if you want to call it that way, a perpetuation process, so people would want to do that over and over. It would be almost like a little training course in the sense that “wow, that was so profound, let me see if I can start in my immediate environment to start realizing what there actually is.

Alexandra: Rupert, you just have no idea what you are offering to the world. Truly, this is such a diamond, such a gift.

Rupert: Well, thank you.

Alexandra: I have been so honored to meet you. Do you keep the number of people on your tours to a minimum?

Rupert: Yes, I don’t like working with large groups. I feel that a group of about 6 max. would be great because I can interact and I can form my energy. You see, I try to form my energy to people, I try to move away from a dictatorship and I try to move away from a typical stereotype tour scenario. And I also try to move away from giving people basically like a tickle for this type tour where “Oh, I’ve been to Kruger”, a tickle. I’ve been to Robbin Island and now I can go back to my friends and say, well, I’ve been to Robbin Island, I can feel good about myself. I feel they still can have that experience but they can come back with what really was profound and life changing and in the sense that they are now going to be hopefully aware of their immediate environment in a different way.

Alexandra: Right, and it leaves an indelible mark.

Rupert: A value changing mark, I would say. But that is my intention.

Alexandra: I would say that the majority of the people that come onto these tours they are probably really challenged with going into a different direction because it really opens their eyes, the sense of freedom, interaction and the beauty living so close to nature.

Rupert: Absolutely.

Alexandra: Is there anything that you would like to share with the audience as far as what can they do to help the animal kingdom and the nature kingdom?

Rupert: I think what I would like to do – I don’t have that information with me right now – but I think immediately, if I can think of something, that would be the rhinos. There are organizations out there that are really putting a lot of good effort into fighting the poaching that is going on, well the crisis or catastrophe that is happening at the moment. And what I can suggest is that I would like to, if that is possible with you, gather that information together, especially websites wherever people want to contribute, and place it on your website and they can contact and make a contribution. I would say that that would be the immediate thing because really at this point it has reached absolute catastrophe proportions and something needs to be done fast about it. Otherwise we are not going to have any rhinos left soon.

Alexandra: And the other thing too, Rupert, is you would be doing a real service for anybody who is very passionate and hot about conservation of wildlife because there are several organizations that have come across my desk that if you follow the trail up to the top you find out that none other than the World Order of some proportion is actually running the show. And so we really want to make sure that, if people really feel compelled to get involved or donate money, they go to the right hands.

Rupert: Absolutely. You know if you just look at the total sum of our situation at the moment, the world population explosion and you look at our exponential world population explosion and you look at how we are using up resources and you look at what is going on with the decline of species, especially sensitive species, absolutely that it just so, so important, especially in South Africa where we have got lots and lots of endemic species of both plants and animals. I would say yes, by all means. I just need to gather together a number of important priorities in that respect. And once I have got them, we can put them on your site?

Alexandra: I am even thinking that we can create a button just for that purpose if there’s an interesting out there and if enough us that want to help.

Rupert: Sounds amazing.

Alexandra: That would be outstanding. Well, last but not least and that is, talk to me a little bit about the Cradle of Humanity.

Rupert: Well, if you are talking now conventional science – you know that things change and there is a lot of alternative information out there – but if you look at conventional science and you look at specifically paleo anthropology and you look at southern Africa, you could term southern Africa and the Great Lakes of Africa, i.e. Tanzania, Kenya, around that part of the world, and Uganda, you could term it the Cradle of Mankind from a paleo anthropological point of view – paleontology meaning fossils – because as from the turn of the last century discoveries were made in certain caves and certain mining operations around parts of South Africa of really interesting fossils that were of apes that fell in between the brain capacity and the anatomics of a human skull and a gorilla and a chimpanzee’s skull.

They purely were not either of the two and they were obviously a different species and they were clearly something that was extinct, suggesting then that there was obviously some ancestry to man because they clearly were apelike and, of course, different parts of the skeleton were also found and some of some seemed to be upright walkers, some of them seemed to be between upright walkers and something else.

But also there has been evidence that at some point these hominoids went through some development, e.g. they started using fire, for example a species called Hominus erectus. But anyway, most of them go back to around about 3 million years and there seems to be a sequence of fossils and paleontological remains suggesting that there was a lineage that was hominoid like in a sequence of advancement, starting from a species going right back to 3 million years ago called Australopithecus Africanus – Australopithecus means southern man, australo as in Australia – and a series of species in-between, the most dominant being Australopithecus Africanus and Australopithicus Boisei and then moving into what was known the hominoids or the homos, which usually refers to upright walkers being Homo Erectus, Homo Habilis, Homo Agasta and then moving into more modern man.

And, of course, not discounting Neanderthal man. Neanderthal seem to be more focused or seem to be more prevalent around Europe. And the whole Neanderthal thing is in any case very mysterious. But South Africa is a prime venue for these fossils and collectively speaking we refer to these sites as the Cradle of Man sites, the most famous one just being outside Johannesburg. But if you are in Johannesburg on this tour it would be one of my recommendations is to go to what is known as Sterkfontein Site which is about 35 kms outside Johannesburg but you can arrange the tour. It’s really amazing and they’ve got an amazing museum there depicting conventional science’s take on our ancestry but, of course, we now know that there are all kinds of other possibilities. So this is really another exciting aspect of being in South Africa.

Alexandra: And it all ties in so well, doesn’t it?

Rupert: Absolutely, it ties in amazingly well with … the other thing is, these were fossils without a doubt. It’s not like they never existed or they were placed there or they were staged there. There were definitely these different sites where they were actually discovered. And one of them in fact is only 40 kms from Polokwane. And it can be a tour that is actually arranged. But I would say the one that gives the most information would be the one just outside Johannesburg called Sterkfontein and I would most certainly recommend it as part of the African experience because it really could well be that this is – and I say “could well be” because I think we are still in a whole path of discovery – could well be the cradle of mankind.

Alexandra: Well, I actually think it is and I am finding out from a more spiritual and etheric positioning that this is definitely where it all began. One of the reasons I am here, folks, is I have been called again to do some very important spiritual work here and in fact, we have been called and take off to do another mission. Well, Rupert, I can’t thank you enough, I so appreciate all your wisdom and knowledge and just the fact that you are passing that through, you know, just to present to people a non-fearful perspective of some pretty powerful, rambunctious animals out there. You know just being able to see that through a more balanced perspective. So I really, really thank you for all you do …

Rupert: It’s my pleasure …

Alexandra: and I would love to … please share with the audience what your email address is and the name of your tour company again.

Rupert: Ok. I call myself Amberveld Safaris & Tours and my email address is amberveld@axxess.co.za

Alexandra: So please everyone if you are interested in coming out here, you’d be surprised what kind of airplane flight deals you can get. This is a life changing experience and I really do feel that Africa needs our love, it needs our attention and it definitely needs our spiritual pouring of the light from our hearts and our souls. So, anyway, thank you Rupert and I want to thank everybody for just hanging in there, being patient with me, I’m still in South Africa, but I’m still working behind the scenes and if you have any questions regarding the implant removal process feel free to drop us a line. There is so much information up on the blog about the details…I think we are up to about 6 interviews detailing all the different types of questions and answers that have come up and other than that I wish you all a wonderful rest of the week. I love you all, you are awesome and you all take care. Have a wonderful rest of the day. Thanks, Rupert.

Rupert: It’s a pleasure. Thank you very much.

Alexandra: You’re welcome very much. Bye everyone.

To access this interview:

Rupert Harris Part 2 BBS Radio mp3

Rupert Harris Part 2 Vimeo mp4


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