State of sport hunting in Africa. Also, donating flyer miles for airfare for wounded servicemen and their families

By David Tykol
This item appears on page 2 of the January 2012 issue.

Dear Globetrotter:

Seeing eye to eye with an old elephant in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. Photo by David Tykol

Welcome to the 431st issue of your monthly foreign travel magazine. We bring you travelers’ personal accounts as well as news and other items of interest to travelers.

In mid July 2011, a rumor spread that Botswana was going to ban all sport hunting. It began when, at a media workshop, a Ministry of Environment, Wildlife & Tourism spokesperson highlighting the benefits of photo safaris was quoted out of context in the Botswana newspaper Mmegi.

The rumor was quickly put to rest by a Ministry spokesperson, who clarified that photo tourism is being encouraged and that wildlife hunting gradually will be limited but not banned.

What is the state of sport hunting in Africa?

While hunting is banned in most wildlife conservation zones and many national parks, sport hunting in other regions is still a huge business. According to Nelson Freeman of the Safari International Club, hunting generates about $200 million annually in 23 countries in Africa.

The countries are Botswana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Kenya does not allow big-game hunting but does allow bird hunting.

Mr. Freeman also noted that the most common species of animals hunted are the “plains species,” predominantly wildebeests, antelopes, gazelles, zebras and warthogs. Often, the meat harvested by safari hunters is distributed to families in the local communities.

Of the traditional Big Five (lions, leopards, elephants, black rhinos and Cape buffaloes), only black rhinos, critically endangered, are no longer hunted for trophies; the others are hunted in certain places on a strictly regulated basis. Transport and trade of hunted trophies are regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora, an agreement signed by more than 170 nations.

Any hunting safari company or guide being hired needs to be licensed, experienced and reputable. The African Professional Hunters Association offers guidelines for ethical hunting plus a list of members. It is one of many professional guide associations in various countries that are good sources of this information.


The Hero Miles program, set up for wounded US servicemen and their families, accepts donations of frequent-flyer miles, which are compiled in order to book round-trip airfare for wounded soldiers recovering at military or VA medical centers as well as for family and friends who cannot afford the plane fare to visit them.

Hero Miles is administered by Fisher House Foundation for the US Department of Defense and since 2004 has generated more than 25,000 tickets totaling nearly $35 million in value.

Many charities benefit from mileage donations, combining them into useable rewards. Red Cross, Make a Wish Foundation, Save the Children, Habitat for Humanity and The Nature Conservancy are just a few.

Airlines each select different charities to benefit from their frequent flyer programs. To lessen paperwork, they usually select major, well-known charities, but you can find unusual ones listed as well. For a list, call the customer service number associated with your airline mileage account.

Likewise, hotel chain reward points and credit card company loyalty points often can be donated to charities; call the respective customer service department to inquire.

Mileage and loyalty point donations usually are NOT tax deductible, but if you won’t be using the points, yourself, this is one way they can do some good.


In my November column, I relayed a request from Quincy Crider of Bland, Missouri, who said that half of his US paper currency was rejected by banks in Accra, Ghana, in August ’11 because they were the older bills with the smaller portraits on the front, printed before 2003/2004, and were not the newer bills with more anticounterfeiting features.

Quincy asked other travelers to name the places where they, too, had had older US bills rejected. We received a few responses and I’d like to get a few more. If you had old US bills rejected, tell us what transpired, where you were (country and, hopefully, city), the type of establishment you were at (airport exchange window? downtown bank?) and approximately when or about how long ago you were there.

Write to Rejected Currency, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818, or e-mail


Major Walter Hafner of San Antonio, Texas, read the feature article “A Month in Mexico City” in the December issue, then called ITN and said, “There IS no such place as Mexico City. In Mexico they call it ‘México D.F.’ or just ‘D.F.,’ which stands for ‘Distrito Federal.’ It’s similar to how, in the US, we refer to ‘Washington, DC’.”

Because the name “Mexico City” is in such common usage, we may be disappointing Walter by occasionally referring to it that way in future issues. He said that National Geographic wouldn’t promise to change, either, and noted that the general public will only get it right if the media lead the way.

At least, now, we know.

Lewis Siegel of West Bloomfield, Michigan, wrote, “I enjoyed the article on Mexico City (sic), in particular the reference to the Dolores Olmedo Museum, which I visited several years ago. The author failed to mention that the major reason to visit this museum is to see the collections of works by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.

“On my visit, I saw a beautiful large portrait of Mrs. Olmedo Patiño along with a photograph of Rivera painting this portrait.”


ITN Contributing Editor Philip Wagenaar saw the travel brief about the reference book “CDC Health Information for International Travel 2012,” aka “The Yellow Book” (Dec. ’11, pg. 63), and wrote, “The contents of the whole book are also available online. Click on ‘Table of Contents.’

“You also can order the print edition at for $24 plus shipping or get it at Barnes & Noble. It’s also available for the Kindle.”

Philip added, “I would advise readers to consult a travel health clinic and to repeatedly check the CDC website before traveling, even if going on a cruise ship.

“I just happened to log onto that website and found that malaria has been found in Greece (of all places) and polio in China. People have been dying from rabies in Bali. Dengue fever is prevalent in the Bahamas and Marshall Islands.”

Don’t be afraid to step outside, folks. Just keep up on your vaccinations.


In this issue is an article I wrote about a trip to Tanzania. Here are a couple of extra notes I couldn’t smoothly include in the text.

I wrote and mailed several postcards at the Dar es Salaam airport. I bought stamps in the same souvenir shop, and the teller warned me not to lick the stamps (risk of waterborne disease or who knows what). He had a wet sponge to use, instead.

When none of my friends and family had received their postcards after two months, I figured the cards had been looted for their stamps, but then the cards started to arrive. Keep the faith!

Before going on that trip, just in case, I decided to get a shot against yellow fever and also took antimalarial pills. Not to fight accompanying diseases but to lessen the effects of any mosquito bites, themselves, I also made sure to pack Campho-Phenique.

I’m surprised how few people know about this product. I keep a small bottle at home as well as in my car. As soon as I discover a mosquito bite, I dab on some of the liquid. Instantly the itching stops. After 10 to 15 minutes I dab some more on. That’s usually enough to make the swelling and redness not only stop from developing further but go away completely.

If I’m a bit late applying it, the improvement is not as dramatic, but the medicine is still helpful.

In any drugstore, there’s usually only one small bottle of Campo-Phenique on the shelf, and these days it can cost eight bucks or so, but it’s worth it. On trips, I keep it in my camera bag, which is always with me. I also avoid getting it on my clothes, as it can stain them darker.

On a trip in Turkey a few years ago, a tour member got bitten by a beetle or spider and Campho-Phenique did not help. It always lessens the effects of a mosquito bite, though.


Marv Silverman of Carmel, California, wrote, “I subscribe to about a dozen travel publications, and ITN is easily the most useful!”

Judith A. Siess of Champaign, Illinois, wrote, “Keep up the great work. I read ITN cover to cover, then take it to the hospital for visitors to read.”

Judy Love of Albuquerque, New Mexico, recently sent in the names and addresses of several people to be mailed free sample copies of the magazine and wrote, “On trips, my husband, Frank, and I always have carried issues of ITN — which we consider, by far, the best travel publication around — and shared them with others.

“We took Overseas Adventure Travel’s ‘Bhutan: the Last Shangri-La’ and ‘Nepal & the Mystical Himalayas’ with a group of 13 well-seasoned, adventurous travelers, most of whom travel internationally several times a year.

“I know these particular people, each of whom was highly receptive to receiving a complimentary copy, would benefit from being better informed to enjoy their future travel more… and, in turn, share their own experiences with ITN readers.”

Boy, that about says it all. Follow Judy’s lead. — DT