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How did you fare in our Explorations travel quiz? Answers here!

Jonathan Drew By Jonathan Drew
13 Aug 2020
Quiz World Traveller Expert Map and compass - Pixabay.jpg

We know our recent quiz caused some head-scratching! But, by the same token, we hope that all those who “had a go” had fun working out their replies.

Comments about our travel quiz range from “rather hard” to “I learned a great deal!” and “I gave up!” but we will, we promise, make our next quiz a touch less elusive and even, “crossword fashion”, include the correct number of letters for the answer which ought to offer a little respite.

The winner of the Nikon 10x50 binoculars was Mr. Charles Gray who says: “‘I was absolutely delighted to hear I had won the binoculars. During ‘lockdown’ my family and I have been out and about spotting wildlife around where we live in the Chilterns and now we’ll be able to get a closer look, especially at the bird life. Hopefully, we’ll have the chance to travel further afield soon and use them in the wild!’ Two runners up receive travel bags made in Kenya and beaded by the Mokogodo women of Tassia village, a partnership that empowers the women.


And now to the answers. We list them below and explain some background and rationale. Hopefully it will all make sense:

Question 1: Who are we?

Clue: Saami tribesmen terribly confused, now herding bovines instead?

Answer: Maasai.

Maasai (or Masai) - who are of course cattle (bovine) herders - is spelled both ways. The answer is an anagram of Saami (hence “terribly confused”), who are reindeer herders above the boreal forests of Scandinavia. The clue to the correct answer was, therefore, not only the anagram but the “herding bovines instead”.

Question 2: What am I?

Clue: I’ve been an Egyptian seal; my sight is not single-aperture; I have a stellar GPS and I love to play dirty ball.

Answer: Dung Beetle.

A scarab, much used by the ancient Egyptians as a seal. Dung Beetles have four eyes and use starlight to navigate, especially light emitted by the Milky Way. 


Question 3: A book title:

Clue: A 20th century global conflict that took place in Africa on a Sundae?

Answer: An Ice Cream War.

Written by William Boyd the book is based around the First World War in East Africa. Nominated for the Booker Prize in 1982 it is titled after a quotation in a letter: "Lt Col Stordy says that the war here will only last two months. It is far too hot for sustained fighting, he says, we will all melt like ice-cream in the sun!" An Ice Cream War is a good, recommended, read!

Question 4: What two towns or cities are these?

Clue: A sailor’s haven from the storm? Two coastal conurbations, one in southern England and one in Africa, linked very closely by their name.

Answer: Peacehaven and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania).

Yes…..I know this was tricky and I included it to weed out any tie-breaks! Peacehaven is obvious but Dar es Salaam translates from the Arabic as “Haven of Peace“ (also, depending on one’s reference point and just to confuse the issue, “House/Place/Home/Harbour of Peace”). Majid Bin Said, Sultan of Zanzibar, began building the city as a safe port in the late 19th century and it is as such that the locals prefer the translation “Haven of Peace” to the alternatives. My apologies if this caused some headaches!


Question 5: Which two countries are these?

Clue: Our currencies cross an orange on equal terms in the Southern hemisphere. 

Answer: South Africa and Namibia.

The border between South Africa and Namibia is, partly, the Orange River. The South African Rand and the Namibian Dollar trade at parity (“on equal terms”). Yes, I could have used a capital O but surely that would make it too simple….?

Question 6: Where do we live?

Clue: We may scramble to holes more than a kilometre high but we look down on surrounding Africa.

Answer: Lesotho

A crossword type clue here. The word “scamble” signals an anagram which, in this case, refers to the words “to holes” = Lesotho.

Lesotho lies at over 1,000m and I could have said “looks down on surrounding SOUTH Africa but that would have also been a touch too easy…….

Question 7: Which country am I in?

Clue:  It’s raining money in Africa! But it’s the same thing!

Answer: Botswana.

Most entrants got this one. The Pula is Botswana’s currency and also the Setswana word for “rain”.


Question 8: Who is this girl (first name)?

Clue: You are marvellous, Amharic girl. The Beatles never dug you - you are far too old for that - but they gave you your name.

Answer: Lucy.

The name “Dinknesh” means “you are marvellous” in Amharic, the language of Ethiopia, and Dinknesh is also the official name given to AL 288-1, the fossilised bones that belong to the famed female hominid skeletal (partial) remains of Australopithecus Afarensis discovered in 1974 by Donald Johanson and Maurice Taleb in Ethiopia.

However AL 288-1 aka Dinknesh is MUCH more commonly known by the name “Lucy” which was a nickname given to the remains by her discoverers. Why “Lucy”? Donald and Maurice celebrated their extraordinary find (and presumably fame!) over a beer or two whilst repeatedly playing The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” which was the only music they had in camp.

Question 9: Which statesman is this?

Clue: “Friends, Africans, countrymen…….” Oh, really!? If it was Shakespeare’s Caesar’s namesake’s mistake he’d never have been a teacher!  

Answer: Julius Nyerere.

First president of independent Tanganyika, now Tanzania, Nyerere was a prolific writer and the first Tanganyikan to study at a British university (Edinburgh). Nicknamed “mwalimu” or “teacher” in Swahili, Nyerere translated two of Shakespeare’s plays into Swahili: Julius Caesar and The Merchant of Venice. My deliberate misquote (“mistake”) refers to the former.


Question 10: A name of a feature.

Clue: There be dragons in those hills! Up there a Gulet, being smashed, falls from one of the highest places in Africa.

Answer: Tugela Falls.

It’s another anagram…….”being smashed” gives the game away and “a Gulet”, unsmashed, becomes Tugela. Thus Tugela Falls in the Drakensberg – Dragon’s Mountain - of South Africa.

Question 11: Who or what am I?

Clue: Bother Sal? Oh, yes, she’s shambolic but also an excellent Asian climber!

Answer: Sloth Bear.

I’m sorry, I was in anagram mode for this one, too. “Shambolic” gives it away this time so the trick is to unravel “Bother Sal” and, presto, one gets to “sloth bear” which is, indeed, an excellent Asian climber.

Question 12: Where is this?

Clue: East of Suez? In this country a baking British author tells us flying fish play whilst dawn thunders and the temple bells tinkle.

Answer: Mandalay or Burma

Almost everyone got this one: The baking British author is Rudyard Kipling (if any of our global friends require enlightenment I would be more than happy to offer it, this was rather UK-centric) and the flying fish and temple bells are quoted within his wonderful poem “Mandalay”.


Question 13: Where is this?

Clue: Alpinists pine for forbidden pleasure but are otherwise in Happiness.  

Answer: Bhutan. 

Almost everyone got this one, too. Bhutan’s GDP is also measured as GNH (Gross National Happiness) and alpinism - climbing over 20,000ft, anyway - is forbidden.

Question 14: What might this be?

Clue: In Serendip, a Mediterranean plant confused wartime Japanese aviators who didn’t like getting wet.

Answer: Water Hyacinth.

This is indeed oblique although some people got the answer right and deserve a special prize! The water hyacinth was deliberately introduced to Sri Lanka (Serendip) in WWII, I’m told from the eastern Mediterranean. Its Sinhalese name became “Japan Jabara” or “Water Drowner” because the plant was seeded into rivers, reservoirs and lakes with the intent of causing Japanese aviators to crash (and drown) by trying to land on what appeared to be flat, grassy, ground. The plant is very invasive, of course - and today is a pest which is imaginatively used for bio-gas, animal feed and medicinal applications. 

Question 15: Memoirs of whom?

Clue: Memoirs from Kobu or Higashi?

Answer: Geisha. 

I think everyone got this one. Arthur Golden’s 1997 book, turned into a film in 2005, needs little explanation – or can easily be Googled - but had a postscript of an interesting lawsuit in Japan after it was published.


Question 16: What’s my name (place)?

Clue: First explored by Capt. Forsyth and once Parked, I’m now more Reserved in Madya Pradesh. I feature giant Scuridae, tuneful Muscicapidae and some (rather elusive) Panthera amongst a C of rugged and beautiful hills.

Answer: Satpura Tiger Reserve.

Satpura, in Madhya Pradesh, India, was first explored by Captain James Forsyth of the Bengal Lancers in 1857 while he was searching for Indian Freedom Fighter Tantya Tope. (It’s often said that Capt. Forsyth was actually in Satpura in 1862 but then he wouldn’t have been searching for Tantya Tope who was hanged in 1859 – but I digress). Named after the Satpura mountain (hill) range, the word is derived from the Sanskit “Shatpura”, meaning “hundred mountains” and hence the C (Roman numeral) of hills in my clue.

Satpura was declared a Park in 1981 and then a Tiger Reserve in 2000. Satpura has giant squirrels (Scuridae), tuneful flycatchers (Muscicapidae) and, of course, tiger (Panthera) but the latter are indeed elusive. As a footnote: Forsyth’s Lodge in Satpura was created and originally run by our illustrious and erudite colleague and great friend, Hashim Tyabji.

Question 17: What tasty item is this?

Clue: Partakers of, perhaps, lunch are passing by to grab one of these in South America. Oh, the answer is right there!

Answer: Arepas.

A “crosswordy” one, I know. But the answer is right there (hidden within “are passing”…).

Arepas are a type of white corn cake made of ground maize and are an ancient staple originating from the northern region of South America in pre-Columbian times. They are notable in the cuisines of both Colombia and Venezuela, still eaten commonly and daily (often for lunch) in those countries and often split to make a sandwich with cheese, meat, chicken, avocado or the devilish “diablito”.


Question 18: Where is this?

Clue: Day and night are always equal in this volcanic group. There are even Antarctic residents - and many other unique marvels, too (some blue, you web-footed twit), according to Charles. Unfortunately, though, George has departed.

Answer: Galápagos.

Everyone got this one, too. Lying on the equator the Galápagos feature penguins (Antarctic residents) and blue (webbed) footed boobies (aka “twit” – slang for idiot also “booby”). Discovered by Charles Darwin, the Galapagos was famed as the location of the now-deceased “Lonesome George”, a male Pinta Island tortoise who was, sadly, the last known individual of the species. 

Question 19: What is this?

Clue: How sweet! The usual result of Ghana’s main export marries a geological feature from the Philippines, perhaps? 

Answer: Chocolate.

Almost everyone got this one. Ghana’s main export is cocoa, used (of course!) in the chocolate-making process and the Chocolate Hills lie in the Bohol province of the Philippines where there are at least 1,260 dome-shaped hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres. As an aside my first job back in the dark ages of the 1970’s was selling cocoa from Ghana!


Question 20: What’s the title?

Clue: See, Emily from Zimbabwe? You managed to call jackals, elephants, coucals, fish eagles and even lion in a glorious African work. 

Answer: The Call of Africa.

A beautiful poem written by Zimbabwean C Emily Dibb. A surprising number of people got this one.

I leave you with the poem in full, reproduced in very special memory of our dear client, great friend and passionate lover of the African bush, Dick Goodwin:

The Call of Africa

By C Emily Dibb

When you have acquired a taste for the dust,
and the scent of our first rain,
You’re hooked for life on Africa,
and you’ll not be right again.
Until you can watch the setting moon
and hear the jackals bark.
And know they are around you
waiting in the dark.

When you long to see the elephants
or hear the coucal’s song,
When the moonrise sets your blood on fire,
then you’ve been away too long.
It is time to cut the traces loose,
and let your heart go free,
Beyond that far horizon
where your spirit yearns to be.

Africa is waiting – come!
Since you have touched the open sky
And learned to love the rustling grass
and the wild fish eagle’s cry.
You’ll always hunger for the bush;
for the lion’s rasping roar,
To camp at last beneath the stars.

I hope you have enjoyed our quiz and please do look out for our future efforts! Don't forget, if you would just like to dream for now, you can do so at our Video LibraryI look forward to hearing from you and you are always welcome to contact me if you would like any more information. In the meantime I will leave you with our new spell-binding video of luxury private sailing holidays in the Galapagos!



Images kindly provided courtesy of Wolwedans – Namibia, Baines Camp – Botswana, Sanctuary – Myanmar.