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The African Jackal in Wolf's Clothing

Ecologist and science journalist, and Bushtracks guest blogger, Cheryl Lyn Dybas explores the recent discovery of the gray wolves living mysteriously amongst Africa’s golden jackals, something which ancient Egyptians may have known long ago.  In The Time of the Jackal-Gods It is 2494 B.C., Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty.  A procession makes its way to a sun-temple, where the pharaoh’s Sed Festival, held in the thirtieth year of his reign, is set to begin. A greeting awaits him: two officers wearing caps and tails lined with fur…fur the Egyptians believe came from wolves.  The human sentries represent the twin gods Anubis and Wepwawet. Anubis and Wepwawet were called jackal-gods for the propensity of golden jackals to hunt rodents by night near cemeteries.  But were the gods in fact jackals?  Could one or both have been something else?  Might they have been wolves?  Long-ago Egyptians thought so.  What did they know that we don’t - or didn’t, until recently? 
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Posted in: African Wildlife Conservation, Best Game Viewing Safaris, African Wolves, Jackals

AFRICAN SAFARI SPECIALS: GO NOW & SAVE

GO ON SAFARI NOW & SAVE* SEE AFRICA'S BIG 5 IN PREMIER PRIVATE RESERVES AT EXCEPTIONAL RATES WHEN YOU TRAVEL NOVEMBER 1, 2014 THROUGH MARCH 31, 2015 Quality game viewing and explosions of new life. Bright blue African skies. Vast green plains, colorful birds, and vibrant floral displays. Premier safari camps on private reserves.   A personal, wild experience without the crowds at exclusive top-tier lodges. Pristine light for wildlife photography.   Cloud formations and colorful contrasts. Stunning sunsets and rainbows over Victoria Falls.              Southern  Africa's  Big Cats &  Beach Safari      12   Days Travel Now* $6,685  Per Person  Travel Later $8,195 Per Person  Best of  Botswana  & Victoria Falls  Safari  10    Days  Travel Now* $8,955 Per Person    Travel Later $19,677  Per Person  Best of  Southern  Africa Safari  13 Days  Travel Now* $10,405 Per Person Travel Later $18,849 Per Person  Namibia's  Big 5 Game  Wildlife & Wild  Deserts Safari 12 Days  Travel Now* $11,335 Per Person  Travel Later $16,668 Per Person   *Availability must be finalized by one of our trip planners who will contact and confirm availability and pricing with all accommodations and operators. *Rates are valid only for travel between 01 November – 19 December, 2014 and 11 January – 31 March, 2015. No single supplements charged by the safari camps/lodges mentioned in the itinerary.
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Posted in: African Elephant, South African Safaris, African Safari Specials

Kruger National Park Safaris for Families in South Africa

Every year three generations of the Rowland family assemble at a beach house they’ve dubbed “Camp Rowland.” Last year, with two of their grandchildren college-bound, they decided to take “Camp Rowland” on the road to Africa. Here, grandmother and storyteller Judy Rowland recounts a magical moment for her family at MalaMala Game Reserve, a private reserve bordering South Africa’s Kruger National Park. MalaMala is a Bushtracks’ perennial favorite destination due to its reliable wildlife sightings, welcoming staff and knowledgeable guides, and their Junior Ranger programs for kids and teens on safari. 
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Posted in: Kruger National Park, South African Safaris, MalaMala

AFRICAN SAFARIS IN THE GREEN SEASON

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It’s not too late to plan an African safari for 2014, or early 2015. End of year travel coincides with Africa’s Green Season, or summer. It’s a dream season when Africa comes alive with young of all species, and dry landscapes like the Kahalari Desert in Botswana are transformed into verdant seas. And it’s a time you will find better rates at many camps and lodges. The Green Season perfectly describes Africa’s summer: from December to March. Conveniently timed when the northern hemisphere’s weather is at its most dreary and cold, Africa’s Green Season offers a warm welcome to travelers, and often at a considerable savings. 
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Posted in: African Safari Tours, Adventure Safaris, Botswana Safaris, Kalahari Desert, Best Times of Year to Go to Africa, Summer in Africa, Photo Safaris, Green Season

What are the Big 5 African Animals?

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What are THE BIG 5 animals of Africa? If you planning a trip to Africa, you'll want to learn about the iconic animals that symbolize the wildness and scale of Africa, and they are the wild stars of all our personalized African safaris. Lion The “King of the Jungle” lives out on the at savannah and is a very powerful and agile hunter. Because lions prowl in prides, a coordinated lion attack on a buffalo herd can be an incredible battle. Since only 1/4 to 1/6 of lions’ predatory chases are successful, you can enjoy the thrill several times in a day. Once they’ve caught dinner, they’re not nearly as active; they sleep around 20 hours a day.
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Posted in: African Safaris, Elephants, Leopards, African Wildlife Safaris, The Big 5, Buffaloes, Lions, Rhinos

Map of Southern Africa

Map of Southern Africa Discover the most amazing animals on earth in some of the most incredible places in southern Africa.  Bushtracks is owned by a sixth-generation African family who has been making the  most exotic, unspoiled, and precious places  on earth accessible to travelers for more than two decades. Learn more about what makes the Bushtracks experience special by speaking to an Expert Safari Planner at 800-995-8689, or download or map of southern African featuring: 
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Posted in: Map of Africa, Planning an African Safari, Maps of Southern Africa

The People of the Serengeti

Discover the diverse culture, tribal traditions and history of the people of the Serengeti from ancient to modern times presented by the Serengeti National Park research team The Serengeti is home to a diversity of cultures. One way to see this diversity is to look at the different languages spoken today in the human ecosystem. There are four major language groups that make up the people of the Serengeti: Bantu, Nilotic, Cushitic and Khoisan. 
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Serengeti Migration Safaris: Following the Wildebeest Migration

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You won’t be the only one following millions of wildebeest and zebra on our Serengeti Migration Safari in Tanzania in Eastern Africa. Predators can’t resist such a giant gathering of their prey. The drama of survival will play out before your eyes with lions, cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs and hyenas playing the main roles. Living their own life dramas, elephants, baboons, bushbabies, giraffes, aardvarks and a huge variety of other animals support one of the best wildlife adventures on earth.
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Posted in: The Serengeti Migration, Wildebeest Migration, Tanzania

The Deserts of Africa

Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent (30.2 million sq kilometers or 11.7 million sq miles), ranking second to Asia (44.4 million kilometers or 17.1 million sq miles) and larger than North America (24.2 sq kilometers or 9.4 sq miles). Accompanying its enormous size, Africa is home to the world's largest desert, the Sahara, as well as the Namib and the Kalahari. Each is incredibly diverse and vast covering a majority of Africa. With their alluring beauty, yet sometimes harsh environments, these regions of the continent offer a fascinating environmental and cultural history dating back millions of years.
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Posted in: Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, The Deserts of Africa, Sahara Desert, Morocco, Kalahari Desert, Namib Desert

Expert Tips on Taking African Safari Photos

In the olden days (the days of film cameras) you had to follow a few golden rules to get great photos. You had to hold the camera dead steady because film speeds (ISO) were so low, usually only 50 or 100, so camera shake was a big issue – actually it still is, but people seem to give it less mind now, largely due to image stabilizers built into zoom lenses.  The other was light. What you shot was what you got and no amount of processing could change the exposure, or light and dark areas. To get the light right not only did you have to get the shutter speed right, but also the aperture. With digital cameras most people shoot on one of the auto settings (P or A), and let the camera sort out all the technical stuff. Note: unless you know better, always prefer the P setting.
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Posted in: African Wildlife Photography, Photo Safari

New Safari Travelers Testimonials Interactive Brochure

OUR TRAVELERS SAY IT BEST... THE MORIARITY WEDDING IN CHIAWA, ZAMBIA, SOUTHERN AFRICA “Chiawa Camp was an ideal location for our wedding, and the experience was beyond what we had ever imagined and hoped for. The staff handled every detail: going out into the bush to pick flowers and twigs for our wedding ceremony, bringing in the Chiawa Choir to liven up the event, and taking amazing photos. We had champagne in the tent while we were getting ready and the choir welcomed us separately down the aisle during sunset. The local village pastor conducted the ceremony, which took place in camp, down by the water, with hippos, birds and a few crocs! After the ceremony Rich and I were whisked off to a private dinner on the Chiawa barge in the middle of the Zambezi River. We will remember the experience forever. It was truly magical.” - Rich & Sarah Moriarity
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Catching Lions

African wildlife conservation photographer and Bushtracks traveler Susan McConnell describes efforts to protect lions in Mozambique’s Niassa Reserve from accidental snaring and offers a solution for lion conservation through the Wildlife Conservation Network.  Through a loudspeaker hung near the decaying carcass of a poached elephant, we broadcast the bawls of a distressed buffalo. The calls ended in quiet. We scanned the bush with a red spotlight, less visible to cats than white light. Nothing. Ten minutes later we played the calls again, and a second sound became audible—a low, grunty-breathy huhn huhn, coming from the right. Keith Begg touched my shoulder. “Lion,” he mouthed.
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Posted in: Lions

Saving African Elephants in the Serengeti

Ecologist and science journalist Cheryl Lyn Dybas reports on the use of beehives to save African elephants in the Serengeti. Where there are farms along the perimeter of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, there are elephants—and all manner of attempts to prevent crops from being trampled.  Farmers have tried various elephant-deterring techniques, from beating tin cans to lighting fires, most of which haven’t appeared to work. Now officials in Tanzania’s Mara Region near the park have asked authorities to construct fences to keep elephants away from villages and agricultural holdings. The Mara Regional Commissioner, John Tuppa, told a Tanzanian newspaper, The Citizen, that the move will help end destruction of crops by stray elephants. Tuppa is asking for fences to be built as soon as possible.
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Posted in: African Wildlife Conservation, African Honey Beehives, Elephant Conservation

Namibia African Safari Destinations

DISCOVER NAMIBIA'S DESERT BEAUTY AND WILDERNESS SURVIVAL If you are searching for wide open spaces, wild deserts, ancient welwitschia plants and strange looking quiver trees, red sand dunes that are over 1,000 feet tall, the Big Five, innovative cheetah conservation projects, desert elephant, and Herero women who wear fantastic headdresses, then Namibia is for you. Flying over the red dunes of Sossusvlei, along the remote and rugged Skeleton Coast, and seeing colorful geological formations from the air also makes Namibia one of the most fantastic flight seeing countries on earth.
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Expert Packing Tips from a 10-Time Bushtracks' African Safari Veteran

Packing for an African safari is always a challenge, and Bushtracks often takes last-minute calls from guests seeking help packing their bags, which is understandable. You’ll be away from home over two weeks, traveling in places where it is hard to pop out for extra socks or your favorite brand of sunscreen. And maximum weight limits for luggage can be as light as 33 pounds per person in East Africa, or 41 pounds per person in Southern Africa. Here, one of Bushtracks’ most well-traveled safari-goers, Cynthia Tuthill, shares her secrets for packing everything she needs for her safari into a single carry-on.
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