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STORIES FROM AFRICA BY OUR SAFARI EXPERTS

INSIDERS' PHOTOGRAPHS & STORIES FROM AFRICA: Bushtracks Travel Planners routinely visit Africa, and their travels help inspire and inform the custom safaris they design for our guests. Samantha is just about to embark on a Southern Africa safari, having already been to Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Since a picture speaks a thousand words, we asked Autumn, Anna, Lyn and Samantha to share their favorite safari photos and the stories behind them.
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Posted in: Best African Safaris, Photo Safaris

GORILLA PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

My husband Bob and I have been on safari eight times since 2000. On a typical African safari, I rely primarily on a Canon 1D series DSLR body together with a 100 to 400 mm telephoto zoom lens and also have a second DSLR available coupled with a shorter lens. I have found this equipment is suitable for most of my safari photography, due to the large distances between the animals and the vehicle.
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Posted in: Africa Travel Guides and Tips, Gorilla Trekking Safari, African Wildlife Photography

Celebrating Rhino Day

September 22 is World Rhino Day, an observance first introduced by WWF-South Africa in 2010. Today zoos, wildlife conservationists, businesses and concerned individuals honor both rhinos and efforts to protect all five rhino species: black, white, greater one horned, Sumatran and Javan. Of the five species of rhino, only the black and white rhinos are found in Africa. Ranging from 1 to 2 tons in weight, and capable of galloping up to 30 mph, adult rhinos have no predators except for humans.  Sadly, that one predator has been more than enough to decimate their numbers which, in the black rhino’s case, are down 97.6 percent since 1960. Of all of Africa’s endangered species, the black rhino is unique because almost 100% of its decline can be attributed not to habitat loss or human-wildlife conflict but to outright poaching.
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Posted in: African Safaris, African Wildlife Conservation, African Wildlife Safaris, Namibia, Botswana Safaris, Okavango Delta, Black Rhinos, Rhinos

The World's Best African Safaris

Dear Traveler, In wildness is the preservation of the world,” wrote Henry David Thoreau over 150 years ago. For the past 24 years designing African safaris, we’ve heard this sentiment restated in countless ways by our returning travelers whose views of the world and its creatures are forever altered on safari in some of the world’s wildest places. In this issue, we’re excited to share two of these firsthand experiences: Bushtracks traveler and Stanford professor Susan McConnell writes about her connection to Africa’s lions in a moving photo-essay on page 16, while eight-time Bushtracks traveler and photographer Shirley Sanderson offers her tips for photographing gorillas, considered one of the most profound wildlife interactions, on page 40.
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Posted in: African Safaris, Planning an African Safari

My First African Safari in Southern Africa & the Okavango Delta

Bushtracks’ traveler Kathleen Cameron, just back from an August 2014 African safari in Zambia, Botswana and South Africa with her family, shares her impressions and photos from her first African safari. Since childhood, Bushtracks’ traveler Kathleen Cameron has dreamed of going to Africa. She remembers poring over her Grandmother’s tall stack of National Geographic magazines and thinking “someday I’ll see these beautiful birds and animals in person and meet the people who actually live there.”  So, when family members suggested going to Zambia, Botswana and South Africa this August, she jumped on the bandwagon, or, in this case, the Land Rover! Traveling with two sisters, their spouses and her 25 year old nephew made for a wonderful adventure, and lifelong memories. Here, freshly returned from her trip, Kathleen recounts her safari and exciting wildlife encounters.
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Posted in: African Safaris in Zambia and Botswana, Elephants Safaris, Botswana Safaris

Top African Safaris - Namibia's Big 5 Wildlife & Wild Deserts Special

Namibia's Big 5 Wildlife & Wild Deserts Safari Special Offer 12 Days: Johannesburg, South Africa | Windhoek | Sossusvlei | Damaraland | Kunene River | Etosha - Southern | Windhoek Travel Now* VS Travel Later $11,335 $16,668
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Posted in: Namibia, Deserts of Africa, African Safari Specials, Top Trips to Africa

Photographing African Wildlife in Action

Bushtracks’ specialist guide and guest blogger David Bristow shares his secrets for taking the best action photos of African wildlife, where anticipating animal behavior while being patient will yield stunning African wildlife photography. Having tackled the complex subject of camera technology, we can move on to the fun part of safari photography – “shooting” the game. The first thing you are going to want to do is get a decent image of those scenes and species that most interest you, let’s say “for the record.” But those will seldom be the images that really excite you or others afterwards. The real magic of photography is and always has been about capturing a moment in time – either some dramatically lit scene, or movement of subjects, interaction, the chase, the kill….
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Posted in: African Wildlife Foundation, Photo Safaris

Special Offer on Best of Botswana & Victoria Falls Safari

South Africa, Botswana and Zambia at Exceptional Savings 10 Days: Johanesburg, South Africa  I  Okavango, Botswana  I  Livingstone, Zambia Travel Now: $8,955 Per Person Travel Later: $19,677 Per Person TOP 5 REASONS WHY YOU CAN'T MISS THE BEST OF BOTSWANA & VICTORIA FALLS SAFARI Explore the unspoiled beauty of Okavango Delta – a newly named UNESCO World Heritage Site – with stays at two private concessions in the Delta, where crowds are few and the wildlife is plentiful. Experience Victoria Falls during this incredible time of year, and enjoy plentiful rainbows and the clear light precious to photographers. Get to know an elephant herd at Abu Camp, where researchers will facilitate your interaction with the elephants, and take you behind-the-scenes to observe elephant behaviors and conservation projects. Board mokoros (dug-out canoes) to see wildlife from water level, as you explore the deep channels and lush vegetation of the Okavango Delta’s island-dotted landscape. Stay at three premier safari camps where you’ll enjoy all of the comforts of home – hot showers, fine dining and spacious rooms -- and views from your deck that you’ll see nowhere else on earth.
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Posted in: victoria falls, African Safaris, Botswana Safaris, African Safari Specials

Defying Gravity – the Okavango Delta’s Mysterious, Miracle Waters


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The Serengeti in Sonoma: Record-Breaking Harvest Wine Auction Safari

Bushtracks Safari Lot Part of a Record-breaking Night at Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction Our U.S. office is based in beautiful Sonoma County, where we plan Serengeti safaris on a daily basis. Serendipity struck when Bushtracks – the area’s premier African safari specialist -- was asked to participate in this year’s Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction themed, “From Sonoma to the Serengeti.” Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, held annually over the Labor Day weekend, brings America’s leading wine and food destination to life, while giving back to leading local charities who champion childhood literacy programs including United Way of the Wine Country, Healdsburg Education Foundation, and Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, and many more.
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Posted in: victoria falls, South Africa, Botswana, Okavango Delta, South African Safaris, Gallo Wine, Best Sonoma Wineries

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

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?

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

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