Exploring Africa's Wildlife And Wild Places

David Bristow

David Bristow
David Bristow is a Bushtracks' Specialist Guide based in Cape Town. For 13 years David edited Africa’s leading travel magazine Getaway, and his colleagues dubbed him “the walking enviropedia.” Now a freelance writer, he continues to share this knowledge, primarily through storytelling. He is an environmental scientist and has written some 20 books that focus on the natural environment, culture and history of the region. His specific focus is the history of the Cape, its peoples, cultures, politics and how the natural environment has influenced human development there. The geological (including paleontological) and archeological record are among his abiding interests.

Recent Posts

Your Custom Safari... Will that be with Gorillas or Whales?



Most safari agents attend international trade shows where they make deals with ground operators in each region, based largely on price and commissions. Few of them ever get to see the places they are selling or, if they do, it will be like a rescue dog on an obstacle course.

Read More

Posted in: Our African Heritage

White Rhinos - A Fairy Tale



Once upon a time there was an African unicorn. It was called the northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), but the last one died a long time ago, even though it was protected night and day by men and women with automatic rifles.*

In truth there still is one kind of unicorn left living in Africa, the southern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum) and a very unlikely Pleistocene beast it is … although there might not be any left alive by the time you have children.

Read More

Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife

Working With Conservation Organizations


Masai Elephant


In our lifetime wildlife numbers in Africa, and mostly worldwide, have plummeted by a disturbing 90 percent. You can put it down to one overriding factor – the increased human footprint.

Read More

Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Activities and Culture, Giving Back

Packing for Paradise: Insider tips from Bushtracks' Specialist Guide


Welcome in Africa! Africa is not one place or an idea. It is massive continent (about twice the size of North America), with more than 40 independent countries. On a typical safari, you will be pampered as well as amazed at the visual and sensual splendor of the last truly wild big game areas on Earth. All you have to do is pack – how hard can that be?

Read More

Posted in: Planning, Tips, and Tools

Southern Tanzania Safari with Selous & Zanzibar

Bushtracks Safari Sand Rivers Selous

In a previous post, I introduced Ruaha National Park in southern Tanzania, part of the 'secret' southern safari circuit. The main park of that region is actually the Selous Game Reserve, the largest game reserve in Africa and one of the world’s largest conserved areas. The Selous in combination with Zanzibar and its surrounding islands, are often referred to as a 'bush and beach' safari.

Read More

Posted in: Destinations

Beating the Safari Crowds: the Lower Zambezi & Mana Pools

Aerial, Zambezi River, Dana Allen

In his third article on alternatives to the Okavango Delta, Bushtracks guest blogger David Bristow paddles his canoe down the mighty Zambezi River to get away from the madding crowds and describes the stunning parks on either side of the river: Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia and Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe.

Read More

Posted in: Destinations

Beating The Safari Crowds:  Zambia's Luangwa Valley

Beating The Safari Crowds:  Zambia's Luangwa Valley

In the second installment by David Bristow on alternatives to the Okavango Delta, we visit Zambia’s Luangwa Valley.

Read More

Posted in: Our Field Experts, Where to Stay, Destinations

Beating the Safari Crowds: a Kafue Zambia Safari

Elephant at Kafue, credit Mike Myers, Busanga Bush Camp

In the first of three blogs on beating the safari crowds in Southern Africa, Cape Town-based guest blogger David Bristow reveals some lesser-known destinations that you'll want to add to your safari bucket list. He begins with Kafue National Park in south-central Zambia. 

Read More

Posted in: Our Field Experts, Where to Stay, Destinations

Why February to April is the Best Time to Visit Cape Town

Bushtracks specialist guide and guest blogger David Bristow explains what makes February to April the best time to visit Cape Town, and how to make the most of your visit.

Read More

Posted in: Destinations

The Best Places for Birding Safaris

Where are the best safari destinations for birding safaris that showcase Africa's spectacular avian diversity? Cape Town-based guest blogger David Bristow shares his top two favorites.


Read More

Posted in: Activities and Culture

There's another great migration in botswana

Cape Town-based Bushtracks' guest blogger David Bristow describes Africa's lesser-known great migration:  tens of thousands of zebra and more moving in search of water in northern Botswana.

Camp Kalahari horseback riding, Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve Botswana

Read More

Posted in: Destinations

Insiders Tip: The Serengeti Migration in February and March

Bushtracks guest blogger and Africa travel expert David Bristow offers some good reasons why you may want to schedule your Serengeti migration safari for February or March: when people are few, and wildlife babies plentiful.


Read More

Posted in: Destinations

Ethiopia Travel: The Bale Mountains, a Place Like Nowhere Else

Bale Mountains view from Bale LodgeThe Bale Mountains are to Ethiopia what Alaska is to the contiguous USA: a world apart where everything found there is like nothing found anywhere else. Ethiopia itself is like nowhere else, a cultural island with its own language, religion and history that can be traced back to the time of the Queen of Sheba.

Read More

Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Our Field Experts, Destinations

Wild Tanzania Safari: Top Game Viewing, No Crowds and Killer Lions

Kigelia Ruaha, Tanzania Game Viewing

Game viewing is something like fishing in that, even in the very best fishing holes, a catch can never be guaranteed. However, there is one place in Africa I know (and only one) where you can sit pretty much on your own and pull in whoppers from sun up to sun down. Its name is Ruaha National Park in southern Tanzania, but don’t tell anyone else or you’ll spoil the fishing.

Read More

Insider's Ethiopia: Ethiopian Rock Churches of Lalibela


Bushtracks' guest blogger David Bristow describes the remarkable Ethiopian rock churches of Lalibela, their history and efforts to protect the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bushtracks' August 2015 Africa by Private Jet expedition includes a guided visit to Lalibela and its hand-hewn stone churches.

Read More

Posted in: Where to Stay