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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

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

Bushtracks’ specialist guide and guest blogger David Bristow explains the geo-science behind the seemingly erratic water flow of Botswana’s Okavango Delta recently named the 1000th UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ever since the time Archimedes invented the water screw and the Romans built their aqueducts, people have known that open water can flow in only one direction and that is downhill.  So imagine how surprised were explorers Charles Andersson and David Livingstone when, on reaching the confusing waterways of the Okavango wetlands in northeastern Botswana, they found rivers and channels that seeming went this way or that at will. The two explorers were so puzzled by the seemingly erratic, and oftentimes anti-gravitational, flow of the waters of Ngamiland (as this region is known), Livingstone insisted in his famous diary: “A river cannot flow backwards, or uphill!”
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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

Conservation Safaris: Black Rhinos of Namibia's Damaraland

Bushtracks' Specialist Guide David Bristow details how one of Africa's harshest environments sustains and protects critically endangered black rhinos of Namibia's Damaraland Desert.  It is something of an irony that the desert-adapted black rhinos (Diceros bicornis spp. bicornis) of Namibia’s harsh Damaraland region, surviving as they are at the virtual limits of their environmental and evolutionary limits, should represent the best survival chances for the species.
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Posted in: African Wildlife Foundation, African Wildlife Conservation, Black Rhinos

Mountain Trekking Safaris in Africa, Aliquid Novi

The word trekking is a uniquely African one (it is Afrikaans for a long journey, pretty much the same as the Swahili “safari”), so it is fitting we go mountain trekking in Africa.
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Posted in: Adventure Safaris, Mountain Biking

Best Horse Safaris in Botswana & Kenya

David Bristow details unforgettable African adventures and landscapes by horseback, including our Botswana and Victoria Falls Horseback Safari. Walking is a good way to experience the African bush, but riding a horse is so much easier. If you can ride a horse. You can go so much further than when walking. And  you can trot and canter and gallop, splashing through high grass or water like a crazy wild animal, running with herds of antelope, giraffes, zebras, and for a while being one with the wild beasts.
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Posted in: victoria falls, South Africa, Botswana, Adventure Safaris, Horse Safaris, Zimbabwe

Kenya Safaris: Walking with Warriors

There are really two kinds of safaris in Kenya. One is where every attempt is made to make you feel as though you have stepped back in time into a romantic Africa: lots of leather and brass furnishings, luxurious drapes and a cocktail offered every time you turn around. The other is where no attempt is made to re-create that romantic Euro-centric illusion. It’s where the Africa of old and new meet in a much more meaningful way.
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Posted in: walking safaris, Top Trips to Kenya, Tribes of Kenya, Tribes of Africa

Tanzania Safaris: Singing Stones of the Serengeti in East Africa by David Bristow

The Serengeti Game Reserve in Tanzania is home to ancient painted stones that sing when struck. Discover this sacred site on your East African safari. In ancient times in Africa, there was an important kind of music that issued forth, virtually from the ground. In his book ‘The Lightning Bird’ paranormal scientific writer Lyall Watson alludes to special stones. The book is a biography of Adrian Boshier who was initiated into the way of the spirits, the ancient lore of Africa, by one tribe.
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Posted in: David Bristow, Kenya Safaris, Serengeti Game Reserve, Top Trips to Kenya, Singing Stones of Africa, Tanzania Safaris

If the World is Your Oyster, in Uganda You’ll Find Many Pearls by David Bristow

Whenever someone wants to do a PR job on Uganda they trot out the fact that Sir Winston Churchill called it the “pearl of Africa.” As with just about all things past and distant the truth turns out to be far more interesting than the myth. Way back in 1907 Churchill was the newly appointed under-secretary for colonial affairs (not a top job in the day). At age 33 he made the arduous journey – by ship, train, lake steamer, by canoe, on foot and even by bicycle. All the sir business and war accolades were still far in his future.
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Posted in: African Safari Tours, Gorilla Trekking Safari, Uganda, David Bristow, African Wildlife Conservation

Insiders Cape Town in South Africa by David Bristow

Colorful Old Cape Quarter in Cape Town Insiders Cape Town in South Africa by 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. From the time European settlers put their soft, stockinged feet on the beach at Table Bay around 350 years ago, things have gone steadily downhill. For one property prices have rocketed. And finding parking on the Foreshore is a pain. On the other hand the quality of the wine has improved greatly from that first agricultural vintage back in 1659, which records show was more medicinal than delightful.
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Posted in: African Safari Tours, Trips to Africa, South Africa, Table Mountain South Africa, Cape Town

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