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

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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. 

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

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.

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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.


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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

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted in: Where to Stay

Why a Kruger Safari is One of Africa's Iconic Experiences

lion-Sabi-Sabi-Selati-Camp-Greater-Kruger-National-Park-South-Africa_(26)Bushtracks guest blogger David Bristow describes the history, climate and landscape of South Africa's beloved Kruger National Park, and explains why it remains a must-see African safari destination for South Africans and everyone seeking an authentic African wildlife experience.

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10 Camera Setup Tips for Your Photo Safari


Bushtracks specialist guide and guest blogger, David Bristow, shares his tips on setting up your digital camera to take stunning photos of African wildlife on your photo safari.

Modern digital cameras are extremely complex machines. In the “olden days” of film cameras you had to think of only a few camera settings namely, film rating (ISO or the old ASA), shutter speed, depth of field and focus (often manual).

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Posted in: Activities and Culture

Photographing African Wildlife in Action

wildlife photography in africa

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: Conservation & Wildlife, Activities and Culture

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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