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INSIDERS AFRICATM

Exploring Africa's Wildlife And Wild Places

Samantha Barbitta

Samantha Barbitta
Samantha is Bushtracks' Division Specialist Independent Travel and safari expert. Africa safari tours are all about animals and adventure. And so is Samantha. She studied marine biology at university, is a certified SCUBA diver and worked at a sport fishing lodge in Costa Rica for two and a half years. Some of her favorite trips have been to Rwanda (to spend time with gorillas), Brazil (to spot jaguars) and Kenya and Tanzania (to see too many animals to name.) When she’s not traveling or working, she also spends quite a bit of time riding horses. And not to be without animals while she works, Sam often brings her very personable greyhound, Libby, to the office. If you’re looking for animals and adventure, Sam's expansive experience and enthusiasm for adventure make her a superb person to help you plan your Africa safari luxury vacation.

Recent Posts

A New Camp for your Okavango Delta Safari

wild dog at Qorokwe Camp, Okavango Delta Safari

It's not every day that a new camp opens in Botswana's Okavango Delta, so we're very excited to share the news about this one. Qorokwe Camp is not only beautifully and thoughtfully constructed, but gives guests a uniquely private wildlife-viewing experience in one of the world's most famously abundant and diverse ecosystems.

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Posted in: Destinations, Where to Stay, Our Safari Specialists

Staff Picks: Chimpanzee Trekking at Mahale

Samantha with hippos, Chada Katavi

Bushtracks expert safari planner Samantha Barbitta (pictured above at Katavi in front of a partially submerged hippo, not a boulder!) shares her fall 2016 safari to Katavi National Park and Mahale National Park, both in Tanzania. Among the many highlights of her adventure to these less-traveled destinations in Tanzania was the opportunity to go chimpanzee trekking in Mahale.

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Posted in: Activities and Culture, Destinations, Staff Picks, Our Safari Specialists

Serengeti Safari Sightings Month-by-Month

wildebeest stampede, Mara Plains

Savvy travelers planning their dream Serengeti safari want to visit at "the best time." So when exactly is that? The accurate (and somewhat maddening) response is, "it depends." The herds never pack up and leave the Serengeti ecosystem, but they do progress in a seasonal circuit, so your wildebeest-viewing experience varies depending on when you time your visit. However, resident wildlife can be found in abundance throughout the year.

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Posted in: Destinations, Planning, Tips, and Tools

A New Serengeti Safari Lodge Designed for Families

We're excited to introduce a new way to experience the magnificent Serengeti. Just opened July 1st, 2015, Mkombe's House Lamai is the first and only true private house in the Serengeti National Park. Able to accommodate 10 guests, this contemporary house is set in the heart of one of the Serengeti's richest mammal habitats.

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Posted in: Where to Stay

Where to See Serengeti Lions

Photo by Susan McConnellThe millions of zebras and wildebeests of the Great Migration too often get all the attention when we talk about the Serengeti. And why not? They’ve certainly got the numbers on their side, and their ground-shaking annual progress has understandably been dubbed one of the top ten wonders of the world. But for many people, the Serengeti is all about the lions who call it home.

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Posted in: Destinations

A Perfect Day in Victoria Falls

Samantha Bushtracks Victoria Falls Elephant Safari with BopBushtracks expert safari planner, Samantha (pictured above with Bop the elephant) enjoyed a very non-traditional Thanksgiving Day in Victoria Falls checking out two of our guests' favorite activities: splashing at the edge of Victoria Falls at Devil's Pool and going on an elephant safari.

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Posted in: Planning, Tips, and Tools, Destinations, Our Safari Specialists

Last Minute Travel Preparation Tips for African Safaris

Bushtracks Safari Samantha Barbitta in KenyaSamantha (pictured above with her camera in Kenya), one of Bushtracks expert travel planners, is out on safari in Southern Africa on her third visit to the continent. On her way out the door, she shared her last-minute travel preparation tips for African safaris.

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Planning a Trip to the Serengeti

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Say “African wildlife” and the first image that pops into many people’s heads is a river churning with wildebeests and the occasional croc. That river is the Mara River, and it is located in northern Tanzania, where it cuts across the uppermost part of Serengeti National Park. Here and in the central Serengeti and the Masai Mara, from June through November you can follow the annual migration of millions of wildebeests and zebras. So if you are thinking about seeing the Serengeti Migration in 2015, you’re about 8 to 9 months out from the expected beginning of the migration, which is a great time to start looking into camp availability.

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Top 3 Reasons to Go on an African Safari in Kenya

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For many of us, consciously or subconsciously, we think of a safari, and Kenya comes to mind.

In part, we can thank Hollywood for its unforgettable rendering of Karen Blixen’s Kenyan farm in “Out of Africa.” But, beyond the silver screen, the history of the traditional African safari has played out in Kenya on a world stage for over 100 years and has shaped our sense of what a safari is and who takes it. Our collective interest began with early twentieth century accounts by adventurers Theodore Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway, continued with the mid-century drama of a young Princess Elizabeth learning of her father’s death and her ascension to the throne while she was on safari in Kenya, and endures today with ongoing conservation stories like that of Dame Daphne Sheldrick and her late husband David Sheldrick, and their tireless work championing Kenya’s elephants.

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Posted in: Destinations, Conservation & Wildlife

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda: A Mother & Daughter Adventure

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Very few mothers and daughters share the experience that my mom and I did in March 2010 when she joined me on Bushtracks' safari in Rwanda to go gorilla trekking. We were in Rwanda for 3 nights and 4 days, with one gorilla trek, before connecting on to our safari in Kenya.

We arrived in Kigali off our international flight, and enjoyed a recovery night before being met by our private guide the next morning. He made sure we saw all the city’s highlights in the morning, the most notable being the genocide memorial. Although we came to Rwanda to see mountain gorillas, the genocide memorial’s self-guided tour through photography, video, and most poignantly, the tattered clothes and belongings of the victims, made a very strong impression on us.

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Posted in: Activities and Culture

Top 3 Reasons to Go on an African Safari in Uganda

 

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Best single-country combined big game viewing and primate experience 

As we think about Jane Goodall’s achievements on her 80th birthday, we are reminded that primate encounters capture the imagination and the heart in a way that few other wildlife viewing experiences can do. “No one who looks into a gorilla’s eyes – intelligent, gentle, vulnerable – can remain unchanged, for the gap between ape and human vanishes…” said American biologist George Schaller, and we agree. We’ve found that only Uganda allows you to enjoy gorilla and chimpanzee trekking plus Big Five game viewing in a single-country safari experience. Progressing from north to south, you can experience the chimpanzees of Kibale, head on to big game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and conclude with mountain gorillas trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in a straightforward program that requires no back-tracking.

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Posted in: Activities and Culture, Destinations

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