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INSIDERS AFRICATM

Exploring Africa's Wildlife And Wild Places

What are the World's Best African Safaris?

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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: Planning, Tips, and Tools

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: Destinations

Photographing African Wildlife in Action

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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

Special Offer on Best of Botswana & Victoria Falls Safari

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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

  1. 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.

  2. Experience Victoria Falls during this incredible time of year, and enjoy plentiful rainbows and the clear light precious to photographers.

  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  5. 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: Safari Special Offers, Planning, Tips, and Tools, Destinations

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

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

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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.”

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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: Planning, Tips, and Tools, Destinations

African Jackal in Wolf's Clothing

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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: Conservation & Wildlife, Activities and Culture

AFRICAN SAFARI SPECIALS: GO NOW & SAVE

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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.


*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: Safari Special Offers, Destinations

Greater Kruger Safaris for Families in South Africa

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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: Destinations

AFRICAN SAFARIS IN THE GREEN SEASON

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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: Activities and Culture, Destinations

What are the Big 5 African Animals?

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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: Conservation & Wildlife

Map of Southern Africa

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Map of Southern Africa

Discover the mosamazing animalon earth in some of the most incredible places in southern Africa. 

Bushtracks is owned by a sixth-generation African family who has been making the  most exotic, unspoiled, and precious places  on earth accessible to travelers for more than two decades. Learn more about what makes the Bushtracks experience special by speaking to an Expert Safari Planner at 800-995-8689, or download or map of southern African featuring: 

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Posted in: Planning, Tips, and Tools

Serengeti Migration Safaris: Following the Wildebeest Migration

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You won’t be the only one following millions of wildebeest and zebra on our Serengeti Migration Safari in Tanzania in Eastern Africa. Predators can’t resist such a giant gathering of their prey. The drama of survival will play out before your eyes with lions, cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs and hyenas playing the main roles. Living their own life dramas, elephants, baboons, bushbabies, giraffes, aardvarks and a huge variety of other animals support one of the best wildlife adventures on earth.

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Posted in: Activities and Culture, Destinations

The Deserts of Africa

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Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent (30.2 million sq kilometers or 11.7 million sq miles), ranking second to Asia (44.4 million kilometers or 17.1 million sq miles) and larger than North America (24.2 sq kilometers or 9.4 sq miles). Accompanying its enormous size, Africa is home to the world's largest desert, the Sahara, as well as the Namib and the Kalahari. Each is incredibly diverse and vast covering a majority of Africa. With their alluring beauty, yet sometimes harsh environments, these regions of the continent offer a fascinating environmental and cultural history dating back millions of years.

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Posted in: Destinations

Expert Tips on Taking African Safari Photos

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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: Activities and Culture

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