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INSIDERS AFRICATM

Exploring Africa's Wildlife And Wild Places

How to Plan the Best Family Safari

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For many of our travelers a trip to Africa is a chance to assemble generations of family in an extraordinary setting where each member of the family shares a sense of wonder and discovery together. We’ve been designing family safaris for multi-generational groups for over 20 years, and can offer helpful advice to families beginning to plan a custom African safari for summer 2015.

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Posted in: Activities and Culture, Destinations

The Big 5 & Shark Dive Safari

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LIONS, LEOPARDS, BUFFALOS, RHINOS, ELEPHANTS...AND SHARKS

Our newest safari The Big 5 & Shark Dive offers the best of land and sea with incredible game viewing in two of Southern Africa’s top reserves, plus the unparalleled aquatic adventure of shark cage diving.

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Activities and Culture, Destinations

Best Horse Safaris in Botswana & Kenya

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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: Activities and Culture, Planning, Tips, and Tools, Destinations

How to Stay Fit on Your African Safari

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A safari is unquestionably an outdoor experience. But, in Africa as elsewhere, just being outdoors does not always imply high activity. Mornings you’ll set out in your open vehicle accompanied by a guide to seek wildlife. Later, as animals retreat for a mid-day rest, you may take a nap or relax with a book. In the afternoon, you’ll embark on a second game drive often in a vehicle. Although every safari is an adventure, it is not necessarily high exertion, unless, of course, you design it that way.

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Posted in: Activities and Culture, Destinations

PICKING THE BEST PHOTO EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR SAFARI

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PICKING THE BEST PHOTO EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR SAFARI

Given the endlessly captivating subject matter, every safari is a photographic safari, and every traveler, from the casual photographer to the serious shutterbug wants to return home with an array of stunning wildlife images to share.

Unforgettable photographs begin with selecting equipment that takes Africa’s unique conditions and the range of camera options into consideration. Here we offer tips for digital photography equipment, which gives instant feedback on images and allows adjustments in the field to ensure that one’s photographs are correctly exposed.

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Posted in: Activities and Culture

IN OUR TRAVELERS' WORDS: THE WILLIAM FAMILY ON SAFARI IN KENYA

William_family_breakfast_on_the_banks_of_river_in_norhtern_Kenya"While taken together we have travelled to all of the 7 continents, none of us has had a better time than this last expedition to Kenya. I have travelled to Africa many times, with my first visit in 1965 and my last several visits facilitated by Bushtracks Expeditions. I took this photo (above) of my son Paul, his wife and my grandchildren in Kenya."

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Paul William Playing Soccer with Samburu Warriors

"Paul (above) had said to me prior to this trip that since I had been to Africa many times, he wanted to at least go there once with me so I could share the experience with him and his family. This safari allowed us to share quality family time and learn and enjoy the values of other cultures that can only be encountered in the Serengeti.

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Posted in: Activities and Culture

Kenya Safaris: Walking with Warriors

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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: Activities and Culture, Destinations

Best African Safaris to See Leopards in Kenya

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Cheryl Lyn Dybas transports us to Leopard Gorge, with its rocky caves and outcroppings, in Kenya's Masai Mara. Here wildlife abounds along a road to a netherworld.

Road to a Netherworld

The gloaming, it’s called, this twilight between day and night. 

In myth, the gloaming is the place between the known and the unknown, the ordinary and the extraordinary that you might be witness to on safari in this area of Kenya.

It’s also the time when rarely seen creatures emerge from the shadows.

Here along the equator in Kenya’s Masai Mara, sunset comes early. Although it’s just after 4:00 p.m., the light turns gold…orange…indigo.

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Posted in: Activities and Culture, Destinations

If the World is Your Oyster...than in Uganda You’ll Find Many Pearls

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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: Conservation & Wildlife, Activities and Culture, Destinations

Gorilla Trekking and Photography Safaris in the Congo Jungle in Africa

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After having photographed mountain gorillas in Rwanda and chimpanzees in both Uganda and Tanzania, I wanted to photograph lowland gorillas and bonobo monkeys. My research for an African safari ground operator who could provide us access to lowland gorillas led me once again to Bushtracks. Bushtracks was providing a trip to Doli Lodge in the Central African Republic where there were habituated families of lowland gorillas, forest elephants and forest buffalos. With the rampant bush meat trade ongoing in Central and Western Africa, locating primates that were available to photograph was very difficult. If they hadn’t been habituated to not fear humans, they were long gone before you could get a photo.

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Activities and Culture

How Your Safari Protects Africa’s 900 Remaining Mountain Gorillas

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Mountain gorillas are still under threat. Even though the mountain gorilla population in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is growing, the species remains endangered. Poaching, habitat loss, and human–wildlife conflict threaten to halt the progress of this species.

 

African Wildlife Foundation's Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

uganda-clouds-mountain-gorilla-lodge-rwanda-outside-1Gorilla lodge makes tourism a win–win. Officially opened in the spring of 2008, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge is located just outside the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The lodge idea was introduced in 2002, when the Uganda Wildlife Authority, along with the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP) and African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), sought to address human–gorilla conflict in the region.

What resulted was a high-end lodge based on gorilla tourism, co-owned by a private operating partner and the local communities—represented by the Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF). This unique partnership was facilitated by IGCP and AWF. 

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Activities and Culture

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

Africa's Finest by David Bristow and Colin Bell

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Africa's Finest by David Bristow and Colin Bell

Africa's Finest (Hardcover) by David Bristow and Colin Bell was published in December 15, 2013 - A stunning perspective of the most sustainable and responsible safari destinations in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. Africa's Finest is the game-changing book that celebrates the lodges and camps in Africa that are making a difference: those practicing environmentally friendly and sustainable tourism methods while providing world class safari and nature experiences. Explore this book here on http://africasfinest.co.za/ Also available on Amazon

DAVID BRISTOW

david-bristow-africa-1David Bristow is also a guest blogger and Bushtracks' Specialist Guide based in Cape Town, South Africa. Read his latest article "Insiders Cape Town" on our blog here.

"Still so many mountains to climb, still so many books to write," says nature and environmental writer David Bristow.

Stints on Johannesburg’s two biggest circulating dailies – The Star and The Sowetan – following a double honors degree in Journalism and Speech and Drama at Rhodes University – made him realize a desk job would not be the life for him.

Soon after returning from an expedition to Nepal he set off on an 18-month mountaineering odyssey that culminated in the best-selling coffee table book Mountains of Southern Africa (Struik, Cape Town, 1984). Since then he has authored some 20 books and written hundreds of travel articles – mainly on Africa but as far flung as Antarctica and Alaska. Some time in mid career David decided he needed a firmer grounding in the earth sciences. There followed a masters degree in Environmental Sciences at Cape Town University.

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Posted in: Activities and Culture, Planning, Tips, and Tools

Gorilla Trekking Safaris for Teens

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Gorilla Forest Camp in Uganda

Gorilla Trekking Safaris for Teens

 

On safari you can expect to spend many hours in your four-by-four vehicle – and front-row seats to the most amazing wildlife show on earth is nothing to complain about. However, when we’re planning a safari for families with teens or young adults, we strongly encourage our guests to also incorporate activities – ranging from high adrenaline like shark cage dives in South Africa or bungee-jumping in Victoria Falls to the more subdued like a canoe-paddle through the Okavango Delta.

WHERE TO GO GORILLA TREKKING WITH TEENS 

Gorilla trekking is a perfect example of a higher level activity safari for teens and young adults aged 15 and older. And Uganda is a great destination for blending vehicle-based game-viewing with an activity that will stretch your teen’s legs, and change their thinking about the natural world for years to come. The world’s remaining mountain gorillas are fewer in number than 900 and can’t be seen in zoos – you must go to high altitude forests in Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo and seek them out. Your adventure begins with an early wake-up, after which your group of 6 to 8 guests will set out in search of one of the habituated family groups of mountain gorillas with experienced trackers. While the duration of the hike can vary based on the gorillas’ location, expect to walk for 2 to 6 hours in terrain that can be steep, slippery and thick with foliage. Your interesting surroundings, the occasional black and white faced  L’Hoest monkey jumping overhead, and your guide’s interpretation of the gorilla’s traces combine with your anticipation to make the hike more than worthwhile.

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Posted in: Activities and Culture, Destinations

Mountain Gorillas and the African Wildlife Foundation

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 The world’s remaining mountain gorillas live in three countries spanning four national parks – Bwindi

Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga National Park.

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Infant Moutain Gorillia at Bwindi, Uganda in Eastern Africa

A 2011 census recorded fewer than 900 mountain gorillas left in the wild. The gorillas’ biggest threats come from deforestation and the region’s growing population. The forests where mountain gorillas live are fertile and rich in biodiversity, making this one of the most populated regions in Africa, with 85% of the population making its living by growing food on the land. As people move closer to where gorillas live, they also bring the risk of spreading human diseases to gorillas such as the flu, pneumonia, and even ebola. War in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resulted in more than four million lives lost over the past 14 years.

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Activities and Culture

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