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INSIDERS AFRICATM

Exploring Africa's Wildlife And Wild Places

African Lion Conservation and Ewaso Lions in Samburu

It's incredible how few people know that Africa's lions are disappearing. We hear a lot about the threats facing elephants and rhinos, but lions are quietly slipping away. Lions have declined by 90% in just the last 75 years. One of the main drivers is conflict with people, primarily over livestock depredation. When lions attack livestock, pastoralists may retaliate and kill lions.

Ewaso Lions, Lions Greeting

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Our Field Experts

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

Support African Wild Dogs at Kachina Vineyards Event

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Painted dogs, also sometimes called African wild dogs, are incredibly social creatures. The dogs rely on each other and are one of the only wild species that care for their sick and old. However, the dog population has been threatened by poaching, road kills, and mining and logging activities that destroy habitat. There were once as many as 500,000 dogs across Africa, but now only 6,600 dogs are thought to remain. Zimbabwe, where Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) is headquartered, is one of the last strongholds.

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife

I Can’t Wait to Get Back to Africa

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I’m heading back to Africa next week on what I expect to be a very exciting, inspiring and productive visit. Although I always enjoy an excuse to head back home to southern Africa, this trip is all about conservation, and addressing how the African Wildlife Foundation can more effectively respond to the many threats facing Africa’s wildlife and wild places. 

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife

Celebrating Rhino Day

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September 22 is World Rhino Day, an observance first introduced by WWF-South Africa in 2010. Today zoos, wildlife conservationists, businesses and concerned individuals honor both rhinos and efforts to protect all five rhino species: black, white, greater one horned, Sumatran and Javan.

Of the five species of rhino, only the black and white rhinos are found in Africa. Ranging from 1 to 2 tons in weight, and capable of galloping up to 30 mph, adult rhinos have no predators except for humans.  Sadly, that one predator has been more than enough to decimate their numbers which, in the black rhino’s case, are down 97.6 percent since 1960. Of all of Africa’s endangered species, the black rhino is unique because almost 100% of its decline can be attributed not to habitat loss or human-wildlife conflict but to outright poaching.

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Posted in: Planning, Tips, and Tools, Destinations, Conservation & Wildlife

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

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

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

Saving African Elephants in the Serengeti

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Ecologist and science journalist Cheryl Lyn Dybas reports on the use of beehives to save African elephants in the Serengeti.

Where there are farms along the perimeter of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, there are elephants—and all manner of attempts to prevent crops from being trampled.  Farmers have tried various elephant-deterring techniques, from beating tin cans to lighting fires, most of which haven’t appeared to work.

Now officials in Tanzania’s Mara Region near the park have asked authorities to construct fences to keep elephants away from villages and agricultural holdings. The Mara Regional Commissioner, John Tuppa, told a Tanzanian newspaper, The Citizen, that the move will help end destruction of crops by stray elephants. Tuppa is asking for fences to be built as soon as possible.

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife

Conservation Safaris: Black Rhinos of Namibia's Damaraland

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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: Conservation & Wildlife

Congratulations to the Okavango Delta! The 1,000th UNESCO World Heritage Site Designee

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On June 22, 2014 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) voted to recognize Botswana’s Okavango Delta as its 1,000th World Heritage Site, and only the second World Heritage Site in Botswana. The Okavango Delta now joins a list of the world’s most treasured cultural and natural sites, including the Pyramids, the Great Barrier Reef, the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge, Victoria Falls, and Serengeti National Park.

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Posted in: Planning, Tips, and Tools, Destinations, Conservation & Wildlife

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: Destinations, Conservation & Wildlife, Activities and Culture

Elephant Conservation: Does Elephant Compassion Deserve Our Own?

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African wildlife conservation photographer and Bushtracks traveler Susan McConnell describes the profoundly moving elephant interactions she witnessed on safaris in Namibia and Central Africa and offers a solution for African elephant conservation through the Wildlife Conservation Network.

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Posted in: Destinations, Conservation & Wildlife

A Place Where the Elephants are in Charge

3-week-old “Rukinga” feeds on milk at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi 10/4/2012 (Photo Credit: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)

David Tett describes the elephant conservation work of Dame Daphne Sheldrick and shares a custom Kenya safari to visit elephant orphanage, Tsavo National Park, Samburu, and the Masai Mara.

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife

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

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