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INSIDERS AFRICATM

Exploring Africa's Wildlife And Wild Places

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: Conservation & Wildlife, Planning, Tips, and Tools, 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

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: Conservation & Wildlife, Destinations

A PLACE WHERE 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.

You might have seen the recent 60 Minutes episode by correspondent Bob Simon, on the elephant orphanage in Kenya run by Dame Daphne Sheldrick. He asked her what was the most extraordinary thing she has learned about elephants and her reply gives you something to think about!

"Their tremendous capacity for caring is I think perhaps the most amazing thing about them. Even at a very, very young age. Their sort of forgiveness, unselfishness — they have all the best attributes of us humans and not very many of the bad." 
Dame Daphne Sheldrick

 

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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

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: Conservation & Wildlife, 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

Celebrating Earth Day! Safaris Help Sustain Africa’s Wild Places

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It’s not a stretch to say that every day is Earth Day at Bushtracks. We know that our past and our future are inextricably linked to the conservation of Africa’s wild places, and that when we share Africa’s remarkable beauty with our guests, that we are inspiring them, too, to take part in protecting these precious parts of our planet. But, although raising the awareness of Africa’s lands in our guests’ minds is an important part of what we do, it’s not the only way we think responsible travel can make a meaningful difference in our world.

DAVID AND CAROLYN BECOME AWF COUNCIL MEMBERS

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Last year, Bushtracks owners David and Carolyn Tett strengthened their ongoing relationship with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) by becoming AWF Council Members. The AWF’s work spans entire countries, crossing borders to support critically important landscapes that harbor biodiversity and offer people economic opportunities. 

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Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife

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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