blog-HEro.jpg

INSIDERS AFRICATM

Exploring Africa's Wildlife And Wild Places

Top 3 Reasons to Go on an African Safari in Kenya

 mother-cheetah-and-babies-kenya

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.

Read More

Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Destinations

Chelsea Handler's Uganda Be Kidding Me: A Bushtracks Book Review

chelsea_handler_book_uganda_be_kidding_me_010714_

Uganda Be Kidding Me: A Bushtracks Book Review

uganda-be-kidding-me-chelsea-handlerBy Deborah Olsen

The title alone was irresistible, so when my colleague, Liz, mentioned E! personality and comedienne Chelsea Handler’s latest autobiographical book, she didn’t have to ask me twice to do a little primary research. First (spoiler alert!), Chelsea and her five friends went on safari in Southern Africa, so if you are looking for a book on Uganda, you should keep looking – there are no gorillas here. You may also want to know that her recap of Africa accounts for less than half of the book, from there she’s off to the Bahamas, Switzerland and beyond.

But her views on an African safari inject some much-needed levity into a topic generally treated with the gravitas reserved for a BBC production.  Fans of Chelsea Handler will not be surprised by her irreverent approach to the African safari, nor will they be deterred by her impressions viewed mainly through the lens of glasses made rosy by perpetual Bloody Marys. Never a traditionalist, her idea of safari adds a sixth conquest to Africa’s big five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino for the uninitiated) in the shape of her ruggedly handsome South African guide Rex – the one that got away.

Read More

Posted in: Destinations

Gorilla Trekking Safaris for Teens

gorilla-forest-camp-uganda-eastern-africa
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.

Read More

Posted in: Activities and Culture, Destinations

Best Places to Stay in Uganda: Bwindi Safari Lodge

Gorillas-at-bwindi-lodge-uganda

 
The Bwindi Safari Lodge is among the best places to stay in Uganda and is a Bushtracks favorite. The Bwindi Safari Lodge in Uganda overlooks the primeval Bwindi Forest, home to gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees and birds. Tracking gorillas in the so-called ‘impenetrable' forest is a magical experience. At this stunning eco-lodge with eight bandas, clients can spend the day on the terrace, which juts out into the forest, mesmerized by its exotic sounds, watching primates and birds in the canopy. 
Read More

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

Rwanda Remembers

Rwanda Remembers

rwanda_genocide_anniversary_april_7_2014
Photo Credit: borneobulletin.brunei-online.com

 On April 7th every year Rwanda holds a Kwibuka ceremony, honoring the million lives lost through genocide 20 years ago. Kwibuka is the Kinyarwanda word for ‘remember’ and describes the global commemoration framework. Kwibuka20 calls on the world to stand against genocide in three key ways:

- To remember: Honoring the memory of those who died. Offering support to those who survived.

- To unite: Rwanda shows that reconciliation through shared human values is possible. We ask the world to do the same.

- To renew: As we build Rwanda anew, we are humbled to share our experiences and learn from others. Let’s create a better world together.

Read More

Posted in: Destinations

Top 3 Reasons to Go on an African Safari in Uganda

 

Gorilla_Trekking_in_Rwanda_Bushtracks

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.

Read More

Posted in: Activities and Culture, Destinations

Jane Goodall Celebrates Her 80th Birthday Today

 jane-goodall

Read More

Posted in: Activities and Culture, Destinations

Insiders Cape Town in South Africa

Bokaap-South-Africa-1Colorful Old Cape Quarter in Cape Town

From the time European settlers put their soft, stockinged feet on the beach at Table Bay around 350 years ago, things have gone steadily downhill. For one property prices have rocketed. And finding parking on the Foreshore is a pain. On the other hand the quality of the wine has improved greatly from that first agricultural vintage back in 1659, which records show was more medicinal than delightful.

Read More

Posted in: Destinations

How to Spot a Leopard in South Africa

leopard-Savute-Elephant-Camp-Chobe-National-Park-Botswana-safari_(21)

How to Spot a Leopard in South Africa

When you are ready to begin planning your trip to Africa, the first safari you will take is often of the online, bewildering type: researching camps and parks with not a lot to go on. If you haven’t explored it already, www.bushtracks.com offers one-stop-shop planning tools to help design your dream safari. We’ve applied over 20 years of fielding traveler questions into filters that anticipate many of the desires that spark a safari adventure. Sometimes the trip-of-a-lifetime starts with a childhood dream you could never get out of your head:  like seeing a leopard in its habitat.

So, if you are interested in a Cape Town visit for your family, but can’t imagine going all the way to Africa without seeing a leopard – and you want to make sure that your 12 year old twins have access to a swimming pool – by using our filters, you’ll find 19 safari camps that fit the bill.

Read More

Posted in: Destinations

Cape Town Family Safari Escape in South Africa - Bushmans Kloof Resort

outdoor-dining-Bushmans-Kloof-Western-Cape-South-Africa_(16)3

Bushman's Kloof Reserve & Wellness Retreat

You can’t beat Cape Town for a perfect mix of stunning landscapes, culture, history and a world-class food and wine scene – but, what’s in it for your kids, really?

There’s more than enough in Cape Town to fill two or three action packed days for your family. But adding a few days of outdoor discoveries (for them) and an opportunity to relax (for you) is a great way to round out your Cape Town family vacation.

 Start Your Adventure with 3 Days in Cape Town

Cape-Grace-Hotel-South-Africa

Two or three days in Cape Town will allow you to ride the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain, take a ferry to historic Robben Island,  check out the memorabilia of District 6 Museum, and enjoy the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront’s Two Oceans Aquarium and Springbok Experience Rugby Museum, just to name a few.

Read More

Posted in: Planning, Tips, and Tools, Destinations

GREAT WHITE SHARK DIVING ON SAFARI IN SOUTH AFRICA

Adrenaline-Activity-Shark-Cage-Diving-South-Africa_(19)

GREAT WHITE SHARK DIVING ON SAFARI IN SOUTH AFRICA

 

One of Bushtracks’ greatest thrills is connecting our travelers with some of our favorite African experts who are skilled not only at spotting wildlife and interpreting their behaviors, but who are passionate advocates of the animals and their habitats, and who strive to offer our guests the most natural animal encounters. 

 

Read More

Posted in: Destinations

ON SAFARI IN SOUTH AFRICA SPOTTING A ROYAL BEETLE

bushtracks-tett-family-safari-2014-2

ON SAFARI IN SOUTH AFRICA SPOTTING A ROYAL BEETLE

This December, when Carolyn and I took our two kids on their 5th safari in Africa in Madikwe Private Game Reserve in South Africa, up by the Botswana border, we had the great pleasure of learning more about some fascinating creatures – great and small

From many aspects, this lesser known private reserve in South Africa revealed wonderful safari moments, from busy scurrying scarab beetles fighting over dung balls, to stunning sightings of numerous white rhino, and even a rare brown hyaena. Maybe surprisingly, it was the African Wild Dogs and the Scarab (a.k.a Dung) Beetles that really captivated us. Neither are exactly kings of the jungle, but on close observation, they are really cool animals.

Read More

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

Top 5 Reasons to Visit South Africa

Sabi Sabi Selati Camp

Top 5 Reasons to Visit South Africa

1. A year-round destination with a great climate

Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Indian Ocean to the east, South Africa enjoys a temperate climate, with some regional variation, but a very low annual rainfall overall, making it a destination for all seasons, and ideal for building a custom safari (with options for beach time, wine tasting, whale watching, and much more) around any dates you desire.

Tswalu, South Africa, photographed by Cameron Pearce

2. World-class wildlife viewing and private reserves perfect for families

South Africa’s Kruger National Park is a world-renowned wildlife destination, and the oldest national park in Africa. Sharing a border with Kruger, Mala Mala Game Reserve is a private reserve with exclusive game viewing areas and the highest land to guest ratio in the region.  90% of the reserve is strategically sandwiched between the 11 mile open boundary with the Kruger National Park and the Sand River. If you only visit Africa once, this is the place where you are most likely to see the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros). In addition, Mala Mala offers a Junior Ranger program with activities designed just for kids and teens.

Read More

Posted in: Planning, Tips, and Tools, Destinations

Elephants Walking Through Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia Africa

elephants-at-mfuwe-lodge-in-zambia

Elephants Walking Through Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia Africa

Elephants won't be the only ones walking through the bush on a walking safari in Zambia. Check out the gently giant strutting straight through Mfuwe Lodge in the South Luangwa, Zambia. The vimeo is courtesy of our partners at The Bushcamp Company. 

Read More

Posted in: Conservation & Wildlife, Destinations

Luangwa Valley Walking Safaris in Zambia, Southern Africa

 walking-safari-Zebra-Plains-South-Luwanga-National-Park-Zambia_(14)

Luangwa Valley Walking Safaris in Zambia, Southern Africa

No matter where you go – in urban or wilder settings – the seasoned traveler knows you can only get to really know your surroundings by walking them:  not just to get your bearings, but to discover the sights, sounds and smells that are unique to that place. Although four-wheel-drive safari vehicles are inextricably linked to the image of the classic African safari, many safari-goers are taking their adventure to another level entirely by selecting a destination and camps which have perfected the art of the walking safari. Beyond connecting with the wilderness you’ve traveled so far to see, you have the added advantage of staying active on your vacation.

One of our favorite destinations is the Luangwa Valley in Zambia, where Norman Carr pioneered walking safaris in the 1950’s, preferring the traditional way of exploring the surrounding wilderness. Every detail – from guide training to bush camps – is aimed at helping you become a part of your surroundings. You are alert to the sound of breaking branches and animal sounds, and smaller details reveal themselves, like subtle changes in the foliage and the presence of insects.

Read More

Posted in: Destinations

AUTHOR BIO  |