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Day 3: Richtersveld video diary

This video is number two of a ten-part diary documenting my road trip into the Richtersveld National Park – a desolate and dusty national park in the northern Cape region of South Africa. httpv://

Kenya Road Trip

My friend Olive and I decided to embark on a road trip to the north coast of Kenya. We set out feeling like Thelma and Louise, but were hoping to avoid murder, police chases and joint suicide. The reason for the road trip was in part, to celebrate the success of her ethical fashion label […]

Rhinos are critically endangered

The fight against rhino poaching in South Africa has become critical, and has highlighted the importance of practical conservation initiatives, like the WWF/ Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Black Rhino Range Expansion Project. httpv:// Rhinos Must be Saved from Poaching from Green Renaissance on Vimeo.

A Deadly Game

Working with Andy Biggs on one of his special interest photographic safaris in Botswana, Grant Atkinson and fellow trip leader and photographer James Weis were lucky enough to be witness to this spectacular life and death struggle between elephant and spotted hyaena. The pictures tell a very dramatic tale!


Lapping turquoise water, clean white beaches, little white houses with touches of blue and green. We could be anywhere in the Mediterranean – except for the faint whiff of bokkoms and the occasional ‘Hoesit Bra!’ from the parking lot.

End the mockery now

Developments over the last week in South Africa’s rhino poaching crisis clearly indicate that trophy hunting is one of the largest contributing factors to the ongoing slaughter. This is the cue for the professional hunting bodies, both in this country and abroad, to play their part in attempting to solve this sorry saga. They need […]

Day 1: Richtersveld video diary

If you’ve ever wondered what the fuss about the vast beauty of the Richtersveld is, or what is so special about the Kgalagadi, then this documentary of our recent visit to the Arid parks of the Northern Cape will give you an idea of what to expect. We recorded this series for you to see what […]

Leopard Attempts to Chase Wild Dog off Kill!

The predator interactions in the Sabi Sands always astound me! I was privileged and intrigued to witness a pack of six wild dogs kill a bushbuck right in front of our eyes. This incredible spectacle was made even more amazing by the charging addition of a female leopard on the scene: The dogs were ripping […]

Lake Jozini: floating islands and mythical reptiles.

Lake Jozini spreads its vast watery fingers across the bushveld of Maputoland in northern kwaZulu-Natal. Winding down from the Lebombo Mountains above, the view reminded me of the network of snaking backwaters in southern India, dotted with houseboats drifting lazily across its murky waters and fringed by an unruly matt of undergrowth.  

Diani: Paradise Lost?

My feet have taken me homeward. I’ve been away for a little while now, working on a biography in Naivasha and a ’48 hours in Nairobi’ piece for this fine publication. It always gives you a warm feeling to be returning home, but this is especially the case if home happens to be Diani Beach, […]

Painted pups of the Sabi Sands

Whilst on an afternoon game drive with Paddy Hagelthorn of Savanna Private Game Reserve, earlier this month,  I had the privilege of sighting an active wild dog den. The African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) is the leader of the pack for a few reasons.  They are the only large canid endemic to Africa. They are […]

The 8th Wonder of the World

It was a misty morning when I first entered the gates of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area; my destination, the 8th Wonder of the World, the Ngorongoro Crater. Upon entering the park, I drove for several kilometers along the mossy afromontane forest rim. Few words can describe the emotion I experienced when I first stood on […]

The legal killing of rhino?

The latest issue of Africa Geographic carries an update on the rhino poaching crisis. When going to print, approximately 160 animals had been killed. That figure is now over 190, which means at the current rate, somewhere between 400 and 450 animals will be illegally killed by the end of this year. And the slaughter […]

Okavango Adventure

Steve’s official survey video: httpv://

Ibo Island: Through the lens

In this next issue of Safari, I’m exploring the Islands nestling off the Swahili shoreline. Here are a few teaser photographs a week ahead of the release of Safari’s July issue. Ibo Island is a tropical Indian Ocean atoll tempting a trickling number of paradise-seekers to its shores. The island is one of 27 that […]

Game Ranger of the Year 2011

Game Rangers have a unique lifestyle. Their day ignites with the sunrise, when the animals are most active, and often ends late at night when the last guest has gone to bed. In this time, they track and locate high profile animals, 4×4 through sticky situations, interpret and explain ecology, host dinner until late – […]

Who is following the sardine run?

This week’s blog post comes once again from the Wild Coast in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. The annual sardine migration that takes place here is happening as I write, so I thought I would describe some of the major predators that take part in this wildlife phenomenon. The sardines are only small fish, but they […]

Mojo on Safari

I’ve just got back from assignment in Addo Elephant Park, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. One of the first emails to ping my inbox on return to the office, was of this utterly ridiculous photograph. Me, jigging around on the back of a game drive, wielding a gopro head-mount, an SLR Nikon D-90, and a twitter-linked […]

Leopard behaviour – Information technology

It is quite fascinating to follow a big cat when they are on a territorial patrol.  Last month I was able to watch the Dumatau male leopard as he went about on an early morning patrol.  He is one of the most relaxed of big cats, and takes no notice of our vehicles.  For cats […]

A different kind of line-fishing

When this female pied kingfisher dived into the waters of the Savuti Channel to catch a small fish, she got a bit of a surprise.

Cats and the memory of water

It is often said that cats don’t like water. Undoubtedly, this has some truth in it, but for cats living in and around the wetlands of northern Botswana these days, coping with water is a reality.

The Leopards of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Living the Dream – My Life as a Professional Safari Guide by Marius Coetzee   It was a Sunday afternoon, living in a small farm town in the North West Province, when the phone unexpectedly rang. It was my brother Hendri and he casually asked me if I would like to come and work on […]

Gorilla Doctors

I first discovered the Gorilla Doctors while writing an article about a gorilla naming ceremony in Rwanda. Since then, I’ve been in touch with Molly Feltner, a freelance writer, photographer and communicator for the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. Molly told me how the project is made up of an international team of vets, known as […]

Serengeti Highway update

Readers are by now familiar with the controversy over the Tanzanian governments proposed new highway through the Serengeti National Park, which is a World Heritage Site . It’s been something of an ‘on-again, off-again’ saga as the pros and cons have been highlighted by the various parties involved. More recently, government plans for other infrastructural […]

Dying To Breed

[slickr-flickr tag=”gasav” captions=”on”] Each year, beginning in April and May, the woodlands of northern Botswana begin to echo to the sound of male impala carrying out their rutting rituals. This behaviour is triggered by shortening day lengths. Normally quiet, the male impala begin to vocalize with loud, guttural grunting calls. This is just the sound […]

Grant Atkinson ponders a Savuti elephant’s year ahead

[slickr-flickr tag =”grantellie”] The northern wildlife areas of Botswana are well-known for their healthy populations of African elephant.  For the past four years, high rainfall has created conditions that are ideal for the elephants that live around the network of waterways made up by the Chobe, Kwando, Linyanti and Savuti rivers.  Most of the individual […]

You be the judge?

It’s a tricky question, and one that crops up all too often in the wild. Should you, as a human, use your power to save an animal in distress? Instinct and compassion say yes, but Ian Michler suggests that more considered thought is required. An immensely thought-provoking letter from Italian readers Marinella and Federico San […]

Lechwe Lechery

It is the time of the year along the Linyanti River in Botswana’s far north, when several of the local antelope species are occupying themselves with courtship and mating rituals and activities. At least the males are, whilst to the casual observer it would seem that in most cases the females are just going about […]

Another rhino bust

Late yesterday afternoon, police made another breakthrough in their fight against rhino poaching when they arrested three suspected poachers in Mookgophong (formerly known as Naboomspruit), in Limpopo Province. Acting on information passed to them, the suspects were caught in possession of an R5 rifle making it a strong possibility they are some of the lead […]

Response to canned hunting comments

My last posting on canned hunting was Shame On Us back in late November 2010 when the Supreme Court of Appeal handed down its long-awaited judgment in favour of the South African Predator Breeders Associationation. Since then I’ve been travelling in Botswana and on New Year’s day it was off to Mali for a two […]

The New Year Starts with a Bang

It’s happened – today we are thrilled to confirm 2 matings for our northern white rhinos. The first mating was between Fatu and Suni (northern white on northern white). The second mating was Sudan – our oldest northern white male – with Aramiet (southern white female). To see the old boy has still “got it” […]

Carnivore Clash on the Linyanti

On a game drive along the Linyanti River, not far from Duma Tau camp, we followed the sound of some monkeys making alarm calls. We came across a spotted hyena, then a bateleur eagle and then not one, but two leopards, moving about in some thick bushes. After half an hour of seeing only glimpses […]

A Meal for One

Summertime in the north of Botswana is the time when impala females give birth to their young. The arrival of these delicate creatures, weighing only 5kg, is obviously of great importance to the impala population and represents their future generations. However, for the carnivores that they share their habitat with, the young impala signify a […]

Shame on us!

For so many of us involved in the wildlife, conservation and ecotourism industries in South Africa, it’s a very shameful period right now. In addition to dealing with the rhino poaching scourge, the appalling practices of canned hunting and the breeding of predators in captivity have just been given the green light to continue. This […]

Are we water wise?

My diary in November’s issue of Africa Geographic refers to water stress – this includes the increasing demand on the fixed amount of water worldwide, and the deteriorating quality of much of this water. The question I did not address was what we as individuals can do to alleviate this situation. Firstly, there are the […]

Food fight

Researchers tell us that amongst terrestrial carnivores, spotted hyenas have a very complex social system. Hyenas live in groups, but don’t always forage that way. More often than not they will move on their own, or sometimes in small groups, only gathering in larger numbers when there is a large food source. They have alliances […]

Working Mothers

Leopards are solitary cats by nature. They are comfortable on their own. Female leopards lead less solitary lives than males, as they bear young and spend much time with their cubs. Male leopards have little to do with raising their offspring. It is sometimes said that the big cats are poor mothers, but it should […]

How to destroy a marine protected area?

Are South African National Parks (SANParks) and Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) about to take a decision that may well be the first step in destroying the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (MPA)? There is a belief amongst marine conservationists and scientists that these two departments are seriously considering opening sections of the MPA to fishing. […]

Running with the Dogs

2010 has been a good year for African wild dogs in some of the most northern of Botswana’s wildlife areas. At least three different packs raised pups in the Linyanti and Selinda concessions. Wild dog movements become somewhat restricted during the denning period. Even after the new pups come out of the den, the packs […]

The second big bust

I have been away on safari over the last few weeks and come back to mixed news on the rhino poaching crisis. On the plus side is the huge bust by the police and other agencies of the Groenewalds and their accomplices. It was only going to be a matter of time before the authorities […]

Blood Brothers

Male lions live in coalitions. Whilst coalition sizes can vary from two males up to seven, the average size over much of Botswana is two. These males are typically related, sometimes brothers, sometimes cousins, and less often, unrelated. Coalitions are usually formed for life. Many of the duties performed by territorial male lions are carried […]

Some Encouraging Signs from the Northern White Rhinos

It has been a while since we sent news from the Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the northern white rhinos. We decided that, instead of reporting on the same thing every two weeks, we would wait until there was some significant news to share with you. And we are happy to say that there are some […]

When Is A Big Cat Long In the Tooth?

One of the benefits of spending more time in any particular wildlife area is that you get to recognize individual animals. It is human nature to try to learn as much as possible about these animals. Trying to guess the age of an animal can be an interesting exercise. Reference works indicate that in the […]

Everest Team gathers in support of the Wild Dogs

The black tie function took place on Thursday the 30th September at the Rosebank Hyatt. Thanks to you, the event was sold out with 220 people. David OSullivan hosted the event and Vaughan De La Harpe, who initiated the event, helped, in all to raise approx R700 000 for the Kruger wild dogs project! Frikkie, […]

Second Time Lucky

In July 2008 I was guiding a group out of Tubu Tree camp, in the Okavango. On a morning game drive, we saw a hyena crossing a deep channel. The hyena was carrying an impala carcass. Seconds after it had crossed the water a leopard emerged from the trees behind. A moment later, another leopard […]