Africa Geographic Travel

Observing wildlife through camera traps

Camera trap image of leopard mother and cub

Once in a while, trap cameras turn up really remarkable sightings – like this female leopard and cub © Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve / Snapshot Safari

Camera traps, if thoughtfully used, are a wonderful way to unobtrusively observe what is happening in the world around us. Data collected from camera trap projects can give valuable glimpses into the lives of animals and are useful for monitoring species that are difficult to find.

Of course, they also capture images of more common species such as this eland bull drinking.

Camera trap image of eland bull

An eland bull taking a drink © Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve / Snapshot Safari

The Snapshot Safari project has just set up a number of cameras on Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve in order to do comparative game analysis work.

Camera trap image of curious warthog

Not all animals are camera shy… This warthog was clearly very interested in the camera! © Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve / Snapshot Safari

Camera trap image of black-backed jackal

Another animal selfie – this time an inquisitive black-backed jackal investigates a camera trap © Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve / Snapshot Safari

It’s important to place cameras in strong (usually steel) housing and attach them tightly to something as animals such hyena and baboons are well known for carrying them off into the wild.

Camera trap image of zebra

These legs and whiskers belong to a Hartmann’s mountain zebra © Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve / Snapshot Safari

Sightings like this are made possible through the use of remote sensing and offer a glimpse into the lives of animals that we’re not able to see very often.

This incredible image below of a honey badger was captured by pangolin researcher Wendy Panaino from the University of the Witwatersrand. A tracker mentioned that he’d located a pangolin that had apparently been predated by a badger. Wendy set a camera trap and on the second night she was rewarded with this fantastic image!

A honey badger caught on camera © Wendy Panaino

A honey badger caught on camera © Wendy Panaino



Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve

The uniqueness of the safari experience at Tswalu is in the beauty of the 120,000 hectare southern Kalahari wilderness, restored to its original state as a result of an ongoing conservation programme. A variety of interactive safari experiences are offered to explore the malaria-free reserve with its wide open spaces, rolling savannah landscapes and Korranaberg mountains, and guests view game on foot, on horseback or in 4x4 game viewing vehicles. Expect sightings of some of Africa’s rarest and most extraordinary wildlife, including black-maned lions, African wild dogs and pangolin.

Africa Geographic