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11 things a ranger learned from Bear Grylls

Date: Mon 19 May 2014
Author: James Kydd

Bear Grylls and his Survival Academy recently launched their first survival course in Africa, in the heart of the Zambezi Valley near the mighty Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.  It is here that I joined the BGSA (and ex-SAS) instructors for the ride and learned a few things I didn’t expect….

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Review for the Tonta Lens2Scope converter

Date: Fri 10 Jan 2014
Author:

Have a camera lens and spotting scope in your bag without the extra weight!

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Featured Lodge: Jamtara Lodge

Date: Sun 29 Dec 2013
Author: James Kydd

We arrived in the evening at Jamtara lodge on the border of India’s Pench National Park barely able to contain our excitement. Our host Dimple gracefully led us through a candle-lit trail, over a small wooden bridge and under the huge aerial roots of a mighty bunyan tree that marked the doorway to Jamtara, the place we would call home for the next four days. After the first of many exceptional meals we wandered lazily back to our lavish white canvas luxury tents and fell asleep to the sounds of spotted deer alarm calls and a leopard roaring nearby.

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Featured Lodge: The Outpost

Date: Tue 26 Nov 2013
Author: Chanel Rossouw

Around me the colours started to blur and melt; I was left seeing nothing but him. His movements were strong and slow – it became impossible to draw my eyes away. As if for the first time, a warm and powerful beat started up in my chest, till the blood burned through every inch of my body.

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Featured lodge: Karongwe

Date: Tue 08 Oct 2013
Author: James Kydd

I had no idea of the experience that was about to unfold in front of us. We had been following the cheetah tracks for over an hour on that crisp Lowveld morning, and I was very excited when our guide got us off the vehicle to approach her last position on foot. It’s such a liberating feeling leaving the noise of the radio, the growls of the diesel engine and the separation from nature they bring. Suddenly you are in a world where you must be mindful of every step and sound, a place where the wild things are.

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Featured Guide: Brett Wallington

Date: Tue 20 Aug 2013
Author: James Kydd

Brett Wallington is not only a guide, but a conservationist and a sustainability manager. He has a BSc honours degree in Ecology, Environment and Conservation, and has been published in the Journal of Wildlife Research. He guided at Londolozi Game Reserve in the Sabi Sands, South Africa where he was highly respected by his peers. He now work with Wilderness Safaris co-ordinating their Environmental  Management Systems and guiding their 4Cs safari. He is one of the most down to earth guys you will ever meet. He is also extremely tall, and like zebras that follow a giraffe, walking behind Brett in the wild is a safe place to be.

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Ranger Diaries on National Geographic

Date: Sat 04 May 2013
Author:

Check out some of our best wildlife pictures all in one place, and tell us which ones are your favourites.

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Featured Guide: Lee Whittam

Date: Wed 27 Feb 2013
Author:

Lee has an uncanny ease about him. Within minutes of meeting you'd likely trust him with the lives of your family. Not an irrelevant quality in a safari guide. Yet perhaps his finest attribute related to this industry is his deep passion for giving his guests the trip of their lifetime. So much so that he founded Essential Africa, a safari outfit specialising in privately guided safaris (trips with a host guide that will stay with his/her guests from lodge to lodge, ensuring a much higher quality and congruent wildlife experience). Zimbabwean born, Lee's wealth of experience is too long to mention, and he has guided in most of Africa's wildlife hotspots including many years with Wilderness Safaris. He is softly spoken and humble, belying his fantastic interpretive, tracking and photographic skills. A safari with Lee will be enthralling, but at nature's gentle, spiritual pace: the way it should be.

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10 tips for walking in the wild

Date: Sun 17 Feb 2013
Author: Ranger Diaries

Top 10 tips for walking in the wild

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BBC to be clearer about wildlife footage on Africa show

Date: Sat 29 Dec 2012
Author: BBC

The new BBC wildlife series Africa will make it clear when animals have been filmed under controlled conditions.

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Namibias widening poaching crisis

Date: Sat 29 Dec 2012
Author: SAPA

Windhoek - The rare killing of a black rhino for its horns in Namibia has prompted fears that a poaching epidemic in neighbouring South Africa could spill across the border.

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Featured lodge: Baines' River Camp

Date: Thu 15 Nov 2012
Author: Garth Kingwill

Something large, moving very quickly on the riverbank to my left, interrupted my meditative state.  As I looked up and became fully aware of what was happening, I saw the enormous frame of a hippopotamus step off the precipice and plunge ten metres down the sheer riverbank into the shallows below.  Speeding towards the scene of this bizarre incident, the boat was abuzz with a multitude of questions and very few answers.  The poor beast was unable to move and the sickening sound of its groans signalled that the end was not far away.  Thankfully, its suffering lasted no longer than a couple of minutes before its life on the planet expired and our group was left in silence to ponder the mystery of this extraordinary natural event that we had borne witness to. 

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Featured guide: Gavin Lautenbach

Date: Fri 09 Nov 2012
Author:

Gavin started guiding in 1997 in the Lowveld around the Kruger National Park before moving to the world-famous Phinda Private Game Reserve.  Thereafter he spent some amazing years in the Sabi Sands as a head guide, trainer and mentor at Londolozi.

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Bushmanskloof through the eyes of a guide

Date: Fri 14 Sep 2012
Author: James Kydd

Tucked away in the wilderness of the Cedarberg mountains is a place called Bushmans Kloof. It is in a majestic corner of the world steeped in geological and anthropological history, and bathed in natural wonder. is a place for meditation and quietude. It is a place of ley-lines, ghost stories, ancient cultures, and a landscape that sustains and protects a plethora of plants and creatures.

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Featured guide: Phill Steffny

Date: Wed 01 Aug 2012
Author:

Phill's big red beard was one of the first things I noticed as a training ranger at &Beyond's Inwazi course. Sitting in the corner like a Zulu chief with his hands on his knees, dipping his head silently at the passing trainees. That's about the most serious I've ever seen him. His name is synonymous with laughter and highly enjoyable safaris. And his 13 years of guiding, mentoring and training at some of Southern Africa's top lodges (including Phinda, Ngala, Nxabega and Kwandwe) are testament to this. He is fluent in German, a highly skilled walking guide, and an avid photographer, and now leads tours privately across the continent under the banner of Phill Steffny Safaris.

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Jacis Lodges

Date: Tue 17 Jul 2012
Author: James Kydd

All I could think about was steak. It was 8pm, I'd had three hours sleep and been traveling for 10 hours. You may never hear another guide utter such a confession again but my short-cut through the back roads of the North West Province had not been my finest moment.

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The 2011 Tour de Tuli

Date: Thu 07 Jun 2012
Author: Warren Ozorio

It is that time of the year again. Have I trained enough? Is my bike going to get me through the 280 km’s of harsh African bushveld? What are my group members like? Do I have enough spare parts in my riding pack?

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Featured guide: Mike Karantonis

Date: Thu 10 May 2012
Author:

Mike Karantonis is a name many of the guides of the last fifteen years will know by reputation. The kind of guide that makes his guests want to return to Africa time and again to enjoy her wonders in his company. The kind of guide that his peers aspire to be like. To the lodges he worked for he was worth his weight in gold considering the repeat bookings he helped generate. He was awarded the Munyawana Ranger of the Year award in 2004, and the AndBeyond Ranger of the Year in 2007, and is the brain-child behind the Africa Direct/FGASA South African Safari guide of the Year competition. He is now dedicated to privately hosting safari tours around Africa with his guests, and you can request him to be your guide if he isn't already booked up for the year!

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Grootbos

Date: Wed 09 May 2012
Author: James Kydd

I couldn't beleive where I was and what I was staring at. Less than two hours from Cape Town in the heart of the mostly tree-less fynbos biome and I was standing in the shade of a forest. Not some pine plantaion or a stand of eucalyptus: a real, indigenous milkwood forest. Head guide Kevin Jansen paitiently waited for me on the pathway as I soaked up the atmosphere of this place. He has a knowing grin on his face and as I snapped out of the momentary spell this ancient wood had placed me under. I hadn't even seen my room yet and I felt like I already knew where I wanted to spend the majority of my time during this stay.

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Featured Guide: Greg Lederle

Date: Thu 08 Mar 2012
Author: Ranger Diaries Admin

If you're searching for an award-winning guide for your next safari, look no further. Having won the South African Tourism Board's Welcome Award (dubbed the "Oscars of Tourism") in 2010 and then again in 2011, as well as sweeping the overall Guide of the Year for 2011, Greg was awarded the Africa Direct FGASA Ranger of the Year for Southern Africa 2011.

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Great Barrier Reef to get Google “Street View”

Date: Fri 02 Mar 2012
Author: SAPA-AFP

Date: March 2, 2012

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A Murmuration of Starlings

Date: Tue 07 Feb 2012
Author: Alice Inggs

In winter, just before dusk, fleetingly, starlings fill the sky like iron filings, collectively swooping, dipping, surging into myriad forms as if coordinated by some vast magnetic pull. The name for a starling flock – and subsequently this phenomenon – is a “murmuration”, originally used to describe the sound of thousands of wings beating in synch.

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Oldest dinosaur nests found in SA

Date: Wed 25 Jan 2012
Author: SAPA

Johannesburg - An ancient dinosaur nesting site, the oldest ever found, has been excavated in the Free State, the University of the Witwatersrand said on Wednesday.

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Featured guide Marco Tonoli

Date: Wed 25 Jan 2012
Author:

Marco Tonoli is the head ranger at Tswalu, where he leads and mentors a team of guides with over 40 years of collective guiding experience, contributing over 12 of those years himself. He runs a well-oiled machine and the respect he commands from his troops is obvious.

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Flood-hit Kruger mops up

Date: Fri 20 Jan 2012
Author: Sipho Masombuka

SA National Parks has started assessing the damage left by floods in the Kruger National Park.

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'Dancing' dung beetles mystery solved

Date: Thu 19 Jan 2012
Author: Tony Carnie

Scientists believe they have solved the mystery of why beetles spend so much time 'dancing' on top of balls of freshly rolled animal dung.

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Ranger Diaries Wins SA Blog Awards

Date: Sun 11 Dec 2011
Author:

At the awards ceremony for the 2011 SA Blog Awards Ranger Diaries walked away with the top honours in the Best Environmental Blog category as well as taking the trophy for the overall winner of the evening for the Best South African Blog. The awards ceremony, hosted by KFM Breakfast Show's DJ Ryan o Conner, was held at the Crystal Towers Hotel in Cape Town yesterday evening.

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Rhino Poaching in South Africa Climbs to Record on Asian Demand

Date: Tue 06 Dec 2011
Author: Janice Kew

Over 400 rhinos killed this year in South Africa. What are you going to do about it?

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Jelly Fish Migration

Date: Tue 06 Dec 2011
Author: Ranger Diaries Admin

Throughout the animal kingdom many dramatic migrations are taking place right at this moment. The great wildebeest herds are moving south from the Masai Mara through the Serengeti. The Arctic Terns are arriving at their breeding grounds in the Antarctic midway through their 70,000 kilometer round trip. Millions of free tailed bats are blackening the skies of Mexico and Central America.

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Bottlenose dolphins maximum speed halved by pregnancy

Date: Thu 24 Nov 2011
Author: Victoria Gill - Science reporter, BBC Nature

As for many mothers-to-be, the late stages of pregnancy can be extremely awkward for dolphins, say scientists.

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Buzzing bees keep elephants at bay

Date: Wed 23 Nov 2011
Author: www.news24.com - Scitech

Oslo - No need for big muscles or high-tech contraptions when it comes to protecting African plantations from elephants: a British biologist has discovered that buzzing bees will keep the beasts at bay.

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Featured Guide Simon Bellingham

Date: Tue 22 Nov 2011
Author: Ranger Diaries Admin

What's the strangest question you've been asked as a guide?

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Tswalu through the eyes of a safari guide

Date: Fri 18 Nov 2011
Author: James Kydd

Looking for a trustworthy review on a lodge? What could be better than getting a guide's perspective for your next safari!

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Parts of Gondwana found off Australia

Date: Fri 18 Nov 2011
Author: Reuters

Sydney - Australian scientists exploring uncharted areas of the Indian Ocean said on Thursday they had found sunken parts of the megacontinent Gondwana which could offer clues on how the current world was formed.

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Elephants saved from muddy end

Date: Thu 17 Nov 2011
Author: James Kydd

As guides we are often confronted with some pretty heart wrentching scenarios: Mother Nature is not always an easy companion. Many conservationists, environmentalists and guides believe that when in a wilderness area we should have a strict non-interference policy. Certainly, in many cases this is true. But then, are we not part of the process? Is man that far removed from the natural world that we are no longer an interacting animal on some level? I believe we are, and that our compassion is one of the most beautiful qualities of our species.

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Ranger Diaries is in the SA BLOG AWARDS!

Date: Thu 03 Nov 2011
Author: Ranger Diaries Admin

Rangerdiaries.com is a blog in its infancy aiming to bring beautiful wildlife stories, videos and pictures from the safari guides to the public.

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Nepal to conduct first snow leopard census

Date: Thu 03 Nov 2011
Author: Sapa-dpa | www.timeslive.co.za

Nepal has launched the first census of its snow leopards, local media reported, in a bid to raise awareness of the endangered species.

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Game ranger saved from lion

Date: Wed 02 Nov 2011
Author: André Botha, Volksblad on www.news24.com

Upington - A game ranger’s life was heroically saved on Tuesday when an aggressive lion attacked him on the back of a bakkie in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

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Rhino poached to extinction in Vietnam

Date: Tue 25 Oct 2011
Author: Sapa-AFP on www.iol.co.za Scitech

Hanoi - A critically endangered species of rhino has been poached to extinction in Vietnam, wildlife groups said Tuesday after the country's last Javan rhino was found dead with its horn hacked off.

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Planned soda ash plant threatens flamingoes

Date: Mon 17 Oct 2011
Author: Helen Vesperini on www.iol.co.za (Scitech)

Lake Natron, Tanzania - Salmon-coloured clouds of flamingoes sweeping overhead is a common sight at east Africa's Rift Valley lakes, but the mounds of mud where they lay their eggs are found only here.

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Meerkats have accents too

Date: Thu 13 Oct 2011
Author: www.iol.co.za - Scitech

London - On the television adverts they speak with thick Russian accents. And in the real world, it seems meerkats have an equally distinctive sound - at least as far as their friends are concerned.

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Many problems afflicting Great Lakes

Date: Wed 05 Oct 2011
Author: Andrew Stern on www.iol.co.za - Scitech

Chicago - Great Lakes shorelines are becoming clogged by algae blooms fed by agricultural run-off, while invasive mussels decimate the food chain in deeper waters, an environmental group said on Tuesday.

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Featured guide: Jon Morgan

Date: Sat 01 Oct 2011
Author: Ranger Diaries Admin

The best guides are the best story tellers. That's why we're featuring Jon Morgan. His guests could spend a whole day on safari having only seen the rear end of a dead impala and he'd still have them struggling for air through tears of laughter (with a champagne glass in hand, that is). Seeing nothing on safari with Jon is unlikely though. The guy boasts a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and eleven years of guiding experience in some of Africa's top lodges including Ngala, Phinda, Mala Mala and Londolozi where he was both head ranger and guide trainer. He's the guy that gets given the difficult guests at a lodge, and turns them into repeat guests. He currently manages a conservation campaign to combat the surge in rhino poaching, and works as a private host safari guide. And if he has it his way, will guide for the rest of his life.

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Ranger shot by mistake

Date: Tue 13 Sep 2011
Author: Khulekani Mazibuko - www.timeslive.co.za

An award-winning Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife game ranger has been killed by his colleagues when an anti-poaching operation ended up in a shootout between two groups of rangers.

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Drunk Swedish elk found in apple tree near Gothenburg

Date: Thu 08 Sep 2011
Author: BBC News Europe

A homeowner in southern Sweden got a shock when he found a drunken elk stuck in his neighbour's apple tree. The animal was apparently on the hunt for fermenting apples when she lost her balance and became trapped in the tree.

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African fossils put new spin on human origins story

Date: Thu 08 Sep 2011
Author: Jonathan Amos - Science correspondent, BBC News

Professor Chris Stringer, with the help of a cast of a fossil skull, describes the similarities that this species has with modern humans

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Leopard attacks couple

Date: Tue 30 Aug 2011
Author: iafrica.com

A husband and wife guiding team were attacked by a leopard at a game farm near Polokwane on Sunday morning, paramedics said. A foreign trophy hunter had shot and injured a leopard late on Saturday afternoon, and a tracking party set out to find the animal, said ER24 spokesperson Andre Visser.

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Rhino hunting ban considered

Date: Mon 29 Aug 2011
Author: www.timeslive.co.za

Government is considering placing a moratorium on rhino hunting, Environment Minister Edna Molewa says.

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Rhino horn raiders steal replicas from Tring museum

Date: Sat 27 Aug 2011
Author: www.bbc.co.uk

Thieves who broke into a museum to rip two rhino horns from taxidermy displays were foiled by staff who had replaced horns worth £240,000 with replicas. The Natural History Museum in Tring, Hertfordshire, said the resin horns were fitted on to two specimens three months ago and had no resale value.

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Guide of the month

Date: Fri 24 Jun 2011
Author: Ranger Diaries Admin

Graeme Mann studied Nature Conservation at the University of Stellenbosch before following his passion for wildlife an embarking on a career which would change his life forever. He started guiding in the Waterberg in 2003, and after brief stints guiding in Hluluwe/Umfolozi in Kwazulu Natal, and the Klaserie in the Limpopo, joined &Beyond (CCAfrica) in early 2005. He excelled through their rigorous training course, was posted at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve and after less than two years was already appointed Head Ranger of the reserve, a remarkable achievement.

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Rhino deaths: one per day

Date: Wed 20 Apr 2011
Author: Alex Eliseev - www.iafrica.com

The latest figures from the SA National Parks (SANParks) on Tuesday revealed the country continues to lose rhinos at a rate of around one per day.

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Ghost safari: spotting leopards in Oman

Date: Sat 09 Apr 2011
Author: Kevin Rushby - The Guardian

Khalid stopped the pick-up truck and inspected the ground ahead in the light of the headlamps. There were a few tiny greyish plants on a gently convex plateau of jagged loose rocks. It felt like we had landed on a small and rather inhospitable planet. There was no track, and hadn't been for the past few miles ? not since we had stopped to look at a wolf track in the dust.

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Alien Wasps Abduct, Drop Ants to Get Food

Date: Wed 06 Apr 2011
Author: Matt Kaplan - National Geographic News

Looking for a way to banish ants from your picnic? According to a new study, wasps have developed a unique method for dealing with the pests: airlifting them away from the food.

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India wild tiger census shows population rise

Date: Mon 28 Mar 2011
Author: BBC News - South Asia

The number of tigers in India's wild has gone up by 20%, according to the latest tiger census, which has surveyed the whole of India for the first time.

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Cuckoo in egg pattern 'arms race'

Date: Thu 24 Mar 2011
Author: Emma Brennand - BBC Earth News reporter

Cuckoos' egg forgery skills are increasingly being put to the test, as host birds evolve better defences, say scientists.

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Rwanda makes 'landmark' pledge to rescue environment

Date: Thu 10 Mar 2011
Author: Emily Wither - CNN

In what has been described by environmental groups as a "world first" for a developing country, Rwanda has said it will make sustaining its environment a national priority.

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