Deep within the African bush, the clock is ticking. Two guides are preparing their equipment consisting of the sound gear and portable camera rig one of them will wear on their back. The other is checking out the fully-outfitted Land Rover doubling as a mobile TV studio, which has a mounted camera and enough signal strength to beam everything they see back to their studio in Johannesburg, South Africa. They are about to take the world on safari.
Welcome to the world of WildEarth. Twice daily the team from WildEarth broadcasts their safari adventures live across the online world. The idea is that each day, there is a new show to see, and WildEarth wants to make sure all of us get a chance to see it.
The live shows feature varying hosts zipping around in their custom-built safari vehicles and on foot, bringing the audience along for every bump and bounce. Meanwhile, viewers wait for the guides and their cameras to find the best wildlife action, as it happens. Along the way, viewers can ask questions of the guides via social media. The interaction is meant to bring the spirit of a live safari right into your home.
Based on conditions on the ground, the live safaris take place at sunrise and sunset 7 days a week. The times of course depend on where you live, so bookmarking their site is the first step to never missing the show.
Of course, this is the ultimate reality show, and there is never a way to predict or guarantee what we will or won’t see. But, the safaris have become so popular that many around the world tune in with hopes to see some of their favorite animals, who have become internet stars in their own right. During the safaris I enjoyed, we met Thandi, who was described as a “beautiful female leopard born at the end of 2006,” plus Scarface, a male lion, and his three brothers, Hunter, Morani, and Sikio.
Even the safari’s locked-down cameras have become stars of the show. The Djuma Dam Cam is said to be one of the most valuable pieces of equipment to the team, for it is responsible for tracking most of the animal stars. The camera is located in the Gowrie Dam in South Africa’s Djuma Game Reserve and broadcasts live, 24 hours a day.
The guides will rotate hosting the safaris. The team I watched was led by Graham and Emily Wallington, who began leading tours in Djuma in 2007. The reserve shares a border with another of South Africa’s most famous national parks, Kruger, and odds are you’ll eventually see one or all of the animals known as the Big Five: the Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhinoceros.
The daily live safaris are free, and the team will actively ask for your support in the form of donations, which can be made online.
Note that TravelAwaits’ editorial team has also enjoyed the free live safaris hosted on andBeyond Travel’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, including their @andbeyondngala account, which is specific to their private Ngala reserve, the first private reserve to be incorporated into South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Like and follow any of these accounts to get updates when the live safaris begin!
However you choose to get your virtual safari fill, these live experiences are great entertainment for all ages, and you’ll learn interesting facts about the animals along the way. A word of caution: Watching the safaris can become addicting in the best way possible and will have you dreaming about making the trip to Africa to experience the animals in person one day! For more safari inspiration, consider: