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Was a visit to an African game reserve on your travel bucket list for 2020? While it is not possible to plan a trip right now, there is nothing to stop you from having a look at the majestic landscapes and the wildlife from the comfort of your home. Despite the pandemic scare, for the wildlife, it is business as usual while humans remain locked down at home.
And we are not talking of televised programmes on popular channels. You can see the wildlife living their daily routine thanks to some enterprising lodges and tour companies who have been streaming live from the reserves, taking viewers on virtual game drives. Most publish the time of the live streaming on their websites.
The virtual drives have all the excitement of real ones because you're never sure which animals will come your way as the camera scans the habitat. Depending on your (virtual) luck, you may see a pride of lions, an elephant at a waterhole, birds, a spider at work, a hyena foraging... there are endless surprises.
Tintswalo Safari Lodge has been hosting virtual tours of Manyeleti Nature Reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park, since end-March on their Facebook page.
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Luxury tour operator &Beyond is collaborating with wildlife broadcasting experts WildEarth to hold twice daily, three-hour-long game drives through Ngala Private Game Reserve and Djuma Private Game Reserve. Their expert guides in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve also go online on Instagram when they come across sightings. You can catch the live streaming here.
Virgin Limited Edition, Sir Richard Branson’s collection of retreats and luxury hotels, which recently hosted a virtual tour of its Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, will go online every Monday on Instagram, and, if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the Big Five of Africa.
In the Eastern Cape of South Africa, Shamwari Private Game Reserve is regularly hosting virtual tours called Shamwari Lockdown Series on YouTube and Instagram.
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The live safari cameras of Africam host high-definition videos in real-time of some of the best parks, including Tembe National Park, Cat Eye Game Lodge, and different areas in Kruger National Park.
The multimedia organisation ‘explore’ which, according to their website, operates the world’s largest live nature cam network, is a good option to watch the animals in their natural habitats at wildlife parks as well as rescue centres. You can subscribe to their newsletter for live cam updates among other things.
And, if you miss the live shows, fret not. You can always catch up with the saved footage later.
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