African wild dogs, rhinos & safari action

Just a few days ago I was in the Save Valley Conservancy, Zimbabwe, sitting by an African wild dog den where a dozen or so puppies (the cutest baby animal you’re ever likely to see) huddled up together for warmth.  It was an extra special experience because it’s so uncommon, as the dogs only den for a few months a year during the winter months, and also because they are so endangered (only about 5000 left in the wild).  Sightings like this are rare, and the Save Valley Conservancy is one of the best places to experience it – check out this footage I took of an adult regurgitating meat for the super cute bundle of puppies!


My hubby, Andy and 3 year old Solo spent a couple of days hanging out with Bryce and Lara Clemence, who are in charge of the rhino anti-poaching in the conservancy while in Zimbabwe.  Since they started their intensive anti-poaching offensive there in April last year, rhino poaching has dropped markedly.  In the first half of this year, there has only been one confirmed poaching of a rhino, compared to over a dozen per year in the previous few years.  I think they deserve a huge pat on the back and I hope they can keep it up.  But they need funds to keep going.

A rare white rhino (T. Matson)

A rare white rhino (T. Matson)

Conservation programs like this really deserve our support.  It’s rare to hear about a success in conservation, and when people get it right they should be rewarded.  I heard from several people, including the Clemences and the Whittalls who run Humani, that the funds we raised at the ‘Imagine Africa’ dinners made a huge difference to their rhino conservation efforts last year.

That’s why I’m combining the launch of my new book “Planet Elephant” with a fund raiser for the anti-poaching efforts in the Save Valley Conservancy next Tuesday 6th August in Sydney.  It’s not too late to book – please come along, bring your friends and support the cause, while having a great time with fellow Africa lovers.  Book here!  There are amazing auction items up for grabs, including two safaris, each worth almost $7000 each….

The other thing this trip reinforced for me was how wonderful it is to be able to share Africa with your family, including the kids.   A lot of people are scared of taking their kids to Africa, but it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give them and these days there are fantastic family-friendly options available.  Lately I’ve found a few crackers for families in places like South Africa, Namibia and Kenya.

The author with husband Andy and son Solo in Zimbabwe

The author with husband Andy and son Solo in Zimbabwe (by Karen Paolillo, Turgwe Hippo Trust)

These days I fund my conservation work through commissions I earn from safaris (it doesn’t cost you anything extra as this is absorbed by the safari companies I work with – my advice is free!) and book sales, plus I’m a firm believer in conservation through appropriate ecotourism, so consider dropping me a line before you book your next safari and let me help you plan it to get the most out of your African journey.

Drop me a line if you’d like to find out more or check out my Safaris page here.

Look forward to seeing some of you in Sydney next week.  Keep an eye out for “Planet Elephant” – if it’s not on shelves yet in your nearest book store, it will be soon.  If it’s not, make sure you ask them to order it in for you!  You can also buy it online at Booktopia here.

Out now!

Out now!


About the Author
Dr Tammie Matson is a zoologist, author and director of Matson & Ridley Safaris.

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