Okavango Magic, Botswana

The week before last I went a shade of envy-green….  After finishing up at Earth Hour after 11 years with WWF, my husband Andy Ridley, who, as you all know, I love and adore, travelled to the Okavango Delta in Botswana – without moi!  There he experienced the pure magic that only this part of Africa offers.  There is simply nowhere like the Delta.  Take a look at his photos to see why I was so jealous….  Andy has written the captions below each photo.  If you’d like to join Andy or me in Botswana next year, or if you’d like me to arrange your own personalised African safari through Matson & Ridley Safaris, drop me a line now!  Remember that safari camps in the Okavango are incredibly popular, so if you want your choice of camps it’s best to start planning a year in advance.

ele spray lowres

Heading out into the Delta from Vumburra Plains Camp, we came across this herd of elephants playing.


Kenyan Elephant Dance Safari Price Slashed!

I’ve got great news!  Thanks to the kind folks at Asilia Africa, my Kenyan safari in July next year (2015) is now going for about 10% less than previously advertised.  That’s a huge saving!  You won’t get a luxury safari like this in these exceptional wildlife areas at this price anywhere else, so why not join me?

The famous Mount Kilimanjaro - at Ol Donyo Lodge, Kenya

The famous Mount Kilimanjaro – at Ol Donyo Lodge, Kenya


What to pack for your African safari

So you’re off on the safari of a lifetime… You’ve been dreaming of this for years and the last thing you want to do is end up out in the middle of the bush without everything you need to optimise your African experience…  If this is you, then this is the blog for you.

Elephants in the Okavango Delta, one of my favourite safari destinations

Elephants in the Okavango Delta, one of my favourite safari destinations (Photo: Wilderness Safaris)


Elephant Dance Safari, Kenya

I’m delighted to have had huge interest in my guided safaris as part of my new ethical safari business, Matson & Ridley Safaris.  My Okavango Delta safari for this year sold out in a month, the Namibian one planned for September 2015 has only 3 places left (so get in quick if you want to be on this one!) and I reckon it’s time to let you know about another one I’ll be guiding next year in July… to one of the most famous parts of Africa – Kenya!

Ol Donyo airstrip, Kenya's Chyulu Hills, with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background

Ol Donyo airstrip, Kenya’s Chyulu Hills, with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background


Price slashed for my Namibian Safari 2015!

Great news!  The wonderful folks at Wilderness Safaris have just offered me a huge discount on my conservation safari to Namibia in September 2015 (next year).  However, it’s only for a limited time!   (more…)

Namibian Safari – September 2015

You simply have to experience Namibia at least once in your life.  It’s like nowhere else on the planet.  The sense of space you get, and the deep desert silence, has to be experienced to be believed.  If you’re in the rat race this is the perfect escape.

Sunset in the Namib Desert (credit: Tammie Matson)

Sunset in the Namib Desert (credit: Tammie Matson)


In the world of elephants

Elephants and rhinos have been in the news a lot lately, thanks to British royals Prince Charles and William.  Prince William’s teamed up with celebrity friends like footballer David Beckham, retired Chinese basketballer Yao Ming, and Hollywood star Jackie Chan to shine a spotlight on the US$18 million dollar illegal wildlife trade industry.  Check out some of the videos targeting consumers of ivory and rhino horn if you haven’t seen them.

Last week delegates from 46 countries, including China and Vietnam, key countries in the ivory and rhino horn trade, signed the London declaration, agreeing that wildlife crime needs to be treated more seriously.  It’s all very encouraging and does demonstrates some level of commitment by governments to addressing the problem.  Time will tell if the effects of the conference will filter down to the ground and result in real improvements in elephant and rhino populations.

There’s no time to waste.  This week Kenya announced that in the first time in decades its elephant population is actually declining, and we know that two-thirds of Africa’s forest elephants have disappeared in the last ten years (read BBC story on this here).  The crisis is worsening.  The demand for ivory and rhino horn must stop if we are to save these species.

Photo by Big Life Foundation

Photo by Big Life Foundation

We’re about to add to the spotlight on this issue here in Asia.  Our team was delighted to receive a letter of support from Prince William’s office a few weeks ago, encouraging us in our efforts with the ‘Let Elephants Be Elephants’ awareness campaign in Asia.  It’s not every day that you get a letter from the Royals!

William text

For the last year I’ve been working with Asian TV star, Nadya Hutagalung on the upcoming ‘Let Elephants Be Elephants’ campaign, which is designed to raise awareness of the connection between Asia and Africa in order to reduce demand for ivory.  In a couple of months the Fox Network will air our 30 minute documentary on what we’ve discovered about elephants and ivory, from the wilderness of Kenya’s plains to the ivory markets of Thailand.  The documentary will go across Asia, including Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines, on both National Geographic and National Geographic Wild channels.  We hope that the documentary, along with public service announcements being aired at the same time, will go some way towards educating people in Asia about their role in what’s happening in Africa.

Photo by Nadya Hutagalung

Tammie with producer Ernest Hariyanto.  Photo by Nadya Hutagalung

Last week I was in Bali with Nadya and our producer, Ernest Hariyanto, making final changes to the script and edit, and it’s amazing to see this project finally coming to fruition.  So many passionate and generous people have helped us at their own cost and we are so grateful for their support for the cause.  When we do launch in late April, we’ll need your help to come to the Let Elephants Be Elephants website (due to go live soon at and pledge your commitment to saying no to ivory – and then to spread the word!

Tammie with 3 month old baby Shep in Bali for LEBE film shoot

Tammie with 3 month old baby Shep in Bali for LEBE film shoot

On a different note, my safari to the Okavango this Nov/Dec has almost sold out, which is great news for those who got in quick!  There is only one spot remaining so if you want it please contact me straight away.  There is a lovely mix of Aussies and Singaporeans coming along and it’s going to be a great trip, once in a lifetime!  In the weeks ahead I’ll be releasing details of the exclusive safaris I’ll be leading to Namibia and Kenya in 2015 – so stay tuned for that.  The Namibian trip will be to all my old haunts many of you would have read about in my first book, “Dry Water” (including the Namib Desert and Etosha) and the Kenyan trip will be all about elephants, visiting some of the places that are featured in my latest book, “Planet Elephant“!  Register your interest with me now if you’d like to be first on the list for these adventures.


My new company – African safaris that make a difference

Happy new year Africa-philes, elephant lovers and friends of the planet!

I’m kicking off the new year with some exciting news. It’s been in the works for a little while, and won’t be a surprise to many of you. This year I’m finally turning my love of Africa into a business. Many of you have been on safaris based on my advice on where to go and what to do in the past and some of you have even joined me on safari. Now you can actually book your African safari through my new company, Matson and Ridley Pte Ltd, a fully licensed travel agency, and join me in the land we all love for a very different kind of African experience.

On safari with the family at Rocktail Bay, South Africa

The author’s husband Andy and then 1 year old son Solo on safari at Rocktail Bay, South Africa


Read a good book lately?

I’m always looking for a good book.  At the moment I’m reading South African, Julian Radymeyer’s “Killing For Profit“, a sinister tale of greed, corruption and ruthless criminals in the game of rhino poaching and rhino horn trade.  And some friends recently gave me a copy of  Mandy Retzlaff’s “One Hundred and Four Horses“, which really has me hooked – it’s written by a woman who lived through Robert Mugabe’s land invasions in Zimbabwe and her family’s amazing efforts to keep their horses alive during these harrowing years.  I’m always open to suggestions about what makes good reading, especially if it involves Africa and wildlife, so add your favourite books in the comments section below! (more…)

Let Elephants Be Elephants

Advertising works.  We might not like it, but when it’s done well, it does.  And when it comes to stopping people buying ivory, it seems that some organisations are seeing signs of  success in reducing demand in Asia simply by letting people know that buying ivory is directly linked to the killing of elephants.  This is just the sort of hopeful story that I like to share, so read on!