wild dogs

Fancy a real wildlife adventure?

This week I thought I’d share a few videos of the great work being done in the Save Valley Conservancy, Zimbabwe to conserve wildlife, the location of one of only two conservation safaris I’ll be leading in 2016.  (Click on this link for details)

This 8 minute preview to the upcoming documentary “Ranger Danger” by Reel Life Productions  shows the work of the specialist rhino anti-poaching team in the Save Valley Conservancy, Zimbabwe.  The short film takes you behind the scenes in the daily battle to save Africa’s rhinos.  Featuring insights from Bryce Clemence and his anti-poaching rangers, scenes of a wild dog being de-snared, as well as a re-enactment of an encounter with poachers (seemed real enough to me – trust me, you feel the adrenaline!).


On my safari to Zimbabwe in July next year, as well as spending time tracking rhinos with Bryce’s team, we’ll also be hanging out with the team working to conserve African wild dogs, Dr Rosemary Groom and Jess Watermeyer, and for some pure magic, spending time at a wild dog den while there are puppies!  You’ll get to hear about African wild dog behaviour directly from the experts.  Check out the video below to see the research team removing a snare set by poachers from an endangered wild dog.  Wild dogs are highly social and quite playful with each other.  Stay tuned for a future blog all about them…



And last but not least, we’ll spend a morning on my safari with Karen Paolillo, ‘the hippo lady’ at Turgwe Hippo Trust, who has been in the area for over two decades, observing up close and personal the hippos and their behaviour in the Turgwe River, and Karen’s special relationship with them.  I don’t think there’s anyone in the world who knows wild hippos as well as Karen does, and visiting her is a truly special experience.  Karen’s home, “Hippo Haven”, attracts all sorts of animals, including baboons, vervet monkeys and warthogs.


To spend time with the awesome rangers fighting for Zimbabwe’s rhinos, as well as Rosemary Groom’s wild dog team and Karen Paolillo and the Turgwe hippos, join my conservation safari to Zimbabwe in July next year.  A portion of what you pay to go on this safari goes directly to the projects we’ll be visiting.  Click here for more information.  Don’t wait to add your name to the list as I am booking this safari now due to the popularity of the camps, which book out a year in advance.  Experience the passion and the adventure of Africa with me while contributing to important conservation work – this is a safari that really makes a difference!





My 2016 safaris – Zimbabwe & Namibia’s North West

As part of my travel agency, Matson & Ridley Safaris, I will be leading two safaris to two of my favourite parts of Africa in 2016.  Based on my past safaris, the very limited spaces (maximum 12 people) book out very fast, so if you’d like to join please drop me a line now!  These camps have to be booked now because they are so popular they book out a year in advance or more.  And as with all my safaris, the camps are selected by me to ensure your tourism dollars make a difference on the ground.  Trust me, these safaris will change your life! (more…)

Africa night in Perth, WA coming up – 13 Feb

WA friends, I’m very excited to announce I’ll be joining fellow African wildlife lovers in Perth for the dedicated folks at the Painted Dog Conservation group on Friday 13th February at the Perth Zoo Lecture Theatre.  Tickets are $40/person and includes food and beverage.  Bookings are essential through Angela at lemonj@ozemail.com.au .   I’ll be talking about the elephant situation, the illegal ivory trade and the Let Elephants Be Elephants project, and showing the documentary of the same name.  There will be a healthy dose of Africa-itis in the room!

flyer WA event

It’s for a good cause of course!  The night includes an auction to raise funds for African wild dog research and conservation work being done by the African Wildlife Conservation Fund in the Save Valley Conservancy, Zimbabwe, a place very close to my heart.  So come along if you’re in the area!

I just adore wild dogs and they’re among the most endangered predators on the planet, with only about 5000 in the wild.  Check out my video footage taken of the cutest wild dog pups you’re ever likely to see from Zimbabwe (rapidly approaching 5000 youtube hits!).



The Awesome Okavango

There are few places in the world where you can watch wild animals at very close range without them being affected by your presence.  Botswana’s Okavango Delta is one of these rare places and if you’ve never seen it, believe me, it’s worth the visit.

Up close and personal with an African wild dog at Chitabe - the most amazing area I've been to for up close and personal experiences with predators

Up close and personal with an African wild dog at Chitabe – the most amazing area I’ve been to for  experiences with predators who basically ignore vehicles


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! (more…)

Zimbabwean magic

I don’t know what it is about Zimbabwe, but every time I go back I simply don’t want to leave.  Animal Works’ first expedition to Zimbabwe a few weeks ago proved that it wasn’t just me who could be charmed by this magical part of Africa, as 10 Aussies from all walks of life bonded with each other and the locals, while experiencing some of the best wildlife the continent  has to offer. (more…)