Africa

Live Africa Video Cams: Enjoy the Wonders of the Bush From Home

SafariLIve screen grabIt’s drizzling in north-eastern South Africa. I can see the droplets hit the edge of the watering hole, sending tiny ripples across the surface. Suddenly I hear the loud call of an exotic bird and it jars me. Reflexively, I jump in my seat.

Nearby a large bull elephant drinks his fill with slow, languid movements. He rolls his trunk in towards his face and with his head lifted, tilts it back and releases the liquid into his mouth. His tusks, evenly spaced, large and of equal length, remind me of a forklift and I hear that mechanical hydraulic sound in my head.

Two seconds later three giraffe are eating leaves from a treetop in Kenya. Their bottom halves hidden by the leaves and they look like one creature sprouting three heads.

At 9am ET, I hook up with ranger Scott in the Sabi Sands area of South Africa. He’s in the jeep and in front of us there is a zebra in the tall grass. He tells us that we’re going to check out a family of warthog. Surprisingly, when the vehicle stops they don’t run away—in my limited experience they rarely hang around. I can see two piglets and Scott tells us that they will stay with their mother for two seasons before going off on their own.

Apparently, Scott was away because the twitter feed next to the screen is going wild with welcome back messages. He explains that he was in Cape Town on a break. As we drive, we come upon a herd of gorgeous antelope called Nyala. One male is very big and has a magnificent set of horns. One of the over 1200 people watching the video asks on Twitter about the animal’s markings. Scott explains the vertical stripes along its side help to camouflage the Nyala while in the dense brush of the South African Bush, and when the antelope walks into a thicket, I understand what he means.

Two elephant play next to a river on the African Lookout camera on explore.org. - From a highlight clip.

Two elephant play next to a river on the African Lookout camera on explore.org. – From a highlight clip.

Welcome to African Live Cams.

I’m obsessed.

A friend tweeted to me about one the other day and now I can’t stop watching. I had no idea there were so many. Most are stationary cameras in high-activity areas, usually around watering holes or rivers, that take advantage of opportunistic sightings. Another invites you to join a hosted game drive twice a day.

Be advised, it’s live and it’s the bush, which means it’s hit and miss, but in the last couple days I’ve seen a lot. Don’t be surprised if you experience “technical difficulties” along the way. As you can imagine, it can’t be easy to get a signal from out there.

I haven’t explored a lot of the African web cams to date, but here are the ones I really like so far.

Elecam.org

The social media head at Francesca Fine Jewelry (@ffjewelry) told me about this and is personally responsible for the genesis of my addiction. Live around the clock, the camera zooms in and pans a watering hole popular with elephants in the Tembe Elephant Park in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa.  According to the website, the elephants there are the largest in the world.

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An elephant drinking at night on Elecam.org

Elecam.org also offers crystal-clear audio, so even if I’m not looking at the webpage, the sounds of the bush still float through my apartment. And believe me, there is a lot to hear. In the evenings, the site uses night vision technology and you’ll be amazed at how much you can see.

This morning I saw elephants, impala and giraffe, and heard tons of bird calls. At one point I think a predator was nearby because I could hear the familiar Impala alarm—half grunt, half sneeze—blowing up my speakers.  When I looked, a small herd was running for the treeline. I couldn’t see what spooked them unfortunately.

National Geographic Wild Safari Live

Twice a day (9am – 12pm and 11pm – 2am ET), one of a variety of rangers from the Djuma Private Game Reserve and the Arathusa Safari Lodge in the Sabi Sands region of South Africa, take turns taking viewers on a game drive through the concession. The guides talk about what they’re seeing, provide great wildlife information, and answer questions submitted in real-time on Twitter. If you want to join the fun, you can ask questions via the @Wildearth Twitter feed and use the hashtag #SafariLive.

In the first hour we saw warthog, a small herd of nyala, zebra, giraffe, hyena, and a very large golden orb spider in a web chilling with her teeny-tiny orb spider husband.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.31.20 AM

A young male nyala crosses the road during Wild Safari Live’s broadcast

Explore.og

Explore.org offers variety of live cams feeds from all over the world, including wildlife in Kenya, hummingbirds in California, a chipmunk log in Colorado, a polar bear habitat at a Netherland’s zoo, a coral reef off of Grand Cayman island, and a whole lot more. The feeds are in grid form and the site indicates which cams are broadcasting and which are not. The African Animal Lookout (positioned next to a river) and African Watering Hole cameras are in central Kenya. Recently, I saw elephants playing in a river, a lot of giraffe, hippo and a huge heard of impala. If you want to take a quick screen grab of your sighting and share it, it’s easy with the handy-dandy camera icon in the upper right hand corner of the viewer. If nothing is going on at any of the cams, there are plenty of highlight clips you can view while you wait. This site also provides night viewing but it’s not as clear as Elecam.org.

Are there are live cams you love to watch? If so, please tell me about them in the comments section.

14 replies »

  1. My kids and I will have to check these out. There was one we used to check in on daily about seven years ago that was focused on a watering hole. We loved it, though my kids were disappointed they never saw a crocodile attack a beastie – because there were no crocs in the watering hole.

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing this information, Susan! I have already peeked into a couple of them…and love it. Even the sounds alone bring me back to Africa immediately…just wonderful. Wow!

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  3. I am so addicted to elecam.org and am glad that I got you addicted too. LOL Funny story…On Saturday, I was getting ready to go shopping with my mother and sister. My sister, ever the one who is always in a hurry, came in the house asking what was taking me so long. I had the Tembe Park camera on while I was putting on my makeup. All of a sudden the birds made that call. The “there’s a predator around” call. Then the impala froze and stared. Then they all bolted. Well all of a sudden the camera zoomed in on a lion. I was yelling like a lunatic because I was so excited. My mother and sister thought I had lost my mind when I was yelling “IT’S A LION! A LIONNNNNNNNN! NO ONE IS GOING ANYWHERE UNTIL I GET A SCREEN SHOT FOR SUSAN!” LOL This morning an elephant head butted another elephant. They were in some sort of spat. I sat there frozen to see what would happen next. I can’t explain the feeling that happens when the animals appear on the camera. It’s so different from watching animals in a tv documentary. It feels so different when you watch it all live. You could use any screen shots that I send you. I would love for you to have them. It’s awesome to have a friend who shares the same love that I do.

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    • Yes.. thank you for adding to my Africa addiction! LOL What a fantastic story and I am so glad you sent me that screen shot. Such perfect timing. Have you gone on safari yet? Because if you haven’t you need to go. You will be absolutely blown away.

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      • I want to go on one so bad. But I have a couple of severe food allergies that could kill me. I hardly ever go to restaurants because I can’t be where fish is cooking. I’m not sure how I would manage being in another country with these allergies. There has got to be a way to make this work because a safari is my dream. The only thing I can think of is to bring my own food which is what I do whenever I go away. Do you think that would work?

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  4. Here’s another great Webcam, Susan. It is situated at a waterhole in the Tembe Elephant Park in KZN, South Africa. There is often a lot of elephant activity at the waterhole. Elephants can be there any time, and often in the middle of the day when it is very hot. https://www.google.co.za/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwi4kMKt64bLAhXH2hoKHYCvApkQjBAIITAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftembe.co.za%2Fweb-cam%2F&usg=AFQjCNGnlV2kycp21yL9vv2HtBGRjXsH5w&bvm=bv.114733917,d.bGg

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  5. Francesca – don’t allow your allergies to put you off going on safari. The majority of the camps, if not all, will ask you before your arrival if you have any food allergies. The high-end lodges especially will go the extra mile for their guests and all of them have qualified chefs. . What’s the bet that if you took some of your own recipes with the chef would prepare the dishes for you!. I did a Chef’s course years ago, and part of the training was that we had to do three two-month long practicals. I chose to do my one practical at a private game reserve, and I can tell you from exprience that the chefs there have plenty of time to prepare special meals because most of the more up-market lodges don’t accommodate vast of guests. So, don’t worry about it too much. Decide where you want to go, and then let the people at the lodge know of your allergies and fears! You simply HAVE to come to Africa on safar – there is nothing, nothing in the world quite like it – it will change you FOREVER.

    Susan has already said she will make enquiries, but I am also willing to find our for you!! In fact, I am going to Botswana in June and will be staying in three different camps. Out of curiosity I shall speak to the kitchen and ask them how they deal with allergies.

    Also, if you go to the state reserves, such as Kruger National Park, and many others all over Southern Africa, you will be able to cook your own food in self-catering accommodation if you so wish. South Africa is pretty advanced, and the supermarkets here are very well stocked with all kinds of items that you will be familiar with, and thre are also health shops in all the big cities, and even some of the smaller towns.

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