About Grant Atkinson

I am a South African who grew up in the former Transkei, (now the Eastern Cape) and I spent much of my time along the Wild Coast. For over ten years I have been working as a guide in northern Botswana, for a company called Wilderness Safaris. I spend many days of each year leading photographic safari trips with small groups of people through our fixed camps in the Kalahari, Okavango, Linyanti and Savuti regions, mostly. My special interests are birds, lions and photography, in no special order. When I am not guiding in the field, I take part in some of our companies environmental projects. Botswana is a country with a solid conservation ethic, and I am fortunate to be able to share some of what I do and see by means of my writing and my images. Visit my photography page
Author Archive | Grant Atkinson

Dying To Breed

Each year, beginning in April and May, the woodlands of northern Botswana begin to echo to the sound of male impala carrying out their rutting rituals. This behaviour is triggered by shortening day lengths. Normally quiet, the male impala begin to vocalize with loud, guttural grunting calls. This is just the sound of the rut …

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Grant Atkinson ponders a Savuti elephant’s year ahead

The northern wildlife areas of Botswana are well-known for their healthy populations of African elephant.  For the past four years, high rainfall has created conditions that are ideal for the elephants that live around the network of waterways made up by the Chobe, Kwando, Linyanti and Savuti rivers.  Most of the individual animals are in …

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Lechwe Lechery

It is the time of the year along the Linyanti River in Botswana’s far north, when several of the local antelope species are occupying themselves with courtship and mating rituals and activities. At least the males are, whilst to the casual observer it would seem that in most cases the females are just going about …

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Carnivore Clash on the Linyanti

On a game drive along the Linyanti River, not far from Duma Tau camp, we followed the sound of some monkeys making alarm calls. We came across a spotted hyena, then a bateleur eagle and then not one, but two leopards, moving about in some thick bushes. After half an hour of seeing only glimpses …

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A Meal for One

Summertime in the north of Botswana is the time when impala females give birth to their young. The arrival of these delicate creatures, weighing only 5kg, is obviously of great importance to the impala population and represents their future generations. However, for the carnivores that they share their habitat with, the young impala signify a …

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Food fight

Researchers tell us that amongst terrestrial carnivores, spotted hyenas have a very complex social system. Hyenas live in groups, but don’t always forage that way. More often than not they will move on their own, or sometimes in small groups, only gathering in larger numbers when there is a large food source. They have alliances …

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Working Mothers

Leopards are solitary cats by nature. They are comfortable on their own. Female leopards lead less solitary lives than males, as they bear young and spend much time with their cubs. Male leopards have little to do with raising their offspring. It is sometimes said that the big cats are poor mothers, but it should …

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Running with the Dogs

2010 has been a good year for African wild dogs in some of the most northern of Botswana’s wildlife areas. At least three different packs raised pups in the Linyanti and Selinda concessions. Wild dog movements become somewhat restricted during the denning period. Even after the new pups come out of the den, the packs …

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Blood Brothers

Male lions live in coalitions. Whilst coalition sizes can vary from two males up to seven, the average size over much of Botswana is two. These males are typically related, sometimes brothers, sometimes cousins, and less often, unrelated. Coalitions are usually formed for life. Many of the duties performed by territorial male lions are carried …

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When Is A Big Cat Long In the Tooth?

One of the benefits of spending more time in any particular wildlife area is that you get to recognize individual animals. It is human nature to try to learn as much as possible about these animals. Trying to guess the age of an animal can be an interesting exercise. Reference works indicate that in the …

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