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Go on Safari Via Africam

Cameras show South African wildlife interact in natural environs

By: Mike Suchan, OutdoorChannel.com

"There's a lion! And another one! Lions, there's five of them!"

"Haven't you ever been to a zoo?"

"Yeah ... but these are out in the wild... in South Africa ... halfway around the world. It's live! There are lions hunting!!! Ooh, that one sees something."

That was the exchange when a lion raised up on her haunches as the morning unfolded at Tembe Game Preserve near Kruger National Park. I was in the middle of the U.S., watching Africam.

A pride of five lions skulked about the watering hole and the camera operator, at a remote location, followed their moves. The day before this area hosted a variety of wildlife, including wildebeest, waterbucks, kudu, a warthog, etc, and later a herd of elephants.

Click the image for Africam screen shots

I watched the elephants intently. One sucked water up in its trunk then curled it into its mouth, shooting sprays out both sides. Another was drinking from what looked like a pump, but it moved away when another ambled up. A little research and I figured she was the matriarch of their family group, and she had a gash on her trunk, possibly retaliation from her strong-trunk tactics.

At the Idube Game Reserve, a camera aimed at a lake regularly captures hippopotamus. They look like rocks in the water until they lift their head to breath. Man, can they yawn. One hippo even has a baby that stays close, a good idea with crocodiles floating nearby and sunning themselves on shore.

Africam first began to broadcast such images in 1999 and moved to streaming 24/7 in 2006. It has been viewed in more than 200 countries and built a large following - I can see why. It promotes itself as the premier live African wildlife website on the internet, and it's now on OutdoorChannel.com.

Granted, its live streams have been down at times, but it's pretty amazing Africams are running like they do in the remote African bush. Each of its cameras are customized to the particular location and utilize the latest technology as well as alternate power sources, such as windmills and solar panels. Africam admits operational and technical challenges, with occasional interference from humans, weather and animals, but that's certainly expected.

It's simple remarkable that viewers can go on a type of African safari whenever they choose. 

Africam says the best viewing times are early morning and late afternoon in South Africa, which is 7 hours ahead of Central time in the U.S. The days are getting shorter there, so prime viewing times range from 9-11 a.m. CT and 11 p.m. on. Africam's website says night viewing can produce rare and special action, but the best I've seen at night are hippos slipping into the water and a lone elephant.

Go to Africam to give them a watch and report the wildest scene you see below our video player.

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