Ben Winston

Not your average travel blog

The African Barking Spider! (Apologies for this one)


The sounds of the jungle bush in the north are much different to the sounds of the flatter bush lands to the west and to those hectic noises of Nkata Bay on the Lake. Unlike the towns, there is no music being pumped almost 24/7 from dawn break, there is no bustling village near our pillows and while sleeping next to a river with the constant flow of water, it’s ultimately relaxing. Essentially, the world over, the sounds of the bush, not mater their differences, are always just completely superior. There are however the three, bush-stale friends I’m camped with. It’s hard not be kept awake by the chorus of the world renowned, “African barking spider”. They can pipe up at any time of day, but it is more common to hear them when we wake up. In the wild, that tends to be around dawn. One of the most common sounds and unmistakable to the trained ear, they don’t just venture high and low in volume, they also vary greatly in their transcended aroma. It’s common for all spiders to carry a scent, some more pungent (especially the males, it seems) than others.


Much like cicadas, they’re impossible to see, but at any time of the day, it’s as if they suddenly surround us. There are similar creatures the world over and I’ve heard them called “burping ducks”, “dying toads” and even “creeky floorboards”. This morning, they made it in their droves to the Malawian north, along with the three men who I have ventured here with. It’s as if they catch a ride in our pants. They might possibly be the only creature in the world that isn’t struggling to cope with their dwindling habitat. Here, I have also named them, “Forest And Rural-Territory Spiders”. It’s always best, in my opinion, to be outside when they visit. We’re enjoying some down time deep in the Malawian forest, surrounded by all kinds of Nature’s gems; there isn’t anywhere I’d rather be with this troop of wild-loving, gin-toting gentlemen….with the breeze on constant and thankfully not sharing tents.


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Where am I now?

After extensive work and tours through Southern Africa, most of my time is spent between Malawi and Europe.
Go Untamed Safaris was striding into top gear, but volatile poitics in 2019, Covid in 2020, the impacts of Russia vs the World as well as insesent corruption forced my hand.
The dust is now settling. Everything has changed. New chapters are about to be written.

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