Ben Winston

Not your average travel blog

A Bangarang!

Deciding to avoid discussing clients and guests of Go Untamed, doesn’t mean I’m extending the same luxury to my  business partner! We’ll suffer together… Bjorn might remind me regularly that what goes on in the bush, stays in the bush….but not for this writer, apparently. Just like running a business in Malawi; it’s never dull.


Our first official work night on the road: Although a landmark moment for Go Untamed, it wasn’t particularly spectacular as nights in the African landscape go, but it was memorable.

With plenty of room for the two of us and inside non of this flimsy, fly-away nylon, (it’s just part of the job) Bjorn and I have become use to sharing a tent. As robust as we bought them, they also block any light coming in from the early morning sun – a complete black out – which is a rarity when camping. We’ve gotten used to pitching camp in under seven minutes. You wouldn’t find much of that at Glastonbury!

Still, on this occasion the black-out canvas didn’t stop us both stirring at dawn. Normally, to the morning chorus, but on this this time it was to a different noise.

I have to admit, in a weary state, I thought someone was wandering, eerily through camp. Intrigued, I opened one eye, tilted my head for full surround-sound and tuned into what could only be described as a strained and throaty cry for help.

It often amazes me how Bjorn is normally acute to these things as well, even while half asleep. When you spend time in the bush, it’s strange but comforting how unfamiliar sounds instantly create an awareness and a heightened curiosity in your bones. It’s easy to switch off from world as we might know it, but it’s gloriously-humbling to be able to tune in to the foreign and wild world as we experience it.

The noise was getting louder and with my hearing now fully on point, I soon figured out what it was. Admittedly, it wasn’t the normal racket you associate with this creature.

After a good few minutes, the bangarang was right by our tent. As if someone had crawled towards us, straining their vocals in distress.

I couldn’t help but burst into hilarious fits as Bjorn bolted upright, clutching a torch in one hand, a blade in the other and with his eyes half closed, responded to the cries with “yeh, what? whaa?”

The cries were uniquely incredible. Amazingly, a duck had adapted it’s quack to sound exactly like it was chirping desperately, “Bjorn”. I didn’t know ducks had such range.

It took Bjorn a few seconds to realise it was a bird and not a struggling client, but it took him much less time to curse at me to stop laughing.

The duck was indeed fine, and although seemingly familiar with my sleep-depraved colleague, just curious about his new neighbours.


Unfortunately, he disappeared pretty quickly following his early morning call. I think his guttural cries may have stirred a rather less than amused predator. There were some pretty big monitor lizards basking in the heat around the lake, and it would be naive to assume that no mallard-molesting python wasn’t in the neighbourhood either. I’m sure something silenced his disgruntled waddlings without much sympathy. Sadly, for my lack of entertainment, I haven’t again heard such a coherent duck, or any other bird in the bush so desperate for Bjorn to wake up…

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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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