So what really happened…

WebChameleonEverything you see in the Bush Hacking series is authentic. Most episodes were carefully prepared and scripted. But for all our meticulous planning, nothing could have prepared us for the surprises and unexpected wildlife we encountered. In fact, some of our most interesting episodes happened totally by chance. Click on the EPISODES links above to view all the programs and get a bit of the back-story. Tony has also agreed to let us upload some of the Bloopers !

Bush Hacking was produced by On Air Media, a production company based in Cape Town, South Africa. Producer, Ilana Gordon, conceived the series after realising how passionate Tony Johnstone is about wildlife. After convincing SuperSport and Sky Sports to broadcast the series of short 2 minute fillers, the crew soon found themselves in the southern part of the Kruger Park. The Kruger Park is the size of Wales, except that here the animals reign supreme and tackling this dangerous environment on foot is not for the faint-hearted.



The crewThe Crew

Director of Photography:  Dirk Mostert is responsible for all the visuals in the series.
Additional Camera & Editor: Alexis Dominguez
Final Mix: Gary Rundle of  Groove Lab Studios in Cape Town
Producer/Director: Ilana Gordon of  On Air Media

And, of course, Tony Johnstone, our intrepid host, whose passion for wildlife is only surpassed by his love of golf. By combining these two, it was a dream come true.




For season 1, filming took place from 15 – 22 May, the start of winter in this region. Our plans to do episodes on scorpions, dung beetles and other insects were scuppered since they were all hiding TonyMarulaTree out from the cold. Not a bug in sight! The chameleon and python were both very sluggish, mainly due to the cold, enabling us to film them up close.

For season 2, we braved the sweltering summer heat and filmed from 21 – 28 January. This allowed us to find some amazing insects, spiders and even a very temperamental scorpion. Added to that a “shongololo” and a very aggressive centipede, and we had a very interesting series of big and small animals, insects, birds and trees.

Season 3 took the team to Shamwari Game Reserve in November. The birds were in full flight during the breeding season and we were there, armed with long lenses, to capture them. Finding cheetahs was an incredible moment, but it’s not all about the big cats. The African Land Snail was a surprise episode, and look out for all the unexpected uses for Aloes.



The series is filmed in high definition – Sony XDCam HD (season 1) and Panasonic P2 / Canon 5D DSLR (season 2).

5 Responses to “So what really happened…”

  • Aldo:

    Hi Tony. I happened to be at Jocks while you were filming and actually joined you guys as part of a big group of dinner one evening. I’ve just seen the first clip on TV and it has come out fantastically well. Well done, cheers, Aldo

  • Anton Schilz:

    Hi Tony

    I was fortunate enough to stay at Jock safari Lodge in November with my girlfriend for my Birthday and shared a Game vehicle with yourself, your wife and Lazarus.

    After hearing all your stories and watching the episodes- I really think you should do another series with Lazarus( he is a world class Ranger)

    Please do let me know if you ever need a spare set of hands to carry any equipment or golf clubs and il be there in a flash to assist should you do another series.


    Anton Schilz

  • Mike Bradley:

    Good afternoon Tony,

    Just a note to say how much we enjoy your brilliant golf commentary on sky sports.
    As keen birdwatchers, not twitchers, we love the sightings, and the identification of the various birds and wildlife whilst you are covering the golf, and especially in South Africa.
    Is it possible to identify the birds that are not seen but calling whilst the players are being filmed? I do know some of them but only a few.
    Perhaps as a filler between rounds or during a rain break, a selection of the birds seen could be put together under the heading of “other birdies of the day”.
    Once again, Tony, many thanks for the enjoyment you bring to these events, long may it continue.

    Mike Bradley

  • Frank:

    Tony, what a round of golf and played on my most favourite place on God’s good earth which I have visited many times with my good friends from ZA.

    A wonderful insight into the Kruger.

    Many thanks.