Camera Upkeep in the Wild

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For photographers on an African safari, a camera might as well be their own version of Excalibur. This is the tool with which they capture the landscape and all that Africa has to show off, immortalizing the memories that are made through the lens of a digital camera. Most photographers who travel to Africa take hundreds, even thousands of pictures, getting great use out of there camera.

Though taking your pictures is important, the landscape is not exactly camera friendly. The small dirt particles are prone to working their way into even the smallest of places, and your camera will quickly get dirty. Cleaning your camera and going through the proper upkeep procedures is absolutely critical if you want your camera working to the best of its ability through your entire trip. Here is how to properly go about your camera upkeep in the wild.

Clean the Lenses

Taking great care so that you do not break the glass, use a small brush to clean the front and back of the optic lenses. These lenses are what makes the camera such an expensive piece of equipment. Be sure to only use tissues and solutions that have been designed for the optics of cameras. If you do not clean your lenses, dirt can quickly build up in the dry African landscape, damaging the quality of your pictures. Replace your brush or clean it thoroughly afterwards so that you are not smearing grease onto your lens the next time that you clean.

Care for Your Sensor

The sensor of a digital camera is a very expensive piece. Because of this, it is not recommended to clean the sensor unless you know how to get the job done without damaging the camera. Set your camera to a 30-second exposure, and clean out the open shutter with your brush. If your camera gets really dirty while on your African safari, see the help of a professional to help you to clean it properly.

Clean the Focusing Screen

Though this is not a part of regular, daily maintenance, you should clean the focusing screen if it gets very dirty. Avoid the risk of transferring dust to the sensor of your camera. The mirror is easily scratched and also very sensitive, so be very cautious. Use your brush to clean this part while in the field.

The Outer Casing

Your external workings might just be for looks, but it is very important to keep them clean. Dirt that is on the outside of your camera can easily work itself into the small, inward parts. Brush it over quickly, then clean with a soft lens-cloth.

Clean Your Accessories

Do not forget to clean your accessories while you are traveling on your safari. You will want them to be ready to go at a moment’s notice so that you can capture the best of the county’s landscape.

Book Your Safari

If you are interested in going on the trip of a lifetime and want more information about African safari vacations, visit our African tours page or contact a representative with Rohoyachui today.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

The Best Destinations to Visit in Eastern and Southern Africa

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Traveling the continent of Africa is an amazing, once in a lifetime experience. While enjoying exceptional accommodations while there, travelers are often looking for destinations that will allow them to observe “the big five” African animals: the leopard, the lion, the buffalo, the rhino and the elephant. Keep reading to learn about some of the must see destinations in Eastern and Southern Africa while on safari.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve shares a border with the Kruger National Park in South Africa. There are no fences here, but there are over 160,000 acres of unspoiled African countryside. Sabi Sand Game Reserve does not allow day visitors, so a visit here requires travelers to stay in one of several lodges. Rather than being an inconvenience, this rule ensures that the reserve will never be overpopulated with tourists and that game sightings will remain frequent and unspoiled by overuse.  Rangers are allowed to drive off road when following an animal; this in forbidden in the National Park, but adds a whole level of experience few others will ever know.

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is located in the country of Zambia and includes the magnificent Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River. Although the park only consists of 16,300 acres, travelers can expect to see various antelope species, elephants, zebras, giraffe, warthogs and many species of birds and smaller animals. This is one of the few areas where visitors are allowed to drive their own vehicles, but traveling with a guide is still suggested in order to have the best chance of seeing the animals in their natural environment. If you are feeling really adventurous, there are even elephant back tours available on occasion.

Matusadona National Park

This 338,000-acre park is situated on the shores of Lake Kariba and boasts one of the only remaining populations of the endangered black rhino. In addition, travelers can expect to see elephants, leopards, hyenas, lions and cheetahs, as well as over 350 species of birds. While you are there, consider a stay at the Changa Safari Camp. This camp is a delightful mix of luxury and relaxation coupled with all the access to game drives twice daily.

Mana Pools National Park

Mana Pools National Park is located along the Zambezi River and is designated as a World Heritage Site. This park is home to elephants, rhinos, hippopotamuses and even crocodiles. The park is named for the four pools (“mana” means four in the language of the Shona people), which are located a short distance inland from the Zambezi River. The largest pool, called Long Pool, is a popular spot for large numbers of elephants to come and drink.  Ruckomechi Camp is situated on the bank of the Zambezi River. The camp houses guests in 10 in-suite tents and offers luxury amenities such as an infinity edged pool, and a secluded bath with a view that is a unique and romantic experience.

The Best of Eastern and Southern Africa

If you are considering planning a trip to Africa contact us for your safari booking needs. We will design the perfect itinerary for you that makes sure you do not miss these wonderful destinations along the way.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

 

5 Things You Need to Know before Your Walking Safari

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A safari vacation in Africa can be one of the most thrilling, exciting and educational vacations you can take. You will see and experience things you never even imagined possible, from stunning sunsets to bizarre and interesting animals to beautiful and almost alien landscapes. You are, however, traveling to another continent and a whole new world, so it is important to be prepared. Here are five things you should know and do as you begin the process of preparing for a walking safari in Africa.

Travel Light: Preparing for a Walking Safari

Understand first that the experience you’re about to undertake is not a normal vacation. Pack light, don’t load yourself down with gear and understand you’ll likely be traveling in a large group. Don’t bring a ton of cameras and gear; this will only get in everyone’s way and damage your co-travelers’ enjoyment. In addition, you are on a walking safari. For goodness’ sake, wear comfortable clothes and shoes!

This Is Not an Amusement Park

Your safari trip is not a trip to Disneyland. You will be in the wild, viewing animals in their true natural habitat and while safari trips make every effort to keep you safe, there are dangers in coming close to wild animals. Listen to your guide—there are reasons for the rules they have in place and for the requests they make.

You May Not See It All

Understand that since you are viewing natural habitats and wild animals, you might not get to see everything you’re hoping to see. It’s possible the wildebeests just won’t be around the day you go on your trip. There are five animals that everyone wants to see: lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhinoceros. You may find that one or more of these creatures doesn’t show up—they’re on their schedule, not yours. You need to prepare for the fact that you might be disappointed.

Every Experience Is Different

You may have the opportunity to explore several different walking safari experiences while on vacation. If you can, then do so! Each experience offers something different and if, for example, you don’t see a lion on Tuesday, the trip you take on Thursday might just feature one.

Patience and Attention

If you are patient, willing to follow the rules and explore many different experiences, your African walking safari trip will be the time of your life. Even if you don’t get to see every single animal you wanted, you’ll still be treated to an experience that you will probably never top. The key is following the rules, staying comfortable and being patient and attentive. Keep your eyes open and your camera sharp, and don’t forget to just enjoy your trip.

If you are ready to take the vacation experience of a lifetime, we are ready to provide it! Look over our different African Safari Experience packages, and give us a call for more information or to book your trip today.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

The Places, Landscapes, and Animals You’ll See on an African Safari

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Africa is an enormous continent with a mind-boggling level of diversity. With a land mass large enough to fit China, India, the U.S., Japan and most of Europe inside, you can imagine that the differences from one coast to the other are profound. Snowy mountains, verdant forests, lush swamplands, captivating savannahs, endless deserts, sprawling lakes and thundering waterfalls can all be found within a few hours’ flight of one another. In these ecosystems exist a staggering array of flora and fauna, the likes of which would be impossible to find anywhere else on the planet.

Join us as we explore some of Africa’s more notable locales and species and as you envision your perfect wild and wonderful African safari.

Kruger National Park

South Africa’s Kruger National Park is the perfect locale for first-time safari goers. Large areas of the park are accessible via well-traveled roads that crisscross through some of the more notable habitats. An abundance of facilities is also available, ensuring that a bathroom break or a souvenir trip are not out of the question even while you observe a family of warthogs scurrying past.

With countless choices of game drives available, there is also always something new to see and do in Kruger. You will be able to see all “big five” animals here, luck permitting: lions, leopards, Cape buffalo, elephants and rhinos.

Okavango Delta

Unlike most rivers, the Okavango empties out into the heart of the mainland. A huge geophysical trough causes all of the annual flood waters to drain out into a massive wetlands area teeming with native wildlife. Bird lovers will be particularly captivated by the Okavango Delta since thousands of exotic species migrate through here every year.

Lake Malawi

Sitting along the borders of Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania, Lake Malawi has a huge presence in Eastern Africa. It occupies around 11.4 thousand square miles and has enough water volume to fill Lake Tahoe 56 times over.

Aside from the typical African majesty, two things make Lake Malawi remarkable: the beautiful green hills that flank the rocky banks and the thousands of different, rainbow-colored cichlid species that can be observed when snorkeling.

Maasai Mara National Reserve

Maasai Mara offers the ultimate “untouched” experience for those who want to enjoy a more private sensation on walking safaris or game drives. This large park in Kenya has a more intimate feel and can completely immerse you in nature. Observe zebras, giraffes, herds of wildebeest, African elephants, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs and more while lodging at luxurious private camps.

The nearby Mara River also provides spectacular photographic opportunities when wildebeest migrations cross through from July to early November.

Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater is what happens when a volcano the size of a small country erupts and then collapses upon itself millions of years ago. Now, the breathtaking vista presents one of the most unique African landscapes available. The entirety of the crater can be observed from its rim along with all of its unique species. Blue wildebeest, Thomson’s gazelles, Cape buffalo, hippopotamus and more call the crater home. The rare Maasai lion also has one of the densest populations here.

See These Places and More on African Safari!

Africa’s aforementioned sheer size means that these remarkable treasures are just a taste of what lies in the rest of the continent. Take a look at our African safari vacation packages to learn more about what you can experience when you come to Africa.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

The Kinds of Cameras and Lenses You’ll Need in the Wild

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An African photography safari is the adventure of a lifetime whether you are a point and shoot beginner or a seasoned veteran. One of the biggest concerns for most people is bringing the right equipment so that you don’t end up missing, or messing up, the one in a million shot. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a photography expert or need to spend a fortune in order to capture all the wonder and majesty Africa has to offer. Here are some suggestions for cameras and lenses that will have you taking pictures that National Geographic would be proud to publish!

The Perfect Camera

Your camera, or more appropriately, cameras, are the most important equipment that you will bring on your photo safari. It may seem tempting to decide that your smartphone camera will work well enough or that you can cut corners by buying a couple of inexpensive digital cameras. Either of these options will result in you missing important shots and being unhappy with the shots you do get when you get home and are editing.

Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera

The best choice for capturing the amazing images from your trip will be a digital single lens reflex, or DSLR, camera. There are several well respected manufacturers of DSLR cameras, such as Canon, Nikon, Olympus, and Sony. These cameras are extremely versatile, and with the correct lenses they can capture the smallest bird sitting on a branch or a cheetah running at full speed across the open plain. While DSLR cameras are fast, versatile, and user friendly, they can and do sometimes fail in the harsh environments of Africa. For this reason, the well prepared traveler will bring two camera bodies on safari and keep one in reserve in case the first fails or is damaged.

 Important Features

When shopping for the perfect cameras there are a few key features that need to be considered.

What type of image stabilization does the camera itself have? You will often want to shoot while moving or while in an unusual position, and camera stabilization will be necessary to keep from taking blurry photographs. Small size and weight are nice features but should not be traded for functionality. You will also want to look for a DSLR that has extended dynamic range. This feature will make sure that your photographs are not too bright or too dark, and that detail is not lost in either shadow or brightness. Many new cameras offer this enhanced feature, but there are also computer programs that can fix issues after the photograph has been taken.

The Right Lens for the Job

Professional DSLR lenses are extremely expensive, heavy and take a lot of practice to learn to use correctly. Fortunately, those lenses are not necessary to take great, close up photos during your safari. Look for telephoto lenses that have internal stabilization and have a large maximum aperture, like the Canon EF 100-400L IS. Also, consider bringing two lenses so that you do not have to open your camera up in all the dust and risk damaging your camera.

Now that you have your camera and lenses picked out, contact us and learn about our photography safari options.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui. Travel AFrica

Why Every Photographer Should Go on an African Safari

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Photography is more than a hobby for a lot of people, it is a way of life. There is nothing better than capturing the moment in a snapshot that can be saved for eternity. This is a fingerprint that can be left on the world, for future generations—or anyone who decides to open one of many albums sitting on the shelf.

If you can relate, you have probably found many places that you would like to visit and photograph around the world. Have you considered an African safari tour? This is a dream destination for many photographers, and a safari will provide you with the opportunity to see diverse landscapes, as well as a multitude of animals. There are few places in the world that offer the photo opportunities that Africa does. Here are a few reasons why every photographer should go on an African safari.

The Diverse Landscape

Do you want to capture alluring deserts or majestic, snowcapped mountains? What about a breathtaking image of the largest waterfall in the world, or a few shots of a fleeting tropical forest? You can find all of these geographical features plus many more within Africa. Many countries boast multiple landscapes that can be seen on a safari tour. There is no other place in the world that provides photographers with so many different options for landscapes.

The Animals

Of course, you cannot talk about Africa without mentioning the diverse and abundant wildlife. Most people only dream of seeing these creatures in their natural habitats. The only other places to photograph stunning animals such as lions, zebras, gorillas and many, many more creatures is the nearest zoo. Pictures of thriving animals out in the wild make for much more interesting shots.

The Adventure

A safari tour is a once in a lifetime trip for most people. This is your opportunity to travel to a new, exotic place and experience things that some only dream of seeing. Africa is known for being a place of adventure, and you can capture that through the lens of your camera. You will have amazing stories to go along with your images, instead of just pretty pictures with no tales.

Meet Other Photographers

You are bound to run into someone else on your trip that shares your love for photography. This is a great chance to network and connect with others from around the globe. You will be able to share ideas and advice, as well as receive the same from photographers who are enjoying their safari vacation.

Get Experience

Going to Africa and photographing your safari trip is the ultimate way to build your portfolio. If you do photography for a living, your clients will love the fact that you have traveled and photographed diverse locations. This will provide you with the experience you need to make a name for yourself in the business.

Book Your African Safari Today

All photographers should travel to Africa. If you would like more information, visit our safari tours page or contact a representative with Rohoyachui today.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

The Geographical Features of Botswana

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Botswana is a beautiful country in the southern region of Africa that won its independence from Great Britain in the recent year of 1966. It is a stable democracy that believes that each individual is as unique and important as the features within its boundaries. Some other major countries, big tourist destinations for safari travelers, serve as neighbors for Botswana including Namibia and Zimbabwe. The country has one of the scarcest populations on the planet, with most of its residents living in the capital city of Gaborone. This provides the key element of “away” for travelers who are looking for the perfect place to escape.

If you are planning a big safari vacation soon, you should consider visiting the great country of Botswana. Here are some of the interesting geographical features that you will be delighted to find.

The Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert is a vast formation that stretches across the nations of Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. The title of “desert” is actually quite misleading, as the region sees too much rainfall to be classified in this manner. In fact, the Kalahari Desert receives five to ten inches of rain annually.

The dunes that are located within this desert make up the largest continuous stretch of sand on the planet. Though the Sahara Desert is larger than the Kalahari, only 15 percent of that region is comprised of dunes. There are many different kinds of trees and plants growing within the Kalahari, which are an important part of its thriving ecosystem. Animals are perhaps the biggest attraction of this geological feature. Lions, leopards, baboons, birds and a multitude of other animals make their life in this desert habitat of Botswana.

Tsodilo Hills

At the end of the Kalahari bush you will find a dramatic rising rock formation that is known as the Tsodilo Hills. This place captivates all who come to see the copper-colored faces of giant rocks in all their splendor.

To the natives, these hills are sacred, and the place where their ancestors choose to dwell. There are three main hills that are known as “male, female and child.” The Tsodilo Hills are covered in ancient rock paintings, which make them an even more inspiring sight to behold. There are several mysteries surrounding these hills, such as how the rocks formed so far from any others in the area, and why the paintings are so different. This is a place that you have to see to believe.

The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

Thousands of years ago, there was a great lake that completely immersed an area larger than the country of Switzerland. This lake has long since dried up, leaving behind the largest salt plains on the planet—The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. This landscape is stunning and home to a diverse collection of plants and animals.

Book Your African Safari Vacation

If you are interested in learning more, visit our safari tours or contact a representative with Rohoyachui today. Botswana, as well as many other countries, are excellent places to escape from the world.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa