Everything you need to know about Hippos

hippo on african safari

Hippopotamuses are considered one of the most intimidating creatures on the planet. Their aggressive nature and ability to easily outrun a human have earned hippos the reputation of being a dangerous animal. But exciting animals like the hippo are what makes African safari vacations so exhilarating. Seeing one of these large creatures in the wild is a wonderful experience.

Hippopotamuses may be one of the most potentially dangerous animals on the planet, but their numbers and habitats are threatened by an even more dangerous life form: humans. The opportunity to see a hippo while on an African safari may not be available much longer if people are not aware of the amazing animal that is being lost. Here is everything you need to know about hippos.

  1. The Name

Hippopotamus means “river horse.” This term comes from the Ancient Greek language, surprising for an animal that is so iconic to Africa.

  1. They Make Their Own Sunblock

People once believed that hippos sweat blood. This was due to the natural moisturizer that they secrete while sunbathing along the shores of rivers and watering holes. The red, oily substance helps to protect the hippo from the sun and germs that may infect the animal.

  1. Surfacing is Often

Good news for those on safari vacations in South Africa: The hippo normally does not hide beneath the water surface for long! Though they spend most of their lives in the water, the hippo cannot hold their breath as long as some aquatic mammals. They must surface every 3-5 minutes to breathe. Even when the hippo is sleeping, this surfacing is automatic.

  1. Territorial Creatures

Hippos love their aquatic homes. They become territorial and aggressive towards threats while in the water. This is because everything important in the life of a hippo, reproduction and having their babies, occur in the rivers and water holes in which they live.

  1. Faster than Any Man

A hippo may look like a fat, slow animal, but they can easily outrun even the fastest of men. Some have been timed at 19 miles an hour, and for very short distances they can reach up to 30 miles an hour.

  1. Small Appetites

Though the hippopotamus is a huge animal, it does not consume much food, relatively speaking. These 4-ton animals feed on grass and normally graze for four to five hours a day, consuming about 80 pounds of food. Hippos will travel up to 6 miles on the African terrain to find a good grazing area.

  1. Related to Whales

Whales and hippos are distantly related; the split occurred 55 million years ago. Whales, porpoises and other cetaceans are the closest living relatives of hippos today.

  1. Threatened Numbers

The populations of hippos living in the wild are experiencing a drastic decrease in numbers. Their existence is vulnerable and it is more important than ever to educate the public on ways to protect this magnificent creature.

  1. Terms to Know

A male hippo is known as a “bull”, female a “cow” and a baby is called a “calf.” Hippos living together are often referred to as a “herd” or “pod.”

The best way to see hippopotamuses in the wild is to go on a safari vacation in South Africa. For more information, view our African Safari Tours page.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Why your next corporate outing should be an African safari

great migration african safari tour

For you, the corporate picnic is boring. The spa resort has lost its luster. You are searching for a way to break free from the monotony, to provide your team with a truly unique experience. Your hunt has led you to Roho Ya Chui, provider of the most formidable and exhilarating adventure: the African safari. You are ready to embrace the soul of the leopard. Read on for exactly why your corporate team is about to embark on a safari.

Adventure — Soul of the Leopard

Roho Ya Chui offers many wildly different and highly customizable packages to choose from. Our selection of options is designed to sate your appetite for adventure. Are you ready to track cheetahs through South Africa on a thrilling nighttime chase? Will you navigate the marshes to head out hippo-spotting in Naivasha or bask in the shade with, as your backdrop, Mount Kilimanjaro?

Our most popular safaris range from the Grand African Safari, an 18 day trek through Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and more, to the Kenya Explorer, a highlight reel of Amboseli wildlife and the grandest game-viewing in the world at Masai Mara. Exclusive tented camps give you the comfort and space you need to relax after a day filled with exhilaration. Your team must rest for the next day packed with otherworldly challenges.

Teambuilding — Thrill of the Chase

Unleash your inner hunter: bag photographic trophies of your “prey” while on game drives. See the world through the lens of our wildlife photography specialist who has presented workshops for the famed Hapag Lloyd cruises. Experience the thrill of a wildlife photography course suitable for beginners and experts alike. The lush, exotic settings that will bring your tightly-knit team even closer together will be your classroom.

Beyond the simple act of snapping photos, this exclusive training package, available on request, will see that your corporate team members’ perspectives are broadened beyond compare. The journey you are about to undertake will show you a side of yourself you may not have known even existed. Once you view the grand savannas unfold before you, the level of interaction and understanding you and your colleagues experience will deepen as your intuition and unconventional-thinking skills blossom.

Perfected — Unique Experiences

Don’t miss out on the opportunity for an off-road tour led by expert guides. On private reserves, sneak up so close to the wildlife that you’ll be able to count the animals’ spots. In some locations, aquatic tours and bush walks are available to adventurous souls. Roho Ya Chui’s fine-tuned safari tour packages offer your team a plethora of choices in sensational game viewing throughout the highest quality safari destinations in Eastern and Southern Africa. We give you the chance to make the most of your great voyage.

If your corporate team is ready to emerge from a wild and exciting experience, invigorated and stronger than ever before, an African safari is just the ticket. Contact us today and learn what it means to embody the soul of the leopard.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Why visit Malawi in May?

african safari in malawi

Malawi, which translates to “flames of fire,” is a country in Africa with gorgeous vistas, stunning sunsets and the opportunity for amazing safari trips. The country is full of natural wonders, such as Monkey Bay and the Mulanje Massif rock formations. Lake Malawi forms 75% of the eastern border of the nation and is the ninth largest lake in the world, which hosts over 1,000 species of fish. But when is the best time to visit Malawi? Why choose a trip in May?

Fading Rains

The rainy season in this nation comes between the months of December and March, making trips here less perfect, though still full of lovely sights and sounds. The months of April and May see the landscape begin to dry, and is considered the beginning of the peak seasons for this beautiful landscape. In the higher and southern regions, you will enjoy cool temperatures at night to go along with the crystal clear skies.

Breathtaking Sights

Malawi is full of natural wonders and incredible sights. The sunsets in this country are legendary, but the waters of Monkey Bay and the rocks at Mulanje Massif are not to be missed. As the sun sets over these features, you will be struck by the intense red rays dancing over the landscape.

Not only will you have pictures and stories to tell, many are deeply changed by the experience. May is the best time to catch these sights as the rains fade and the skies clear.

Beach Weather

The warm, sunny skies make for great days on the beaches of Lake Malawi. The temperatures are warm, sunny and dry. Spend your days lounging on the shores of Africa’s third largest lake, enjoying the cool waters with great boating and diving available during these winter months.

99 percent of the thousand species of fish in Lake Malawi are unique to this region, evolved from a single parent species into dozens of sub-species, each with its own individual features. Be sure to check out the Zimbabwe Rock diving site for the best chance of seeing these awe-inspiring creatures. With so many to see, you will have a completely new experience no matter how many times you go.

Game Sightings

As the weather dries out and the days turn nice and warm, game sightings increase. If you are looking to take a safari trip in this great nation, you want to time it for a period when it is relatively comfortable for you, and great for seeing the local fauna. The winter months of April and May are excellent for checking out the local wildlife!

There are over 2,000 hippos in Malawi’s Majete Wildlife Reserve, and over 350 species of birds to sight. In addition, the protected park is host to over 500 elephants. If you are ready to experience the kinds of wonders and beauty that only an African safari in the prime time of the year can provide, we can help. Give us a call today for the trip of a lifetime!

Jill LIphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Image: Wilderness Safaris

5 Misconceptions about African safaris

misconceptions about african safaris

African safaris are often referred to as “the holiday of a lifetime” and no other holiday can top a safari experience, yet there are still misconceptions when it comes to very practical questions. And these are not only safari travellers from outside Africa, no; even safari guests from within Africa can have wrong ideas about Africa travel.

Here some of the main misconceptions about African safaris, as they can occur when planning a safari:

  1. The food at safari lodges is not suitable for guests used to western food.

The safari lodges and camps at all top-rated safari destinations offer international food, from lasagna and spaghetti to top French cuisine.

  1. Mosquitos will be all over me.

Mosquitos are only active from late afternoon and during the night and the number of mosquitos depends on the time of the year. Mosquitos do not like cold and wind. They love hot and humid conditions and not an air-conditioned room or fan, which are present in most of the safari accommodations. A repellent with deed will make sure they also don’t get to you when enjoying a boma dinner under the stars.

  1. I will not have access to phone and email during African safaris.

Many of the safari lodges and camps at all safari destinations in Eastern and Southern Africa offer free WiFi internet access.

  1. I will need to bring fancy clothes when going to 5 star safari lodges.

The dress code at all safari lodges and camps is casual outdoor wear, also at 5 star accommodations.

  1. Transportation at the safari destinations will be chaotic and unreliable.

African safari travel is an extremely well organised operation with connecting light aircraft and road transfers to the most remote wildlife areas.

Most African safari travellers are surprised by the standard of hospitality and logistic they find during their safari holiday. In the middle of nowhere, in the heart of the African bush, guests can expect high-end cuisine, personalised service and excellent transportation.

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa


Top 5 Reasons to visit Mana Pools


Mana Pools in Zimbabwe is possibly the most magical African safari destination. The majestic Zambezi River within a stunning landscape and cathedral like forests creates a dream safari destination.

There many good reasons to visit this top rated safari destination and some of the main reasons are listed below:

  1. Mana Pools National Park is synonymous with the Zambezi River, elephants, lions, remoteness and safari wilderness. This unique park is a WORLD HERITAGE SITE, based on its wildness and beauty, together with the wide range of large mammals, over 350 bird species and aquatic wildlife. Mana Pools is one of Zimbabwe’s most popular safari parks.
  1. Mana Pools is the only game park in Zimbabwe to be granted World Heritage Status and encompasses some of Africa’s largest areas of Acacia and Mahogany woodland, combined with spectacular, full-canopy Mopane forest. Mana Pools is part of a 300 million year old rift valley supporting a large variety of mammals and over 400 bird species.
  1. Mana Pools is 2,196 square kilometres in extent, runs along 80km of the Zambezi River, but is part of the 10,500 square kilometre Parks and Wildlife Estate that runs from the Kariba Dam in the west to the Mozambique border in the east.
  1. This large protected wildlife area is without physical boundaries and the wildlife is free to move throughout the area – even northwards across the Zambezi River into Zambia, where there are also large wilderness areas set aside for wildlife conservation.
  1. This national park has been set aside to be kept as wild as possible with only non-invasive, zero-impact tourism allowed. There are no safari lodges, generators, electric fences or other structures associated with safari camps as these are banned by law. All mobile camps must be taken down the day our clients depart to ensure minimal damage to the ecosystem.

The four large pools, the Zambezi River carved out thousands of years ago, gave the area the name “Mana Pools”, meaning 4 pools, a simple name standing symbol for magnificent African safari experiences.


Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Source: safari destinations, image: wilderness safaris

Why should you visit top rated safari destination South Luangwa?


South Luangwa National Park in the eastern part of Zambia, is one of the best African safari destinations and renowned for its abundance of wildlife and excellent light for wildlife photography.

The Luangwa river is the most intact major river system in Africa and is the life blood of the parks 9 050 square kilometers. The park hosts a wide variety of wildlife, birds and vegetation. The now famous “walking safari” originated in this park and is still one of the finest ways to experience this pristine wilderness first hand.

There are 60 different animal species and 400 different bird species. One special being the Thornycroft Giraffe, found only in the Luangwa Valley. Some magnificent trees grow in the Valley among the more common are the mopane, leadwood, winterthorn, baobab, large ebony forests, vegetable ivory palm, marula and the tamarind tree.

The changing seasons add to the parks richness ranging from dry, bare bushveld in the winter to a lush green wonderland in the summer months. The dry season begins in April and intensifies through October, the hottest month when game concentrations are at its height. Warm sunny days and chilly nights typify the dry winter months May to August. The wet season’s begin is November, as the leaves turn green and the dry terrain becomes a lush jungle. The rainy season last up until the end of March when the migrant birds arrive in there droves. The lodges in South Luangwa stay open as long as access is possible depending on their location. The lodges and camps in the valley all offer game drives and walking safaris.

South Luangwa is very attractive during the winter months and the summer months, allowing at both times excellent safari experiences, yet in very different ways. For photography enthusiasts it might be the hardest decision to make, as both times are great for wildlife photography on African safari, yet the rich green of the summer months might make the better background. Visiting winter and summer might be the best solution to experience it all.


Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Source: safari destinations, image: kapani lodge

What should you African safari travel insurance cover?


When you go on an African safari holiday you don’t want to worry about anything except, if you will see the illusive leopard or not or will you be able to see a rhino at all. You should be free to enjoy the safari you were looking forward to for so long.

In order to achieve that, you should have a travel insurance. Pretty much all insurance companies offer travel insurance and it can be challenging to go through all the plans to make a decision.

Your safari travel insurance should in essence cover:

  1. Emergency evacuation expenses.
  1. Medical and hospitalization expenses including emergency assistance, accidental death and disability, personal injury.
  1. Repatriation expenses.
  1. Cancellation or curtailment of your travel.
  1. Damage/theft/loss of personal baggage/goods/money/any personal effects of whatsoever nature and value.
  1. Costs incurred as a result of changes to arrangements such as the cost of a private charter should you miss your (connecting) flight for any reason whatsoever.

The cover for cancellation of your safari holiday varies per insurance plan. Study carefully the terms and conditions of the plan to know in which cases cancellation is covered. Some cover for medical reasons only, others include cancellation for work reasons and the most comprehensive cover includes cancellation for any reason. These variations come with different price tags and in general cancellation for medical reasons is sufficient, but it the cover for work reasons can be very useful.

Once the travel insurance is sorted, you can focus in the joys of an African safari and get worried about which zoom lens you should bring with you or what to wear.


Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa