How to Budget for your African Safari

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When someone utters the words “let’s go on a safari,” your first thoughts may be tent camps, pith hats, and bush living on the African plains.  But whatever images you dream up in your mind’s eye, “safari” means adventure.

While a Safari, by definition, doesn’t have to be in Africa, Africa is by far the most common Safari adventure destination. While many people still think of Safaris in terms of the now rather old-fashioned sense of game hunting the Big 5, most Safaris now are sight-seeing adventures instead.

A reputable Safari company will provide a tour with itineraries including big game viewing from off-roading, bush walks, and even water tour options when possible. You will have experienced guides and rangers leading your tour. A Safari truly is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

How Much Does an African Safari Cost?

With all the planning, coordinating, and adventure of a Safari, costs can add up. Using a tour company can help, by providing one price that is often nearly all-inclusive. By knowing this number, and paying installments significantly far in advance, you can plan and budget more effectively.

Keep in mind, however, that with most tours, you may still need to pay for flights, one or two nights of accommodations (usually upon arrival and departure, before and after the Safari), and, possibly a few meals along the way. In addition to the trip itself, you also have to consider vaccinations you may need, a passport, trip and medical insurance, and visas. You should also account for incidentals during the trip, such as tipping your guides, hotel staff, and in restaurants, souvenirs to take home, and, if you feel so inclined, charity.

Tipping in Africa, is for many people, the main source of income. While typically not large sums of money, these will add up and you should be sure to budget for them when planning your dream Safari adventure. Tips in Africa are typically paid in U.S. dollars, but local currency can be used, depending on the country. Make sure you bring small bills, as change for larger bills is usually hard to come by. The following is a short list of people you should remember to tip:

  • Restaurant staff-around 10-15 percent of the bill (but just as in the U.S. and other places, for large groups this may be added to the bill)
  • Hotel staff- $1 to $2 a day
  • Tour guides-$10 a day
  • Taxi drivers-10 percent of the fare, or $1 to $2

How to Manage the Cost of a Safari

While costs can add up, there are things you can do to minimize them. Using a Safari company, as mentioned above is a great way to help keep your budget in check–having a realistic idea of the total cost will take you a long way to budgeting for your Safari adventure. You can also plan to travel during the tourism off season. Going in the off season for tourists, April to September, is not just a great idea to keep costs down, it is also ideal for viewing the big game animals. This is the dry season in Africa, so the animals congregate at known watering holes and rivers.

If an amazing African Safari is in your dreams, and you want to make sure it is within your budget, make sure you keep in mind the following:

  • Use a Safari company, such as Roho Ya Chui, to plan your adventure and allow you to prepay for much of the trip.
  • Travel during the off-season (April to September) to keep airfare and other costs down.
  • Travel insurance is required for trips to Africa, including Safaris. This will cover cancelled tours, illness, lost baggage etc.
  • Airfare to and from the Safari departure point is usually not included in the tour.
  • Visas and Passports are a must for most travel; these can take both time and money.
  • Don’t forget to plan for non-included meals and snacks, and of course—souvenirs to remember your amazing Safari adventure.

An African Safari is an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime adventure. So grab your pith helmet and camera, with planning and the use of a great tour operator, you can be touring the African plains in no time.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Giraffes 101

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One of the most charming and impressive animals to come across on a safari is the giraffe. With their impossibly long legs, sweet faces, and unique patterns of spots, giraffe sightings make your African adventure all the more magical.

Amazing Facts About Giraffes

Giraffes eat leaves, particularly of the acacia tree. Because they are so tall, they don’t need to compete with smaller animals—they just eat off the highest branches.  Acacia trees have thorns that prevent most animals from consuming them, but giraffes’ 45 cm long tongues have adapted to be able to handle them.

Giraffes are large animals that may eat up to 75 pounds of food a day to maintain their energy levels. And because they only chow down on a few leaves with each bite, they spend most of their days eating— literally! They require some of the least amount of sleep out of any mammal, and spend only 10 minutes to two hours snoozing each day!

Drinking from watering holes requires bending down in an awkward and vulnerable position for, making it easier for predators to attack them. Luckily, giraffes receive most of their hydration from the juicy acacia leaves they spend all day nibbling on.

Giraffes are the tallest mammals on earth, at 18 feet tall! Just their necks alone are 600 pounds in weight and six feet in height. Even baby giraffes are born six feet tall. When they are birthed, the mother is standing up and the calf drops about six feet to the ground. But don’t worry, the babies are fine from the fall. They can actually stand within just a half hour after being born, and run alongside their family after only ten hours.

Where to See Giraffes and Your Unique African Safari Package

Kruger National Park—South Africa: The open woodlands of Kruger, paired with the highly skilled safari guides, increase your odds of spotting a giraffe in the park. Private reserves bordering the area mean you will be completely immersed in nature, making it even more likely you’ll come across a variety of wildlife. Our 10 day Kruger Victoria Falls and Okavango African safari package makes for the perfect trip, especially if you’re eager to see a six foot neck!

Selous Game Reserve—Tanzania: The shores near the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve are often referred to as “Giraffe Park” because there are so many giraffes in the area. Visit between June and October to see herds of giraffe moving along the riverbanks as well at plenty of other exotic wildlife. Our Grand Tour of Tanzania package includes three days in Selous, which is right next to Rufiji River Camp.

Etosha National Park—Namibia: Namibia’s bleak landscape is actually a positive feature when it comes to spotting giraffes. Because of its flat plains and minimal amounts of water, you can usually count on finding a cluster of wildlife at the few watering holes.

Etosha has tons of acacia trees in large open spaces, meaning giraffes are as visible as it gets. Take a look at our Best of Namibia African safari package for a two-night stay at Andersson’s Camp just south of Etosha in the Ongava Game Reserve. A floodlit waterhole at the camp means you can spot wildlife all day and night. For more information on our safari adventures, contact us at Roho Ya Chui today!

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Best Instagram Worthy Places to See

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Back before social media, everyone was very limited on how they could share their most incredible life experiences. Some of the most amazing pictures of events, traveling and unforgettable moments were tucked away in dusty photo albums, only to be seen by the few curious visitors who happened to open the cover. Today, thanks to apps like Instagram, sharing pictures from anywhere in the world can be done in an instant.

Africa has some of the best Instagram worthy places on the planet. If you are a person who lives for those perfect shots while traveling, an African safari vacation is definitely worth your consideration. Each trip is unique—a once in a lifetime experience with once in a lifetime photos to capture it all. If you are considering taking a trip to Africa, here are a few of the most incredible places to have on your itinerary.

  1. Untamed Coffee Bay

Coffee Bay is a picturesque coastline made up of smooth sand, radiant grass knolls, sweeping hillsides and rocky paths. The thatch huts that line the land are a reminder that you are in a place that has stood still as time passed by. Surfers, hikers and the local Xhosa people give this place a unique flavor. It is hard to find a more perfect beach setting than South Africa’s Coffee Bay.

  1. The Wonder of Magoebaskloof

“The land of the silver mist” is an area filled with lush forests, green hills, vibrant moss and growing fungi, as well as beautiful African ferns. This area looks like something straight out of a movie, and pictures taken while here are always admirable.

  1. The Cederberg’s Red Sandstone

The earth is full of mystical creations that make man stop and look, completely awestruck—The Cederberg’s Red Sandstone formations are such creations. Over time, the red sandstone that serves as the base for this location has been weathered down to reveal the most surreal patterns and formations.

  1. Blyde River Canyon Potholes

A pothole never looked so stunning. These water features were carved after centuries of the river passing through. This natural art is both bizarre and amazing—two qualifying factors for Instagram worthy pictures.

  1. The Kingdom of Mapungubwe

During the 13th century, the Kingdom of Mapungubwe flourished in South Africa. The area in which this civilization laid its claim is still a favorite tourist destination. It is made up of the iconic baobab trees, green forests and sandstone cliffs, providing a variety of landscapes to capture in pictures.

Plan Your African Safari Vacation

The locations that have been listed are not only unique and beautiful, but they are also home to many of the amazing, iconic creatures of Africa that people dream of seeing. There is no better place to satisfy your craving for Instagram-worthy pictures. If you would like to get more information to start planning your African Safari vacation, visit our safari tours page or contact a representative with Roho Ya Chui today.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

 

Wild Animals that are Native to Cape Town

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Cape Town is one of South Africa’s largest cities and a very popular tourist destination for people throughout the world. The area is a hotspot for dream vacations and represents the best that Africa has to offer. This coastal city is well known for getting adventure seekers up close and personal with creatures like the inspiring southern right and humpback whales. Another popular encounter includes the mystifying Great White Shark—for those who dare. While Cape Town is not the best location to see the Big Five of Africa’s most famous animals up close and personal, you do not have to travel far from the city to get your safari vacation fix. Cape Town is the best of all worlds—urban luxury, timeless culture and stunning wildlife. Here are some of the wild animals that are native to Cape Town.

The African Penguin

When most people picture penguins in their mind, they visualize the aquatic birds surrounded by snow and ice. The African Penguin is a species that is well adapted to the warm climate of coastal South Africa. Many of these birds call the islands and beaches that surround Cape Town Home. They are short, standing just two feet tall on average, and colored beautifully in a black and white pattern. African penguins are graceful swimmers who dive to catch their food. If you are visiting the area, be sure to check them out.

The Cape Fur Seal

The Cape fur seal is an adorable creature that is native to Cape Town and the surrounding beaches. They thrive in the waters and also attract one of the area’s most popular sea animals, the Great White Shark. Plan to see these native animals on your trip to South Africa.

The Cape Gannet

Bird watching is another popular attraction that brings people to Cape Town. While the area is home to numerous species, the Cape Gannet is one that is truly treasured. This is just one of six locations in the entire world where the Cape Gannet breeds.

The Big 5

Most people plan an African safari vacation to see the iconic animals in their natural habitat. Though Cape Town is a populous area and you will not see these creatures roaming the streets, you can easily visit a reserve not too far away to have your personal encounter. The Big 5 include the lion, leopard, elephant rhinoceros and buffalo. Most who travel to Africa hope to get a good look at each one.

Plan Your Cape Town Visit

Cape Town is the perfect honeymoon destination, annual vacation, once in a lifetime trip or surprise adventure getaway. You will have the option of luxury accommodations, as well as experiencing traditional Africa. The history of this area is as rich as the thriving ocean waters and habitats that surround it. Most importantly, traveling on an African safari from Cape Town and seeing many of the iconic animals from the area can be the highlight of your visit. Land and sea meet in this perfect city. If you would like more information on planning your visit to Cape Town, visit our African safari tours page or contact a representative with Roho Ya Chui today.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Unique and Under Appreciated Animals of Africa

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Lions, gorillas, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs—for many people who plan an African safari vacation, an encounter with these creatures in their natural habitat is the sole purpose of the trip. While Africa’s most iconic animals are incredible and worth the visit, there are many other creatures that you might not have heard of that are also amazing to see. The characteristic that makes Africa one of the most astonishing places on earth is its diversity—diverse landscape, diverse people and diverse animals. You will not find all of these creatures in a zoo back home, nor will you find them all across Africa itself, but they are unique and worth your time to try and find. Here are some of the most under-appreciated animals of Africa.

The Galago, AKA “Bush Baby”

The Bush Baby is more well-known than others. This is the cute, cuddly creature that draws passers-by at zoos throughout the world with its large eyes and sweet demeanor. Some people even keep them as pets. However, they might not be the first animal on your bucket list of encounters while you travel through your African safari. What makes the Bush Baby so unique is its double tongue. This creature has a second tongue under the first that is specifically used for grooming.

The Aardvark

This creature has been the star of popular children’s shows, but it rarely gets to be the star of an African safari vacation. Many people do not realize that the Aardvark is more unique than just its creative looks. In fact, there is no other animal like the Aardvark anywhere in Africa—or the entire planet! That is right, it is alone in its genus and is the only animal in its order.

The Lemur

Thanks to one blockbuster hit, people throughout the world have fallen in love with the Lemur, and even recognize them when they are seen on an African safari. What many people do not know is that hints in the early evolutionary history of these small primates point to some incredible findings. For example, the lemur was once as large as an adult gorilla! As time passed, the Lemur species was forced to adapt to living in trees and eating less food, which led to a significant shrinkage in their stature.

The Okapi

If you are hoping to find the most bizarre creature that Africa houses, the Okapi should be at the top of your list. It is so unique that many referred to it as the “African Unicorn” until 1901—because its existence was doubted. The Okapi is brilliantly colored with very distinctive markings and produces an infrasonic call around 14 hertz. This call cannot be heard by predators or humans.

Plan Your African Safari Vacation

Going on an African safari vacation is your perfect opportunity to see some of the most unique and incredible animals on the planet. Be sure to keep an eye out for the most under-appreciated while you are on your trip. 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

Choosing the right Safari Adventure for You

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You want to go on an African safari adventure, but there are so many to choose from. Of course, you would like to see as many of the iconic and amazing creatures of the land that you can, as well as the beautiful, diverse landscape. There are also many other aspects of South Africa and the surrounding areas that some tourists do not consider or even know exist. For instance, did you know that there are luxury camping options available to guests? You will also be able to taste some of Africa’s most amazing flavors and dishes. Of course, your trip itinerary and experiences are dependent on the safari adventure that you choose. Here are some tips to help you to pick the right one.

Your African Safari Goals

It is important to realize that you will not be able to see all of Africa’s most beloved animals in a single location. Some animals are exclusive to certain areas—the Mountain Gorilla, for example, is critically endangered and can only be seen in four national parks. Be sure to list the animals that you would like to see most, and choose to visit an area where you will most likely be able to see them. Of course, if the main event for you would be to see Victoria Falls up close and personal, you would want to plan your trip around that.

Your Safari Style

There are many ways to experience Africa. You could rough it along the way and stay in popular camps while making life-long friends with other members of your group, or you could partake in a more luxurious adventure. Consider your limits when planning—you do not want to go on an adventure that you do not enjoy.

Location, Location, Location

Africa has many amazing national parks that attract tourists from around the world, but no two are the same. Thanks to the extremely diverse landscape, you will have the opportunity to visit different worlds within a single continent. Research the parks that you find most attractive, and be sure that they include everything that you want to get out of your safari vacation.

Mode of Transportation

Of course, if one area does not quite cut it as far as fulfilling your safari dreams, you should travel to another to make up the slack. Many people argue that the best way to see Africa is in the air, though that is not an option for everyone. You can also travel on a guided vehicle tour, self-driven vehicle or even on the back of a horse. How would you like to see Africa?

Plan Your African Safari Vacation

We can help you to plan your perfect African Safari vacation. Seeing everything that Africa has to offer is a dream for many people, and it can become reality when you choose the right adventure package. 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

Beautiful Birds to Search for when on Safari

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If you are an avid bird watcher, or even just a person who loves beautiful birds, an African safari vacation is the perfect trip to get your bird watching fix. South Africa is a bird watcher’s paradise, and people travel from all over the globe just to get a glimpse of some of the rare, stunning and unique creatures that call the skies of Africa home. The distribution and diversity of the wild birds in the area allows passionate bird watchers to plan a successful safari trip that is sure to include many of their most sought after species. If you do not consider yourself a bird watcher, you should still keep an eye out for the local wild birds, for they are as important as the iconic wild beasts. Here are some of the beautiful birds that you should search for while on safari.

  1. The Cape Sugarbird

The Cape Sugarbird displays light brown feathers with elements of white and black. The most distinctive feature is its long, thin beak. This allows the Cape Sugarbird to eat from the beautiful flowers in the area.

  1. The Sunbird

There are several different types of Sunbird, including the Malachite and Orange-Breasted Sunbird. These birds are colored beautifully with brilliant shades of green, blue, yellow and orange. Because they are so vibrant, they are easier to spot than more ordinary birds. Like the Cape Sugarbird, the Sunbird also has a long, thin beak that is used for eating from the local flowers.

  1. The Bateleur Eagle

At first glance, you might mistake this large bird for a vulture—but look again. The Bateleur Eagle displays a noble appearance that only an eagle can. Its naked face and talons allow it to remain clean while eating. It is a tricolored bird of black, cream, and brown. The body of the Bateleur Eagle is completely black, while the wings are a mix of light and dark brown shades. The undersides of the wings are starch white. This magnificent bird is truly a site to be held.

  1. The Greater Flamingo

You might have seen Flamingos plenty of times at your favorite zoo, but seeing this vibrant bird in its natural habitat is an experience that all safari goers should seek. As many know, the Flamingo is colored with beautiful shades of pink and orange, broken only by the contrast of the black and white feathers that line its wings. Flamingos are iconic African birds that give life to the southern regions. If you are lucky, you might even spot a pair of Flamingos going about their unique dancing ritual.

Plan Your African Safari Vacation

An African safari vacation is the perfect getaway for bird watchers, or those who simply love the beauty of the natural world. If you are ready to start planning your trip, visit our safari tours page or contact a representative with Rohoyachui today. Be sure to keep these beautiful birds in mind while you are traveling through the southern regions!

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa