Seeing the Last Living “Dinosaurs”: Sharks and Crocs

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Dinosaurs may have stopped roaming the earth millions of years ago, but the progeny of their ancestors live on. Great white sharks and Nile crocodiles are two of the largest predators on the planet, and they can also trace back their family tree to before the time that dinosaurs began to dominate the world in the Triassic period more than 200 million years ago.

Prehistoric Sharks

The ancestors of modern sharks were able to survive all five known mass extinction events throughout the earth’s life. Early fossil records discovered in Siberia and Mongolia reveal shark-like marine predators that would have existed 420 million years ago, almost twice as old as the earliest dinosaurs.

Around 100 million years ago during the mid-Cretaceous arose the first sharks that we would be able to recognize as similar to the species we see today. They ranged far off from the shore, swimming fast and aggressively overtaking prey. By the late Cretaceous, lamnoid sharks roughly the size of a great white came about.

Megalodon was the most fearsome of the sharks, stretching up to 50 or even 65 feet long. At one time people thought the Megalodon was an ancestor to the great white, but now they suspect that the great white and the Megalodon could have cohabitated for as long as 10 million years. Staring into the eyes of a great white, you can almost see the savage history of their species as they patrolled the oceans since before man first walked the earth.

Prehistoric Crocodiles

Crocodiles are more directly related to dinosaurs. In fact, since crocs are members of the archosaur family along with birds, they could easily be considered some of the last living dinosaurs.

Like dinosaurs, Crocodilians are cold-blooded and featured thick dermal layers like armor. The order encompasses the family Crocodylidae, which includes proper crocodiles like the Nile crocodile. This family began in the very late Cretaceous period — over 65 million years ago.

Since then, scientists believe that not a whole lot has changed with the appearance of crocs and their scaly cousins. During the early to mid-Cretaceous before that time, Crocodilians had an incredible amount of variety. Their morphological variations included ocean crocs, herbivorous crocs and even a fast-moving predatorial croc that walked on two legs. Try getting that image out of your head!

Seeing the Living Dinos in Action

South Africa has a host of viewing opportunities for seeing great white sharks in action; some would say the best in the world. Cage diving and eco tours are available to find some of the densest great white populations on the planet located near Dyer Island, Gansbaai and Cape Town.

Since Nile crocodiles are present throughout Africa, spotting them on your African safari tour should not be hard at all. The wildebeest migration that crosses through the Mara River often presents spectacular and heart-stopping encounters between the two species. Crocs are also prevalent along the Zambezi River between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Going that far is not that necessary, either, considering there are plentiful crocs hanging around Kruger and other places nearby South Africa.

Visit our African safari vacation packages page to find the crocodile safari or shark viewing tour that you would want to see most, and catch these living prehistoric monsters in action.

Meta desc: Great white sharks and Nile crocodiles are two of earth’s largest predators, and they can also trace back their family trees to before the time of dinosaurs more than 200 million years ago.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Take Dad on Safari for Father’s Day

take dad on safari for fathers day

Adventure awaits in South Africa, made possible by safari tours throughout the region. Taking your Dad on a safari vacation this Father’s Day will be a gift that he never forgets. There is no experience comparable to seeing majestic animals in their natural habitats with the gorgeous African landscape over the horizon. Even if your Dad is not exactly the outdoors type, South Africa boasts multiple resort destinations that you may enjoy together after spending the day enjoying the best that Africa has to offer. Take your Dad on a safari vacation — he deserves a spectacular trip.

Enjoy a Guided Tour

Many safari trips are conducted by professional guides who know the best areas to travel. This eliminates the stress of attempting to navigate through the terrain yourselves. Your Dad will be able to simply sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

A lot of thought and effort goes into crafting the itineraries for guided safari tours. This insures that your vacation is everything you dreamed it would be. You will get the animals, the spectacular views — all without having to waste most of the day hunting for them. Your Dad will appreciate the stress free thrill of a guided safari tour through South Africa.

See Unusual Animals

South Africa has one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Traveling through a safari will offer you and your Dad the opportunity to spot some unusual and rare animals, many of which may not be in existence much longer. Give your Dad the opportunity to marvel at the incredible creations of nature, beyond the expected lions, elephants and hippopotamuses. The breathtaking Blue Crane and tiny Pickersgill’s Reed Frog are endangered creatures that safari goers may not have the opportunity to see in the future. A safari vacation is more than a gift; it is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Savor the Majestic Scenery

South Africa is breathtaking. It is filled with much more than deserts and barren land. You will see your Dad taken aback by the spectacular sight of Victoria Falls, one of the world’s largest waterfalls. The mountains, rivers, flowing grasslands and oceans will capture your Dad’s heart and make him fall in love with the majestic beauty of the continent. Traveling through a safari will allow you and your Dad the opportunity to see a variety of the South African landscape.

Experience a World Class Africa

South Africa has many outstanding resort destinations. After you have spent the day on safari, spend the evening relaxing in luxury and enjoying world class cuisine. Do not worry; sending your Dad on a safari for Father’s Day does not mean that you are taking away his opportunity to have a well-deserved break. On the contrary, this may be the most luxurious vacation he has ever experienced.

Taking your Dad on an African safari this Father’s Day will provide him with the experience of a lifetime. He will never forget the experience of visiting South Africa, and neither will you. For more information, visit our African Safari Tours page.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Creepy Crawlies: The Most Unique Bugs and Snakes in Africa

spiders on african safari

The big creatures of Africa are easy to spot while traveling through a safari, but there are a few unique creepy crawlies that are well worth looking for on your trip. These creatures are interesting, rare and sometimes very dangerous.

The diverse ecosystems of South Africa provides homes for a multitude of snakes and insects. Watch these creatures with respect and try to keep your distance, as some are more deadly than a ferocious lion. Nonetheless, they are fascinating to watch in the wild. Here are some of the most unique bugs and snakes in Africa that you should look for on your safari vacation.

Tarantula Hawk Wasp

These wasps are often larger than an adult man’s hand. They get their name from their preferred meal: tarantulas. The wasp hunts the desert spiders very much like a hawk hunts a rabbit. It then lands on top of its prey and injects it with a venom that renders it immobile. The Tarantula Hawk Wasp lays its eggs within the spider and the young feed on the still living body of the tarantula when they hatch. Their sting is said to be one of the most painful on the planet, so steer clear if you spot this amazing insect while on your safari.

Gaboon Viper

This snake lives in the forest regions of Africa. It is colored beautifully, displaying pink, brown and black markings. Though these snakes tend not to bite unless they are cornered, they are one of the most venomous in the world. One bite is capable of killing a man within minutes.

Boomslang Snake

This snake is very poisonous, but also timid and reported fatalities are scarce. The Boomslang Snake is a gorgeous green and black, making it very unique for a desert dwelling creature. Keep an eye out for this beautiful creepy crawly; the noise of safari goers tends to scare it away quickly.

African Scorpions

South Africa is home to one of the largest species of scorpion in the world. They commonly reach a size of over 8 inches in length. Their venom is only harmful to the very young and elderly, but their pincers can give a painful nip. Do not let their size intimidate you — the African Scorpions in South Africa are truly a unique creature to see.

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

You may easily mistake this insect for a hummingbird if you are not paying close attention. Their unique appearance make them one of the most interesting of African insects. They truly look, sound and feed like a hummingbird. The memory of the Hummingbird Hawk Moth is incredible, they return to the same flower beds during the same time period each day.

Do not forget to look for the unique creepy crawlies of Africa while on your safari vacation. Some are intimidating or poisonous, but all are beautiful and worth seeing. Make your trip complete, from the largest of Africa’s critters to the very smallest. For more information on visiting South Africa, visit our Safari Tours page.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

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