Four Ways to Keep Mosquitos at Bay

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In a new and unfamiliar place, your health and safety should be your top priority. Taking an African safari is an amazing opportunity, but it will definitely come with its own health risks. One of the best ways you can stay healthy during your safari is by protecting yourself from mosquito bites, which are often the cause of sickness and disease, including malaria. If you’re visiting an area where malaria is common, there are certain precautions you can take in order to ensure your safety and make your trip as enjoyable as possible.

Insect Repellent

Let’s start with the basics: be sure to bring insect repellent! Your safari will be much more enjoyable if you carry a bottle of bug spray along. For the best quality, look for repellent with large amounts of DEET. The higher concentration of DEET, the longer the spray will last. It might be tempting to buy the cheapest repellent you can, but lower quality products will ultimately prove ineffective. Shop online to find the best deals (and the highest quality) before you leave.

Long Sleeves and Pants

Long sleeves and pants can provide protection from the blazing sun, but it will also shield you from those pesky bugs! When protecting yourself from mosquito bites, make sure your clothing fits well and that the fabric is thick enough to guard your skin. If the weather doesn’t allow for warmer clothing during the day, long sleeves can always be worn in the evenings as an extra precaution.

Avoid Bright Colors

Neutral colors, like beige and dark green, tend to be the best option for safaris because they won’t get dirty or alarm any animals. Neutrals are also great because they won’t attract as many mosquitos (or tsetse flies, another pest you might encounter). While you may see locals wearing bright colors, it is best to be cautious and try to blend in with your surroundings. Hopefully, the mosquitos won’t even notice you.

Mosquito Nets

Another basic item that has proven to be incredibly effective is the mosquito net. While sprays and clothing can offer protection while you are out during the day, mosquito nets are your best bet when you are trying to sleep. Few things are as irritating as bugs buzzing away while you are trying to get some shut-eye—so do yourself a favor by looking at the different nets available. You can also spray your tent with bug spray for extra protection.

While many of these items can be found once you arrive, it is best to do all your shopping before your trip. In the long run, this will save you time and stress; you won’t want to spend your entire trip shopping! By taking extra precautions, your chances of getting sick are significantly lowered, and you’ll have peace of mind about your health. Remember to talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns you may have before your trip.

To learn more about our safaris, visit our website and read our travel blog. We’re excited to help plan your adventure!

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

 

Watch Your Step! Seven Deadly Snakes in Africa

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For many travelers, an African safari is the adventure of a lifetime. To see such beautiful places and awe-inspiring wildlife up close is a dream come true—especially if you’ve only seen them in pictures or at a zoo. Unfortunately, some animals you will see aren’t so friendly. Africa is home to some of the most dangerous snakes in the world. For your safety, it’s important to stay educated and know what may cross your path. Keep reading to learn about the deadly snakes in Africa, which you should avoid while traveling through these gorgeous lands.

Black Mamba

 Black mambas are known as one of the fastest and deadliest snakes in the world. Typically, black mambas can be found in Southern and Eastern areas of Africa, and like to make their homes in hollow tree trunks or rocky hills, although they can adapt to a variety of habitats. Although they have a reputation for being highly aggressive (in South Africa, their bite is known as “the kiss of death”), mambas are also known for being shy and will at first try to hide instead of attack. Still, be sure to keep your distance; mambas are highly venomous and their bites can be fatal if not treated properly.

Puff Adder

As one of the largest and most widespread deadly snakes in Africa, puff adders have a reputation for causing the most human deaths out of any other African snakes. Their coloration makes them extremely hard to see, so be wary if you are on a walking safari or out on your own. Before attacking, the puff adder will warn its enemies by making a low hissing sound; its body will also inflate (hence the name “puff” adder) in order to look more intimidating. Like most snakes, the puff adder will attack if it feels it cannot flee to safety.

Boomslang

Boomslang snakes are native to Sub-Saharan Africa and prefer wooded grasslands (in Afrikaans, their name means “tree snake”). While human deaths are rare, boomslangs are still considered highly dangerous due to their hemotoxic venom, which causes blood to stop clotting. This can cause internal and external bleeding that may be fatal, but it can also cause hemorrhages into other tissues. However, boomslang venom is slow-acting; it may be hours before you show symptoms from a bite.

Egyptian Cobra

Most people are familiar with Egyptian cobras from movies or images of snake charmers, but they aren’t snakes you’ll want to see up close. As one of the largest cobra species in Africa, Egyptian cobras can be found in North Africa and throughout West Africa. Usually, these cobras will try to escape when they sense danger—but when severely threatened, they will strike. Their venom contains neurotoxins that affect the nervous system and can cause paralysis and respiratory failure. Many have suggested that Cleopatra committed suicide from an Egyptian cobra bite.

Cape Cobra

Cape cobras are found in Southern Africa and can survive in a variety of ecosystems. As cobras, they share many similarities to the Egyptian cobra. For instance, cape cobra venom is also neurotoxic and will cause respiratory failure. They are also similar in temperament, known to strike only if they feel threatened and cannot escape. Still, be sure to remain cautious around a cape cobra; their bites contain high levels of venom that can be deadly if there is no antidote available.

Gaboon Viper

Despite the gaboon viper’s huge size (they can grow up to 7 feet long and weigh up to 18 pounds!), they can be easy to miss because of their amazing camouflage. Gaboon vipers also move very slowly and usually try to keep still while they wait for their prey. Because of their reclusive nature, attacks from a gaboon viper are rare; however, bites from a gaboon viper should be treated as soon as possible. Viper bites inject a large amount of cytotoxic venom into the body and can be slow to heal.

Mozambican Spitting Cobra

Mozambican spitting cobras are appropriately named for their ability to “spit” venom onto their enemies from up to eight feet away. Commonly found in tropical and sub-tropical Africa, they are considered one of Africa’s most dangerous snakes because of the possible damage their venom can cause to various tissues. These cobras try to aim for the eyes; if venom gets in your eyes, it can cause permanent blindness. While actual bites from the spitting cobra are rare, be sure to treat any contact with venom as you would a snake bite.

Before you go on your adventure, know where the nearest medical facility can be found and so you can find proper treatment in an emergency. Remember, snakes are acting on instinct; you are visiting their home, and chances are they are just as afraid as we are. Fortunately, snake bites are rare during African safaris—but be sure to exercise caution and remain aware of your surroundings at all times.

To learn more safety tips, visit our website and read more of our blog. If you’re ready to book your safari, we have countless options available, so feel free to contact us at any time.

 

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

The Benefits of Animal Viewing in the Wild

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What makes Africa such a unique and exceptional travel destination is its wildlife. Africa is well-known for its exotic wild animals and beautiful natural scenery, making it a great place for excursions and sightseeing. A popular way to sightsee and view the wildlife in Africa is to go on a safari, so here are some of the benefits of animal viewing in the wild while on an African safari tour.

Living the Wild Life

One of the best parts about going on a safari is being able to see the wild animals in their natural habitats. Unlike zoos, the animals in safaris are not caged or enclosed in man-made habitats. They are in their own natural homes and are able to roam and live freely. On a safari, a tourist is able to see an animal at its most natural state without being hindered by or dependent upon man. Whereas animals in zoos are treated as pets or are sometimes even abused or mistreated, safari animals are free and content. You may even be able to see wildlife hunt or feed on a safari, and you definitely would not get that same experience at a zoo.

Behold the Variety

Even more, you will be able to see a greater variety of animals on a safari than you would in a zoo. Although there are many zoos that are large and extensive, it is still impossible to incorporate every animal and every aspect of wildlife into each exhibit. The unpredictability of wildlife is also an added bonus while on a safari. You never know what you might get to witness or experience while observing the wild, from animal chases to rare animal sightings—things you would not be able to see at a zoo.

Saving the Wild

By going on a safari, you could also be saving the animals themselves. A major reason why many endangered African animals have not gone extinct yet by the hands of poachers is because of the high demand for the animals to be seen by tourists. The more lucrative the tourism business is, the better chance the animals have at surviving, as they will be better protected. Not only will you have a life changing experience to witness these rare creatures, but you will also be saving their very lives.

You and Your African Safari Tour

If a trip to Africa is on your bucket list, be sure to go on a safari during your visit. This amazing, natural experience is truly one of a kind and shouldn’t be passed up. Find out how Roho Ya Chui can get you on the most exciting African safari tour.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

A Day in the Life of a Honey Badger

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Considered to be the world’s most fearless animal, the honey badger has some tough skin. Literally. The honey badger’s skin is so thick it is nearly impervious to animal bites, stings and venoms.

Native to parts of Africa and Asia, this tenacious, four-legged carnivore has a broad diet and is as mean as a snake. Meaner, actually, since it is known to fight and eat poisonous snakes. Let’s take a look into a day in the life of the honey badger.

The Infamous and Unique Honey Badger

Depending on the season, a day for a honey badger may be spent sleeping. During the summer months, honey badgers are nocturnal, and in winter they are diurnal. After waking, the honey badger will start its day (or night) searching for something to eat. Honey badgers are carnivores with a long list of prey, including birds, rodents, insect larvae, crocodiles, jackals and snakes. Honey badgers have an acute sense of smell, which is how they track their prey.

Although their names suggest otherwise, honey badgers do not actually eat honey, but rather the bee brood or larvae. Honey badgers will go to extensive lengths to get and eat bee brood, even though it is not an essential part of their diet.

A honey badger’s day is quite solitary. They usually hunt alone, and the males and females only encounter each other to mate. Honey badgers do not form pairs or couples, and child rearing is solely on the female. Honey badgers also roam a lot and do not have one set den they live in. They normally sleep in holes they dig for themselves or ones that have been dug by other animals, finding a new one to sleep in each time it is ready to sleep.

There is no set mating season for honey badgers, as they will mate year round. Males are not territorial, but they will guard a female they are mating with. The male will isolate a female within a burrow and physically keep her from leaving for up to 3 days while mating. Mating is quite competitive for male honey badgers; the dominant male will usually chase away inferior males from the mating burrow. Younger honey badgers can sometimes sneak and mate with a female, but a majority of the cubs within a burrow are fathered by the dominant male.

Fascinating creatures to watch and study, honey badgers are truly unique and one of a kind. Although fairly small in size, honey badgers have rightly earned their name as the world’s most fearless animal. If you want to witness honey badgers live in their natural habitat and other exotic animals like them, check us out Roho Ya Chui and our exciting African safaris.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Image: Dana Allen