How to Handle a Close Animal Encounter

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If you ask most tourists why they decided to go on an African safari vacation, the first explanation is normally pretty simple—the unique animals. There is no place in the world where you can see lions, leopards, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, elephants and many more diverse creatures outside of tiny zoo enclosures.

Traveling to Africa gives you the opportunity to admire these wild animals in their native habitats, behaving just as nature intended. It can be both exciting and scary to see these animals up close and personal. It is important to prepare yourself by learning the do’s and don’ts of ethical animal encounters while on safari. Expect to see large, intimidating animals, expect to be amazed and follow these tips for handling yourself properly in the event of a close animal encounter in Africa.

When Snakes Slither Too Close

There are a lot of snakes in Africa, and you will more than likely stumble upon at least one while on your Safari vacation. While there are several poisonous species, most encounters with these creatures that end in a bad way almost certainly involve someone acting improperly around the snake. Unless you are a true snake expert, treat all snakes as if they were venomous, do not try to handle the snake and slowly walk away.

Getting Personal with Elephants

Elephants are fairly easy going, but they do have their moments and can be very dangerous. Mother and bull elephants are particularly temperamental, and will not hesitate to injure a human. You can avoid being hurt by an elephant by staying in your vehicle throughout the duration of your safari trip.

Meeting the King of the Jungle

A lot of people travel to Africa specifically to see a lion up close and personal. For obvious reasons, lions are very dangerous and can easily harm a person. If you happen to find yourself too close to a lion and in a vulnerable position, make as much noise as you can and flap your arms like you are just as wild as they are.

The Rare Rhino

You will be lucky to get to see a rhino in the wild, but there are still a few that call Africa home. If you happen to come across one and you are outside of a vehicle, remain well aware of your surroundings and always have a tree to use as an escape.

The Temperamental Hippo

Hippos are responsible for more human deaths in Africa each year than all of the big cats combined. They are incredibly dangerous, and you should always keep your distance while admiring them. Never stand between them and their water source. If you do find yourself facing a hippo, do not panic. Remain still, standing your ground, as a hippo can easily outrun any human.

Planning Your African Safari Vacation

Those who come to Africa to see the incredible animals do not leave disappointed. If you are interested in 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

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