The History of Kruger National Park

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Kruger National Park is South Africa’s first national park and one of the largest game reserves in the world. Every year, it hosts millions of visitors from all over the world anxious to go on an African Big Five safari tour and see the continent’s most celebrated, majestic wildlife. The efforts the South African government and local private reserve operators put in also make Kruger one of the most convenient, comfortable and easy-to-reach destinations for Big Five safari tours.

The current success and popularity of Kruger would never have happened without the hard efforts of past South African government officials and passionate conservationists. Learn more about the park’s history and how it came be one of the most popular wildlife preservations in the world by reading on.

Small Beginnings: The Sabi Game Reserve

The Sabi Game reserve was established in 1898 by the former South African Republic. Early park commissioners established a general area equivalent to just over 4,000 square miles. Soon after the game reserve lands were declared, the Second Boer War broke out. A resulting British victory caused all of the formerly Dutch-held Transvaal lands to be transferred to British rule.

The British appointed several wardens to the reserve, and the third one, James Stevenson-Hamilton, became successful at expanding the role of park management. He appointed his own game rangers, assigning them territories to protect within Sabi and surrounding areas. By 1903, a new reserve was established nearby, the Shingwedzi Game Reserve. In 1906, the first hunting ban was enacted between the Olifants and Letaba Rivers.

Around 1916, some within the commission in charge of operating the reserves began to request that the boundaries be shrunk to make way for industry, hunting and exploitation of resources. A report was conducted to study the effects, but when it was released in 1918, it firmly established that not only would the reserves remain intact, but that they would be developed for visitation and easier access to game wardens.

As the report wrote: “The provincial administration should be directed toward the creation of the area ultimately as a great national park where the natural and prehistoric conditions of our country can be preserved for all time.”

The Formation of Kruger National Park

Tourists first began to visit the Sabi reserve in 1923 as part of South African Railways’ renowned “Round in Nine” tours. At the time, park visits consisted of a short bush walk while escorted by armed rangers. These walks proved so popular that the efforts to expand them hastened the establishment of the reserve area as a true national park.

The park was officially proclaimed in 1926, and it was named after the former South African Republic president Paul Kruger, who governed from 1825 to 1904. The first game three tourist vehicles wound their way through Kruger in 1927. Visitors then had to establish their own camps in the bush since the park was devoid of any amenities.

Road construction began that same year, and by 1929 over 383 miles of road were created. In 1948, the park hit a new record of 58,739 visitors. However, the first sealed tarmac roads were not created until 1965. The park was seeing around 300,000 annual visitors by that time.

Visiting Kruger and Big Five Safari Tours Now

Today, Kruger remains one of the most popular natural destinations in the world. Over 1.6 million visitors came to the park in the 2014/2015 season, with 382,396 guests staying overnight.

Big five safari tours and game drives remain one of the most popular attractions in the park, with dozens of comfortable safari lodging options to accommodate a wide variety of budgets and preferences.

If you are interested in visiting Kruger on a safari tour of your own, we offer many different South African safari tour packages to choose from. You can select from a range of amazing and transformative experiences, or you can create your own custom safari tour package when you contact us today!

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui

 

Visiting the different regions of Africa

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Roho Ya Chui offers safaris all across Africa so that you can travel the locations you’re most drawn to. Each part of the continent offers unique experiences from scenery to wildlife to cuisine. Explore our site and guides for more details, but consider these brief descriptions of some of our favorite regions of Africa to start narrowing down your trip choices. Remember not to stress over your decision—all the safaris are incredible, and you can always come back for another!

Botswana & Namibia

Surround yourself with wildlife during your trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana. The park is home to one of the largest concentrations of elephants on the entire African continent. As the game roam freely in the large natural space, you’ll also be likely to spot buffalo, antelope, rafts of hippo, lions, crocodiles, zebras, and hyenas. Sound like your ideal trip? Think about the 9-day Signature Botswana safari or check out what our Namibia trips have to offer.

Southern Africa

The country of South Africa is a great place to visit if you’re interested in exploring Southern Africa. Cape Town offers incredible views of the ocean and mountains. Visit the Jackass penguins on Boulders Beach and watch the gorgeous sunset over Table Mountain. Kruger Park offers highly skilled and qualified professional rangers and trackers who will land you intimate wildlife encounters with leopards, elephants, buffalo, rhino, and lions. There are plenty of safaris to think about taking throughout the nations of Southern Africa, but a few to consider in South Africa are the 7-day Signature Kruger, the 10-day Cape Town, Kruger & Victoria Falls, and the 6-day Blyde River, Kruger, and Panorama Route fly-in tour.

Victoria Falls, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, & Madagascar

Trips to Victoria Falls offer the opportunity for activities like white water rafting and bungee jumping. If you’re seeking something a little less extreme, there are also the more low-key options of elephant back safaris and sunset cruises. The largest sheet of falling water on earth, The Victoria Falls are one of the natural Seven Wonders of the World. In this region, expect to see warthogs and sample interesting dishes like crocodile risotto and kudu steaks. Consider the 11-day Best of Zimbabwe, Signature Zambia tours, and many more throughout these various nations.

Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, & Uganda

A Tanzanian tour will guarantee spotting an abundance of wildlife. With more than 550 species of birds, the swamps surrounding the Tarangire River support the largest number of breeding bird species found anywhere in the world. You might also come across elephants, pythons, herds of oryx, and tree climbing lions. Additionally, you’ll view impressive rock paintings that were created by men tens of thousands of years ago. Visit the Serengeti to experience an ongoing source of inspiration for filmmakers, photographers, and writers around the world. Try the 18-day Grand Tour Tanzania, or look into our trips to Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

8 Packing Essentials for your Safari

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Packing for your grand safari adventure is different from packing for a trip to Disney Land or a weekend in Las Vegas. While you are dreaming of excitement and vistas that take your breath away, keep in mind that you are going to spend the majority of your time out of doors, and you do not want to get dirty or be schlepping four bags in your wake.

Packing Light

The name of the game is pack light. In fact, if you are planning on doing any plane hops between sites, you could be limited to less than 25 lbs. Your best bet is not to bring things you do not need, and, if possible, to bring a small duffel bag of absolute essentials to take on your safari, while you leave your larger roller bag and less needed items in your arrival/departure city. Check with your tour operator to find out any luggage restrictions they may have, as well as to get details about lockers or other long-term storage options for while you are “on safari.”

The Wearables: Clothing and Accessories

Temperatures can fluctuate wildly from day to night, so packing in layers is important. Bringing specialty travel wear, or anything that dries quickly, can save you space as you can wash them in the sink and air dry overnight. You want to avoid any brightly colored items, including white, to ensure you do not stand out and distract the animals.

Loosely fitting clothing will help prevent over-heating in the day time, and a fleece or sweatshirt will keep you cool in the chilly morning or evening. A thin roll-up raincoat can be packed in an outside pocket or bottom of the bag and will be needed during the rainy season. Long pants and sleeves will protect you from the elements as well as mosquitoes.

For a typical safari of a week to ten days, the following items should be sufficient, but again, check with your tour operator.

  1. Tops: 3-4 T-shirts, 2 long sleeved shirts
  2. Bottoms: 1 pair comfortable, loose shorts, two pairs of long cotton pants (avoid jeans)
  3. Outerwear: 1 sweatshirt or fleece, 1 thin raincoat
  4. Undergarments: 2-3 pairs of socks, 4 pair underwear, 2-3 sports bras (if needed) all in a material that can be washed in sink
  5. Shoes: 1 pair water shoes/ flip flops for shower, 1 pair waterproof, comfortable, lightweight shoes for everyday
  6. Pajamas: 1 pair warm pajama pants can be paired with your t-shirts or sweatshirt to keep you warm during the chilly nights
  7. Accessories: Sunglasses and a hat with strap to protect you not only from the sun but also the dust
  8. Your swimsuit

Extra Gadgets
You are going on a safari to see the scenery and wildlife around you, so you do not need to pack a lot of “extra” entertainment. You are, however, going to want to capture your trip, so a camera is a must. With the camera make sure you consider extra batteries and/or charger, as well as additional SD/memory cards. You should also consider bringing binoculars to spot birds and hiding wildlife. Other items to include are a flashlight for walking around at night and a cell phone with an international plan (and the charger!)

Toiletries and Medicines

You do not need to go overboard with medicine and first aid, as the tour company will have first aid kits, but it is always a good idea to have a small stash on hand. When packing for your safari, consider packing Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, antihistamine (pills or creams), bug spray/repellent, sun block and antacids/antidiarrheals. You can also pack hand sanitizer for when hand washing water is unavailable. You will also need to pack any feminine hygiene products (if needed) and you should consider panty liners—toilet paper is nowhere to be found nor is there any place to dispose of it while on a game drive.

You are Ready To Go

Keep in mind when packing for your safari that you are limited in the space you can bring. You will be spending the majority of your time outside in the dust and sun; you do not need to bring a fashion runway’s worth of clothes. Pack light and with layerable items for fluctuating temperatures. Moreover, don’t forget your camera! Bon Voyage!

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

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

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