Magic Masai Mara, Kenya

The Maasai Mara in the south-west of Kenya is contiguous plain with the Serengeti in Tanzania and is part of the greater Mara ecosystem.  The Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) is a small fraction of this ecosystem, but fraction is kind of relative as the MMNR still measures 1500 square kilometres. The landscape is dominated by open grasslands with numerous seasonal creeks and the famous acacia trees in some areas.

If you can remember the 1980’s movie “Out of Africa” with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford that plays in the Masai Mara for the most part, this is exactly the landscape you will find when visiting today. And yes, it is even much more impressive when you are there in person as compared to the film.

2016-11-05_africa_0014

The Mara is mainly at an altitude of 1600 meters where you have the rain season from November till May and the dry season from June till November. This climate change is also responsible for what is known as the great migration, where over 1.5 million wildebeest arrive in July and leave again in November, one of the most impressive spectacles repeating itself on earth annually and the perfect background for stunning wildlife photography and cinematography.

2016-11-06_africa_0083

This makes the Mara to one of the finest wildlife destinations where you almost have the guarantee to see the big five but also cheetah, hyena, jackal, hippo, crocodile and for sure vulture whenever there was a kill.

2016-11-05_africa_0019

Vultures are one of the easiest and safest ways to find kills with sometimes even some lions around still eating, as the birds are waiting in the trees till the lions or other predators have finished their meal and leave the rest of the kill for them.

2016-11-06_africa_0064

If you are lucky you can even see some rhinos that are slowly coming back to this part of Africa.

2016-11-05_africa_0023

There are many lodges and camps to be found and you have a rich choice from very luxurious places to ones where you stay as close as possible to the animals and the nature, the tented camps, that do actually not lack too much luxury as well. We were staying in the Sand River Camp as well as the Elephant Pepper Camp and I can recommend both as being extremely friendly, authentic and as close to nature as possible, while offering all you need to feel perfect and rest between the numerous game drives.

2016-11-05_africa_0159

There is nothing like the Mara morning sky before sunrise, these are colours that cannot be described, you have to see and feel them yourself.

2016-11-06_africa_0012

This scenery evolves during the early morning hours, when you can find all kind of animals out on the grasslands like these zebras that enjoyed the green and did not seem to be scared about predators.

2016-11-05_africa_0032

But this can fool you as predators are always around, like this young male lion we found nearby sleeping in the morning sun. This male was approximately 4 to 5 years old and you can see this by the colour of the nose that is still pink but starts already getting black around the corners.

2016-11-05_africa_0047

He will be grown up with 5 to 6 years, but he is already a perfect killing machine at this age. He was roaring during the previous night in our camp close to our tent and I can tell you this sound goes through and through – you will never forget that!

2016-11-05_africa_0060

But now he sometimes is still playful at least if he is no longer hungry as he showed when welcoming his brother a few minutes later.

2016-11-05_africa_0136

You want to have adventures like this in magnificent landscape and stunning places? You want to photograph all this or take videos and want to get guidance for how to do this best and in an optimal way? Well then join me on one of the many safaris organized by Roho Ya Chui and you will have the adventure of your lifetime that you will never forget!

Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

 

 

Visiting the different regions of Africa

traditional-maize-meals-of-africa

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

7-essential-informations-needed-with-your-african-safari-booking

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

Planning Your Safari Adventure

hippo on african safari

When planning your dream African safari adventure there are two major considerations: Where, and, less intuitively, when. Sure, when picking a time of year to go on a vacation, school holidays, work schedules, and family appointments are all important concerns, but you must also contemplate what you hope to accomplish on your grand Safari. Do you want to see the “Big 5” game animals? Or are you an avid bird-watcher? Are you sensitive to extreme temperature swings? Do you detest excessive rain fall? These are all things that should be considered when planning your trip to Africa.

Creating the Perfect Experience for You

For most explorers on Safari, the wildlife is the main draw. For best animal viewing, you’ll want to go in the dry season. Lack of grasses and foliage mean that the animals migrate to known watering holes. This increases your guide’s chances of finding animals for you to view. While wildlife can be hard to spot in the tall grasses of the wet season, if birding is your goal, the wet season can provide better opportunity, as migrant birds are in the region. This is due to the nesting and/or breeding patterns of the birds.

Africa is largely equatorial; of the 54 countries in Africa, the equator passes through twelve of them, and it does so almost in the smack middle of the continent. That means depending on where you are choosing to journey, chances are you will be going south of the equator. And in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are opposite from the United States.

Temperature fluctuations do occur, and depending on region and elevation can be rather extreme. The daily temperature ranges in the eastern part of Africa typically are more affected by altitude changes. Southern Africa, including the subtropical region, is more affected by winter and summer (and, again, seasons are opposite of what you would expect in the northern hemisphere.)

The Dry Season

The common dry season in the eastern part of Africa on, and south of, the equator (think Kenya, Rwanda, and parts of Tanzania) is Winter, and because this region is in the southern hemisphere, winter means from June to October. A second, smaller “dry-season” also occurs typically during December to the middle of March.

Southern and Western Tanzania elevations border the sub-tropic region, and have a blend of both equatorial east Africa, and Subtropical Africa climatic temperaments. The subtropical region (Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana and parts of South Africa) has its dry season from April to October.

The Wet Season

Mother Nature rarely adheres to a schedule, so yes, it can rain at any time. But rainfall is most typical during the rainy months. Rain is crucial for the wildlife, as it allows for the grasses and other flora in the region to flourish, and these plants are necessary for the survival of the animals in the region. This is especially important for the equatorial eastern portion of the continent, which, in addition to the countries listed above, encompasses most of the Serengeti. The Serengeti is one of the seven natural wonders of Africa and this rainfall is life-giving for the many animals that migrate and live there. In this region rainfall should be expected in April and May, with a potential for a rainy November.

The subtropical region of Africa has a much more predictable (if one can call weather predictable) rainy season than the eastern portion of the continent. November to March is considered the rainy season, although when the precise start of the season, and how much rain will come does vary from year to year.

Planning Your African Safari

No matter the time of year you choose to go, you are sure to be awed an amazed and the landscape and animals around you. A little planning and forethought are all you need to frame your expectations and have the experience of a lifetime. Contact us at Roho Ya Chui today to learn more about planning the perfect African safari.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Test for Compatibility: Go on an Adventure Together

5-tanzania-safari-tour

The first blush of love—everything is exciting, everything is romantic. You are lost in your own little world. There is no better way to take your coupledom to the next level than expanding your horizons and exploring the world around you…together.

Traveling together for the first time can be scary, which is why many look at it like a make-or-break experience. It can bring you together, cementing your bond with memories made and experiencing firsts together, or it can cause a rift—suddenly the way he can’t keep track of his cell phone is annoying…her hour long showers and over-packing are not endearing.

Even with the risk of becoming intimate with your partner’s idiosyncrasies, the bonding experience of a grand adventure is a great way to make memories to look back on forever. And the shared experience of getting out of your element and facing the world together will bring you together in a way nothing else can.

A Grand African Safari Adventure

What greater adventure could you go on than a great African Safari? The word Safari is defined in most dictionaries as “an expedition to observe or hunt animals in their natural habitat, especially in East Africa,” but a better way to think of a Safari is the original definition. Safari comes from the Swahili word for journey, and an African safari is a journey for both you and your relationship.

An African Safari is no longer the rather antiquated big game hunting trip. Instead you will be hunting for photo opportunities. 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.

Together, you will experience the breath-taking vistas of the African wilderness. Wide open skies, horizons that won’t quit. Bounding over the plains in all-terrain jeeps, and sporting pith helmets and olive toned jungle fatigues. You’ll set up camp and eat over the fire, looking up at the endless sky, all while hand-in-hand.

Planning Your Couples Safari Adventure

Getting ready for a Safari adventure can take a lot of time, and because of the significant planning and coordination needed, the cost of an African Safari can add up, and the last thing you want to do is argue about planning or money.

Using a tour company will help! The company will provide one price that is usually almost entirely all-inclusive. When you know up front what to expect, you can plan accordingly. Additionally, the tour company lets you pay in installments, far in advance, spreading out the payments. Doing so will make planning for the trip a part of the enjoyable experience, instead of letting frustration build as you anticipate for your first big trip together.

When you’re ready to take your new love on an adventure like no other, contact Roho Ya Chui to take care of planning your couples adventure. Grab your camera and pith helmet and embark on an African Safari with your love today.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

How to Handle a Close Animal Encounter

7-photo-safari-kenya

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

Choosing the right Safari Adventure for You

traditional-maize-meals-of-africa

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