Game Reserves and National Parks: What’s the Difference?


When you’re planning to go on African safari, it’s likely that your main goal is to spend time in nature and see some of the most beautiful plant and animal life in the world. However, many people going on safari for the first time aren’t quite sure how to best accomplish this goal.

For instance, while researching your safari, you’ll probably see references to national parks, wilderness areas, game reserves, and conservancy, making it hard to know which you should visit for the most enjoyable safari experience possible. Here is some information to help you learn the difference between game reserves and national parks so you can easily plan an African safari.

Enjoy a National Park

If you want to enjoy nature in Africa in a more controlled environment, then your best bet is to visit a national park. As you might expect from their name, national parks are owned and operated by the government of the country where they are located, and are a great way for safari goers to safely experience wildlife in Africa.

Generally, national parks will offer a variety of activities such as guided tours and 4×4 trails, and the roads will be well-formed and easy to navigate. While there are a variety of small national parks throughout Africa, most travelers want to visit the larger, popular parks such as the Kruger National Park.

Game Reserves and Nature Reserves

Some people going on safari choose to skip the national parks and instead visit a game or nature reserve. These areas are a great place to view animals and plants in their natural environment, giving you a more authentic safari experience. However, there are some differences between the two types of reserves.

A nature reserve is designed specifically for the benefit of the animals and plants that it homes. They are intended for conservation purposes and will attempt to limit the impact that human activities have on the wildlife in the reserve. The Kogelberg Nature Reserve, which is located outside of Cape Town, is one of the most well-known nature reserves in Africa.

Game reserves, on the other hand, are focused on the preservation of animal life. In a game reserve, which is also called a game park, animals native to Africa such as giraffes and rhinoceros will be protected. Also, game parks generally allow for activities like hiking through the reserve and viewing the animals. If a game reserve specifically forbids hunting, it usually also qualifies as a nature reserve.

What About Wilderness Areas?

A wilderness area is an area that has not been tampered with by humans. In these areas, there are no roads or infrastructure of any kind, and the plants and animals are allowed to evolve without human involvement. While it is possible to visit a wilderness area while on safari, many travelers find these areas too extreme. However, if you want to experience African wildlife in its natural state, a wilderness area is the place to do so.

Now that you know the difference between national parks, game preserves, and wilderness areas, you can plan an African safari that you’ll be sure to enjoy.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui


What You Can’t Miss on a Great African Safari

how-to-get-close-to elephants

Going on an African safari is a fantastic choice if you’re thinking about taking a vacation. A safari is a one-of-a-kind experience, allowing you to see exotic animals and plantlife in one of the most interesting locations in the world. However, as with most vacations, getting the most out of your safari depends on planning your trip with the right activities.

Learn about what you can’t miss on a great African safari trip, and how you can book a trip that is tailored just for you and your family.

Safari Guide

The key to a rewarding, exciting safari is being able to see a wide range of sights that will allow you to immerse yourself in African culture. However, if you’re not familiar with Africa, then you might not know which locations you should visit and which should be skipped. It is for this reason that hiring an experienced, knowledgeable guide or ranger is something you can’t skip on if you want a great African safari.

The right safari guide will be both entertaining and informative, and will be able to take you on a tour of game reserves and national parks so that you can see the gorgeous scenery and exotic animals that are the hallmark of an African safari. Choosing the right guide means having a memorable safari.

The Big Five

Even if you’re not an experienced with going on safari, you may have heard of the Big Five, which are animals that a person typically sees when they’re on safari. These animals are the rhinoceros, the Cape buffalo, the African lion, the African leopard, and the African elephant. While there are several sights that you can see while on safari, the Big Five is definitely something you can’t miss.

Ensure that you make time to see these animals on your trip if you want the full safari experience. In fact, make seeing the Big Five the first item on your safari itinerary so that you don’t miss out.

Wilderness Dining

Africa is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire world. While Africa is gorgeous every time of day, the best views come at sundown, when the light gets low and you can see breathtaking colors on the horizon. During your safari vacation, an activity that you need to make sure to participate in is wilderness dining, or enjoying a meal while immersed in the bush.

Many safari lodges offer sunset meals that are the perfect opportunity to relax after a long day of adventuring.  While enjoying a refreshing drink and eating a delicious meal, you can take in the sites and reflect on your vacation.

Be Adventurous

If you’re a traveler that can’t fully enjoy your vacation until you get your blood pumping, then you need to be certain that your African safari includes a little bit of adventure. For example, you may want to plan an excursion to Victoria Falls, where you can enjoy thrilling activities like bungee jumping and helicopter rides. A memorable, fun safari is one that lets you go on an adventure you wouldn’t experience in your normal life.

Include these can’t miss activities in your African safari so that you can have the time of your life.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui

A First-Timer’s Safari Medical Guide


Going on a safari for the first time can be one of the most exhilarating experiences of your life. However, before you leave on your trip, there are several preparations that you need to make, many of which involve your health. The environment in Africa is very different from what many people are used to, containing several medical hazards that you need to be ready to encounter.

Learning about a few of the medical issues related to going on a safari will help you prepare for your trip so that you can have a safe, enjoyable vacation. Here is a first-timer’s safari medical guide that you can use to get ready for your trip, and learn how you can enjoy the most exciting safari possible.

Buying Insurance

Buying medical insurance is one of the most important things you can do if you want to protect your long-term health. Securing an insurance policy is always a good idea, but it is particularly important when you’re planning to go on an African safari.

While on a safari, there will be times when you will be far away from a medical facility. This means that you may need to travel a great distance to receive medical attention if an accident occurs during your trip. Having a reliable insurance policy means you will be able to receive treatment as soon as you arrive at the hospital. Make sure your insurance plan is up to date and provides good coverage before your safari to ensure peace of mind on your trip.

Get Your Vaccinations

Experienced travelers know that getting vaccinated is a must before going on an African safari. There are a number of serious diseases that you can potentially contract while on a safari, but getting your vaccinations will make sure that you remain healthy for a safe and enjoyable trip.

However, you need to make sure you don’t wait too long to schedule and receive your vaccines. Many vaccines needed to travel to Africa, such as the yellow fever vaccine, take ten days to work. If you wait too long, you will not be able to receive your vaccine certificate and will likely be denied entrance into your destination country.

Clean Water

Making sure that you’re drinking clean water is one of the best ways to protect your health while on safari in Africa. Consuming contaminated water is unfortunately easy to do while on a safari, potentially resulting in conditions like traveler’s diarrhea or more serious diseases.

Before drinking the water at your lodge, make sure that it is being properly sterilized. When away from your lodge, you should only drink commercial bottled water or water that you know has been sterilized. Also, if you eat local fruit or vegetables, either peel the fruit and throw away the peels or thoroughly wash the produce with sterile water before eating.

Get a Physical

Traveling long distances can take an extreme mental and physical toll, even for the most fit vacationers. Going on a trip has the potential to exacerbate underlying conditions that you may not even know you have. It is for this reason that you need to be sure that you schedule a physical with your doctor before you go on safari. Undergoing a physical will ensure that you’re healthy enough for your trip and will help you to have a great time.

Follow this medical guide and you’ll be able to stay happy and healthy during your African safari.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui

Why You Should Go on a Christmas Safari Holiday This Year

take dad on safari for fathers day

Christmas is a magical time of year for millions of people throughout the world, and it also happens to be the perfect time to go on an African safari tour with your family or closest friends.

In Africa, some describe December as the “rainy season,” but don’t expect torrential downpours and mud everywhere you go. In fact, many locals call this time of year the “green season” instead as frequent rains mean more vegetation. Animals get to dine voraciously, and most use the opportunity to sire a new generation. Tourism is also down, so prices tend to be deeply discounted to attract more people. These are just some of the reasons why Christmas safari holidays are an amazing experience and an alternative worth considering.

If you have always wanted to trade in a white Christmas for a green one filled with stunning wildlife and peaceful beaches, consider the following 5 reasons why you should go on a Christmas African safari holiday this year.

Less Crowds

In Southern and Eastern Africa, most safari game lodges and private reserves shut down to the public around mid to late January. This time of year coincides with the heaviest rains, which make roads muddy and difficult to traverse, even in the best of 4x4s.

In December, however, rains are frequent but light. Lodges, parks and reserves are all still accessible, yet bookings have already started to slack off. What this means is that you are far more likely to book a room at your favorite lodge during this time of year! You can also enjoy having fewer people on game drives as well as at airports and elsewhere near typical safari destinations.

You and your family can enjoy privacy and a more intimate experience at your lodge thanks to the thinned crowds and the eager staff ready to please their smaller pool of guests.

Cheaper Rates

As demand slows, prices go down in order to spur more business. Luxury game lodges near famous safari parks like Kruger, Mana Pools and the Serengeti tend to offer discounted rates, especially for big families. You can also receive special add-ons, like complimentary sundowners or a no-charge-added Christmas feast filled with African and European delights.

If you have always wanted to experience an African safari trip but were worried about your budget, Christmas time is the perfect period to visit most places at an affordable rate.

Tons of Adorable Newborn Animals

As greenery becomes plentiful, many animals in the bush take the opportunity to breed. Parks teem with adorable baby animals, like elephant calfs, lion cubs, wild dog pups, warthog piglets and more. Spotting these animals in the thicker, green grasses can be difficult, but many guides and trackers make it their specialty to locate young animals during the low season.

Incredible Greenery and Migratory Birds Galore

The rains and extra greenery create spectacular landscapes that truly show how Africa’s savannas and wetlands come alive. Migratory birds especially love this time of year in central to southern Africa, so bird lovers will get their fill of unique, exotic and spectacular birds at places like the Okavango Delta.

Milder Weather

Weather cools down during the rainy season quite a bit. In fact, many of the top non-safari destinations like Cape Town’s beaches and Lake Victoria resorts tend to have some of their best weather. The occasional thunderstorm is often followed by periods of blue skies, light breezes and plenty of sun.

Special Events and Celebrations

Game lodges know how special Christmas is to visitors, so they usually pull out all of the stops to prepare special holiday feasts or activities. Cities also often hold special events, like Johannesburg’s Christmas markets for gifts, crafts and seasonal treats. Events like these happen at no other time of the year, making Christmas a special and unique time to visit Africa on safari.

Book Your Christmas Safari Holiday in Africa Now!

Now is the perfect time to plan your trip to Africa for a special Christmas holiday adventure. Contact us today to book a custom Christmas safari vacation package, or look at our many available pre-planned African safari tour packages to get your season started off right.

Also, stay posted for a list of the absolute best things to do and places to visit on safari in Africa during Christmastime!

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui

Going on Your First African Safari Trip? Here’s 8 Helpful Travel Tips


Africa has all sorts of wonderful experiences in store for first-time visitors, and with a few bits of advice from seasoned travellers, you can make the most of every moment. Learn what to do — and sometimes what not to do — when visiting the continent on your first African safari tour by reading on.


Research the History, Language and Culture of the Region You Are Going to Visit

Africa is the second-largest continent on the planet, big enough to fit the U.S., all of China, India, Japan and most of Europe within its borders. Just think for a moment about how different the culture is within regions of your own state, and you can begin to understand how diverse Africa is.

We say this so that you are able to appreciate the more unique aspects of the region you are visiting. Many first-time visitors make the mistake of thinking that “all Africa is alike” when regional differences can be quite stark.

To achieve the right frame of mind and prepare for deeper learning during your travels, take a second to look up the history of the country or major city you are visiting. For instance, you may learn that Kenya used to be under British rule until 1963, which can help you understand more about the country’s unique political beliefs. If you have more time, take a moment to look up the major languages spoken so that you can catch more subtext within the signage and snippets of conversation you hear.


Bring an Old Cell Phone, Outlet Adapter, and a Spare Power Bank

Your normal cell phone service likely won’t work abroad, but you can always purchase a cheap SIM card and prepaid service in the country where you arrive. Buy an unlocked phone off eBay or Craigslist, and make sure it is fully charged and loaded with important contacts before your trip begins. Taking this phone with you reduces the risk that your personal phone could get lost or stolen.

Also, be sure to have an outlet adapter for the shape of the outlet of the country you will be entering as well as spare power bank chargers.


Spread Your Money and Cards Around

When travelling, don’t keep all of your money and cards in a single place. Keep some in a body wallet worn close to you, and spread the rest around in secure, easy-to-find locations. That way, you are less likely to misplace or lose all of your funds, and you still have access to money even in a worst-case scenario.


Will Your Way Through Jet Lag

Jet lag is mostly a state of mind, so fighting your body’s internal clock can help you adjust more quickly. No matter what time you are used to doing things, force yourself to eat and sleep on a normal schedule during your stay. The more you can warm up to the new time zone, the better-able you will be able to enjoy things like early morning bush walks.

As an added trick: set your wristwatch to the new time zone you will be visiting a week before your trip to start gearing up mentally.


Write Down the Name and Number of a Good Driver

Ask your hotel front desk or game lodge manager if they know of a reliable transit service, or, better yet, the name and number of a trustworthy driver.

Finding a good cab driver in a major city like Johannesburg is like knowing your own personal superhero. You can give them a call to catch a reliable ride anywhere you need to go, and they will often drop what they are doing to pick up an out-of-town customer since they can earn more from them.


Learn More Advice, and Book Your African Safari Tour Now!

You can learn more tips for travelling, enjoying your safari and making the most of your African experience when you contact us today for personalized advice on how you can craft the perfect safari holiday experience. Take a look at some of our sample African safari vacation packages to see what could be in store for you.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui

Where to Visit Africa in August


Africa’s predictable seasons make planning your African safari tour easy. Different parts of the continent have peak visiting times throughout the year for various attractions, helping you pick the most astonishing and memorable activities to take part in during your trip depending on the time you choose.

If you aim to visit Africa in August, for instance, it is the perfect time for both viewing wild game and experiencing some of the most incredible cities on the continent. To help you plan your trip, take a look at the following exciting places to see and activities you can do there.


August means that the long, dry winter season in southern Africa is finally winding to a close. During the course of the winter, a lack of rain causes much of the vegetation to die and the temporary water holes to deplete.

This may not sound like the most scenic time to visit, but less vegetation means it will be easier to spot animals that are unable to hide in the tall summer grasses. A lack of water also means that many animals like elephants, lions, gazelle and antelope will all gather near the remaining rivers and permanent water holes, creating spectacular interactions and perfect photo ops.

To get the best viewing in Botswana during your August safari, make sure to visit Chobe National Park and the Moremi Game Reserve.


Winter in Africa can bring some surprisingly chilly winds and frigid nights. In August, these temperatures finally begin to inch their way back up, creating the perfect in-between weather for a light jacket and mild days.

There may be no better time on the calendar to visit the deserts of Namibia. You can take sunrise pictures of the towering dunes to capture magnificent photos worthy of a National Geographic spread.

Cape Town, South Africa

Mild weather makes Cape Town a veritable paradise in August. The incredible wildflowers of Table Mountain first begin to bloom around this time, and many wineries are just beginning to roll out the red carpet for Spring’s slew of guests.

Whale watching is also incredible during this time of year. Many pods of southern right whales converge upon South Africa’s coast to calve during this time, offering one of the best opportunities of the year to see them breaching with their mates and newborn calves.


Travelling to Zambia in August offers a fair mix of weather and small crowds as the area’s bush camps begin to prepare for their busy season. Mana Pools National Park is a great place to visit during this time as there are few mosquitos, the days are often clear and wildlife viewing is optimal thanks to the thinned vegetation.

You could also travel to South Luangwa National Park for a unique canoeing safari trip where you can get up close and personal with some of the continent’s most iconic animals.

Lake Malawi

The start of spring also happens to be amazing beach weather, giving you a wonderful excuse to explore the crystal clear blue waters of Lake Malawi on a sailboat or kayak.

Book Your August African Safari Tour Now to Save

Booking your African safari tour for August right now can give you the perfect opportunity to save on lodging and game viewing rates. As the peak tourism season approaches, many game lodges and camps still struggle with vacancies and sometimes offer incentives to fill their books.

Take a look at our sample African safari tour itineraries to get an idea of the amazing time you could be having on your luxurious African vacation in August.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui

Travel Gear to Keep Your Valuables Safe


Travel gear companies know the struggles modern globetrotters face. When you stick out as a non-local with the means to travel, you can paint a big target on your back for enterprising thieves. In response, travel gear companies provide a wide range of creatively designed gear to secure your valuables, hide them, or help you avoid other common risks.

So, if you are planning on hitting some big cities during your African safari travels but want to worry less about whether your valuables will make the trip back, you can invest in some of the best anti-theft travel gear, like the following:

Body Wallet

Body wallets are long, sturdy pouches designed to be worn as close to the body as possible, deterring pickpockets while helping to conceal the presence of valuables on your body. There are many different styles, including body wallets that act like an undershirt fanny pack, ones that hang under your armpit like a gun holster and even ones that wrap around your ankle under your sock.

Just remember that these wallets should not be used for everyday shopping and spending because reaching under your shirt or into your sock draws even more attention than a casual wallet grab. Instead, travel wallets are best for things like extended bus trips, first trips to the hotel and your flight out.

Locking Backpacks, Suitcases and Bags

Plenty of gear makers have offer bags specifically designed for travel. You can recognize them by their tough webbing, lockable zippers and hidden compartments. None of these things will prevent a thief from snatching the bag wholesale, but they do keep people from quickly rummaging around in your backpack while you are distracted.

Slashproof Bags and Purses

One common tactic thieves use is to simply slash the underside of your bag or purse so that all the contents spill out. You can prevent this by purchasing slashproof travel bags made with tough, reinforced webbing and straps that don’t break easily.

Padlocks, Wire Locks and Wire Mesh

Bringing along a wire or wire mesh you can use to secure your belongings can provide versatile security in a variety of situations. If you are on a long bus trip or want to take a nap in the airport terminal, for instance, you can rest easier knowing your belongings are attached to something sturdy.

Travel Door Locks

We feel secure behind locked doors in our own homes, but we may not be able to trust the door locks in our hotels or hostels when we travel abroad. Travel door locks work in any jamb, if you’ll forgive the pun, stopping anyone from forcing the door open as long as the hinges remain secure.

You can see an example here. They also make drawer locks!

Adventure Underwear

We’ll be the first to admit that we’re not too sure about this one. They have a small pocket that is perfect for hiding credit cards and some folded bills when you don’t need to access them immediately, but they may be a bit uncomfortable to wear while sitting or walking for long periods of time. Our advice is to try them before you leave!

Get More Tips on the Best Anti-Theft Travel Gear

If you have specific questions about staying safe based on the African safari tour you will be taking, you can always ask one of our travel experts for advice, ideas and explanations. Remember, it’s easy to travel safe in Africa as long as you travel smart!

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa