Why Walking Tours Exclude the Big Five

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Going on an African safari is an outstanding choice for your next vacation, especially if you love seeing exotic animals in the wild. While it’s common to expect to see Africa’s Big Five on your safari, you may end up disappointed if you choose a walking safari.

The Big Five will always be excluded from a walking safari for some very good reasons, and examining these reasons is the best way to decide if a walking safari is the right choice for you. Here are a few of the reasons that you won’t see the Big Five on your walking safari and advice for booking a safari where you can see these animals.

More Scared of You

If you’re like most people, then you’ve likely heard the old adage that wild animals are more scared of you than you are of them, and this is the main reason that you usually won’t see the Big Five while on your walking safari.

Despite their size, the Big Give are intimidated by humans, and will almost always prefer running away to encountering you face to face. Most of the creatures in the Big Five have highly attuned senses, meaning they can detect people approaching from a good distance away. As soon as these animals catch your scent or hear you walking, they will flee. Although this might be disappointing for travelers dreaming of a close encounter with the Big Five on their safari, it’s actually for the best, as these animals can be dangerous when cornered.

Big Five on a Game Drive

If you’re desperate to see the Big Five on your African safari, then your best bet is booking a game drive. While this does mean you’ll be in the confines of a vehicle, it will also make it more likely that you’ll be able to see every member of the Big Five.

While on a game drive, you’ll be accompanied by a safari guide that will know when and where to find the Big Five. By approaching from a distance in the game vehicle, you’ll be able to see these animals without scaring them off. To get a good view, make sure to pack a pair of quality binoculars or a camera with a long-distance lens.

Staying Safe on a Walking Tour

Even if you may not be able to see the Big Five, going on a walking safari is still a great choice, particularly if you follow a few easy safety tips.

The first and most important tips for staying safe on a walking safari is to never venture out without a guide. Your guide will be able to steer you away from dangerous areas so that you have an enjoyable trip free from harm. Always walk in single file, and if you do encounter a wild animal, remain calm and never run. Make sure that your clothes aren’t brightly colored so that you can blend into your surroundings. Finally, refrain from eating, drinking or smoking while on your walking safari.

If you want to experience the beautiful natural beauty of Africa, a walking safari is an excellent choice, even if it means you may not see the Big Five.

Choose a Safari to Match Your Personality

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From time to time, everyone needs to get away from the humdrum of their everyday life and let loose on an exciting vacation. If you’re looking for a trip that you’ll remember long after you’ve returned home, few choices are better than going on a safari.

There are countless benefits of choosing a safari as your next vacation, but one of the most enticing is being able to plan a trip that perfectly matches your personality. Here are safari options that you could choose and advice for planning a vacation that fits your individual wants and needs so that you have a great time.

Relax in a Small Group

While many people go on vacation to add a little excitement to their life, other travelers are mostly interested in forgetting about the pressures of their normal life so that they can finally relax. If relaxation is what you’re looking for out of your next trip, then your best option is going on a small group safari.

Unlike other safari options, small group trips will give you the individual time that you’ll need for rest and relaxation. While there will be group activities, you can also spend time on your own enjoying the beautiful African scenery and reflecting on what’s most important in life. Small group safaris are the perfect idea when you want a restorative vacation that you’ll always remember fondly.

Fill Your Trip with Activities

If you do the same things day in and day out, then your goal for your vacation may be to break free from boredom and participate in activities that get the blood pumping. For adventure seeking travelers that don’t mind meeting new people and taking part in new experience, going on an overlanding safari is an excellent decision.

With an overlanding safari, you’ll have a unique vacation where you make new friends and go on adventures that you can only find in Africa. If you’ve never tried bungee jumping, for example, you could book an overland safari that includes a stop in Vic Falls, one of the world’s most thrilling bungee jumping locations. Overlanding trips will also include great sightseeing opportunities where you can enjoy both exotic plant and animal life.

Extroverts looking for their ideal vacation should strongly consider an overlanding safari.

Consider Your Needs

Small groups and overlanding safaris are just two of the many options you could choose if you’re finally ready to go on an African safari. This means that the best way to book a safari vacation of your dreams is to take some time to consider your needs.

What type of fun are you looking for out of your vacation? Do you want to reconnect with nature, or are looking you experience new cultures and meet new people? Is a trip that’s loaded with adventure from start to finish the right choice for you, or do you want time on your own to explore? Answering these questions before you start booking your trip will guarantee that you have a vacation tailored to your specific tastes.

If you want a vacation that provides your perfect idea of fun, you should start exploring your safari options so that you can take a fun and memorable trip.

Where to Visit Africa in August

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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.

Botswana

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.

Namibia

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.

Zambia

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

Meerkat Fun on a Kalahari Safari

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Meerkats: they may not have quite as much personality as Nathan Lane imbued Timon with in The Lion King, but they certainly come close. Their expressive faces and social tendencies endear them to humans for being similar to us but also ridiculously cute.

But make no mistake: meerkats may be cute, but they are ruthlessly efficient when it comes to working as a team while foraging, burrowing or even waging war over territory with other meerkat clans. Catching a glimpse of them in the wild can be fascinating, so keep these fun meerkat facts in mind during your Kalahari safari trip.

Meerkats Are Only Found in the Kalahari and Namib Deserts

Meerkats are a unique species. While they belong in the Herpestidae family with mongooses, they are the only species in the genus Suricata.

They exhibit highly unique traits compared to other mongooses, as well, including an evolved social structure and a tendency to live in burrows. They also mostly live in one place on the planet: the Kalahari desert. They can also be found in parts of the Namib desert along the coast of Namibia.

Therefore, if you want to see meerkats, the best places to visit would be Botswana, Namibia or South Africa.

Meerkats Live in Advanced Societies

Meerkats live in family “clans” dominated by a matriarch and her male mate. Labor is divided among the adult meerkats when it comes to digging burrows, foraging for food, standing watch for predators, and even nursing the matriarch’s pups.

One of the most notable of these duties is how several meerkats will act as sentries during the day while other members forage, play, or relax. These sentries will rotate, like people keeping watch. When a sentry spots a threat like a tawny eagle wheeling in the sky, they will bark out a specific warning call and send everyone scurrying back into the burrow. The drongo bird will even take advantage of this behavior by sounding a false alert when it can get a free meal.

Meerkats Have Highly Adapted Bodies

Adaptive traits of the meerkat include:

  • Large eyes set at slight angles for great sweeping visibility as well as an acute sense of depth
  • Dark circles around their eyes to reduce glare
  • Large ears for excellent hearing and also to radiate heat
  • Transparent third eyelids and an ability to shut their ears tight, both of which protect them during digging
  • Long, slender bodies adapted for tunneling but also advantageous for keeping watch; strong hind legs and a stiff tail also help them stand upright
  • Shovel-like claws for digging and snatching insects
  • An immunity to scorpion poison at adulthood
  • Thin-skinned bellies perfect for sunbathing when the meerkat wants to warm up

Meerkats Are Family-Oriented

Meerkat matriarchs only give birth to about four pups in a breeding season, so the entire clan looks after these pups to ensure their future survival. Some females will even help the matriarch nurse her pups by acting as wet nurses.

When meerkats sense danger, they will ensure that the pups are the first to flee. If they must confront threats, meerkat clans will place themselves in between pups and the danger to act as a shield.

One of the most surprising traits of meerkats, though, is how they can recognize individual’s voices like we would recognize our siblings’.

Come See Meerkats on Your Kalahari Safari

You can book a trip for a Kalahari safari tour in Botswana or South Africa to get a wild and personal look at meerkats in their home habitat.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Fruits and Foods Native to Africa

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When most people picture Africa in their minds, they see grassy plains, desert landscapes and fierce animals. Far from a place where fruit and other foods grow in abundance—but, Africa is a surprising land of plenty in many, many ways. Much of African culture revolves around the delicious food that is produced by the diverse peoples that make up the continent. South Africa, in particular, is abundant in plant food sources. This is most evident when tourists taste the world class cuisine that chefs put together using local sources. Once you experience an African safari vacation, you will never think of this place in the same way again. Here are some of the native fruits and foods native to Africa.

  1. Amaranth

The lowlands of Africa are associated with the stunning gorillas that many tourists travel around the world to see. The countries that comprise this area are hot, humid and full of thriving plant life. This plant diversity includes the edible greenery, Amaranth. Amaranth thrives and grows quickly in the humid environment and is used by the locals, as well as others around the world, for a variety of uses. As an excellent source of protein, essential minerals, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and other vitamins, this plant plays an important role in the diets of people who call the African lowlands home.

  1. Cowpea

Thousands of years ago, the hearty people who called Africa home grew a major crop that is still a staple in the land today. Cowpea is a legume that could not be more perfect for life on the diverse continent. Not only is it efficient in drought, but it can also be grown successfully in poor soil conditions.

  1. The Spider Plant

The Spider Plant is to Africa what lettuce and other leafy greens are to many areas of the world. This plant is grown throughout the continent and plays a significant role in the diet of the people who live here.

  1. African Eggplant

Like many other plants that are grown in Africa, the African Eggplant can thrive in poor soil and drought conditions. It is also very easy to store and is long lasting. Most importantly, second to being a very nutritious vegetable, this plant is the fiscal lifeline for many African families. While tourism plays a giant role in the economies of many African nations, agriculture is also a driving force. This plant, in particular, is a multi-beneficial staple in many areas.

Book Your African Safari Vacation

Are you ready to try some of these native fruits and vegetables for yourself? You can get your questions answered and begin booking your African safari vacation by visiting our safari page or contacting a representative with Rohoyachui today.

Jill LIphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

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