05 January 2014

What makes your African safari perfect?


Imagine you are at home somewhere in the northern hemisphere, planning your safari holiday while sitting next to the blazing heating on a Sunday afternoon in January. What will come to your mind, you definitely will need to have a perfect African safari tour?

Sun and warmth might be the first that come up. Keep in mind that travel during European summer means travel during southern hemisphere winter, with temperatures possibly falling at night down to 0. But there is lots of sun and temperature during the day can rise to really nice warm “summer days”.

Then the Big Five. You want to see lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo plus all the other wonderful animals. Make sure you visit wildlife areas and national parks where you can find them. Have rather a professional guide than doing self-drive in the parks. They know where to look and you will have the better sightings.

Photography! You will most likely want to come home with great pictures. Make sure you have at least a 400mm zoom. Point and shoot cameras are often too slow for shooting wildlife, but have often a good zoom and as long as the animals stand still you are fine.

And last but not least you will want a comfortable accommodation for a good rate. Enquire for specials. Some outfitters offer long stay discounts and have circuits you can book at really good rates including different lodges/camps and wildlife area.

Make a list of all that what is important to you for a safari and then go and get it. You will have your perfect African safari.

Happy holiday travel snapping!

P.S. A bundle with many practical questions and answers on safari travel is now available as free download in the iBookstore. Just search for the author Roho Ya Chui. The book is called “On African Safari”.

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

Get your African safari vaccinations


Traveling to Africa is beautiful and to keep it that way you should follow some health instructions. There are several ways to source information on necessary vaccinations and other precautions for your photographic African safari tours.

The Internet is one source you can use, but it is better to talk to your physician or visit one of the travel clinics available in pretty much every country. The travel clinics are the most specialized party and probably the best place to contact for advice. They also do the needed vaccinations and provide information on malaria precaution.

The vaccinations are not only important for your health; they will also be required at immigration in several African countries. There is nothing worse than not being allowed to enter your safari country, because you don’t have the required yellow fever vaccination. Some airports offer vaccination services as emergency solution when arriving, but you might prefer doing it at home.

Some vaccinations expire only after 10 years or more, so you can use them for all sorts of travel to keep you safe.

Happy healthy safari travelling!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

African safari 2014: Kenya safari?


Kenya has been the safari country one should definitely visit for decades. It is still wild, when comparing it with South Africa for example. There are few fences; wildlife is roaming free and the traditional tribes like the Masai are herding their cattle in the middle of lion and other predators with the same confidence as always.

Kenya is safari. It got a great variety of national parks and national reserves and it is almost impossible to visit all of them within one safari holiday, unless you want to hop from one to the other by plane and stay for only one night, but that would be a shame. You should take time when going on
African safari tour in Kenya. Stay at least for 3 nights at one place to have the best experience and to have great wildlife sightings. Take travel times into consideration when planning your trip. Don’t plan too tight.

It works best to combine the Masai Mara with Lake Nakuru, Laikipia and Samburu. Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Amboseli are another great circuit. To do it all together, you better have three weeks for your tour. And if this is not yet enough, there is the entire coastline with the most beautiful beach resorts of Watamu, Diani and Lamu.

Kenya got it all. It is a beautiful country, still wild, adventurous and with lots of amazing wildlife. It is a great choice to visit.

Happy wildlife photo safari travel!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

Want to get best price African safari?


To achieve that, it might be a good first step to define what is the best price. Is the cheapest safari the best-priced safari? Think of the plumber who was the cheapest and made you need a full renovation after installing only a new toilet. The cheapest can end up being the most expensive. Keep that in mind when choosing your best-priced African safari holiday.
Compare the included services. Get an idea what luxury accommodation means in the bush. The intimate small camps are luxury, because you have the bush pretty much for yourself. Not all of them are expensive, but would fall in the category of best-priced safari camps.

Choose your mode of transport with care. When you are travelling by yourself or as a couple, a 4x4 vehicle with driver can be expensive, when you are a group of 6 it is well priced. Light aircraft transfers are not necessarily expensive. Compare them with alternative modes on transport. Don’t be too brave with self-drive and remember that you will not see as much on game drives as with a professional guide.

Compare camps within their quality standard group to have realistic results. And maybe it is nice to be naughty and have just one extra special camp as the cherry on the cake at the end.

Happy wildlife photo safari planning!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

Why you should book with an agent


This question might sound like an open door, asked by somebody who is organizing safari tours for people and of course pleading for booking safaris with an agent. But it is not that simple. It is the experience clients share, what makes discussing that question relevant.

The first reasons are the logistics. Google map might say it is a 2 hours drive, but in reality its 3.5 hours, as Google doesn’t know about the cattle on the road, people walking, even on freeways, and potholes. It is also important to know the game drive times in order to book the right flights and transfers. When your flight arrives too late you might not even get into the park anymore.

Next is the different culture, also when it comes to booking offices and especially within big organizations or chains. The online rates at the Victoria Falls hotel might be a bit lower, but you also might never get a response from them. Or transfers. It is easy in big cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town where you just take a cab, but at the bush destinations it is a different story.

And there are more things that work different than on other holiday destinations around the globe and where it is good to have a helping hand. Therefore the idea of booking your
African safari holiday with an agent is not such a bad idea.

Happy wildlife snapping holiday planning!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

Why you should see the Victoria Falls


The smoke that thunders, is how the Victoria Falls are called by the local tribes and although one could think a waterfall is something you look at and that’s it, the Vic Falls are different. You can spend days there and being busy each day all day.

Depending on the season the spray of the falls varies greatly. During high waters the “smoke” (spray) can be so much that you don’t see the rocks underneath it and some activities like swimming in Devil’s Pool are not possible. With low waters swimming on the rim of the falls is possible and really great.

But that is not all. How about riding an elephant along the Zambezi, or having tea at the famous Victoria Falls Hotel on the Zimbabwean side or while anyway using the bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe do a bungee jump from it or watching others doing it from a helicopter soaring above the falls? You will run out of time when trying to do all the falls have to offer to see all angles of this magnificent sight.

Visiting the Victoria Falls during a safari can be done on really good rates, as a large range of accommodations is available. Keep in mind that the best price
African safari holiday operator is not necessarily the one with the best offers. Compare the details of the itineraries to make sure you are comparing the same qualities and inclusions. Sometimes it is worth to pay a few dollars more for excellent service before, during and after your holiday tour. If you are interested in photography, it’s good to have an operator that can advice and schedule the activities to get the best light for your indented great photos.

However, the falls are year round beautiful and just a fantastic sight in combination with the mighty Zambezi River.

Happy landscape and more photography travel!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa