12 October 2014

Ebola in Perspective

Questions about Ebola keep coming with regards to safari travel in east and southern Africa. The decease is on the front pages of the media and new cases in the US and Spain increase worries and fear. While safari companies try to explain, that the affected region in West Africa is further away from the safari destinations in east and southern Africa than Europe, the decease indeed made the move out of Africa into the western world, without any safari guest being involved.

However, it was
not the geographical location of Spain, which caused the infection of a nurse, but mistakes in the procedures when treating an Ebola patient. The Ebola patient in Spain was brought from West Africa to Spain for treatment, but the staff on the ground in the affected region might have been more qualified to do that, than the hospital in Spain. None of the cases had any connection with southern and east Africa, where the safari destinations are. Top safari destinations like Botswana took already weeks ago strict precautionary measures by denying entry to travellers coming from the Ebola affected countries in West Africa.

Another angle to put
Ebola into perspective are numbers. So far about 4,500 people died of Ebola. In Africa die every year about 500,000 people of malaria and about 1,000,000 people of Aids. The New Yorker has explored an interesting comparison in the article “Ebola vs. Flu” from 13 October 2014. More people die from flu every year in the US, than so far from Ebola in West Africa, but we seem to think about the flu as something normal.

It is expected, that the outbreak will be
under control within three months. Specialized professionals do great work on the ground in the affected region and international aid is coming in.

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

What your safari tour operator is not telling you

This is not about construction sites at the lodges your tour operator is not telling you about or that the food is actually really bad at the camp, that you booked. This misinformation might happen occasionally, but most of the tour operators are good and do their best to help you with an awesome safari holiday.

This is about the
incredible work that’s done in the background to make sure you have the best African safari experience ever. Safari lodges and camps are at remote places, which come with logistical challenges while being at the same time exposed to moods of the elements.

Imagine only
the delicious food at the camps. Being for example at a camp in the Okavango Delta, surrounded by water with only small aircrafts able to land, demands excellent planning and logistics. The guys at the camp need fine tuned order systems to make sure it is always the needed variety of ingredients available and not to forget one. You cannot go quickly to the next supermarket and get the strawberries. They got to be flown in at the right time for the planned menu, not too early and not too late. It can get expensive when the logistics are not right and food would be wasted or meals wouldn’t be of the expected quality.

And food is only one part of the operations.
Staff planning, maintenance and everything else is just as complex and well thought about long in advance. A small mistake costs a substantial amount of money and time. Big hotels are already impressing when seeing the big operations in the background, yet doing all that in the African bush is even more impressive. Outside temperatures can rise well above 40 degree Celsius, yet the kitchen has to work perfectly with no air-conditioning at hand. Heavy rains and floods can occur and still the safety of the guests must be guaranteed. Buffalos can decide to eat the thatched roofs or elephants find a new route straight through camp, yet the operations must go on with no effects on the guests safari experience.

people in the camps are doing great work to make sure all is perfect, no matter how the circumstances are and silently in the background.

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Top 5 Reasons to visit Mombo in Botswana

Botswana’s most famous safari destination is the Okavango Delta. Within the delta are different concessions with different safari activities and different quality of game viewing. Some areas have more waterborne game activities and others more land activities. One of the land activity areas with game drive safaris is Chief’s Island. Chief’s Island has only two camps and one of them is Mombo, one of the most expensive camps in Botswana and one of the very best.
In the case of Mombo,
most expensive means very best and immense popular and there are good reasons for.

  1. Chief’s Island has the best game viewing in Botswana. One can sit on one’s private veranda at Mombo and watch the Big Five walking past. The Mombo concession is also called the little Great Plains, as so much wildlife is around.
  2. There are no crowds, well, except the crowds of animals. As Chief’s Island has only two camps, only these guests are around and nobody else. Mombo has only 9 tented rooms.
  3. If you decide to leave your veranda and go on game drive, you will be guided by excellent rangers. They are well trained and very knowledgeable.
  4. You can walk over the heads of buffalos! Yes, literally the walkways of the camp go over the heads of buffalos or the other way around, the buffalos like to spend the night underneath the walkways of the camp.
  5. Mombo is a splendid and luxurious camp in the middle of overwhelmingly beautiful nature in the Okavango Delta.

Mombo is a
place of plenty in many ways and one of the best African safari destinations. This comes with a price, but it’s worth watching out for specials, that can save hundreds of dollars per night.

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Top Kenya African Safari Tour: Signature Kenya

Kenya has been a top African safari destination for decades and is traditionally the safari country one must see. Not only the Great Migration is a reason to visit Kenya, but the great variety of regions and national parks with an abundance of wildlife.

Signature Kenya brings you to the
safari highlights of the country. After a day of acclimatizing in Nairobi, you will visit Amboseli National Park on the foot of famous Mt. Kilimajaro, followed by the beautiful rolling hills of Laikipia on the foot of Mt. Kenya, Samburu National Reserve with its fascinating landscape and wildlife and last but definitely not least the Great Plains of the Masai Mara before heading back to Nairobi for your flight home.

This itinerary is a
fly-in safari to make the best use of your time and bring you right to the camps and lodges where you are staying. The light aircraft transfers will also allow a bird-view impression of this magnificent country with its impressive landscape.

Signature Kenya is a
fully inclusive private safari including 5-star camps and lodges with excellent game viewing and guiding. This African safari can be extended with visits to the Kenyan cost to enjoy some time on the beach or with a safari extension into the neighboring country Tanzania.

View and download the itinerary

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa