About our Blog

Hello, hujambo and sawubona! It’s great to have you here. If you're as wild about African travel as we are, you’ve come to the right place. Our writers travel all over this captivating continent to bring back the best travel stories, advice and guides. So settle in and enjoy the journey.

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Latest Posts

  • 8 Reasons To Visit Botswana in the Green Season

    By Matthew Sterne |

    You will often hear that it is best to visit Botswana in the dry season. The animals are easier to spot in the drier bush, they congregate at the water sources and it is easier to traverse the landscape without getting stuck. Makes sense, right? But the green season has its own appeal. If you were to ever sit next to an African travel expert on a long-haul flight and you peppered them with questions, one of the gold nuggets of inside information they may give you is to rather travel to Botswana in the green season. It’s markedly cheaper, the wildlife sightings are still excellent and you enjoy a more exclusive experience. But don’t tell the others! If you were to visit in the green season (November to March), Rhino Africa would plan to maximise your game viewing opportunities by choosing areas that are very different in what they offer in terms of vegetation, landscapes, and activities. These, then, are the eight reasons why you should visit Botswana in the green season. 1. Outstanding valueBotswana is one of the more expensive African destinations due its remote lodges and the priority on low-impact tourism. Even the entry-level or standard-type properties are priced quite high. High season rates are generally charged between mid-June and the end of October (differs slightly from lodge to lodge) and the rates only drop again in November. There are, however, some amazing specials that can be used during the green season at a much lower cost. 2. Sightings of newbornsThe rain means there is plenty for the animals to drink, and the blossoming vegetation means that birds proliferate, as do insects and fish. As a result, there is an explosion of life. Many species choose the beginning of the wet season to give birth, ensuring that their new offspring will have plenty to eat. 3. An increase in predator activityAn increase in baby impala means plenty of meals for the predators who have their own young to feed. Now they have to hunt for two, and the newborns are the easiest option. 4. No single supplement charge at most propertiesThe single supplement is a travel industry premium charged to solo travelers when they take a room alone. The amount involved ranges from 10 to 100 percent of the standard accommodation rate. The good news is that, generally, this does not apply in the green season! 5. A more exclusive experienceOut there in Botswana’s magnificent wild places, the green season enjoys a more peaceful and quieter experience. Fewer people means a more exclusive experience. 6. Exceptional bird watching A large variety of migrant birds arrive in February and March and the birdwatching goes from superb to sensational. Everywhere is good for birding, the Kalahari, Savuti, Okavango Delta, Chobe River and Linyanti wetlands all attract their own striking range of birdlife. 7. Excellent for photographyIt is an ideal month for photography with brilliant colours and dramatic skies. The bush is lush green and the air crystal clear. The contrast between the predators' natural winter camouflage and the vibrant summer colours create stunning photos. 8. The weatherSummers (particularly from December through to February) are known for beautiful warm days with the occasional afternoon showers cooling down the surrounding area.

    How To get there... Airlink has recently commenced operating daily scheduled flights between Johannesburg and Maun, Botswana. From Maun, travellers can catch light aircraft directly to their lodges in the heart of places such as the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park. If you'd like to find out more about going to Botswana in the Green Season, contact one of our expert consultants for a free quotation.

  • A day at Boulders Beach: Home of Africa's famous Penguin colony

    By Matthew Sterne |

    What do you call a penguin in Africa? Lost! That may be funny (if you're a dad), but it's not true. Penguins are, in fact, found on the south-western coast of Africa. There are colonies on 24 islands between Namibia and South Africa’s South Coast. These endangered penguins were formerly known as jackass penguins because they make a braying noise like a donkey, but are now called the African penguin. Boulders Beach near Cape Town is their most famous colony and is one of the only places in the world where one can actually swim amongst penguins as they tend to explore the surrounding beaches. A short history of Boulders 1984: A pair of penguins made a nest 1985: Two pairs nested at boulders, and bred successfully 1990: More than 50 nests were found at the colony 1997: The colony had grown to 700 breeding pairs 2002: The colony had an adult population of about 3500 penguins, with about 1100 breeding pairs Their numbers are now diminishing as they need to travel further to find food, which means it’s a riskier endeavour. Sharks and occasionally orcas eat them, but primarily it is the seals that are their biggest predator. Land-based enemies include mongoose, genet, domestic cats and dogs - and the kelp gulls which steal their eggs and newborn chicks.Watching them bask in the midday sun, they look like a garden of statues. Very well-dressed statues. Some have the look of a man who has stepped into the sun after a long nap and takes a moment to pause, with closed eyes, and indulge in the sun's warm glow. Except the penguins do it for much longer than just a moment. It looks like they do it all day. Most stand still with their wings almost touching the floor. Quiet and seemingly content, they occasionally scratch their sides with their beaks, a few ruffle their feathers and wiggle their bodies from top to bottom like a tiny Mexican wave that ends with a flapping tale.A salty fact: Salt glands adjacent to the skull enable penguins to avoid the buildup of excess salt obtained through feeding on fish and drinking salt water. Salt is expelled through the nostrils and they get rid of the salt content by flicking their beaks. Like a fish in water: African Penguins might be ungainly and awkward on land, but they are superbly designed for life at sea with an ability to swim at speeds of up to 20km/hr when chasing fish.A penguin daycare centre: Newborn chicks are covered in down, which is not waterproof. From the age of about 30 days, both parents go to sea. Youngsters that are left alone often congregate in creches, mainly for protection.Partners for life: African Penguins generally only start breeding at about four years of age. The main breeding season starts in February. They are a monogamous species and the lifelong partners take turns to incubate their eggs and to feed their young.

  • Rare Finds at Cheetah Plains: Birding Safaris

    By Melanie Du Toit |

    The summer rains that moisten the landscape of the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve between October and April allow the earth to come alive in many ways—whether it’s in the green shoots springing forth from the earth, the wildflowers seen blooming across the terrain, or the plethora of new-born wildlife entering this lush new world around them. This is also the season best loved for birding, and twitchers, amateur ornithologists, and photographers flock to the area to catch sight of the migratory birds that have moved into the area for the coming weeks and who share the trees and the skies with the reserve’s permanent feathered residents. [caption id="attachment_30171" align="aligncenter" width="667"] Image courtesy of Cheetah Plains[/caption] A stay at the lodge in Cheetah Plains Private Game Reserve will see guests able to explore both photography and twitcher options,with their specially-tailored photographic as well as birding safaris. With over 400 different bird species to be spotted in Sabi Sand during this abundant time, those at Cheetah Plains have taken decided measures to ensure that each and every one of their guests enjoys a completely optimised experience. Birding safaris are hosted by an ornithologist and specialist in African birdlife - Martin Benadie - as well as a trained guide who has intimate knowledge of the landscape. [caption id="attachment_30183" align="aligncenter" width="667"] Image courtesy of Cheetah Plains[/caption] Journeying through the Sabi Sand at this period in the year gives guests the chance to spot the reserve’s mammals and their new-born young—making for a terrific addition to a birding safari. Martin is no stranger to the landscape or the camera lens, with a career history that has seen him called a qualified guide, birding specialist, environmental writer, and photographer with experience in digital post-production. Cheetah Plains is also equipped with a game-viewing vehicle specifically adapted for photographic safari, complete with swivel chairs that ensure all safari-goers can capture the same shot at the same time—completely unobstructed. This game-viewing experience also proves to be a more exclusive one, with only 4 guests per photographic safari. Led by a guide with intrinsic knowledge of the reserve as well as the art of photography, guests can be sure that they will leave Cheetah Plains with the perfect shot. [caption id="attachment_30174" align="aligncenter" width="667"] Image courtesy of Cheetah Plains[/caption] Contact one of Rhino Africa's expert consultants today to book your stay and birding safari at Cheetah Plains! Please Note:  The provision of a specialist guide is subject to an extra cost and a minimum of 4 guests is required for the specialised birding safari to take place.

  • The 5 Best Sleep Out Platforms in Africa

    By Matthew Sterne |

    It’s not the stars. And it’s not the solitude or the scenery. But it’s the sounds you hear on a sleep out platform that really excite you. The eerie whoop of a hyena. The trembling roar of a lion. The heavy splash of a hippo. The haunting hoot of an owl. These are the noises that exhilarate and enliven you. It’s the thrill of being surrounded by dangerous animals yet safe. In nature but not exposed. Isolated but not alone. It is for reasons like this that treehouses and sleepout platforms in Africa can be so extraordinary. And these are our favourites.

    1. The Malori Sleepout Deck, Tswalu Kalahari'Listen to the thrilling calls of the Kalahari. This night, the desert is yours alone.' This is how Tswalu describes their unique raised platform with a thatched overhang. Choose to sleep under the thatch or simply roll the bed onto the open deck with thousands of stars above you. 2. Lion sands, Sabi Sand Game ReserveLion Sands boasts three fantastic platforms - Chalkleys's Treehouse (pictured), Tinyeleti Treehouse and Kingston Treehouse. All three are overnight wilderness experiences with 5-star comfort. Guests are taken to the lavish platforms at sunset, where drinks and a delicious dinner awaits. 3. Ruckomechi Camp, Mana Pools National ParkRuckomechi's 'Star Bed' is not for the fainthearted. You'll be serenaded by the sounds of nature as the famed wildlife of Mana Pools visit the waterhole near you and surrounded by the albida trees the elephants so love. Sleeping through the excitement will be your biggest challenge. 4. Ol Donyo Lodge, Tsavo PlainsOl Donyo sits in thick woodland on a gently sloping hillside with views out over the plains to a distant Kilimanjaro. All of the ten private cottages have their own roof terraces where intimate star beds can be set up, allowing guests the thrill of sleeping in style under a canopy of endless stars. 5. Makanyane Sanctuary, Madikwe Game ReserveThis rustic double storey structure tucked away in a secluded part of Makanyane’s private ground overlooks a waterhole and the Madikwe Game Reserve. Guests have the choice of enjoying meals out on the deck or being taken out to the deck after dinner at the lodge.
    And those, my starlit friends, are just some of the best sleep out platforms in Africa. If you'd like to find out how you can experience one of these magical treehouses for yourselves, just drop us a message and we'll tell you exactly how you can make that happen. Sweet dreams ladies and gents, don't let the leopards bite...   

  • Rhino Africa Quiz: Which Member of our Family Now Weighs in at 208.2 Kilograms?

    By Good Work Foundation |

    It’s incredible to think that, through Rhino Africa’s sponsorship and help, an orphaned rhino, whose mother was killed by poachers, is alive and well, and now weighs in at 208.2 kilograms. When we first introduced you to Rhino Don, he was barely four months old and he weighed in at 122 kilograms. He was still susceptible to a number of life-threatening conditions and he hadn’t yet been introduced to the other young rhinos at Care for Wild AFRICA rhino sanctuary. Today Don is a member of a three-strong herd: Warren and Oz are his constant companions. He has been moved to a much larger boma further away from the sanctuary’s main operating centre. This is part of a strategy to reduce the amount of human interaction. Don is still the smallest and softest of the three, but he tries not to show his vulnerable side when he’s with his two friends. It won’t be long until Don, together with Warren and Oz, are released into a larger herd made up of adolescent animals. This will take some adjustment, but there will be lots more social interaction and a lot more room to play, graze, roll in the mud and snooze. The sanctuary has an adjacent 30,000-hectare nature reserve, which is truly beautiful. We cannot wait for the day that Don is able to roam this area during the day. He will have his own 24/7 monitor and – although we can never say that he will be 100 percent safe – he will be a lot safer than he would in some of Africa’s most remote (and targeted) national parks. He will also have freedom and, hopefully, the inclination to mate with a rhino cow from the sanctuary. When the Rhino Africa family become “grandparents” to a new generation of safe and healthy rhino, we can’t promise that we won’t get emotional! Just a note: we would never be able to have this kind of conservation impact without the customers, partners, and friends who have allowed Rhino Africa to guide their adventures and journeys across Africa. Thank you for your ongoing support. Stay up to date on Don’s progress by following him on Facebook and Instagram.  

  • Colouring Outside the Lines at Khumbulani

    By Stephanie Dabrowski |

    It seems like just the other day we were Under the Sea with Khumbulani and now there is already another fun-filled experience to share with you. Picture, if you will, the delightful flurry of sixty 5-year-olds invited to participate in the painting of their day-care’s bathrooms and leave colourful hand-prints on the wall. Whether this sounds lovely or a little alarming we can assure you it was tons of fun. This is just what happened at the Khumbulani Day Care in Khayelitsha. Joining us for the day, and making it extra special in the process, were volunteers from the annual IGLTA conference which was held in Cape Town this year. Among these new visitors to Khumbulani was YouTube personality Davey Wavey who elected to mark the occasion with a video in which he interviewed the children and teachers about their dreams. In addition to capturing some truly heart-warming footage he also donated paint to the cause, helping to make the day a success. While the children tucked into sandwiches provided by our in-house Rhino Cafe and put together by an eager group of Rhino Africans, preparations were underway. Black bags were being laid out on the floor. Drab doors were primed in white. Plastic tubs were levered open to reveal liquid colours and paint was slopped into trays and containers. Brushes and rollers were distributed, and some very special rhino stencils (we simply could not resist) were cut out and prepared. The arrival of the rest of the volunteers was an event in itself! Organised into twin rows the children jostled and snaked down the stairs to form a most enthusiastic honour guard. This process was accompanied by excited chatter, shouts of laughter, and the jingle of small tambourines adorning the odd ankle. Snazo Sezelwa, a member of Khumbulani’s aftercare program which helps older children between the ages of 11 and 14, often from difficult backgrounds, started proceedings. With a ringing Xhosa welcome CEO David Ryan and guests were enthusiastically ushered into the entrance and between the rows of chanting and clapping children. Thereafter they embarked on a short tour of the facility of which we can’t but help feel incredibly proud. The real star is of course Gloria who saw the need in her community. She began to operate first a soup kitchen (which continues today and feeds around 350 people daily) and then a day-care for HIV infected and affected children often looked after by single parents. From humble but inspiring beginnings in her two-bedroom shack, the day-care now accommodates 300 children in a three-storey building we helped to fund. As David affectionately noted, “when you give Gloria more space she will find more children to fill it with”. Upstairs revealed these kids eagerly waiting to show their appreciation yet again with a singing and dancing performance including the classic If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands. And then it was time for all those clapping hands to get slapped with some colour and express their happiness through painting! While the youngsters eagerly queued up to be the first to adorn one of the limited green aprons and take their turn to paint, adult volunteers crowded into the child-size bathrooms and got under way with rollers. Gradually, bland doors were coated in cheerful hues of bubble-gum blue for the boys and candyfloss pink for the girls. While many small participants were tentative at first they were soon encouraged to hit their creative stride. Some, I think it is fair to say, even got rather carried away by it. Hands of vivid green, yellow, blue, red, and pink were proudly displayed before being rinsed in a tub of soapy water soon transformed into a foamy mix of swirling and shifting colour. Of course when you are painting with children across several floors and in tight spaces there is bound to be a bit of colouring outside the lines. The teachers and aftercare assistants were an enormous help in cleaning up the paint-tracked floors and getting the school ship-shape again. And although the odd swathes of misplaced colour remain here and there, this seems just right. At Khumbulani we are always seeking to paint outside the lines and find new ways to help, looking to find what is possible rather than what is there. Every time you travel with us you are contributing to this vision and we are always hoping to meet other like-minded individuals and companies to lend their support. At the outset Teresa van Bank, Rhino Africa’s CSR Specialist, hoped visitors would see “the abundance to be found even in poor communities,” and there certainly was plenty on display. An abundance of support, an abundance of enthusiasm, and abundant smiles—and yet there is also abundant scope for more. If you would like to partner with us or sponsor an event or outing, please don’t hesitate to send an e-mail to teresa@rhinoafrica.com and let Teresa know. You can also click on the link below to make a donation. http://www.rhinoafrica.com/about-us/doing-good/challenge4acause/make-a-pledge