About our Blog

Our blog is about African travel, with a focus on Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. You'll find tales of our adventures, travel advice and inspiration, reviews of our favourite hotels, lodges and destinations, restaurant reviews and information about our conservation and community projects, with great images and videos to boot. Pack your bags – Africa awaits!








Latest Posts

  • In the War Against Rhino Poaching This Man Should Be Making Headlines

    By Good Work Foundation |

    By now most of our readers will know that Rhino Africa adopted an orphan white rhino, Don, at the end of 2015. Don is kept at a wildlife sanctuary and you’ve already met his “keeper”, the amazing Edyta Wozna. Now we’d like you to meet Don’s personal 24-hour security guard, Themba, the man tasked with ensuring that Don is kept safe at all times. Bare in mind that ‘Themba’ is not his real name. You’ll also notice that to protect his identity, we have not shared photos of Themba that show his face. We’re taking a risk by saying this, but it has to be mentioned right up front that you can tell that Themba is emotionally invested in what he does. And with the price of rhino horn trading at $70,000 per kilo, we’re guessing that anyone working on the “good” side of this industry has to be emotionally invested. We’ve included some photos of Sipho below, but here is one of the memories that he shared with us (bear in mind that all interview extracts have been translated from SiPedi):

    “I was so happy when one of the rhinos I have always seen as my favourite licked me and pushed me about playfully, it was as if he knew that he was my favourite. These animals depend on us as their safe keepers and you can almost see it in their eyes. I will always do my bit. Moments like these show that a little goes a long way.”
    Before he was a rhino monitor, Themba was a firefighter. Not long into the interview, we discovered that Themba’s family still think he is a firefighter. Lying, or withholding the truth, was less complicated, both for Themba’s family and for the community in which he lives.
    “Living this life as a person who protects rhinos comes with many responsibilities. It doesn’t matter how close I am to my family, I cannot tell the truth. At the end of the day, rhino horn is a commodity to most people and these animals depend on us to protect them. I am sure my family will understand and will be proud that I kept this secret.”
    There is one family member who knows what Themba does. The sanctuary recently increased its security measures, putting in place a vision of one monitor per rhino. There is no conventional ‘interview process’ for this kind of job, just the question: “who do you trust with your life?” For Themba, that was an easy question and his brother is now also working at the sanctuary as a rhino monitor. When Themba is not feeding the rhinos or giving them a mud-bath, he is out in the bush protecting a 30,000-hectare area from poachers. Every rhino has his own monitor and every monitor knows his rhino’s story. In most cases, the monitor was there the day the baby orphan arrived at the sanctuary, petrified after witnessing the violent murder of its mother. Themba isn’t just a man with a machete; he’s a protector who has been with a rhino since the very first days of its traumatic journey to recovery.
    “I took up the job to make that little difference where I can so that if we lose our rhino to extinction tomorrow, I can say: ‘At least I tried.’ I know it’s a high risk job. Most people do not know the challenges facing us on the frontline. No-one knows when poachers will hit. But those rhinos are our babies.”
    Reports in South Africa this week showed that for the first time since 2007, rhino poaching is down. And for the millions of people around the world scanning headlines and social media, that must have been a hopeful, and possibly surprising, headline. The reality: in 2015 we lost 3.2 rhinos per day, compared to 3.3 in 2014. The demand for horn continues, and endangered animals are violently butchered every single day. While the people at the top and in the public eye roll out the numbers, statistics and misleading headlines, there are some lesser known individuals who the world has never met. Like Themba. He doesn’t appear on your Facebook page or on your Twitter feed. He’s not “headline” material, but he is a champion of our planet and certainly our country. As an organisation, we are proud to bring you this story and we are even prouder that Themba is Don’s protector. Are you interested in adopting an orphaned rhino? There are ten more rhinos at the Care for Wild sanctuary that need your help – they are looking to be adopted. The cost is $1100 per month, covering all maintenance costs relating to food, shelter and medication as well as rhino monitor and state-of-the-art security. For more information, contact us here.

  • 8 of Africa's Most Romantic Destinations

    By Matthew Sterne |

    “You have to understand – there is a romance to Africa. You can see a sunset and believe you have witnessed the hand of God. You watch the slow lope of a lioness and forget to breathe. You marvel at the tripod of a giraffe bent to water. When you are in Africa, you feel primordial, rocked in the cradle of the world.” ― Jodi Picoult
    There is a romance to Africa. You can find it next to a sparkling lake or a sprawling savannah, along one of its great rivers or sugar-white beaches. Part of the magic is that Africa is both exhilarating and calming. A soothing sunset is followed by a frenzied wildlife encounter and capped off with a sublime meal under a banner of stars. It is a wonderfully rousing experience that makes for the perfect lover's escape. The choice of exquisite lodges in Africa is immense, but these are our favourites to stay at for a more intimate holiday... Tswalu LodgeSouth Africa Tswalu Lodge boasts the celebrated Malori sleep-out deck. It is a luxurious hideaway with a king-size bed built on a raised deck in the middle of a magnificent 100,000-hectare 5-star private game reserve. If you look at the table for two in the photo you can get a good sense of the idyllic stillness out there. Oh, and Tswalu's two Relais & Châteaux lodges ensure that the night out there will be both extremely comfortable and perfectly catered for too. Mumbo Island, Malawi Mumbo Island's fantastic setting in the Lake Malawi National Park, a World Heritage Site and protected marine reserve, is what sets it apart. The island has never been inhabited, so guests really are guaranteed an exclusive experience in an unspoilt setting. Explore the water with your loved one as Mumbo is renowned for its unparalleled scuba diving and superb snorkelling with over 500 species of fish, including the world's highest collection of cichlids. Royal MalewaneThornybush Game Reserve Royal Malewane impresses on almost every level. The people are extremely welcoming, the cocktails refreshing and the rooms palatial. The luxurious nature of the lodge coupled with some of the best game viewing Africa has to offer ensures that Royal Malewane has established a fantastic reputation. As you might expect from a lodge of this quality, each of the freestanding and private suites has its own dark wooden terrace, thatched gazebo and spillway pool. Sandibe Safari LodgeOkavango Delta  Each of the cottages at &Beyond's Sandibe Safari Lodge opens onto a private viewing deck overlooking the Okavango Delta’s verdant wetlands and its grassy savannah plains. Go for a walk or explore the waterways in a mokoro to see the plethora of wildlife in this pristine World Heritage Site. Back at camp, the twin-bedded Cottages each come with a naughty outdoor shower and a private plunge pool. Londolozi Private Granite SuitesSabi Sand With a level of privacy and luxury that will exceed your most fanciful expectations, the Londolozi Private Granite Suites are the most exclusive suites in an already remarkable portfolio of lodges at Londolozi. The three private suites open directly onto the Sand River with a private plunge pool and enough light, space and exquisite décor to ensure you fall in love with your safari experience here. Royal Chundu Island LodgeVictoria Falls Zambia Zambia's first Relais & Châteaux property, Royal Chundu offers an unbeatable location on the famed Zambezi River while also promising stellar service and incredible cuisine. The lodge enjoys 20 miles of private waterways ensuring an exclusive experience while also near Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls. Tintswalo Atlantic, Cape Town You could sleep in a cardboard box where Tintswalo Atlantic is and you'd be happy. Luckily for you, Tintswalo offers the exact opposite of a cardboard box, with the new refurbishments ensuring the rooms and deck are absolutely top class. Tucked into the mountain on the scenic Chapman's Peak drive, you can enjoy a sundowner on the deck while whales and dolphins cavort nearby. All this within reach of glorious Cape Town too. Vumbura Plains, Okavango Delta Vumbura Plains Camp is a fantastic camp bordering the Moremi Game Reserve in the extreme north of the Okavango Delta. This stylish camp is made up of two separate lodges of seven suites each. The tented suites sit on raised wooden platforms beneath a dense canopy of indigenous trees. Each suite looks out over the watery plains and has an outdoor shower, a sunken lounge, and a private deck with a plunge pool. If you'd like to find out more, get in touch with us and we'll put you on your way to your own perfect romantic holiday in Africa.  

  • Startling Footage of a Leopard Attacking a Warthog

    By Matthew Sterne |

    We recently published a story of a one-tusked elephant that speared a buffalo and flung it above its head. The story spread like wildfire and garnered attention around the world. That was the first in our Safari Snapshot series - when we ask our travellers if they have any stories worth sharing. The next one comes from Donald Kendall,  from Asheville, North Carolina. “Thank you for sharing the elephant pictures...really unique. You asked for a story, here is mine. Two years ago, my wife, Robbie, and I visited Ngala (in the Timbavati Game Reserve of the Kruger National Park) where our guide was Jaben and our tracker was Sully. We had just started our afternoon game drive and almost missed the leopard as it was very well hidden. One of the guests in the vehicle saw it and started pointing. Then the tracker saw it and we parked within 50 feet of it off to our left." “I don't think anyone realized it was sitting on a warthog den as the area was quite flat. We all thought it was just sunning itself, and almost left. After about 10 minutes, suddenly the leopard jumped up and ran only a few feet before we saw the dust cloud and heard the warthog screaming. The warthog ran into our view with the leopard clinging on top of it! The tracker said the leopard must have been laying on the warthog den, waiting for the warthog to come out." The video Donald took of the kill is rather graphic. As Donald said, "If you look closely at the wound in the warthog's side you can actually see it's heart pumping!" On that tantalising note, here is the video of the sighting... “The leopard took 15 minutes to kill the warthog. Other vehicles finally came so we left just before the warthog actually died. We drove around for a couple of minutes and saw the leopard in a clump of underbrush starting to eat it. We stayed maybe 5 minutes, then left. “We all wondered why it took so long to die and deduced that the leopard was inexperienced as it never went for the throat which is the normal and much faster way a kill is made. But maybe it was just staying away from the warthogs sharp tusks. “That trip to South Africa was our fourth trip to Africa itself, with prior trips to Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Kenya. We will be returning to South Africa in October having booked the trip once again through Rhino Africa and our consultant, Justine Ryan. We are going back to Ngala and Kirkman's Kamp." If you too would like to contribute to our Safari Snapshot series, we'd love to hear from you and feature your photos or video from your special African sighting. Please email Matt (matthew.sterne@rhinoafrica.com) with your submissions. 

  • An inside look at this year's top destination: Botswana

    By Matthew Sterne |

    According to the granddaddy of travel guidebooks, the Lonely Planet, Botswana is the place to be this year and has named it the top destination for 2016. We’re well aware of Botswana’s allure, so it’s nice to see the rest of the world start to take notice too. As the Lonely Planet says;

    “Botswana is a unique destination with an unusual combination of desert and delta that draws an immense concentration of wildlife. It is wild, pristine and expansive... Despite their embarrassment of accolades, Botswana remains off the radar for most people. The impression is: it’s too difficult to get to, it doesn’t cater for families. But we’re here to tell you that’s all nonsense. Go now! Go by plane, car or mokoro (canoe). Go in the green season or the dry season – it’s all great.”
    Recently, some of our consultants were lucky enough to go on another trip to Botswana. We had a chat with one of them, Toast Segers, to find out more about their experience. “The main thing about Botswana is that it’s very diverse. The difference between the camps and various regions can be big. Chobe is classic African bush with the river as the main attraction. Then you go further south and you get the open plains of Savuti. Then you get the Okavango Delta, and then you get the desert.” All of these habitats offer different wildlife sightings and landscapes to explore. “One of the highlights was definitely the small plane transfers... Because the camps are so remote you have to fly. You fly quite low and get a great view of Botswana. Botswana is very, very flat. From one side to the other the whole country changes by only about 300 metres in altitude, far less when you focus on the Delta. As soon as you get up there you can see for miles over the open floodplains dotted with Lala palm trees along the horizon.” “We were there in the very dry season... Which means a lot of areas that are completely covered in water normally are open and you get herds of animals coming into these fields – zebra, wildebeest, lechwe, to name a few. There were a lot of elephants everywhere we went as well as a number of unique species such as the red lechwe. We also saw sable in the Vumbura area, which are very rare and a treat to see.” "There is a huge difference of habitats in Botswana... The Sandibe area had the biggest diversity of habitat in the places we visited on this trip. We drove through a dead tree forest covered with red desert sand. It was a great place to spot birds of prey using the dead trees as vantage points to spot prey. You drive from there for twenty minutes and you’re in Zambian-like wetlands, thick waste-high green grass with one or two little trails that are made by hippos. It’s incredibly lush, and then you go another twenty minutes and you’re in thick bush with huge baobabs. So it’s very diverse from one area to another.” "Some camps you can’t even drive to because they’re just surrounded by water... If you go in the wet season in July, you have to take a boat to some areas. At Vumbura Plains, where we stayed at in the north of the Delta, the airstrip is actually sandbagged so when it floods the only piece of land in that area is the airstrip. So you land and you get on a boat to the lodge. You can spot elephants, hippos, and a lot of other game from the plane. When we were coming in to land at Jao I saw a kill site on the ground - a dead animal surrounded by vultures. Once we landed, I told the ranger and we went to look and found a dead Lechwe surrounded by dozens of vultures and marabou storks.” "Botswana still maintains an element of being very wild...  Most of the camps are quite remote and all their supplies need to be brought in by long distance truck when it’s dry, or by plane. They need to fly most things in, from the potatoes to the toilet paper. That is what makes it slightly more expensive than other destinations but the benefit then is that you see very few other vehicles and signs of civilisation. Because it’s so open and always changing it is a lottery so you never know what you’re going to see. It’s like that anywhere on safari, but in Botswana, it’s particularly like that. You can go at what people think is the worst time of year, which is when we went in December. And we saw wild dogs, lions, leopard, tons of elephants, buffalo, everything… “That’s why it’s important to not go to just one place in Botswana but to have a Chobe experience, have a Delta experience (or two), and maybe have a desert experience as well. Just to see the diversity and the different animals you’ll find in the different areas.” Travel to Botswana with our special offer If you would like to discover Botswana for yourself, you are in luck as we are offering a not-to-be-missed opportunity to travel to Botswana with our Belmond Botswana Special. If you would like to find out more how you can experience the wild places of Botswana yourself please contact one of our travel experts who are standing by to make your travel dreams a reality.

  • Are you ready for the ultimate African Adventure?

    By Matthew Sterne |

    Challenge4ACause, our annual fundraising cycle event in the Namibian Desert, is an epic expedition into one of the remotest corners of the world. Over the course of six days, the riders tackle the rugged and starkly beautiful landscape and camp in places that we have exclusive access to.

    And we want you to join us this year!

    If you do, you’ll contribute to the conservation of Damaraland’s critically-endangered black rhino. The rhinos here are unique due to their ability to live in the desert conditions. You’ll be travelling through its hauntingly beautiful backyard, with potential sightings of rhinos and other wildlife adding to the excitement of a day’s ride. To get a taste of what awaits you in the desert - the stirring landscapes and the physical demands of the Challenge itself - watch last year’s superb video. Your involvement will make a massive difference to three non-profit organisations! Save the Rhino Trust Namibia is dedicated to protecting the critically endangered desert-adapted black rhino and its habitat. Wildlife ACT work tirelessly to protect the endangered species such as the painted dog and the black rhino. They have collared and monitored 50% of the painted dog population in South Africa. And Good Work Foundation is an NGO that empowers rural communities through online learning and is looking to reach 100,000 learners by 2020.On the brand new Challenge4ACause website, you will find a detailed itinerary of the trip that describes the course of each day, frequently asked questions, a map and the sign-up form. For more information on Challenge4ACause, visit their website here. To find out more about contributing to something bigger than yourself while seeing Namibia in a unique way, watch an inspiring video about this rewarding experience.
     Challenge4ACause started back in 2009. Now in its eighth year, the Challenge has grown from strength to strength over the years. The ride through Namibia's desert has such a strong allure and leaves such a deep impression on the riders that many riders have returned to do the Challenge for a second or even a third time. You can read about past Challenges by clicking on these links; 2009 - The inaugural 2009 Damaraland Challenge 2011 - The 2011 Challenge4ACause video 2012 - Cycling to save our rhinos 2013 - Challenge4ACause - In Photos
    Challenge4ACause is very close to all our hearts at Rhino Africa and one of our most passionate projects that we are involved in. As our Founder and CEO, David Ryan, says, "Challenge4ACause is our chance to give back to the wildlife and landscapes from which we make a living. Without Africa’s precious wildlife there would be no tourism industry in Africa.” We urge you to get involved, experience one of the beautiful and wild places of Africa, and help us make a difference to the future of Namibia's rhinos. SIGN UP NOW Last year we held two seperate rides to accommodate everyone who wanted to participate. Namibia's winter normally has days in the high twenties (Celsius) which makes the ride possible through this remote landscape. If you would like to see pictures of last year's Challenge4ACause, you can see a gallery of the images by clicking on the photos below;
    The riders have returned and these photos prove how tough and exciting Challenge4ACause 2015 was!The annual event sees... Posted by Rhino Africa on Monday, August 17, 2015

  • The Best Way to See a Tiger Up Close in the Wild

    By Matthew Sterne |

    In the torpid stillness of the midday heat, the elephant lumbers through the jungle. The only sound we hear in the otherwise resting jungle is the heavy crunch of the elephant’s feet stomping on the dead, brown leaves. It is the dry season and mottled sunlight pierces through the upper foliage of the impressive trees that tower above us. On top of the world’s best off-road transport, we sway exaggeratedly from side to side, skimming past trees and ducking under branches. We’re riding on the back of this captivating animal in the Indian jungle for one specific reason: we’re searching for tigers. The elephant driver, or mahout, sits on the shoulders of the elephant with his short legs dangling on either side of the pachyderm’s powerful, thick-skinned neck. The mahout guides the elephant by tapping its ears with his feet and through a series of short clicks and grunts. This communication generally works well but it doesn’t stop the elephant from ignoring the odd command and veering off-course to taste a succulent leaf or casually snap off a branch with its powerful trunk. The elephant gives us access to an area we would not have otherwise been able to penetrate. The jungle is too thick to see through and vehicles are not allowed to go off-road. By sitting atop an elephant, we’re able to approach the tigers easily as they are habituated to the elephants and aren’t able to discern the humans riding on them. It is a similar situation with African wildlife and Land Cruisers. We steadily make our way through the jungle, optimistically scanning for any signs of tigers, ignoring the fact they are notoriously difficult to spot. Luckily for us, our mahout has a very clear idea of where we can find a tiger and within a short time we do just that. He is resting under a tree and panting quietly to help him cool down in this dull, gnawing heat. We approach carefully and stop less than ten metres away. It is now eerily quiet with only the quick panting of the tiger marking the otherwise silent jungle. We sit atop the elephant and admire the tiger. We stay like this for a few minutes, us bewildered and in awe, and the tiger nonplussed. Then it is up and moving. It slips off behind a bush and we start to follow it. The tiger stops in its tracks, turns and growls at us loudly and ferociously. We follow it for half an hour. Every few minutes the tiger stops to stare back at us or growl deeply. We keep our distance and totter after it once it has its eyes off of us. At one point, the tiger crosses the road ahead of us and a bunch of vehicles spot it and rush over to it. The tiger continues on its path and the vehicles get only a glimpse. The vehicles are restricted to the roads whereas the elephant has free rein to go where it chooses. We continue our pursuit crossing the road and leaving the vehicle’s passengers to stare jealously after us. If you would like to find out more about Elephant-backed safaris in India please contact one of our expert consultants who will be able to plan your dream Indian trip. *As told by our multimedia team members, Ryan Rapaport and Naude Heunis.