Safari Etiquette for First Time Travelers

1.  Listen to your guide
Your guide is golden. They know the wilderness and the behaviour of wildlife better than anybody else. You should always trust them 110% and that means listening to the instructions they give you will keep you completely safe while on  safari in Africa.

2.  Hush hush
Watching wildlife silently is the way to go. Animals aren’t used to the sounds of humans, and even talking could be unusual enough to scare wildlife off. That means you’ve got less time to watch, take photos and enjoy the experience. Buy yourself a little more time and Ssssh

3.  Sleep inside
You may enjoy the thought of sleeping out under the African stars, but it’s definitely not recommended. Africa is home to a truck-load of insects, creatures and nocturnal predators. You don’t want to be in your most vulnerable state when they come along. A brilliant alternative to sleeping outside is booking accommodation in a treehouse or sleep out hide. It gives you the same surrounded-by-nature feel, and it’s safer. Don’t forget to pack the insect repellent and mozzie nets will be provided by the camp / lodge!

4.  Do not disturb
The whole appeal of going on a safari is to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. Let wildlife go about their daily lives as they normally would while you watch like a fly on the wall. That means no teasing or cornering the wild animals. A threatened animal is extremely unpredictable and you may quickly find out exactly who is top of the food chain when you’re in their territory.

5.  Stay on track
It’s extremely important to understand that Arica’s vegetation is actually quite delicate. When taking a safari vehicle off the designated path it can quite easily contribute to soil erosion and the unwanted spreading of vegetation. Also, the great thing about set paths is that you can clearly see if there is a creature in your way – no matter how small. Going off the track though means you could be crushing creatures, their homes, or both, without even knowing it!

6.  Blend in
When you’ve come across an animal, never try to attract its attention. That means clapping hands, imitating its sounds, and throwing objects is an absolute no-no. If someone were to do that to you, you’d probably snap… so will wildlife.

7.  Don’t blind the wildlife
When using a spotlight during a night game drive, remember to use it wisely. Too much light will ruin the night drive experience. Also, shining a spotlight directly on wildlife may give them temporary disorientation and blindness, which is not something you want happening with nocturnal predators about.

8.  Keep your distance
Never get too close to wildlife – they are wild after all. Your guide wants each traveller to enjoy a safe safari and that means getting you as close to wildlife as is safe. Asking your guide to take you closer, isn’t a good idea. Getting too close isn’t just a safety risk, it also means disturbing wildlife and their daily activities.

9. No smoking
All it takes is one stray cigarette butt to send a fire running through the bush. It’s not advised that you smoke during game drives, and if you simple can’t go without your nicotine fix, make sure you extinguish the cigarette fully before popping it into a container in your bag – no throwing the remains into the wild.

10.  Respect Mother Nature
When on a safari the saying “Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints” is a great one to stand by in the name of nature conservation. Picking flowers and disrupting vegetation messes with the ecology of the area. Also, leaving litter behind is extremely bad for the environment. Litter often causes animals to choke and be poisoned, and ends up harming the eco system at large.

If you follow these simple safari etiquette tips, you’re in for an unforgettable safari experience in Africa that pays the wilderness the respect it deserves, and you the experience you do.

by Dalene Ingham-Brown

 

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