A wildlife safari in Africa is an exciting adventure and definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many travellers, but it can also be pretty daunting.
In this article we give you tips on how to get the most out of your trip and also some pointers on how to behave on safari.
Follow Directions By Your Guide
Prior to the first safari, your driver/guide will review ‘safari etiquette’ addressing, amongst other issues, off-road driving and hazards and interaction with animals.
Wildlife is Wild
Seeing animals in their natural environment is one of the most precious and exciting experiences, but every safari drive is different and this mean that you can’t guarantee what you will see. Wildlife listed in the itinerary is based on optimal conditions and therefore subject to change. Gate 1 Travel’s guides are experienced at finding the best wildlife viewing opportunities and will ensure you have the best possible safari, but don’t come with the expectation that you’re going to see the Big 5 in one day, or even the whole trip, and you’ll enjoy your African journey a lot more.
While on tour, you will be reminded by your guide of local safety and ecologic procedures to ensure your safety and the protection of the wildlife. Normal precautions include remaining in close proximity to your driver/guide and vehicle, avoiding walking through tall grass and keeping noise to a minimum to not attract extra attention. Your driver/guide will advise you not to turn over rocks or dead wood and to stay clear of ground holes and caves, where scorpions, snakes and other potentially dangerous animal life may be hidden.
Leave Only Footprints, Take Only Photos
We ask you to refrain from littering, feeding any animals or leaving food waste behind in the parks, as this can upset the natural diets of local wildlife and lead to a dependence upon people. In addition, please do not purchase, collect, or remove any animal products, rocks, seeds, plants or nests from the wild.
Prepare For A Bumpy Ride
Roadways to the game viewing sites are for the most part unpaved and will therefore be rough and dusty. Gate 1 safari vehicles are fitted with large roof hatches or open sides to allow for easy viewing of wildlife from all angles. Safari vehicles cannot be air-conditioned and you will be provided bottled water while travelling.
Vehicles are equipped with seat belts, which should be worn on public roads. Safari vehicles typically move slowly and drivers warn passengers of bumps or potholes when possible, so many passengers may choose not to wear a seat belt. We still recommend belting up whenever in the vehicles, but it’s at your discretion when you are off-road.
When You Gotta Go
Inside the National Parks and reserves there are designated picnic sites with public toilets. Due to frequent use, wildlife tends to avoid these areas with the exception of primates, reptiles, birds and small mammals. However, since picnic sites are open it is possible that a larger animal, such as an elephant, may wander through. So keep an eye out and remember your safety briefing!
Outside of the parks, it may be necessary to make shopping stops. Not because we want you to be buying souvenirs instead of seeing more of Africa, but these stores often provide the only acceptable facilities while touring, due to the lack of public rest stops.