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How to stay safe when on safari

Africa SafariAfrica Safari
Africa SafariAfrica Safari

How to stay safe when on safari

One of the most exciting adventures that you can take your family on is an African safari. Seeing the stunning landscapes and gorgeous animals are unforgettable experiences, but you should always remember to keep your family safe while taking part in this adventure. Below are some tips to follow for staying safe while on safari.

 

If you are in a vehicle

 

Remain in the car at all times

If you are on a game drive or safari, it is vital to remain in the car at all times. Only leave the vehicle at designated ‘hides’ or stop off points and follow all the posted rules. This rule is in place to keep both humans and animals safe from any possible fatalities. If you must take a photograph of an animal, please try to do so from the safety of the vehicle.

 

Do not stand up or stick anything out of the vehicle

Some safari vehicles are open topped or sided to allow for easy viewing, and the animals are often accustomed to these. However, if you stand up or stick something out of the vehicle, such as a camera or selfie stick, the animals may become annoyed or aggressive. Poaching is rife in some areas, and any object which resembles a gun can trigger aggression in an animal.

 

Keep your windows closed

While this may seem in opposition with the hot African sun, many closed vehicles used for game drives are equipped with air conditioning, meaning that you do not need to open your windows at any point. Baboons and monkeys in game reserves and safari parks are habituated to vehicles and are not afraid to come to your windows to steal food or belongings.

 

If you are walking

 

Always wear insect repellent

Why is malaria common in Africa? This is due to the weather conditions which the Anopheles mosquitoes favour, regions with warm temperatures, humid conditions, and high rainfall. While you are on safari on foot, you should always wear an insect repellent and long sleeved tops and trousers with long legs in order to prevent any bites.

 

Stay downwind from the animals

If an animal catches your scent, it could become angry or afraid which could lead to negative reactions to your presence. Your guide will tell you where ‘downwind’ is and will take a path that remains so throughout. This rule is put in place to protect guests from experiencing aggression from the animals and from startling the more peaceful ones.

 

Always follow your guide

If you are walking through a game reserve or safari park, you should never do so without a guide. It may seem like the height of adventure to walk off the beaten path in order to spot more animals, but this can prove to be very dangerous. All safari guides are highly trained and knowledgeable about the animals and surrounds, so listening to and following them is not only safer but will teach you more.

 

General safety tips

 

Avoid swimming in lakes or rivers

Cooling off in a lake or nearby river may sound tempting in the harsh African sun, but the dangers that can be found are significant. Many lakes are home to hippos and crocodiles, with hippos being the more dangerous of the two. They will charge and attack if they feel that their territory is at stake from others.

 

Do not walk around at night where wildlife is present

Exploring at night can be exciting but can also be potentially dangerous. You should avoid areas where harmful wildlife may be, such as riverbanks or thick bushy areas. Hyenas often come out at night for nocturnal scavenging and can be vicious when startled, so it is best to avoid areas where there are carcasses. A night-time game drive is a better option if you want to see the wilderness at night.

 

Avoid loud music at your campsite

Music will not only scare the animals away from the area but could attract the more curious predators, which could lead to a dangerous situation. Loud music is prohibited at all game reserve campsites and is not necessary. You should rather spend time listening to the peaceful sounds of the birds and animals around you. Music should be played at a low volume, if you need it at all in the beautiful surrounds.

 

Do not get too close to animals

While on a walking safari, you may want to get a closer view of an elephant, rhinoceros or lion but this is highly inadvisable. If you get too close to an animal you will almost certainly startle them, and while smaller animals will flee, larger animals will charge in order to protect themselves from what they view as a threat. Turn off your flash when taking photos to avoid further annoyance to the animals.

 

Take a walk on the wild side

An African safari is a memorable experience and should go smoothly if you follow the rules and consider the feelings of the animals. Remember to always wear mosquito repellent and clothing that fully covers your body, and be sure to pack enough water for longer game drives or walks. Never feed the baboons or monkeys that come up to your car windows, as this will encourage bad behaviour. If you practice the tips outlined above, you are sure to have a fun and exciting safari!

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