8 Useful tips for going on safari

8 Useful tips for going on safari

Being a travel specialist in South Africa implies, almost mandatory, also being a specialist in safaris. And although we are already somewhat accustomed to living this experience (which will be a distant dream for many). It still seems an adventure as exciting, educational, and unique as the first day.

You will find that there are as many different ways to enjoy a safari as there are animals in nature. From a getaway to a remote forest where you feel an intrepid explorer, to others designed for all ages to live as a family or dump into romanticism and luxury.

The range of experiences can be adapted to all tastes. And just like a lion selects its prey, or a giraffe chooses a perfect handful of leaves among its ideal appetizer. It is worth taking the appropriate time to create the safari that best satisfaction what you are searching for as a traveler.

With this in mind, here are some valid tips for anyone living the wild animal exploration for the first time:

 1. DON’T STICK TO THE BIG 5:

Of course, seeing lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, and rhinos are great, and a compelling reason to come to South Africa. But there is much more!

Zebras, hippos, elephants, and giraffes are just a few, and the list goes on. Find out about the animals that inhabit the environment and discover other less known species that you are likely to see.

Learn to enjoy the company of impalas or appreciate more “ugly” specimens like African wild boars, and try not to take the safari as a list of animals to be branded off your list.

The guides and drivers will do everything possible to find all the animals that you are interested in to see if they tell you. But remember that it is a journey through the wild nature. The parks and reserves are enormous, the animals are unpredictable, and Most of them usually camouflage.

It cannot always be guaranteed that you will be lucky enough to see a cheetah in the full hunt. But surely a safari will be the best way to approach that unique opportunity.

Sometimes it is worth hitting an early bird and catching a safari unit at dawn no matter how much it takes to get off the sheets.

Animals tend to be much more active early when the weather is more relaxed, and they just woke up. There is also the chance of doing night safaris where to find animals that you will never see during the day. But remember that in some areas the lighting attracts mosquitoes and protect against them.

2. BE GUIDED BY AN EXPERT:

In private reservations, luxury safaris are always guided by experts, while some national parks will allow you to visit independently.

In this second case, you will be able to enter with your vehicle following the indicated norms and limiting your route to the areas suitable for it.

It is undoubtedly a fantastic adventure, but if you do not know the area well, you will probably not be able to see many animals, or it will take centuries to find them.

It will depend on your luck, but if you are a first in the world of safaris. You must have an excellent guide who not only knows how to find the best places to observe wildlife but also knows how to act in front of animals, provide good explanations, and answer your questions.

In addition, in some areas such as the Kruger National Park, only off-road traffic (where there are more hidden animals) is allowed by an authorized guide.

How to distinguish a useful guide?

Willingness to share all kinds of knowledge and information about mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, trees, and plants in relation to the natural environment.

The ability to immediately identify animals with great detail, explain the distinctive characteristics of the male and female of a species. Knowing the habits of animals and their usual hiding places will do their part in locating the specific animals that you want to observe.

Explain the mating rituals of the species, describe the social structure of their groups, their behavior, and will give detailed information about their way of life.

Dare to ask all data for what you are interested in: what do they feed on? How long is the gestation period?

Are they solitary animals, or do they live in groups? Are they monogamous? Do they have a matriarchal society or herds? Are they headed by a patriarch?

3. DO YOUR LUGGAGE WELL:

A pair of binoculars is absolutely indispensable on a safari, so be sure to put them in your suitcase if you have some at home.

You will see that almost all the guides have some and on many tours, they will offer them to you if you do not have them. But it can be frustrating to have to pass them on to your companions when in fact you would still like to continue enjoying the lion stalking its prey in the distance, or be able to observe the physiognomy of the animals in detail for a few minutes.

If you have a good camera, another option is to use the zoom (take the photo or not). Still, if you do not have it or prefer to reserve the battery, it compensates for a good pair of compact binoculars, especially if you do not enjoy an eagle view. 

You do not need to go crazy buying the complete safari clothing. Keep in mind that it is better to wear comfortable cotton clothing that does not matter if it is filled with dust and avoids colors too bright.

Is the color kaki mandatory?

Of course not, but it is recommended that all clothing is of a neutral color as it helps to blend with the environment, and the chances of good animal sightings grow if we are somewhat camouflaged.

Absolutely nothing happens if you wear colorful shirts, but remember that you are on safari. You don’t need to dress Indiana Jones, but it may be better to leave your sequin dress at home.

Remember that winter nights and early morning hours can be cold; wear warm clothes to wear until the sun warms. The easier to put on and take off the better (scarves, jackets, capes) since time usually varies very quickly from cold to heat in a few hours.

4. FORGET THE MOBILE AND TRY NOT TO BE TOO LOUD:

In some areas within the reserves and parks, it is not so easy to get a decent connection. So there is less chance that your phone rings during a safari.

Better! There is nothing that disrupts the environment more than someone talking on the phone loudly or the continuous sound of electronic devices when you try to immerse yourself in the experience of the African safari.

Silence your camera if you are about to delete photos at the beep of “beep.” And remember that your voice is not as melodic as the sounds of nature.

It is likely that in some safaris, you share a vehicle with other people. It is a good opportunity to socialize commenting on the experience since there is a lot to talk about. But in a safari or nature walk, try to keep in mind that animals will tend to move away If they hear loud sounds. 

Of course, it is not necessary to remain silent, much less! But if there are animals nearby or someone tries to record a video, try to be respectful and speak softly.

5. DO NOT BECOME FLESH FOR LIONS:

Never leave the vehicle without first asking your guide if it is safe, or you see warning instructions.

No matter how attractive it can be to get that perfect picture of you touching a rhinoceros, do not do it.

The safaris are very safe, but it is necessary to understand that you are surrounded by wildlife in which there are no zoo cages.

 Also, keep in mind that the night vision of many species is better than yours, so if you stumble upon them in the dark, they will detect your presence before you see them. 

If you are staying in a non-fenced reserve, do not go for a walk through the camp overnight on your own, as the address will indicate.

For the rest, it is not necessary to follow more precautions than those indicated by the guides. Performing safaris is exciting, but it is not a risk activity.

6. CHOOSE A TIME:

During the winter (from June to September) easier to observe animals since vegetation is less leafy and animals will find it harder to camouflage.

Also, the drier the season, the more likely we are to find specimens of all species drinking in ponds and small lakes.

On the other hand, during the summer of South Africa (December to February), we will find trees, plants, and flora in all their splendor. It will be more common to have to look for animals among the shadows of lush vegetation.

 7. CHOOSE A PLACE AND ACCOMMODATION:

South Africa has more than 500 parks and reserves spread across the most diverse territories with different climates. 

Undoubtedly, Kruger Park is the most famous destination as far as safaris are concerned, but it is not the only option. Check out the information about Safari in Eastern Cape, or the unexplored Madikwe reserve.

It is best to inform yourself well in advance to select the area that best suits the kind of safari you are looking for.

Once you have an approximate idea about what kind of experience you are looking for, make sure you get accommodation that suits your idea of ​​Safari, and since you have come to see animals. The closer to the wildlife, the better.

In many situations, you will see that the same lodges and camps within the reserves, such as the Gorah within Addo Elephant Park, organize the safaris, a more than the comfortable option to have access to the best areas within walking distance of your room.

8. ENJOY:

Take your time to appreciate the nature around you, listen to the sounds, and breathe fresh air.

Live the adventure of observing wildlife, but don’t forget that sometimes, the most magical moment of a safari is when nothing happens.

You may also want to read:

How to enjoy nature

Pakistan tourist sites and places

Five tips for enjoying your adventure trip

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