First time visitors to Kenya are usually amazed at the natural flow of life while on their safari at any one of our beautiful parks, their first game drive loaded with high expectations.
The vastness of the African savanna and variety of wildlife leaves them breathless and most express wonder when they come up (and not so) close with a bull elephant, its sheer bulk not what they imagine from T.V or social media.
Watching a pride of lions hunt a young giraffe, or a lone wounded buffalo being feasted on by a pack of hyenas might be exciting, but while the impulse is to either cheer or observe in pity, it’s always advisable to follow some rules so that the same might not happen to you.
From years of experience in organizing luxury safari, here are Safari Sense’s practical tips for safari safety:
Always be on the alert: The savanna is wild country and, unlike us, the animals are best adapted for survival. Did you know that one of Africa’s most dangerous snakes, the Black Mamba can move at slithering speeds of up to 19 km/h, and most animals will not hesitate to attack you if defending their young? Don’t dangle your arms over the car windows or boat sides. In case of a potentially dangerous wildlife encounter, do not run! Avoid eye contact as much as possible, and most importantly follow your guide’s instructions.
Silence is golden: Especially near wildlife. Our trained safari guides usually kill the engine a few meters away from a sighting to glide with minimal noises and ecological disturbance, while maintaining the required distance. For the best wildlife experience, put your mobile phones on plane mode, and mute the ring tone.
Respect nature: Little can be said about this. Never go off designated roads and keep to the park rules. Most importantly, never harass wildlife! Never call or whistle to get an animal to look at the direction of you. It’s always encouraging to note that with mobile coverage now in most parks, other guests could be recording you and you might get arrested and you safari guide would probably be banned from the park or lose his job.
Patience: Just when you’re about to leave for the next sighting, give your self a few minutes to look around. Especially when herbivores are suddenly on the alert. Look out in the same direction they’re facing.
“Rules” rule: Stay in the vehicle at all times, and for toilet breaks, remember the sites are also in a wildlife area. Avoid obscure bushes and tall grass. Always check for camouflaged reptiles, and never make threatening movements should you encounter one. Follow your safari guide’s advise, he knows better.
Never feed wild animals: Never leave open food in your lodge room or tent. Food attracts animals and should they normalize humans as the source, it alters their instinctive behaviors. Besides, animal can choke on plastic paper or get stuck in open plastic bottles.
Wear neutral colors: Tans, greens and browns. Avoid large brimmed hats. Although they might look good, they tend to block the view of those you’re travelling with. Wear sturdy and comfortable shoes or boots while on safari. Never go barefoot anywhere! Travel with plenty of water, sunscreen and refrain from using string perfumes. Animals have an acute sense of smell and these might camouflage the scent of a potential predator or prey.
Be informed: Carry a guidebook, and explore the flora and fauna. Chances are you’ll be amazed by Africa’s bird life, and if you weren’t into them, we guarantee that you’ll be by the end of the safari. Always ask for permission to film or photograph those you meet while traveling.
DO NOT BE LATE! Especially for departures. And don’t forget your sunscreen!
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