Ten African Safari Tips:
Know Before You Go
A little bit of pre-knowledge can go a long way on an African safari
trip. Here are ten indispensable tips that will improve your own safari
1. Take the early morning drives on safari
even though that often means getting up while it's still dark.
You'll be very glad you did because your wildlife
sightings will improve. The animals are a lot more active in the early
morning and late evening because it is cooler and the nocturnal species
are either getting up or going to bed so your chances of spotting them
are generally much better.
2. A pair of good quality binoculars is absolutely indispensable on a safari
so make sure you take your own with you. Some safari companies do
provide them but they might be a little worse for wear after a lot of
use and it can be frustrating to have to pass them along to the next
person when you actually still want to look at that lion stalking it's
3. A safari is not only about the big game.
Take enjoyment from
the surroundings and all the wildlife you see because if you turn it
into a "big five" tick list exercise you might be disappointed. There
are a multitude of insects, birds and smaller creatures that can be
just as interesting if you take the time to look and find out more.
4. Wear insect repellent in the evenings
to ward of those pesky
mosquitoes and make sure you leave as little skin exposed as possible
by wearing long trousers, long sleeved shirts and socks to cover the
ankles. During the day they are a lot less active so you don't have to
worry about them then.
5. Any good safari operator will have some form of medication available
but you might consider taking some of your own with on a "just in case"
basis: Anti malarial pills, anti-diarrhoea medicine, motion sickness
medication if you suffer from this, mosquito repellent and sunscreen.
6. If you are taking photos (of course, you are), remember to bring extra storage cards
and spare batteries for your camera because they will go flat at the
worst times and you don't want to miss those once in a lifetime photo
opportunities because of that. You should be able to recharge batteries
in most safari areas. Electricity in Africa is 220 - 240V AC50HZ.
7. When it comes to lions, a lot of patience is called for
because they spend most of their time during the day asleep. But if you
watch them for awhile you might be rewarded by an impromptu hunt or the
appearance of cubs from the undergrowth or a similar drama. Patience is
the watchword here.
8. Night drives on safari are a great opportunity to see the nocturnal animals
that you will never see during the day but remember that the powerful
spotlight which illuminates the surrounding bush and the glowing eyes
also attracts a lot of insects so you might think twice before
volunteering to hold it.
9. Generally the dry season is a time when you will be much more successful at spotting game
because the vegetation is sparse and the wildlife is forced to
congregate in the areas where there is still surface water available.
10. It's not uncommon for safari vehicles to break down
most of the roads are dirt tracks and the cars take a pounding every
day. Any company worth their salt should be carrying spares and the
driver or guide should have some mechanical experience.
About the Author:
Bruce Whittaker shares many more excellent African safari tips, advice and recommendations at African Safari Journals.
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