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Wildlife viewing safety guide

How to limit dangers and annoyances

Please note: by reading the advice below you may get the wrong impression that wildlife viewing is a dangerous activity. That is not the case. Wildlife viewing can be considered very safe as long as you treat wildlife with respect and use common sense. It is extremely rare for incidents to happen and your professional guide is there to ensure your safety. The advice below is solely intended to further decrease the already small risks.

  • Always follow your guide’s instructions and guidelines.
  • Stay in the car during game drives except at designated areas where you are allowed to get out of the car.
  • Never walk off far to pee behind a bush, just go straight behind the vehicle.
  • Don’t stand up in the car, hang out of the window or sit on the roof.
  • Don’t drive too close to animals if you are on a self-drive safari. Back off if the animals seem disturbed.
  • Don’t drive between elephants, especially females and their young.
  • Don’t talk or laugh too loud.
  • Stay close to your guide and group on a walking safari.
  • Watch where you put your feet while walking in the bush.
  • Never run or jog in a wildlife area as it entices predators to attack. For the same reason, never run away from a predator when confronted. Instead ask your guide for help and instructions or slowly walk backwards while facing the predator.
  • Never walk between a hippo and water. They will panic because their safety route to the water is blocked.
  • While on a canoe safari, stay in the shallows, to avoid hippos. Keep enough distance from animals on river banks.
  • While camping, or in a tented camp, never leave food in your tent; It will attract wildlife.
  • Cover your arms and legs in the evening and use insect repellent to protect against mosquitoes. The repellant should contain at least 20-30% DEET.
  • Wear a hat, use sunscreen, and drink plenty of water.
  • Don’t wear too bright and colorful clothes or too much perfume. This is especially true for walking safaris and, to a lesser extent, for other wildlife viewing activities. In tsetse-fly areas it is recommended not to wear dark-colored clothing- like black or dark blue- since it attracts these stinging flies. Bring warm clothes for morning game drives in open vehicles during the cold months of June, July and August.