A safari is the adventure of a lifetime. A unique experience that gives you an extraordinary feeling of connection with nature. An experience of wilderness, where wildlife can be viewed in abundance in stunning places filled with beautiful landscapes, enormous skies and shimmering water. Respect for the natural world will help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip with minimal impact:

Leave only footprints and take only photographs. Be mindful and respectful of the landscape, plants and wildlife. Everything that you bring in with you must be taken out.

All things great and small. Enjoy the comical wonders of rock hyraxes chasing each other between boulders or the crazy pink iridescence of carmine bee-eaters as they swoop for insects. Instead of recording the experience for social media, remember to be present and enjoy all the sights, sounds, smells and experiences that a safari offers.

Where the wild things are. Safaris take place in remote places full of wild animals—that’s why you’re there, right? Remember this. Keep a respectful distance. Do not approach or touch wild animals, even the small ones, and make sure your behavior doesn’t affect the natural behavior of the animals you’re there to see. Do not get out of your vehicle to take pictures. Be cautious in and around camp. If you’re staying in an unfenced camp, always be accompanied by a guide. Never enter water—you may not see a crocodile or hippo, but that does not mean they aren’t there. And no one wants bilharzia![1] Always check sleeping bags before getting in, knock shoes before putting feet in, check for ticks at the end of the day, and do all you can to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Don’t be “that” person! Mute your phone. Better still, don’t take it with you. Mute your camera. Socializing should be done over sundowners, not while wildlife watching when others will want to hear the sounds of the wild. Any noise has the potential to alert animals to your presence, so silence is the best policy. Shouting or clapping to get animals’ attention will usually achieve the opposite of what you want.

Ethical photography. The welfare of wildlife should always be put ahead of the desire to get the perfect shot. This means: No stressing out animals by crowding them. Give infant animals a wide berth. Don’t use playback, never use flash on nocturnal animals, don’t pick up or manipulate wildlife for your shot, and never chase an animal.

Respect nature, respect your guide. Your guide is your most valuable asset! Your guides will know the area, the animals, the people, the food and the customs of the area. Talk to them, get to know them, and ask them questions. Talk about what you want out of your safari and work with them to make the best experience. Follow all instructions from your guides and never ask your guides to break the rules. Always tip your guide and driver.

Blend in, but not too much. When wildlife watching, it’s best to wear muted colors. But don’t wear camouflage or military-style clothing—locals may look at this negatively. Also, some animals have an excellent sense of smell, so avoid perfumes and choose fragrance-free insect repellent and sunscreen to avoid drawing unwanted attention.

*The views and expressed opinions in this article are those by Global Wildlife Conservation, and are not necessarily those of TripAdvisor, Inc.  Any cited research is sourced by Global Wildlife Conservation and has not been necessarily verified or independently evaluated by TripAdvisor, Inc.    

Resources

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/schistosomiasis/

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