We can all agree that going on a safari is nothing short of a magical experience. The majestic views of the African sun that roams far beyond the eye can see. The uninterrupted peace that comes with being exposed to the purity of nature and wildlife is an unmatched quality that can only be found in the savannah. But with all great trips, there needs to be a little planning and preparation that goes into ensuring a smooth and successful trip to the savannah.
Here are a few guidelines to make sure you have a fantastic experience before, during, and after.
1. Pick the most suitable tour
There are a variety of different tours to choose from. Make sure you do your research and pick the one most suited to you.
Guided safaris are well suited to those who have no experience travelling in Africa or those wishing for a hassle-free experience. Guided safaris are operated by expert guides leading you through your safari experience and enhancing your adventure with their specialist knowledge.
Walking safaris have guides on hand to look after you and show you the more miniature wonders of the flora and fauna that are easily missed on a game drive. These safaris possess a distinctive charm, the traditionalism of which adds to a perfect back-to-nature experience.
Self-drive safaris are for independent travellers, as this option provides the freedom to decide where you are going when you are getting there and how long you are staying. These kinds of trips are often a cheaper option and are particularly significant if you wish to try and track down the Big 5 (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard) all by yourself, providing a sense of achievement should you achieve it.
Balloon safaris are possibly one of the most romantic forms of safari. This tour allows you to rise high above the land below as you drift silently through the air with incredible views. They are usually conducted during the early morning as it presents guests the chance to watch the sunrise over some of the world’s most diverse and spectacular landscapes.
2. Make sure you know what to pack
You will be driving long distances with limited stops, and it will be hot. Make sure you do your research ahead of time about the change in seasons and when they occur, how often the weather fluctuates in that area, and the different temperatures that change throughout the day. Pack very minimal and lightweight, earth-toned clothing.
It is always good to pack a windbreaker or fleece, as the night game drives can be cold. If you plan to walk, then pack one pair of lightweight walking shoes with good tread.
You need to remember your essentials and packing a great reference book is ideal for first-time safari-goers and gives a comprehensive list of the different species frequently seen on safari. It also includes a journal section for jotting down memories, recipes, and contact information.
Remember to pack your electronics, including your camera, memory cards, batteries, chargers, a small flashlight, and lightweight binoculars. A few add-ons that you might need include a waterproof or dustproof bag for your camera, good quality sunglasses, glasses (as wearing contacts might make you susceptible to dust irritation), moisturiser, and sunblock.
3. Participate and know your role
You may have to participate in the tour to help keep things moving smoothly, especially in a self-drive safari. Your participation includes keeping the vehicle clean, preparing group meals, and ensuring that the group stays together throughout the trip.
Your participation may also involve moving your vehicle out of the mud, leaving the campgrounds cleaner than you found them, supporting your family, and ensuring they have everything they need.
4. Be vigilant and ask questions
Watch out for water on your trip if you are driving and be vigilant when approaching areas surrounded by water.
Your first inclination where the weather is hot and humid might be to jump into the refreshing waters of a lake or river. However, in Africa, water often means crocodiles and hippopotamus, two species that use the waterways as their home and are dangerous.
You may not be told everything you want to know on tour, so take advantage of your curiosity by asking your tour guide questions whenever possible.
5. Be mindful of the wildlife around you
Suppose you want to touch and play with the animals – you first have to ensure that the animals have safely had human interaction and are accustomed to such interaction. Make sure your tour guide gives you permission to touch an animal before you do.
Otherwise, the animals will want to kick, bite, hit, or charge at you if you get too close. Be extra cautious because these are wild animals looking to survive and protect their territory.
6. Adhere to the rules
Safari rules are in place to ensure both humans’ and animals’ safety and are essential to adhere to. A few general rules are:
- Never feed the animals because if animals learn to associate food with humans, they become aggressive, and food could make them ill as it disrupts their natural habits
- Never chase the animals and remember that animals always have the right of way
- Please do not harass the animals and do not try to attract their attention
- Please do not throw away any litter at all as some animals eat whatever they come across
- Remember that wild animals are dangerous and unpredictable. Do not take any risks
- Do not pick any flowers or vegetation
- Do not disturb other park visitors because they all have the same rights as you
- Stick to the correct opening hours unless you have special dispensation
7. Keep up with health and safety standards
During your visit, ensure that you stay hydrated with bottled water and protect yourself from the sun. If you are on medication, be sure to bring enough for the duration of your stay.
If you require vaccination against malaria and yellow fever, ensure that you consult your doctor or travel clinic at least three months before your visit. Africa is home to potentially dangerous species, and it is advisable to wear trousers, socks, and enclosed walking shoes and bring insect repellent.
It is essential to follow the instructions provided by your safari guide and hosts as they are trained to assist if necessary, but safety begins with your adherence to camp rules and the advice of your guides.
Ohorongo Game Reserve knows that your time belongs to you and we allow Africa to slow you down from a tense sprint to a languid lope as you get in step with nature.
Book your trip on https://ohorongo.eco/ and experience the distilled essence of Ohorongo’s 100 000 acres of African Wilderness.
— Innocentia Ranyaoa, Fizzin