Safari Etiquette – The Complete Guide to What You Should and Shouldn’t Do

by Sandy Salle on June 26, 2018

If you’re a safari veteran like those of us on the Hills of Africa team, then you know how to conduct yourself in the African bush — the manners expected by your guides and appreciated by your fellow travelers, and also the sort of behavior that will ensure closer encounters of the animal kind.

But if your new to the safari scene, you may have no idea what you should and shouldn’t do while venturing through the Earth’s greatest wildlife show.

1. Silence is golden
Although many animals seem oblivious to the sound of motor engines, they are often spooked by human voices. Especially loud voices. While you may be tempted to shout, “There’s a lion!” at the first sign of a big cat. That fleeting glimpse may be your last sight of the king of the jungle as he scampers away from your holler. If you must speak, please do so in a super-soft voice or loud whisper.

2. Stay put
Under no circumstance — unless specifically instructed by your driver or guide — should you ever leave your safari vehicle during a game drive. The reason is two-fold. First and foremost for your safety. All you have to do is Google a video of what can happen to people who get out their vehicles to realize how swiftly dangerous the African bush can be. The second reason is related to Rule No. 1 — wild animals will often scatter at the first sight of humans on foot.

3. Don’t be a photo hog
Although you may think of yourself as the world’s greatest wildlife photographer and deserving of the very best camera angles on every safari drive, remain conscious of the fact that others in the vehicle paid just as much as you for the privilege of roaming the Kruger or the Serengeti. Be a good travel mate and yield that primo seat to others on occasion. Or at least ask before assuming that seat always belongs to you.

4. Litter is for losers
“Pack it in, pack it out” is just as valid in Africa as your favorite nature areas back home. Besides the fact that it scars the landscape (and ruins photos), litter can harm or even kill animals that think it might be food. Same with cigarette. Smokey the Bear might inhabit a different continent, by Africa is equally at risk to brush fires caused by errant butts.

5. Night stalkers
There are basically two types of safari camps: those that are surrounded by animal-proof fences and those that are not. Strolling around the former after dark is usually pretty safe; walking around the latter could be the last thing you do on safari. Why’s that? Because lions, leopards, hyenas and other predators are most active at night. To them, you’re just another unsuspecting antelope wandering through the bush at night. Better to ask at every camp whether you should be walking around alone or not. In cases where it’s not safe, an armed guard will escort you to and from your tent or bungalow with a flashlight to make sure that you arrive safely to your room or tent.


Now that you know what you should and should not do on safari, let’s start planning your African journey, please contact us here at Hills of Africa at 1-800-940-9344.


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