As safari companies and as South Africans, we often take it for granted that our American and European friends who have not been on a safari holiday in Africa before don’t always understand the ins and outs of a safari adventure.
Part of ensuring that you have a memorable experience while in Africa is to practice responsible tourism, which means you need to know what to do and what not to do while you are in the bush.
Safari etiquette will never go out of style and what’s more is that it can be applied to all kinds of safaris, no matter where you go in Africa.
Such etiquette applies to both nature and the wildlife, as well as the guides who will be taking you on such a trip. The whole point of any type of responsible holiday is to enjoy the incredible wildlife sightings while having as little an impact on the environment as possible.
Before we even get into a list, the most important thing to remember is that you should never touch, feed or in any way try to get the attention of the animals you see. Enjoy the animals at a distance. Many tourists still think they can get out of a vehicle while on safari, and that is a big no-no. Wildlife are temperamental and dangerous.
What not to do while on safari in Africa
It is easy to have a fantastic holiday that is respectful when you head to Africa while on safari, if you follow some of these tips.
To start with you should make sure that you stick to the designated roads while on a trip. Game guides might take on the rougher, not so well-travelled roads, but if you are driving yourself, you should always try to stay on the better maintained roads, especially if you are driving in a city car. Not all cars are capable of safely driving on the dirt roads and the last thing you want is to get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
It should go without saying that you should never even think about littering or polluting when you are in the Kruger National Park. And it is not just about throwing things on the ground. Polluting water sources by discarding left over liquids into ponds, dams or rivers is also very much frowned upon. Leave no trace when on safari.
No matter where you are going on your safari, you should always be respectful of the local customs, the culture and all of the people that you come across. Africa is home to numerous tribes, many of which have their own way of doing things and they even have their own language. If you want to learn more about the cultures you will come across when in Africa, do a little research and reading up.
And finally, don’t take risks. When out on a safari adventure, you should never do things that will intentionally put you in harm’s way. If you go on a guided tour you should always listen to the guide and when you arrive at a wildlife park, you should always carefully read through the documents that you are given. Knowing how to take care of yourself should be a priority.