Safari safety tips (not just for dummies)
We use this post to chat about how safari safety. That means talking about which African nations are the safest for visitors, malaria, how to stay safe in terms of the wildlife, and the pros and cons of self-drive versus organised safaris.
ensuring you’re safe from the wildlife avoiding any dangerous or unstable regions
The main way to be safe on safari is to know what you’re doing, or travel with someone who does.
Is going on a safari dangerous?
How to stay safe on a safari drive
If you spot some exciting wildlife, don't jump out of the vehicle to photograph it – stay where you are and take a pic from there! #Safety101
Which are the most dangerous African animals?
The Big Five
Other (surprising) contenders
Our pick for the winner
Africa and malaria
Map showing malaria distribution in Africa
How do I protect myself against malaria?
use insect repellent wear long pants and long sleeves, as well as closed shoes sleep under a mosquito net
Which is the safest country for safari?
Botswana Kenya Namibia Rwanda Tanzania Uganda Zambia
Safari safety in Tanzania
The Northern Circuit
Is the Serengeti dangerous?
Safari safety in Uganda
Self-drive vs organised safaris
Advice for self-drive safaris
6 self-drive safari tips
Never get closer than 20 m (65 ft) to large game, especially Cape buffaloes, rhinos and elephants. Give a wide berth to injured animals and those with young. Don't hoot (honk) or shout at animals to try get them to turn, raise their heads, etc. Similarly, don't wave wildly at the animals. Drive very cautiously around solitary elephants and buffaloes. Don't rev your engine loudly around the animals, as this could startle or alarm them. Don't bring foods like fruits in the car with you. Many animals have an excellent sense of smell, and may want a taste of what you're having.
Most incidents in game parks occur when people grow overly confident. Respect the wildlife, remembering that it is indeed just that: wild.
Why organised safaris are the safer option
They have the right sort of vehicle and training and so can safely and effectively navigate the often tough, muddy terrain. (Sitting in a broken-down 4x4 in a hot game park is no bueno .) Safari guides know which animals are dangerous, and in what ways, so they can act sensibly and advise you of what to do and not do in all situations. They know how close you can get to the different animals while staying safe and also not scaring them off.
Other perks of organised safaris
Safari guides are excellent at game spotting! They'll notice and point out animals you'd otherwise have missed. Your guide is in touch with fellow guides and rangers about where the best animal sightings are. They have intimate knowledge of the animals you spot, so can really make what you're seeing that much more interesting.
Don’t pay a company you haven’t researched
4 tips for safari safety
Never step out of your safari vehicle unless you know for absolute sure that it’s safe to do so (for instance, your safari guide says it’s safe to do so). Don’t poke your head or dangle your arms out of the windows. The wildlife can be swifter than you think! Wear plenty of sunscreen, even on overcast days, to avoid becoming a cliché. (Also, be sure to bring quality sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare.) It’s best to wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and long pants, as well as closed shoes, even when it’s hot. These protect you from being bitten by mosquitoes and other insects and bugs. Interestingly, dark colours actually attract mozzies as they rely in part on sight to find hosts, so it's better to wear pale-coloured clothing.