Ensuring you’re safe from the wildlife (both big and minute). Avoiding any dangerous or unstable regions.
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
Did you know that the Cape buffalo is actually considered the most dangerous of the Big Five? This is because they will actually pursue or ambush hunters when feeling under threat.
Other (surprising) contenders
Our pick for the winner
Is malaria a problem on safari?
How do you protect yourself 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?
The main way to be safe on safari is to know what you’re doing, or travel with someone who does.
Botswana Kenya Namibia Rwanda Tanzania Uganda Zambia
6 self-drive safari tips
We recommend doing a self-drive safari only in smaller parks that have good signage and decently maintained tracks. Be really cautious of heading out on your own in wet or muddy conditions.
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, and so on. 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 smelly 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 safer than self-drives
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, as well as any problem areas like a flooded road. They have intimate knowledge of the animals you spot, so can really make what you're seeing that much more interesting.
Safari guides help you avoid unwittingly disruptive behaviours
Don’t pay a tour company you haven’t researched
Check some independent review platforms such as Trustpilot and look on sites like Facebook to see what past clients have to say. Look for a physical address on the website. Phone or email the company to assess their responsiveness and professionalism. Pay attention to your gut. Don't talk yourself into ignoring anything that doesn't feel right.