Game Drive Etiquette

When going on safari in the Kruger National Park, or any of the big game farms in South Africa, there are a number of do’s and don’ts that you should keep in mind to make sure that the experience is both rewarding and enjoyable to all those involved. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

  • Do book your game drive when you arrive at your camp. Both morning and evening drives are very popular and they tend to fill up fairly quickly. Book yours as soon as you check into your rest camp to avoid disappointment.
  • Do show up on time when you’ve booked your game drive. Gareth and I overslept and missed our morning game drive and had loads of trouble convincing the authorities that they should let us go another morning instead.
  • Don’t be noisy when getting ready for your morning drive or returning from an evening game drive. Morning game drives set out at 5 AM, so be considerate to your fellow campers who are still sleeping at that time of day. Likewise, when returning late in the evening keep in mind that your neighbours might already be in bed asleep for their early morning wake-up call the next day.
  • Do bring a warm jacket or even a blanket along on your game drive. It might not seem necessary when setting out on the evening drive while the sun is still basking in the sky, but trust me, it gets really very cold in the open vehicle at night.
  • Don’t talk loudly while on a game drive. The point is to see animals, not to discuss your love life or whatever loud enough so that all the animals in the vicinity can hear you coming and take cover, unseen and unnoticed.
  • Do speak up if you see something. It’s a fact that some people have keener wildlife spotting abilities than others. It’s even possible that you might see something while your guide is looking the other way. Letting him know about it allows everyone to share the sighting.
  • Do give your guide a chance to explain what you’ve just seen. Although you might not be interested in the mating habits of the lesser spotted hyena, there are others who might find the topic extremely interesting.
  • Do stay in the vehicle at all times. Just because you can’t see the leopard prowling around in the tall grass does not mean it isn’t there.
  • Do take your camera and/or video camera along. How disappointed would you be if you were lucky enough to come upon a pride of lions feasting on a recent kill and you have no way of capturing the moment for friends and family to enjoy too?

If you stick to these suggestions and have a little luck on your side, you’re sure to have a memorable experience while on safari in Africa.

Have any other tips for going on a game drive? Share them in the comments below.

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