A safari to Africa is the ultimate vacation experience. As a norm in all other fields, Safari Etiquette is an important aspect of the Safari to Africa.
So what is Safari Etiquette? Well, this is a customary code of polite behaviour that one is expected to adhere to when embarking on an African Safari. In simple terms, the do’s and don’t’s you need to know and adhere to during your African Safari.
In this post, I will be focusing on what you Shouldn’t Do on a African Safari.
1. Don’t disrupt or attract the Animals
Whether you’re out on a game drive, or a nature walk, do your best not to attract the attention of the animals. In short, make sounds including talking when you really have to.
Instead keep your eyes and ears open. This way, you will see and hear more. Don’t try to get the animals’ attention by clapping, whistling, or banging on the side of the vehicle.
Even if your noise doesn’t endanger yourself, or your fellow safari goers, you will be disturbing the animals, which in turn alters their behavior, and prevents you from having an authentic experience.
This could have two negative effects:
- Loud noises can spook the very wildlife you want to see, causing them to move further away from you. You dont want that to happen. Do you?
- Additionally, shouts, claps, whistles etc, could trigger a charge in larger animals such as elephants, putting yourself, your guide, and your group will be in serious danger.
Remain in the vehicle at all times when exploring wildlife. You’re exploring wildlife territory and the animals know it better than you. Sometimes you won’t see them until it’s too late.
Don’t get too close to the elephants, try not to make any loud noises, and keep your hands and other items (i.e. camera) inside the vehicle, especially when you are near the bigger cats.
2. Leave No Trace
An African safari takes you into the very heart of the remote wilderness, so act with respect towards the natural environment: remember this is a delicate ecosystem that can easily be damaged. By being careless, not only will you disrupt the ecology of the area, but you may even trigger the spread of diseases.
Make sure you never:
- Litter or throw pieces of plastic out of the window.
- Leave the roadways and drive into the bush.
- Remove any natural material or plant life from the reserves or parks.
- Smoke while on safari.
- Feed the animals
- While you should take lots of photos to document your incredible experience, don’t use GPS coordinates when snapping pictures of the animals, as poachers can use this information. This is a personal call but its key.
3. Be considerate
Being in public spaces has always called for utmost consideration. You dont want to be the reason why everyone around you is having a hard time. Whether you are on a game drive, at the hotel, in the tour car, practice mindfulness and you’ll be guaranteed to have a much more rewarding safari experience.
You should avoid:
- Talking too much or too loudly.
- Excessive cellphone usage.
- Obscuring other peoples’ views.
- Interrupting or distracting your tour guide.
4. Don’t Be Rude to other people
This is an obvious one. Pay particular attention to the locals.
You see, meeting the local communities is an important part of the African safari. So when you do meet the locals, consider a simple greeting. Better off in the local language. However be careful not to misuse the local language. This can be a simple, “Hello”, a hand wave or even a hearty smile. The effort represents an important step in acknowledging local cultures.
However, you should maintain a fine balance and not go overboard. When you are in the local community, do not:
- Hand out candy or money without ascertaining if its okay. This should not be confused with tips and gratuity.
- Take photos of people without asking them, or your guide if it’s okay first.
- Ask a hundred questions or requests, especially before a proper rapport.
- When you meet the locals, you must not infringe on their privacy. Act authentic and aim to build meaningful connections with them, rather than walls.
5. Expensive Jewellery
This is a trip full of dirt roads, nature, and camping so don’t bring along your expensive jewellery. Keep it minimal by wearing inexpensive jewellery or none at all. Some couples substitute their wedding bands for the trip with wooden or other inexpensive rings. This is also an obvious security precaution.
6. Camouflage clothes
We know you want to dress according to the theme, aka bush-veld. But don’t wear camouflage clothing because its illegal in many parts of Africa. Its preserved for the military and police.
7. Obey other Rules of your host country
If foreign people were to visit your country, the least you could ask of them is that they obey the rules you have there, right? Same goes to you and all other travellers. Stick to the rules of the safari and the location you are in.
Those are the major ones but “common sense” works best.
We know that its your safari and probably you are in a YOLO mode, but we strongly suggest that you adhere to these simple African Safari don’t’s. In the end, you’re going to have a fun, safe time and leave the African country the way or even better than how you found.
Would You Like to Go on a Safari in Africa?
Subscribe to our newsletter!