7 Things You Should Never Do On An African Safari

Whether it’s on an African safari, jeep safari or wildlife safari, a safari in the Canary Islands or Kenya, trips to observe and photograph wild animals are always memorable. That said, if done the wrong way, they can be hazardous too. In fact, safari guides from Kenya to Tanzania and from South Africa to Uganda and Zimbabwe  will all attest that safaris can quickly turn from all fun and games to nightmarish if approached sloppily.

To prevent any such animal-related horrors while safariing through the likes of the plains and scrublands around Nairobi, we’ve put together a list of what not to do on safari (“not” being capitalized, formatted in bold, and followed by a slew of exclamation points; this is life-saving stuff, people).

1. Don’t wander around like you own the place

Rhinos are nice to look at, but they’re not so nice when they’re hot and bothered. To avoid sending this species of odd-toed ungulate whose horns cost as much as gold on the black market into a spin, ask your guide for permission to exit the safari vehicle before you decide it’s your right to hop on out whenever and wherever. Remember that you’re a guest on the animals’ land, and just like being a guest in another human’s house, it’s discourteous to burst in creating quite the scene.

2. Don’t dress like you’re going to a teenybopper party in flip-flops

The scrubland heat may encourage stripping off to next to nothing, but don’t; creepy crawlies are aplenty on safari, and venomous snakes and scorpions tend to take a liking to exposed feet.

3. Don’t be stubborn with your camera

While hippos look like big friendly giants, and lions like teddy-bears with their fluffy manes, no wild animal – no, not even docile-seeming elephants – are placid. The trick to not becoming a wild animal’s lunch is to avoid standing in their way. In other words, snap and move on; there’s no time for dillydallying.

4. Don’t leap into rivers and lakes

Hippos – the most dangerous of all big animals – feed on riverbanks, so be sure to scope out the joint before making a break for the water. Plus, crocodiles also linger in and around lakes and rivers, and they’re not shy when it comes to attacking either.

5. Don’t frolic in the dark

When the heat simmers down in the evening, setting off on a stroll may seem particularly appetizing, but beware: animals have stellar night vision, and they can spot you – potential prey – long before you even sense them. The best solution is not to go walkabouts in the dark, but if you simply can’t resist, use a flashlight.

6. Don’t speak like continents lie between you and your neighbor

For the sake of sheer pleasure, don’t speak loudly on safari; raised voices spook animals, in turn sending them off into the distance before you can even say cheese. And there’s nothing worse than returning home with a camera full of animal-less safari pictures. Instead of racing around like a headless chicken to check off the next animal on your list, slow down and you’ll be sure to have richer experiences.

7. Engage your inner flight attendant, and plan your exit point

Game rangers always make sure they have an exit route, and you should too; animals don’t pity a scared human face, so it’s best to simply leave before things get messy. It’s important not to stress out about safety – scrubland animals are not all blood-hungry man-eaters by any means – but it is crucial to always be vigilant of your surroundings.

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