I've had the pleasure of experiencing various safaris in my adventure travel career and thought I'd share my insight on what you should remember and keep an eye out for while on a safari + tips to help you prepare:
- It’s important to maintain an open mind and be flexible as you are travelling to a part of the world that is very different from North America.
- Sometimes you will see a lot on your safari drive and at other times the ride will take longer than expected.
- Stay safe – obey the rules and instructions from your safari guide. Stay in your vehicle at all times unless instructed otherwise by your safari guide.
- Animals are often camouflaged very well and sometimes difficult to see so keep your hands and camera inside the vehicle at all times.
- Your safari guide is an expert and very knowledgeable so don’t be afraid to ask questions while you are on safari. The more questions you ask the more you will learn about animals and their behaviour. Don’t be afraid to ask your guide to stop the vehicle so you can take your photos, safari guides are there to give you the best safari experience!
- You will have free time between game drives while you are staying at the lodges so bring a good book, journal and swimsuit for the breaks between game drives.
- Drink bottled water. You are safe drinking bottled water which is always available in camps/lodges. Carry a bottle of water at all times including the time you transfer between camps/lodges. The African sun is hot during the middle of the day so it’s important to keep hydrated.
- The game reserves can be extremely dusty so contact wearers should be sure to bring eye drops and a back up pair of glasses in case of irritation.
- Beware of cream filled deserts in the buffet. They can look delicious but they may have been sitting there for some time and could result in nasty stomach problems. Salads at the lodges/camps are fine as is ice in your drinks as most lodges purify the water. If in question, please ask your safari guide or the lodge staff.
- Keep in mind mosquitoes come out during the dawn and dusk period, as the air cools. Rarely are mosquitoes around during the day as it’s too hot for them. Make sure you wear long pants and apply Mosquito repellent first thing in the morning and again in the evenings. If you get bitten by a mosquito don’t panic – most mosquito bites are harmless. Do your best to minimize bites by wearing mosquito repellent and cover your ankles at night with long pants or socks (as well as repellent). If you do get bitten Benedryl itch sticks are the best in getting rid of the itch.
- When travelling to developing countries it is more likely that you will experience some kind of stomach illness. It is recommended you bring your own personal first aid kit. It should contain a broad spectrum antibiotic as well as band aids, antiseptic cream or wipes, instant ice packs, tweezers, sterile gauze pads, scissors, thermometer, gastrolyte solution & disposable non latex gloves.
- Almost all hotels/lodges and camps have safes in the rooms. Use them to store extra cash, credit cards and your passport.
- Be prepared for cold and hot temperatures as it is much cooler in the early morning so dressing in layers is important.
- When you are travelling on safari you will be driving on some gravel and sand roads so prepare for the ride with a soft inflatable cushion and be sure to take Voltaren or a similar solution if you develop stiff/sore muscles.
- Lastly, remember the phrase – Hakuna Matata. It’s a Swahili phrase from Tanzania which roughly translated means – “no worries”.
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