If you’ve never been on Safari in Africa before you’re in for a real treat when you do! To make sure you get the most out of your Safari, here are a few tips that will help make it a really memorable experience:

  • If you are driving yourself, like you can in The Kruger National Park for example, drive slowly and keep your windows open. The sounds and smells are as much a part of the experience as seeing wildlife. Just stay in your vehicle unless you’re at a designated spot where you can get out.
  • Drive slowly, around 25km/h is much more conducive to spotting animals than at the recommended speed limits.
  • Stop often at waterholes and view points, switch your engine off and listen. Take out your binoculars and scan the scene in front of you, you’ll be amazed at how often just sitting still you’ll see or hear animals as they move that you would have missed if you had just rushed off. Do you see the cheetahs in the picture below?
Well Camouflaged Cheetahs

Well Camouflaged Cheetahs

We only spotted them after sitting still for about 10 minutes and scanning with binoculars. After a while our patience was rewarded as a herd of impala came closer and the cheetah made an attempt at hunting them. Unfortunately their attempts were unsuccessful.

Cheetah Getting Ready To Hunt

Cheetah Getting Ready To Hunt

  • Get up early and into the bush as soon as you are allowed! Sleep or relax in the midday heat and go back out until as late as allowed in the evening. Most of the animals follow a similar routine, so if you are there to see wildlife why wouldn’t you match their activities. Of course there are exceptions to every rule and you could get lucky in the middle of the day, so if you can handle the whole day out in the bush then do it.
  • Related to the last point, if there is an option for a night drive, do it! Most of the big predators are nocturnal and so are many of the smaller ones. You will have a totally different experience in the bush after dark to that which you would during the day.
During a night drive in Kruger National Park we found a Lioness shortly before going out to hunt.

During a night drive in Kruger National Park we found a Lioness shortly before going out to hunt.

Genets are one of the animals you are quite likely to see at night but very unlikely to see during the day

Genets are one of the animals you are quite likely to see at night but very unlikely to see during the day

  • Speak to other visitors and park staff when you get a chance, ask them what they have seen where and how long ago; people are generally only too happy to share if they have seen anything you may be interested in.
  • Lose the big five mentality, there is so much to see in the bush and it is unpredictable. Go with an open mind and you’ll enjoy whatever sightings you do have instead of being disappointed you didn’t check certain animals off your list.
  • Make sure you have a pair of binoculars for every person in the vehicle, you will use them often and constantly adjusting them to suit your eyes gets old very quickly!
  • If you are visiting in the dry season plan your routes around rivers and waterholes, the bush gets very dry and the animals won’t be too far from a source of permanent water. You might even find elephants digging for water in dry river beds.
Elephants Digging for Water in the Dry Shingwedzi River, Kruger National Park

Elephants Digging for Water in the Dry Shingwedzi River, Kruger National Park

  • Pay it forward, if you see something worthwhile share it with other visitors who might otherwise have missed out.

If you have any other tips for making your trips to the bush more enjoyable I’d love to hear about them, let me know in the comments.

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