Safari Safety Tips for Beginners

safari©kBandara/Flickr

A wildlife safari is certainly a once in a lifetime experience that will result in many stories to tell your friends and enough pictures to fill several albums, but it is equally important to acknowledge the risks of such endeavour. People are sometimes so used with visiting zoos and watching wildlife documentaries that they tend to forget the dangers of adventuring into the wild. The following safari safety tips for beginners are meant to help you plan a nice and safe African adventure:

Animal attacks

hippo ©marjoleinknuit/Flickr

Life in the jungle of the savannah is radically different from life in the city, and it is very important not to underestimate the wild animals and their power. Crocodiles, hippos, leopards and often elephants are among the most dangerous animals in Africa, but even they are afraid of humans and will not attack unless they feel threatened. So remember that it is not worth risking your life for the sake of a better pic.

But it’s hardly the case with safaris, cause in most cases you’ll have you own guide and will be kindly ask not to leave the car. This is for your own safety, as many of the deaths and mauling cases were caused by people leaving their cars and adventuring into the wild by themselves.  Some of the guides might carry guns, but this is just a safety measure, as they are betting on the noise made by a firearm rather than trying to kill them.  A walking safari or an overnight stay in the wild can be a whole new experience, so it is always recommended to have an experienced guide with you and never leave the camp by yourself, especially at night.

Other dangers

wild giraffes ©Joanne Goldby/Flickr

People might believe that the biggest danger in a safari is a hungry lion wanting to get them, but this is hardly the case. There are many other more imminent dangers and common mistakes that people make, as, for example, standing or leaning over too much while the car is running. Malaria and mosquitoes are a constant menace in African countries, so try to get vaccination before you go and carry mosquito nets and repellents. Also, it can get very hot in Africa during the dry season, in which case dehydration and sunburns can ruin your trip: try to carry enough bottled water and always wear sunscreen and something to cover your head. Have sturdy boots and light, comfortable clothes.

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