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Top Game Drive Tips for an African Safari



Going on a game drive in southern Africa is the equivalent of visiting the Vatican City in Rome – a no-brainer.  A game drive can be the experience of lifetime – it’s a truly special moment when you first see an animal in its natural habitat, especially one as magnificent as the lion or elephant. But just like you wouldn’t walk around the Vatican yelling out artists’ names, there are a few things you shouldn’t do on a game drive.

We like to call it Safari Etiquette – the best way to make the most of your game drive.

Here are our top 5 game drive tips:

1.  Keep Your Arms and Legs in the Vehicle at All Times

This one seems obvious, but don’t get out of the vehicle unless you’re instructed it is safe to do so. The Lion King misled us all, don’t be fooled by cuteness. The animals you will be seeing are still wild animals. 

2. Silence is Golden

There is nothing more incredible than the first moment you spot one of the Big Five in the wild. But restrained excitement is key here. When you sight an animal, spend a few moments in silence enjoying the moment. Talking loudly can disturb the animals and tranquility of a safari trip. You will be in their space and it’s important to respect that.

3. Don’t Forget Binoculars

Don’t expect to see every animal at close range. Binoculars are key to enjoying your game drive. There is no guarantee that you will see wildlife close up and you don’t want to miss an incredible sighting because you can’t see that far. You really don’t want to be looking at one of the Big Five through the zoomed-in lens of a smartphone camera. We recommend one pair per person so that you don’t have to worry about changing sizes or settings.

4. Don’t Expect Amazing Toilets

Going on safari means that when nature calls you might actually have to go in nature. Your guide should stop for regular comfort breaks but don’t expect a pristine toilet in the middle of the bush. Ladies, remember to pack tissues, a small bag for disposal and a hand sanitizer. We recommend going to the bathroom just before your game drive starts. Don’t dehydrate trying to avoid a full bladder though, going in the bush is really not that bad!

5. Forget the Khaki

The prospect of buying a new ‘safari wardrobe’ seems exciting but to be the bearer of bad news, there’s no need to break the bank kitting yourself out in head-to-toe khaki. If you’re on a game drive, the vehicle you’ll be driving around in will detract from any attempts at being inconspicuous. Neutral clothing is best, but place more emphasis on wearing clothes that are practical and comfortable. For a full safari packing list, have a look at our post on what to wear on safari. 

In search of more advice?

Read our top pieces of advice for visiting Africa here.

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