10 Things You Need To Know Before You Go On Safari In South Africa
Let’s cut straight to the chase, going on safari is an exciting experience and one that is bound to leave you with renewed appreciation of nature and wildlife. This is one of the most unfiltered ways to experience animals in the natural habitat and is an experience that comes very much recommended by us. Now, when you do go on safari, you’ll have some of the essential stuff covered (how to make sure your behaviour doesn’t impact on the animals, how to stay safe… etc) but there are a few other things that aren’t usually covered and are worth knowing before you head out on safari. Here are 10 of them!
1. There’s a big difference between visiting a private game reserve and going into the public ones. The difference isn’t to do with luxury either (though that can be a perk of some of the private ones), the difference is due to the fact that the private ones can go off-road when you’re on safari which the public ones (e.g. Kruger National Park) doesn’t allow. This means if the animal you’re looking at is far away in the bushes, only the private ones give you the chance to go closer to them for a better view.
2. The most dangerous animal of the safari big 5 animals (Lions, Leopard, Elephants, Buffalo and Rhinos) is the buffalo. They have that herd mentality, are fiercely protective and will attack together if threatened. (Buffalo have been known to even gore Lions!).
3. When you spot any animals, it’s important to remain quiet so as not to spook or provoke them. Also, no random arm flailing or sticking things outside of the jeep.
4. You will most likely have to wake up everyday around 5am. Safari rides start in the morning around 6am and again around 4.30pm in the evening as some of the main animals you’ll wanna aren’t as active when it’s too hot so go mentally prepare for early starts.
5. Speaking of early starts, have a coffee before each ride. Those bumpy roads and cool breeze can sometimes rock you to sleep only to be awoken by the slap of a tree branch that you would have dodged if you were awake.
6. Safaris don’t always have to be expensive. There are a whole range of options to suit many price brackets. You’ll be surprised what you find when you start looking.
7. Find out before you go what the availability of animals is like in the national park you’ll be visiting. You definitely want to visit a place where you get to see the Big 5 – amongst others.
8. Malaria isn’t a major problem in South Africa but do remember to take your anti-malaria medicines just in case along with insect repellant containing DEET (definitely don’t forget the DEET part).
9. If you’re visiting Kruger National Park, there are actually quite a few airports you can fly into. This means you can either fly from Johannesburg or Cape Town which are arguably the two busiest cities in South Africa.