Planning a trip to Africa with eager to explore Africa’s culture, beautiful wilderness and wildlife, you need to ensure better selection, of where to stay and things to see and do during trips. Then you need to pride yourself with an experienced operator. Yes safaris are aimed at improving the safety of travelers. Whether you’re visiting less known destinations or most popular ones. Keep in mind that even though most of the countries in East, Central and Southern African including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Namibia are safe and secure, visitors must take certain standards safety measures. Remember that you’re in an African environment of cultures and laws different from those in your home country. It is always a good idea to look for latest travel advisories regarding prevailing situation which may affect your travel such as healthy risks.
1. Make photocopies of all your travel documents
You should always have separate copies of identification documents during all your trips. From a safety standpoint, you should be able to identify yourself during travel with copies of passport, travel insurance or itinerary. These documents are required upon arrival as well as when entering wildlife reserves and national parks for wildlife viewing. But pay close attention if you’re self driving, traffic laws also require you to have international or national driving permits.
2. Hire a guide
Guided safaris are more exciting as guides narrate all sorts of myth and facts about wildlife and local cultures. Safari guides at most of wildlife national parks or lodgings have basic rules and regulations that they follow and take. Be respectful and listen because even in national parks with plentiful of wildlife, you have to wait for a guide to identify or find an animal.
For instance, doing a walking safari with a ranger you know you’re safe especially if you’re doing active adventure activities such as game drives, bird watching or primate tracking. Also consider factors like knowledge of wildlife encounters and the rest that encompass trip experience including transfer preparations, fun and entertaining stories with other visitors.
Visitors need to know the requirements for guiding services which are different in safari destinations. For instance in East Africa, game drive vehicles take limited number of people. You can be helped to select a quality guide to add an experience to your trip as you enjoy fun with other visitors. Most importantly for enthusiastic travelers, it is possible to hire a private guide for your special interests and desires such as photo safari or wildlife research tours.
If you never want to be rushed along by other visitors you traveled with, and then consider joining a solo trip. This is a selective way of being with people who share your interests.
3. Wear protective gears
As you will be spending much of your travel time in the wilderness, you need to protect your body from harmful insect bites. Wear long sleeved shirts, boots and long pants whenever you go for nature walks or game drives. Generally weather is sunny and warm but nights and evenings tend to get extremely. Pack clothing and equipment that suit vegetation, landscape or weather your trip is headed for. Wear something that blends with environment, you’re not likely to be seen by wildlife than if you wore shouting colors.
Often times in East Africa, even during rainy season, hot sun can be experienced. So you know sunscreen and hat are necessary. When it is a wet season, think of wearing layers as well as rain jacket, sweaters and waterproof bags.
4. Health safety
Before you visit Africa, make sure to get vaccinated against diseases that are rampant in most safari destinations. You need a yellow fever card to enter in one of the countries in East or central Africa.
When visiting Africa cities, you’re lucky most have standard health facilities where you can easily pop in for medication. However, in most rural areas you may find basic health care, so you have got to carry all your medical prescriptions and supplies while traveling.
Malaria infections are common in tropical east and central Africa. Although there are malaria free destinations in southern Africa, you need to prevent against malaria. As you are ready to hit the African wilderness, better prevent malaria by taking ant-malaria medication before your safari. Carry mosquito repellant whenever go out for a game drive or hike.
Another major concern for your health is to avoid tapped water. It is not suitable for drinking as it contains germs causing typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea and running stomach. Visit your doctor to be sure you are up travel with necessary medications and you’ll be safe.
Even though most road side food is not healthy, there are organic foods offered by various cultural villages. Consider visiting one for cultural adventure or if you’re driving long journeys, take packed food with you.
5. Stay inside the vehicle
You’re always briefed by guides especially when going for nature walks or game drives. You don’t have to stand up or get out of the vehicle to get a closer shot of animals. Except when with a ranger, visitors are often moved out for bush breakfast or sundowners at designated stopovers while game viewing. This is to keep you safe from animal attacks and also avoid wildlife disturbance especially with animal encounters during guided drives.
Most game drives are conducted with open air or roof topped safari vehicles which wild animals are used to. No wonder that leopards or tree climbing lions are spotted in trees as the vehicle sits under and they never jump into. That’s why visitors are not allowed to move separately from the vehicle for good shots. There’s no danger while in the vehicle with windows up. However, you might encounter angry animals which might even come to your vehicles. so you must keep yourself inside all the time and that isn’t something to scare from going on a safari.
6. Do not swim in Rivers and Lakes
Avoid swimming in rivers and lakes as there are crocodiles, hippos which can kill you. In addition, you could get infections like bilharzias just by stepping in water.
7. Follow the national park rules
In some wildlife national parks, self guided safaris offer a great experience while in others is not optional. However, when you’re alone avoid disturbing wildlife by moving out of your vehicle, mimicking voices or shouting. Failure to take hide and being charged at by animals is the worst experience. Even if you’re to do self drive, have a guide for your safety. You also learn about wildlife than just seeing.
Some travelers have a preference for a camping safari to sleep out in the open amidst wildlife. Safety during camping is paramount, don’t store food or move out unless if you call a ranger. Some animals like hyenas, warthogs, bush pigs like to wonder around your tents. You’ll tell by the foot print next morning.