Many of us dream of going on safari at least once in our lives. To see the exotic landscape and get up close and personal with beautiful and majestic animals really is the experience of a lifetime.
South Africa is a great destination to choose for all of this, and if you want to make the most of it, these tips will help you to maximise the magic.
Things to Keep in Mind for a South African Safari
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Take a Good Camera
You’ll always want to look back on the memories of your South African safari. And this means taking a good camera with you, so you can get high quality shots of all of the wildlife that you see on your trip!
If you only have a camera phone with you, it may not be worthwhile to try to take pictures – the zoom won’t be good enough and you may miss everything happening in front of you because you are too busy trying to line up the photograph.
Try to strike a balance: take a couple of photographs, then put the camera down and admire what is in front of your eyes. Or you can take this a step further and invest in an action camera such as a GoPro which you can attach to your head and let it film everything you see without missing a thing.
The number one thing on safari is to always follow the advice and instructions of your guide. If they say it isn’t safe to do something, then it isn’t – don’t disregard them, because they are the experts on what can happen out in the wild.
You’re not in a zoo, you’re in the wild. You should also follow basic travel safety tips, such as leaving money and jewellery behind in the safe in your hotel room before venturing out. Just bring with you as much as you need for the day, and leave other valuables behind. And never turn your back on a wild animal to take a selfie.
Mind the Weather
Make sure that you pay attention to the weather forecast each day! It can be very hot in South Africa, and very dusty at times too, so be sure to prepare accordingly.
Dress according to the predicted temperatures and always bring hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect you. If you wear contact lenses, bring eye drops to clear away the dust!
You don’t want to spoil your day on safari by not having the right protections to deal with the day’s weather. Bring bottled water too so that you can stay hydrated.
Know the Culture
There are lots of cultural things to watch out for, so be aware! For example, you should know that tipping is not essential, but it is customary.
You can tip your guide personally, and most lodges will have a tip box which allows you to reward the cleaners and other staff that you do not personally meet during your stay. You should only leave a tip if you are satisfied with the service, and the more satisfied you are, the larger the tip should be.
Finally, you may visit smaller villages or see areas where the less fortunate live, and this is a great opportunity to really give something back.
Many people think about bringing gifts from home, but these may not be appropriate. Instead, wait until you are on site, and bring a little extra money with you to cover donations to charities in the area. You can then see your donations being put to use right in front of you, which is much more satisfying.
These tips will help with the practical side of things, but the magic of the safari happens all by itself. When that first exotic animal appears right in front of you, you won’t believe how lucky you are.
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