Silly mistakes to avoid on African Safari.
Am going for an African Safari, those are wishful words to many people. Sometimes it takes a lifetime of savings to actualize this dream. With that said, these silly mistakes to avoid on African Safari are a major subject before you press that confirmation button.
When you are about to break your bank to get something, a product, or service you ought to be at least sensitive in every detail in handling it. Before we go on, this post aligns well with my preview, If you missed it, here you go. 13 Silly mistakes to avoid when booking a Hotel.
An African safari is not different and these fine details tourist overlook can make or break your Safari.
You can learn through my experience. I have made some of the Safari mistakes before. I learned out of my mistakes and sworn never to repeat them.
This is why am here so that you learn and correct these silly mistakes to avoid on African Safari. Without much ado, let`s dive in.
1.) Tour Vehicle.
African roads are not that smooth and may offer you what we call African massage and this calls for a good vehicle.
Please confirm with your Tour Agent if your vehicle has good suspension, if possible, a 4WD, some tour Vans have but if you can afford a Jeep then the better.
Am not suggesting you disregard tour Vans, so long as they have good suspension and the weather is favourable then you can use a tour Van but it is always better in a Jeep.
Many tourists may decide on a saloon car but trust me, it is never worth the hustle. As much as you may use your personal vehicles with higher ground clearance. It will never match a tour Vehicle with a Pop-up Roof.
2.) Clothes – mistakes to avoid on African Safari.
Wear the right Safari wear, avoid bright colours instead do neutral colours like brown, cream khaki, or camouflage like clothes.
Wearing some colours like blue will attract insects like Tsetse flies which causes sleeping sickness popularly known as Trypanosomiasis. While wearing black in a scorching sun you know how it goes. On the other hand, bright colours will scare wild animals.
I know the goal to go for a Safari is to see all the wildlife you see in pictures and Natgeo more so the Big five.
Spoiler Alert: You can do a full day or even an entire Safari without seeing all the big Five. While someone else, can do a one-game drive and spot all the Big Five.
So, it depends don`t expect every day to be great too or guaranteed to see the Big Five for the sake of a Sale. These are some of the mistakes to avoid on Africa Safari, don`t have high expectations.
4.) Guides Directives.
Sometimes we may be tempted to disregard guides directives or just shun what they are telling us to do.
Get this right, when a Neuro Surgeon is operating on you. You don`t start arguing but follow their directives.
So, is the same thing to the guides, they are the expert on that particular field, just follow what they tell you the end goal is for you to have the best experience and every directive is always for your own good.
This is the hub of mistakes to avoid on African Safari. If you book the wrong accommodation facility, remember it is you who will sleep on that particular Camp or Lodge.
Don`t let all the work to your Tour Company, do your research on your own. Will you be comfortable in your hotel?
Do you need to upgrade or you contend where you have booked? Most accommodation will depend on the price. The accommodation levels are divided into 3.
Budget Accommodation: Just like the name suggests this is the lowest level if you`re on a budget.
Mid- Range Accommodation: This is a comfortable level between Budget and Luxury. Most opt for this Level.
Luxury: If you like comfort then this is the level of accommodation. It may be pricy but the comfort you will get is always unparalleled.
One of the mistakes to avoid on African Safari is to always prioritize your camera or making the camera come first even before you.
I know it is important to capture those indelible moments but there is a way, you can be always on camera and fail to enjoy the wildlife viewing.
This happens a lot. I have been there, funnily you never notice then because of the excitement and all but once back in your camp or Lodge.
Once you view the pictures you realize you didn`t even enjoy it as much. Try to balance photography and wildlife viewing.
7.) Petting Animals.
I know you have your coveted pets back at home but please note you`re now in the wild. Just because you call your dog by name to come to you doesn`t mean when you see an Elephant the same analogy applies.
In fact, you should be mute when near any wildlife. Contain your excitement and let your eyes and camera feast on your catch.
Before you decide where to go for your Safari, which tour company you will use, which hotels you will use and what flights to book.
Please do due diligence, maximize your research. Check all the places you are booking are legit and whether they offer good service.
Approach several tour Operators 3 to 4 companies and pay attention to the details of your Safari Package. Many tourists are wowed by the prices but at the end of the day end up paying more. Let price be the last factor in making you choose a particular establishment.
9.) Don’t touch the Animals.
No matter how close the animals maybe, just never try to stretch your hand and touch them. You should always stay at a corona distance.
However, there are situations whereby, for example, cheetahs would climb on your Tour Vehicles. Since they like elevated areas for Hunting.
Yes, you will be lucky but don’t be tempted to touch them however, don`t show fear. Stay calm and enjoy your adrenaline rush as you wait to trend the whole week.
10.) Game Drives.
This is one of the mistakes to avoid on African Safari especially when booking with your Tour Agent. This is what your game drive should be like.
Day of arrival, you are supposed to do an Evening Game Drive, this comes after lunch because arrival time in most of the African Parks is outside town apart from Nairobi National Park which is within the City.
2nd Day, you should do a pre-morning game drive, depart from your camp or Lodge at 6:00 AM before breakfast. Some Camps and Lodges offer coffee and Biscuits to keep you through the morning drive. This lasts for two hours and it is the drive you will see most of the animals.
So, at 8:00 AM when they are waking up, you will be back for breakfast and leave again latest 9:00 AM for a full day game drive with a Packed lunch option.
However, you can still opt for coming back for lunch then back even though during this time you will rarely spot any major animals since they are mostly asleep in thick bushes.
The 3rd game drive in a day is the evening one, where you are likely to spot more animals since this is the time most start their day.
Get the right vaccines to be safe, from the Malaria, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Cholera, Rabies, Influenza, Yellow Fever certificate and now, the COVID 19 Certificate done 96 hours prior arrival. Read more about Kenya Entry Requirements.
12.) Have Cash.
Convert your Money to your destination Country currency, for example, if you are flying to Kenya. Exchange your Money to Kenya Shillings at the Nairobi centre. Avoid exchanging at the Airport, Hotels, and banks since the rates are always higher than in local bureaus.
You will need to Part with around $20 Per Day for the Tip of the guide and many other tipping areas, so this is one of the mistakes to avoid on African Safari, to lack money on you. You can read more about how we tip in Kenya.
13.) Pack Light.
Of all the mistakes to avoid on African Safari, packing has been rampant. You may think someone is moving to Africa for life. Do you know the more you pack the less you will use those clothes?
Take the clothes you pack, divide them in half but add the money twice. I did a post dedicated to what to pack for an African Safari.
When you pack heavy it will be a struggle and a hustle to move around with all the suitcases, bags, and unnecessary charges on flights when you exceed 15kgs.
14.) Use Local Tour Operators.
Trust issues may prompt you to book with international tour Companies but did you know those big companies outsource local Tour Companies?
First Off, your package will be expensive since they will have to make a profit then pay the local Operator. Why can`t you just book directly with certified Local Operators? It will not only be affordable, authentic but also that feeling of a personalized touch.
15.) Choose Realistic Itinerary.
I know you want to explore as many destinations as possible but would you rather spend your precious time on the road transiting one park to another or use the same time to track your wildlife in two nearby parks?
Yes, unless you want to do it and can afford an air Safari, then you can jungle within all the National Parks at a go.
16.) Be Nice.
One of the surest things to human beings is calling them by their name. It breeds trust and creates instant friendship.
Learn to call your guide by name, not “Ndere wewe” (You Driver). Just master their name and you will be able to see the difference.
Not only when on a Safari, even back home and your daily life, learn to call people by name no matter the social class. Make it a habit.
17.) Don`t get out of the Vehicle.
One of the most lethal mistakes to avoid on the African Safari is to get out of the Vehicles. Unless you`re on a suicide mission. You should never get out of your tour vehicles.
If you happen to be pressed, inform your Guide, they know places that are safe for you to alight. They can even drive you to a nearby, Lodge or Camp to relieve yourself.
As for the packed lunch, there are picnics, places set inside the pack whereby you can roam but I still advise never to go far from the Vehicle and always be vigilant you`re in the wild, anything can happen.
Don`t Litter, please leave only your footprints just like the animals do. Once you have those packed lunches in a picnic. After taking your delectable lunch. Collect all the rubbish and leave the place cleaner than you found it.
19.) Trying to cut Corners.
You might be tempted to cut corners to save money. This mostly will lead you to more harm than good.
You may end up booking a fraud masquerading as a tour company, simply because they gave you an irresistible deal or get that genuine tour company with such deals only to get half barked experiences. The service is compromised to level your “Budget”.
The least you can do is to do a bad review but your experience is gone forever just because you wanted to save a few coins.
20.) Veer Off-Road.
Don`t do game drives off-road, this will hurt the animal habitat, your guide should follow the set pathways.
The only place I saw getting off Road is on private conservancies of which I believe they know better, whereby you can still do night game drives.
According to KWs, you should not do Night game drives as the parks close by 6:00 PM and Open at 6:00 AM.
That also states you should never drive off the park’s tracks or feed the animals.
21.) Speeding in the Park.
You`re not in a competition with anyone, must you see your guide speeding you should caution them to slow down.
They can be tempted to if they receive a radio call of a certain kill or a major animal. Nothing should influence them to speed inside the park for the sake of your safety and wildlife.
22.) Eco Friendly.
Embrace eco-friendly facilities, this is one of the mistakes to avoid on African Safari if at all you care about the environment.
Kenya banned plastic bottles inside the park and even before they did you as a person should have abolished plastic a long time ago.
Your tour company will provide water in an eco-friendly facility like recyclable water bottles but if possible, get this GRAYL GeoPress Water Purifier Bottle with Filter Cartridge. Every frequent traveller should have it.
You don`t have to boil water, you can just refill water in any available Spigot and the filter cartridge will filter all the bacteria, germs, and dirt available to make it safe drinking water.
23.) Click Courtesy.
This is more than one of the mistakes to avoid on African Safari but rather a moral value.
Yes, you`re on Safari, probably your index finger is already burning out because of pressing that camera but when it comes to people, please pause!
These are fellow humans, the least you can do is ask for permission to take your photos.
Some will say a blunt cold No, while others will accept for free while others at a fee. But in which case it is only courteous to tip them.
24.) Travel Insurance.
Are you willing to risk going without travel insurance? Especially with the pandemic on the line? It is highly recommended to take your insurance.
Nomads have dedicated travel insurance and they are ideal for all your travel insurance needs. They are dedicated to that.