GAME VIEWING ACTIVITIES
It is important to remember that the animals you will be viewing are wild and the fact that you are able in many cases to get relatively close when in vehicles / boats is NOT because the animals are tame but rather that they have, over time, become accustomed to and relaxed with the presence of the vehicles, NOT humans!!
Because most animals see only in black & white (not colour), they lack the ability to see detail but are very good at discerning shape and movement. Although they will detect your movements, noises and even smells when in the vehicles, they fail to RECOGNISE that you are human and do not therefore run away or attack. By exposing / isolating yourself from the vehicle by standing up or getting out for example, the animals RECOGNISE your upright stance and because humans are a natural enemy, they will either run away OR, at close quarters, attack as they will feel immediately threatened.
*NOTE: There are a number of places in Africa that now offer ‘interactive experiences’ with semi-habituated animals such as elephant, lion, cheetah, rhino, giraffe and zebra. Complacency is a problem on these excursions and it should be remembered that these animals, having lost their fear of humans, are actually more dangerous than their wild counterparts and they should be respected at all times.
These vital facts are OFTEN NOT communicated by guides and it is imperative therefore that the following guidelines be adhered to for a safe and enjoyable safari experience:
1) Game drives:
- Do not stand up on the car or boat at any time and definitely DO NOT climb on the roof! Animals recognize you when standing or breaking the outline of the vehicle in any way and you not only endanger yourself but every other person on the vehicle.
- Do not dangle arms and legs out of the vehicle, especially when in a sighting with animals.
- Do not call to or try to attract or alter the natural behaviour of animals in any way for the sake of a photograph.
- Do not smoke tobacco of any kind when in a safari vehicle – not only is it a major fire hazard but it affects the natural behaviour of animals and is also inconsiderate to other safari-goers.
- Keep noise to a minimum as it disturbs animals and other safari-goers and it generally wrecks the wilderness experience. Noise travels a great distance through the wilderness and on the water.
- Try not to eat or drink anything other than water on the vehicle. Foodstuffs and sweet or alcoholic beverages attract stinging insects and soil the vehicle and can also create a litter problem.
- Do not litter
- Do not feed the animals in any way
- Watch out for overhanging branches that can seriously injure you.
- Secure your valuable items in seat pockets or around your neck to prevent it falling to the floor or off the vehicle.
2) Boat rides:
- Do not stand up
- Do not shift the weight distribution as this can capsize the boat
- Do not dangle arms and legs over the side
- Do not throw anything into the water
- Do not call to or try to attract or alter the natural behaviour of animals.
- If you end up in the water, remain calm and swim slowly as a group to the nearest bank.
3) Walking safaris:
- Do not run under any circumstances – even if being attacked. Running evokes a chase and you will be pulled down, mauled or trampled.
- Always walk in single file at an arms length from each other.
- Communicate with hand signals, whistles and whispers
- Do not smoke or eat, only drink water
- Follow and respect the guide’s instructions.
- Do not use flash photography and ideally switch camera sounds off.
4) General viewing protocols:
- Share animal sightings and views – everyone has an equal right to see the animals.
- Do not block anyone else’s view
- Protest your camera equipment from dust – it causes malfunction
- Do not bait or feed animals for photographs.
- Photograph only at guides instruction
- Do not use flash photography when animals are close to vehicle
- Keep shirts on when game viewing – especially in sightings
- Do not call the animals in any way
PEOPLE & PLACES
- Always ask permission before taking photographs of a person, their home or belongs / crafts
- Don’t photograph Governments buildings or Airports
- Don’t photograph Government officials or their vehicles
- Use water sparingly – take short showers wherever possible rather than a bath
- Report leaking taps and toilets
- Limit laundry requirements
- Limit the use of plastic bottled water – try to user bigger bottles instead of a number of smaller ones
- Choose glass rather than plastic water bottles
- Switch lights off when not in the room
- Do not litter
- Smoke responsibly – do not throw cigarette butts away, always discard in an ashtray or other receptacle
- Use repellants sparingly – do not use on grass or walks
- Do not flush foreign objects down toilet
- Do not pour chemicals down drains - it kills natural bacteria
- Off-road driving should not be done on wet ground
- Do not encroach on the private space of animals