Going on a safari tour can be exciting, as experiencing the wildlife in its natural habitat is an experience of a lifetime. While all safaris are extremely well organized, thanks to the nature of the tour, it is important that you are also completely prepared for such tours to avoid some rookie mistakes. This can include trivial lapses like wearing the wrong outfit. Let’s look at some common mistakes to avoid when booking a safari:
Not all lodges and reserves are the same; each lodge offers a different experience. You should book the most suitable package, depending on the kind of experience you want and the wildlife you want to experience, at a distance, of course. On some safaris, you can walk to reach different regions, but on other tours, you may not be allowed to step out of your jeep. So the package you book should offer the experience you are looking for while meeting your requirements and budget. Most of these tours get booked months or even years in advance, so thorough research and planning is definitely a key step. The packages can be expensive, so make sure you set aside a reasonable budget for the safari tour.
Packing the wrong colors
Yes, selecting the right colored clothes is important when booking a safari. It has nothing to do with fashion, as when in the wild, you should be able to blend into your surroundings rather than stand out in bright clothes. This can easily startle the animals. You will be asked not to wear blue or black on game drives, as the colors can attract tsetse flies and other insects. Neutral colors like beige or green and their different shades are considered the safest. White may seem like a neutral color in other settings, but not on a safari. So make sure to look up acceptable colors before you leave for the trip.
Not looking up the local culture
A lot of the reserves and lodges are built on land home to different tribes and other locals, and often you will get the chance to visit villages or interact with them. It is extremely important to be respectful toward not just the local community but even the staff serving you at the lodge. Being in a new place with new people can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with customs unique to you, but the key to an enjoyable trip is to stay open-minded, unbiased, and non-judgemental.
Choosing inappropriate clothing
When you think of safari, do you think of the hot, dry climate, driving around the reserve in an open jeep? Well, yes, that is true. But the warm day quickly turns into a cold, crisp evening on a safari. So, not packing the right clothes for safari tours can be a rookie mistake. Pack the right clothes for the game drives and social evenings that you may be spending with your tent neighbors or other guests. Take into account the weather and comfort while packing. Adapting to the weather at the destination becomes much easier with the right clothes and gear.
Having unrealistic expectations
This may be counterintuitive to how you plan your safari trip, but here’s the truth, you are entering a region that is unpredictable. So keeping low expectations when it comes to animal spotting can keep you grounded and avoid disappointment. This is the wild turf, and while expecting wild animals at every turn is natural, it is not guaranteed. Sure, there are some tours that align with the migration schedule of certain animals. You might be able to book lodges where elephants or giraffes can be spotted, but this is largely animal behavior, which can be unpredictable at the end of the day. There are some tricks to spotting the Big Five, so if you follow the tour guide’s instructions, you may be able to witness something magical.
Not listening to the guide
Guides know the lay of the land at the back of their hand and can easily spot if something is wrong. They have also been trained to conduct tours in the wild—a job carrying a certain amount of risk. Considering the training and experience the guides have, it is only right to listen carefully and follow their instructions on the safari. They have been trained to tackle unpredictable situations, so all you have to do is follow the instructions to a T. Paying attention to the guide can help you ensure you have fun without getting into trouble. Those who do not follow protocols in the wild are not only a threat to themselves but also to the rest of the group.
Seems like a trivial issue, but considering you will be out in an open vehicle, under the scorching sun for a few hours of the day, you should protect your skin. So, apply a lot of sunscreen and also carry the tube with you for reapplication. A bug repellent can also come in handy on a safari tour.
You can always speak to the safari staff while booking the package to learn about other important information. Some research can also help you prepare well, remember the essentials, and avoid making mistakes.