Safaris are supposed to be exciting and a once in a lifetime experience. You get to blend in with wildlife for a few hours every day and observe the biggest animals in the world up close. While safaris provide several activities other than jeep riding, there are some ethics and rules that everyone should consider and abide by. It should be remembered that game reserves and parks consist of wildlife and not domesticated animals.
Therefore, you have to respect their boundaries and stay within your limits. In this article, we are going to share some basic safari rules that you should give a read before going on one. Enjoying wildlife is one thing and respecting it is another. Furthermore, it should be considered as their right instead of a liability.
Protecting Natural Vegetation
Game reserves and parks containing wildlife strongly depend on natural vegetation. For herbivores, birds, and insects, it is a primary source of food. Furthermore, grazers such as impalas, buffaloes, and antelopes prefer eating fresh grass and vegetation. Therefore, you mustn’t damage the natural vegetation especially if you are exploring the area in a 4×4 vehicle. Vegetation makes up habitats of different animals and its destruction could seriously affect wildlife. Therefore, one should play his/her part in protecting everything that wildlife every day depends on.
Stay in the Vehicle
There is a reason most safaris are carried out on vehicles. Otherwise, in some areas, guided walks are also an option. If you are in a vehicle during a safari, do not even think of stepping out without the permission of the guide. The rangers and guides are better aware of which areas tend to be comparatively safe and are familiar with the moods and habits of dangerous animals.
Therefore, you might have thought that getting out of the vehicle for a selfie may be a good idea, without knowing the fact that there is a leopard camouflaged in the bushes just a few meters away from you. Regardless of your equipment, such as night vision cameras, etc. wild animals have even better sight at night. Therefore, do not imagine taking a few steps outside the camp.
Do not corner or tease the animals
Animals such as lions, cheetahs, elephants, and giraffes do not accept being cornered or teased, especially when they are eating and relaxing. As soon as you try to corner or tease them, their natural instinct will wake up and they will stand up to protect themselves. Therefore, it is always recommended to keep a safe distance from wild animals. You might the urge to get close to them while they are busy but do not even think about it. These animals are capable of covering a few meters within seconds and will snap without you actually even having the time to react. So, to avoid bringing unnecessary harm to yourself, always keep a safe distance and give the animals the space they need.
Respect Other Visitors
It is often that while you are on a safari, you will come across a lion, rhino, or elephant jams. This is basically when people stop their cars to observe wild animals right in front of their cars. While we can understand that not every day you get to see wild animals this close but think of others who are also witnessing them the very first time. Therefore, instead of contributing to the traffic jam, give others a chance to see wildlife as well. They are entitled to as much wildlife experience as you are. Do not block others and make sure that you give everyone a chance to experience wildlife at its best.
Share your sightings
Most animals specialize in camouflaging. Therefore, in some cases, you might not even notice a honey badger right next to your car. With that being said, most often you will spot things that others will not be able to. So, they will stop next to you and ask what you have spotted. Some people are hesitant to share the information and prefer to keep it to themselves. We are not aware of the reasoning behind it but being nice to others while on a safari is a sign of good etiquettes. Understanding the fact that everybody wants a glimpse of everything wildlife has to offer, sharing information will not hurt you in any way.
Do not create panic
More than often, you will see people sitting on the roof of their vehicles and windows, which is totally against the rules. Visitors tend to underestimate it without being aware of the consequences. Last year, a mother along with her family on a safari thought it would be a good idea to step out of the car. She ended up being mauled by a tiger when it chased and dragged her out of the car. Most animals at game reserves and parks are familiar with cars in terms of how they sound and look like, therefore they will remain relaxes.
However, as soon as something steps out of the car and looks and smells different, they panic. In such situations, they will either move towards you or run, probably resulting in hitting other cars on safari and injuring themselves. In such cases, a guide or a ranger might not be able to help if a leopard were to jump out from the bush. They are as busy observing wildlife as you are.
Do not feed animals
It never could be understood as to why people tend to feed animals on safari. Do they think that just because they will start chewing everything means they are hungry or are not well-fed? No, definitely not! It should be settled well amongst ourselves that the authorities are better aware of the diets and food sources of wild animals. Therefore, if you thought of sharing your steak with a jackal, that might not be a good idea and there is a good reason behind it. When visitors continuously feed animals, they lose their natural fear.
As a result, they become habitual beggars and will circle humans, constantly asking for food. When not provided, they might become aggressive. Furthermore, people will be harassed, attacked, and stolen of their food. In serious cases, they may also bite. Ultimately, the animal becomes a nuisance and has to be put down by the authorities.
Keep the noise down
It might be crazy to think but people tend to shout at animals just so that they could look towards them and they are able to snap the perfect picture. People do become so selfish at times. This also contributes to panicking and therefore, let the animals go about their business. Wild animals need to conserve energy and then step out in search of food. Creating noise will disturb their young ones and usually freak them out. Furthermore, if you see someone engaged in such acts, report them, you are doing the animals a favor.
By adhering to the rules, you are actually playing your part in conserving and protecting wildlife. It needs to be mentioned that it is indeed us humans who have brought many animals to extinction and now we have confined them in an area. Therefore, considering the damage we have already done, it is only right that we play our part to preserve and protect them.