TIA Tales – safari etiquette
This is one for anyone planning a safari. Lots you are experienced safari-goers, so feel free to add your own hints and tips too.
You see, it’s travel season – The school holidays are upon us; the migration has gathered in the Serengeti; ex-pats’ families are in summer-mode and anticipate visits, and basically many people will be hitting the road.
It just so happens that I’ve done more than my fair share of insanely long journeys recently and, as a result, I think I’ve become rather good at it (if you can be good at just sitting in car/bus/boat/plane – ok not a skill I’d include on my CV, but still!). Anyway, in preparation for the travel madness I thought I’d share some of my safari etiquette ideas in an effort to help you survive your holiday with several of you all in one vehicle for days at a time!
Safari is a pretty unique travel experience and I thought maybe some of these points would strike a chord with you. As far as I’m concerned there should be proper etiquette rules when it comes to beaches (like ‘no flicking your towel near to sunbathers’ – it’s so annoying!) or when carrying an umbrella (like short people have to carry them up high so as to avoid poking people’s eyes out’!) I thought I’d attempt a similar list for the African bush! Be warned, these may be presented in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek style, but they’re also deadly serious as well! (except maybe the khaki one, that’s really up to you!). Here goes:
1. Wash! Cars are airy but you’re in close proximity and no one likes BO!
2. Excessive amounts of khaki are allowed, encouraged and celebrated!
3. Share your goodies (and don’t forget your driver/guide!)
4. View hogging is not on – views are 360 degrees in most safari vehicles and there no best seat since game might appear anywhere, but if you do end up in the prime spot then have a look, get some pics and then offer to move!
5. Loud swearing is perfectly acceptable around tsetsi flies but absolutely banned around large game – in fact volume of any kind is banned in proximity to large game.
6. Which brings me to music – Music is not for game parks, that’s the birds’ job.
7. Never moan when someone wants to stop for a photo, even if it’s of a boring grey bird!
8. If someone is sleeping always wake them up if you spot good game (but not for gazelle or zebra!)
9. It’s perfectly ok, indeed often necessary, to discuss poo on safari!
10. On that subject – toilet breaks: help each other out and watch for game whilst one person is doing their business. Also, please either bring toilet roll back with you or at least bury it.
11. Mosquito spray should always be sprayed outside the vehicle or room and away from anyone eating!
12. Trying to get a suntan on safari is not cool – bikinis are for beaches, after your safari!
13. Telling other cars where to find the good game is good safari karma.
14. Begging your guide to find one particular type of animal is bad safari karma.
15. Be patient! Guides can’t instruct game where to be; if you want guarantees go to a zoo. Enjoy the landscape, the space, the sounds and smells and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions if things are a bit quiet.
16. Don’t ever leave any litter, of any sort, anywhere except in a bin.
17. You are not safe! Don’t get too close, don’t wander around, listen to the guide – these animals are wild! (May sound silly, but you’d be amazed at some of the stories!)
18. Enjoy every minute!