Going on a safari is always a privileged moment with nature. If you are not familiar with safaris, here are 10 mistakes to avoid making a successful safari. By following these tips, you should enjoy your safari better and come back with memories and photos by the thousands.
Whatever safari destination you choose, there are periods to avoid and others to favour. Generally speaking, the dry season allows a better view of the animals because the vegetation is less dense and the animals gather around the water points. In the rainy season, travel is also more complicated or sometimes impossible because some parks close during this period.
The mid-seasons sometimes offer magnificent shows. In Kruger Park, births take place in November to late fall.
In Tanzania and Kenya, migration must also be taken into account. This is particularly true in the Masai Mara and Serengeti.
On safari, it is advisable to use colours that blend in with nature: khaki, beige and brown. Avoid fluorescent colours, red and white.
It is also advisable to take clothing adapted to the climate. If in Africa, we think it is hot, we forget that at certain times of the year, it can also freeze at night and rain. Bring a waterproof jacket and fleece (windproof if the vehicle has an open roof) or even a down jacket in your suitcase.
Taking a compact camera will allow you to take pictures of the largest animals. But admit that it would be a shame to miss your safaris because you have a camera without zoom. I recommend at least a 300 mm zoom for mammals and a 400 mm if you are also interested in birds.
To go further on the subject, read my article what photo equipment for a safari?
Essential accessories to operate your camera, we all have a memory card and a battery. On safari, we photograph a lot. It is more than advisable to have at least 2 batteries and 2 memory cards of 16 GB, more if you do not have the possibility to recharge every day. or if your index finger is frantically shaking on the camera’s shutter button. Personally, I have a set of 7 batteries and more than 200 GB of memory card.
Safari is expensive, but it takes time to make a successful safari. While small reserves can be made by the day such as Ngorongoro Crater or Mosi Oa Tunya National Park, others will require a minimum of 3 days. I am thinking of the Serengeti in Tanzania, Etosha in Namibia or the Kruger in South Africa. In the same way, it is the observations of the client of the time and it is ultimately the animals that decide. Going on a safari is not a trip to a zoo.
On safari, we use a lot of the camera but also binoculars because not all the animals are next to the vehicle. It would be a shame to miss an observation because you don’t have your pair of binoculars.
The minimum of the minimum is to know the best periods on the national parks that you will discover for your next safari. I also recommend buying mammal and bird identification guides before leaving.
With a little experimentation, you will learn to recognize ecosystems and associate them with the animals that live there.
Some national parks are visited on a “self-driving” basis. What to rent as a vehicle? Using a 4×4 or not? It depends on the reserve. In South Africa, both the Kruger and the Imfolozi Hluhluwe reserve do not require a 4×4. However, I recommend a high seat so as not to be at the height of the vegetation and to have a window wide enough to take your photos. On the other hand, in some national parks or reserves, 4×4 is an obligation. Make sure you have openings large enough to make it easier to take pictures. There are opening roof, large window or even no roof as in private reserves in South Africa.
You like to sleep in the morning. No luck, you’ll have to get up early. The best times to go on a safari are at dusk. It is at these times of the day that animals are most active. After 10:00 am, observations are less numerous but still possible.
And then, the light is often so strong that it tends to burn your photos. The light is particularly aggressive in good weather.
Safari with friends or family is fun. We see wild animals, sometimes rare, sometimes dangerous too. It’s exciting. You can make a lot of noise very quickly, even move in all directions. To respect the animals, not to frighten them and make them leave, the best attitude is to remain calm and silent. In some cases, it is also to stay safe.