Safari Tips and Safety Measures

Safety in the Wild

Obviously, there is a certain degree of danger when you are in the bush with wild animals. However, you will always be accompanied by an experienced guide. Accidents are infrequent and the camps have excellent safety records. Provided you use common sense you should be perfectly safe.

As your safari will bring you into relatively close proximity with wild animals, you will no doubt want to be sure that you are protected by insurance, should something unforeseen happens. Too many lodges and safari operators in southern Africa do not have enough liability insurance.

Personal Safety

• Don't venture out on your own in the game parks, wild animals are dangerous.
• Don't walk alone in any downtown or deserted city suburbs at night.
• Don't be shy to take advice from locals of what sort of behaviour should be avoided.
• Don't visit poor areas, unless in a group led by an experienced guide or reputable tour operator.
• Don't carry large sums of money or flashy jewellery in risk areas.
• Don't leave any valuables in rooms and in vehicles, use deposit boxes when available.
• If challenged by a mugger, don't resist, this helps avoids any serious bodily harm.
• Don't hitchhike
• Don't be an ostentatious tourist, ask your hosts about appropriate dress etiquette.
• Do make friends, there are special people here that help to make your visit more worthwhile.

Crawly Critters

Although the region has a fair share of spiders, scorpions and stinging insects, but surprisingly few safari goers suffer from serious attacks. The confines of camps and lodges are usually free of risk but people undertaking walking and mobile safaris should be rather more wary.

Snakes

You will rarely see a snake, but if you do, it will most likely be from the safety of your safari vehicle. Tents and lodges all have bug screens fitted to windows. Of the 115 species of snake in southern Africa only a quarter are venomous. Snakes are usually shy creatures and only strike if suddenly disturbed or provoked.

Anti-snakebite serum is widely available in risk areas.

Spiders

There are around 5000 species of arachnid (spiders and scorpions) in the sub-region. Bites are invariably more painful than dangerous and are rarely fatal to man.

Insects

The fear of bugs and insects is generally much greater than the reality of what you will encounter. However, tolerances differ widely from individual to individual. The temperate climate and high elevation of Tanzania’s Northern Parks mean that insect concentrations are significantly less then other areas of Africa.

Mosquitoes are present but they are generally not active during the day. The African Mosquito is most active from dusk to dawn. Flies can be more of a nuisance, especially when you’re near the wildebeest migration. Flies are attracted to animals and the droppings of herd animals, so you don’t get one without the other.

Tsetse flies are worse than the average fly and they are mainly found in the woodlands, and their bite does hurt. There is no insect repellent that is effective against the tsetse fly. The best protection is to wear light colored long sleeves, pants and socks and to roll the windows up when you are driving through a tsetse fly infested area. Tsetse flies require the thick bush and woodlands to breed and survive. The open plains of the Southern and Eastern Serengeti as well as the Ngorongoro Crater and the southerly parts of the Central Serengeti are tsetse free. The highest concentrations of tsetse flies are found in Tarangire National Park and the Western Serengeti.

Tsetse flies do not spread diseases like mosquitoes. Most people have no adverse reactions but some individuals have an allergic reaction and the area around the bite mark swells and becomes itchy and irritated. Benadryl makes a product called the ‘Benadryl Itch Relief Stick’ which can relive the itch of bites and is highly recommended.

Ticks

All conditions that developed from tick bite are treatable. The most important advice for removing a tick is to never to brush it off, this will cause the head to remain embedded. Rather, find a way to suffocate it with ointment or a covering.