General Safari Safety Tips – South Africa

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If you are on a guided African safari, your chances of encountering problems are minimal. Tour operators make it their business to know the areas they travel in thus reducing risk to travelers. However, it is sensible to take normal precautions on your African safari, particularly when traveling through urban areas.

Travel Documents / Money

Always have a photocopy of your passport, and any visas. Also, have a list of traveller's cheque numbers. These copies should be packed separately from the originals. It is never a good idea to carry large amounts of cash, and most urban centers (hotels, shops) do accept credit cards (Visa and Mastercard are most common), and traveler's checks. You may need cash for purchases local markets – keep this in a travel wallet, or a zip pocket.

Luggage

Never leave cameras and hand luggage unattended, whether in a vehicle, or even in a hotel foyer. Never pack valuables (this includes medication), in your check-in luggage.

Personal Safety

When traveling independently on your African safari, stay informed in terms of the local news. Ask at your hotel about any unsafe areas, and codes of dress and behavior. Do not openly carry valuables. If you must carry your passport and money, keep them in a buttoned-down pocket.

Game Viewing

Your guide will always do a safety talk with you, whether your game viewing is to be done from a vehicle, or on foot. Wildlife is potentially dangerous, but as long as you adhere to what you guide tells you, there is very little to worry about. At viewpoints, hides and camps, wildlife is more familiar with people and less intimidated by your presence. Never tease or corner wild animals – this may cause an unpredictable response and a potentially dangerous reaction. Never feed any animals, as this can cause them to lose their fear of humans.

Creepy Crawlies

Although Africa is known to be home to a number of potentially dangerous species, especially snakes, scorpions, spiders, and insects, very few visitors are adversely affected. Snakes tend to be shy, and generally stay away from built-up areas. Lodges and camps generally have insect (especially mosquito) proofing in their rooms. If you go on a walk, it is always a good idea to comfortable, enclosed walking shoes, socks, and long trousers – just as a precaution.