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Is a Luxury African Safari Safe?

Is an African safari safe? Being in such desolate regions surrounded by wild animals could be seen to be quite a risky option for the more nervous traveler. This notion can prevent first-time travelers from experiencing this one-of-a-kind wildlife trip.

Coming from 15 years of experience living and managing luxury tours in the South African wilderness, I'm here to ease your mind and address your concerns about the safety of going on safaris and encountering wild animals.


Is a Luxury African Safari Safe?

A luxury African safari is safe. Full security and professional staff monitor everything if you stay in a five-star luxury safari lodge. As long as you follow your guide's instructions regarding camp, animals, game drives, and bush walks, there's no need to worry about your safety.

I recognize that some people require more than our word to be convinced. That is why I will address any concerns about spotting animals in the wild and provide additional information to help you make an informed decision.

Elephant about to cross the road where a 4x4 vehicle is nearby

Safety Around Wild Animals

The animals you will see on a safari are wild. When embarking on an African safari, you can observe untamed animals in their native environments, displaying their instinctual behaviors.

Despite that, observing these wild animals at a distance is safe. I will be with you the whole time, giving you reminders and instructions on dealing with a particular animal. Most animals in the wild are fully accustomed to seeing humans and 4x4 vehicles. Many of these animals have been born in game reserves or national parks, so they know what's happening in their environment. Over time, these animals have become more tolerant of humans' presence.


How Close Will the Animals Get?

Viral social media videos depicting lions climbing into safari vehicles with tourists or opening car doors with their mouths do not accurately represent the safety of a luxury African safari. These animal videos are often filmed outside of Africa or are interactions with animals at zoos.

Even if a close encounter with an animal occurs in Africa, it's usually due to an inexperienced guide or a self-driving vehicle in a national park where the driver does not understand animal behavior and responds inappropriately.


What Happens if an Animal Gets Too Close?

Have you read social media posts where elephants or lions lurk beside a vehicle or at a campsite? The likelihood of wild animals getting too close to you is lower than you may think.

An animal's instinct is to flee from humans. In rare cases, it may be on the offense if you threaten it. An animal may get startled or become defensive when it senses danger. A defense mechanism from an animal is natural, so make sure not to provoke an attack.


Safety Around Camp

The view of the wilderness from the campsite remains unhindered, as most lodges and camps in Africa are unfenced. Despite being in the midst of nature, a campsite surrounded by animals is still secure for these reasons.

Road sign that warns people that elephants are roaming around the place
  • Wild animals tend to steer clear of human contact, and our presence is a deterrent, particularly during the day when everyone is awake.

  • I don't recommend walking around the property by yourself at night. Most luxury lodges and camps have a porter to escort you at night.

  • Some camps and lodges have fences to prevent larger animals from entering the campsites.

What if an Animal Attacks My Tent?

First and foremost, the chances of animal attacks on the tent are close to none because you'll be staying in a secured luxury lodge. Should you pitch a tent, you'll still be within protected premises.

It's normal for animals to roam near camps at night, especially since it's time for them not to encounter humans. You may see honey badgers looking for food or a herd of elephants crossing an area.


Safety at Night

Animals won't attack your luxury lodge at night while you rest. You may hear them, although they are generally uninterested in your accommodation. You should be safe throughout the night unless you do something to attract an animal.


Safety on Game Drive Vehicles

You'll spend most of your days on morning and afternoon game drives to watch animals roaming freely. My team of expert trackers, guides, and drivers possess the knowledge and expertise to navigate the terrain, identify wildlife, dispense valuable insights, and prioritize your safety.


An African safari guide will expertly approach animals, capturing stunning photos without compromising safety or causing undue stress. They are well-versed in the area and any potential hazards, so adhering to their instructions is essential for your protection.


Will Animals Attack the Game Drive?

It is highly unlikely for animals to attack the game-drive vehicle. An experienced African safari guide knows how to keep a safe distance that won't disturb the animals. However, you must be extra cautious about approaching an animal if you want to try a self-drive vehicle.

Most of the animals in the areas Find Your Africa sends you to are habituated to safari vehicles. While they are not tamed, they are used to the vehicles. If you don't harm or feed them, animals do not associate the vehicle with food or danger and continue their natural behavior.

Group of tourists walking in the African safari grounds

Safety During Bush Walks

You can generally walk around camp freely and safely. However, a guide will join you during bush walks. This is the perfect chance to see the animals up close and on foot.


It's an opportunity to see and spend time with the small stuff often missed while you are in a vehicle. Only guides with high qualifications and experience spotting animals can lead bush walks. That's why I encourage giving your guide a tip.


Other Safety Concerns in an African Safari

Being wary of certain things is reasonable when traveling to a foreign country. However, proper guidance and precautionary measures can make your African safari safe and enjoyable.


Crime

According to the 17th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), Mauritius, Botswana, and Sierra Leone are among the most peaceful countries in Africa. This factor makes these countries among the safest countries for an African safari.


Furthermore, there are many things to do in Africa besides a safari, so visiting other areas or cities is possible. While there are crimes in some regions of Africa, this shouldn't deter you from booking a safari adventure on this incredible continent. Tourists do not typically frequent most areas affected by crime.


By working with a trusted safari expert like Find Your Africa, you can ensure that your journey takes place in safe and secure locations, away from high-risk areas. My team possesses a deep understanding of the region, allowing me to guide you toward destinations that prioritize your safety while providing an unforgettable experience.


Risk of Disease

It's best to consult your healthcare provider first to see if you can travel to Africa. Most tours require visitors to get travel and medical insurance.

Man holding a camera while posing for pictures in an African safari
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some areas require tourists to vaccinate against certain infectious diseases to protect people and animals. For example, if you're going to trek to see gorillas, it's recommended to get vaccines for hepatitis A, yellow fever, and influenza.

  • Tsetse flies are common in Africa. This parasite is a serious illness that causes headaches, fever, and joint pain. Meanwhile, mosquitoes carry some diseases, including malaria, yellow fever, and dengue.

  • Diarrhea is a predictable travel-related illness. You can avoid this by ensuring proper hygiene. This is why my team carefully prepares meals.

Heat

Africa is a hot continent, so warmer days and higher temperatures usually prevail. Exposure to the sun can be uncomfortable and even dangerous when excessive. As long as you keep hydrated, apply sunscreen correctly, and wear the appropriate clothes, you should be safe from heatstroke.

When planning when to go on an African safari, you can also avoid the high heat by choosing the green season. From November to March, the rainy season will bring cooler temperatures.


Tips to Make an African Safari Safe

By following these essential safety rules, you can fully immerse yourself in the wonders of nature and spot animals while enjoying complete peace of mind.

  • Choose an ethical African tour operator like Find Your Africa when planning a safari trip. My team has strict guidelines and protocols for keeping visitors and animals safe.

  • Once you've arrived, a staff member will expertly guide you through safety instructions, itinerary, and schedule. Please pay close attention because they possess valuable knowledge about animal behavior and best practices.

  • To avoid attracting unwanted guests like baboons, monkeys, and squirrels, securely store your food.

  • Take the time to familiarize yourself with the camp's emergency procedures and communication channels.

  • Get vaccinated against diseases based on the health situation of your destination.

  • Bring sunscreen and wear proper clothes to protect yourself against sunburn and sunstroke.

  • Your guide and lodge have basic first-aid kits. Despite that, I advise bringing your own medications, especially prescription ones.

  • Be wary of your surroundings.

Lion resting in the grass while tourists sitting in a 4x4 are taking pictures

Related Questions


What Colors Are Safe to Wear in a Safari?

Khaki, olive, tan, and brown are among the safest colors to wear on a safari. When choosing what to wear on an African safari, it's crucial to prepare neutral and naturally-toned colors to prevent yourself from drawing attention from the animals.


What Should You Not Do at Camps to Ensure Safety?

To guarantee safety at a luxury camp, don't call wild animals or disturb them in their natural habitat. Additionally, pay attention to your local guide's instructions and reminders.


Is an African Safari Safe for Children?

Kids can spend time safely on an African safari, especially camps with child-friendly activities that let them discover animals. However, check if your desired location or lodge has age restrictions.


Conclusion

Don't let crime- or animal-related concerns hinder your dreams of exploring breathtaking landscapes and witnessing Africa's remarkable wildlife. With my professional team at Find Your Africa, you can have a safe, enjoyable, and memorable luxury African safari group tour.

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