© Breakfast at Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge
Don't you just envy those people on safari who seem to see everything? Well this guide will hopefully equip you with some tools to get the most out of your best safari in Africa.
Sometimes you just have to face the inevitable fact that it's just not a good game viewing day. All the animals seem to be hiding from you. But then why did the other safari vehicle come back with the visitors talking about that amazing sighting they had of Lions or that they watched a pack of Wild Dogs hunt an Impala? It could just be bad luck, but here are a few tricks that might help you improve your safari experience.
Before You Go
Planning is always one of the most critical steps when going on safari. You need to assess your needs and comfort level and choose an appropriate safari for your needs.
Have a look at our safari advice section. Consider what your interests are - do you want to see the Big Five? Do you want to see lots of wildlife, or is birding also important?
You then need to find out what time of year is good for game viewing where you are going. In Africa, this is generally during the winter months. All these are important questions to ask to help you decide where to go on safari as different parts of Africa can offer different experiences.
On safari things may not always happen as quickly as you would expect them to. Just go with it - you are supposed to be on holiday, so take some time and relax. You do not have to rush around trying to see everything. One of the best ways to miss something special is to be so busy rushing through the park or the reserve that you miss the wildlife. This is why the speed limit is not just in place for yours and the animal's safety, so do not push your guide to rush on.
There is a sort of etiquette when you are on safari, and if you live by its rules you can improve your chances of excellent game sightings. One of the most important rules is that you keep your voice down. If you spot an animal that the rest of the group has missed, do not shout enthusiastically, rather calmly ask the guide to stop the vehicle, or go back a bit. By making a loud noise you may frighten the animal and it could run away before you get a good look at it.
Know that there might be periods where you do not see many exciting large animals and this is when your guide will take time to point out some of the regions smaller animals, unique plants and interesting ecology.
Leave your iPhone, iPod and other electronic devices at the lodge. You have in probability paid a lot of money to come on safari - on holiday - so try and let your normal go for a few hours - you do not have to connect to your email all the time. A safari is also not meant to have a soundtrack, so please leave your iPod behind. It can be very distracting for other guests on the tour.
Being on safari is also about meeting new people and experiencing new cultures. If you are prepared to look beyond what you know and engage with the local people and other travellers you might find your safari is a life changing experience, where you make new friends along the way.