Find Experienced Guides
Despite the comforts of a five-star quality safari, the most memorable moments are likely to take place on the plains and finding wildlife is typically your driver-guides responsibility.
“The driver-guide will make or break this experience for clients,” Yule explains. “If you have an inexperienced driver-guide who doesn’t know how to converse and make sure that you’re having a good time and that safety and comfort is all part of the thing, it can be a terrible experience.”
Spotting a leopard – considered one of the most elusive animals on Earth – tracking lion prides or speeding over bumpy terrain in time to catch glimpse of a kill requires honed instincts. Veteran drivers also generally have a network of other guides that keep them in the loop in regards to sightings and herd movements.
Regardless of whether or not you’re on a luxury trip or down in the dirt, you’ll be relying on your guide to teach you how to interact with the world around you. A few tricks we learned from our guide: If you encounter a lion, look it in the eyes to stop it, backpedal a good distance, then turn and then run like hell as far as you can (lions are sprinters); if you anger a rhinos, climb a tree; if a buffalo charges, try to find a ditch to hide in; and if an elephant decides to chase you, throw it off your track by getting naked. These are valuable lessons.
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