Safari Etiquette


Mar 14th, 2008, 10:40 PM
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Safari Etiquette

Hey all you experts out there....

so I've been browsing posts all night and I've noticed some snide remarks made about people with poor safari etiquette. The problem is that there are never any specifics. I don't wish to annoy anyone at the lodge or in the safari vehicle.

As I have never been before, tell me, what should one NOT do while on Safari??
mdlopez05 is offline  
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Mar 14th, 2008, 10:49 PM
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Do not be late for the game drive(s). Be early.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 04:15 AM
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Excellent question, mdlopez, and it deserves some thoughtful answers. Probably the overriding rule is to be respectful of the environment, your fellow safari-goers, and the staff at the lodge. Some specifics that cross my mind:

- Limit your chatter during drives, especially when the vehicle is stopped for animal viewing.

- Share the most- and least-desirable seats on the vehicle by rotating the seating. You don't need to switch seats during the drive -- but if you ride shotgun in the morning drive, offer to move to the back row for the afternoon drive.

- Talk to your vehicle-mates and the guide about your interests on a drive. You may have to do a bit of compromising between seeing fisheagles and sleeping lions, but it's better to explain at the outset what your goals might be. And a first-timer has the same rights as a long-timer. While you can certainly learn a great deal from safari veterans, you are also entitled to be awed by your first sighting of a zebra, giraffe, or impala.

- Do not discard any trash in the bush.

This is not in any way intended to be a complete or official list, btw.
DonTopaz is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 04:36 AM
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Hi mdlopez05

For me the biggest offences would be the following:

- being late
- wanting to return to the lodge
too early
- smoking on the vehicle
- at a comfort stop or sundowners (which for me is an offence as well,sundowners not the comfort stops, but that seems to be just me!) smoking right next to the non-smokers and not moving a distance away
- telling a ranger to move on from a terrific sighting if you are bored, discuss it first with your other vehicle guests and come to an agreement before informing your ranger
- chasing the Big 5
- standing for photos when you have been asked by the ranger not to do so, especially at big 5 sightings or without asking first!
- if children are with you, be mindful of other guests, for example, with them talking too loud or fighting with each other
- no in family arguments, save those for the privacy of your room
- I have no trouble with people talking at sightings, if done in a fairly quiet manner when the person is next to you
- no silly noises to attract an animals attention for photos - be patient and wait for it to look at you
- while I agree with no trash thrown from the vehicle into the bush, that should be a world wide offence, not specifically for people gameviewing!

I am sure to think of more, but that will do for the moment!

Kind regards

KayeN is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 05:32 AM
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I will expand on what has already been mentioned, based on my (limited) experience:

Keep your voice down, even in the tents. You might be surprised at how sound travels. I know this very well, because I was able to overhear entire extended 4am conversations about the ups and downs of the Florida Gator football team from my King's Pool neighbor who somehow found cell phone reception in the wilds of the Linyanti.

And this is not etiquette, but a comment: Women wearing full makeup look pretty ridiculous out in the bush.
ekscrunchy is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 06:11 AM
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...please, please, please switch your mobile phone off before getting in the vehicle. Please.
africa_fan is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 06:27 AM
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No infants.
NoFlyZone is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 06:49 AM
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Don't attempt to attract animals, especially the big guys, towards your vehicle... you may get lucky!

Gals, leave the chunky (noisy) jewelry in your tent.

Have small baggies for your TP if you've made a bush potty call; don't leave it behind, dispose of back at your room/tent.

sandi is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 07:09 AM
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we will be on a camping safari - the Green Desert, and will be spending 7 days/nights with a guide and someone to set up/breakdown the camp. Any etiquette thoughts on camping safaris? Would they be different in that regard? We will be with our guide and his helper over Christmas - I'm thinking extra $ as a tip for a present and appreciation for taking them away from their families. Anything else?
Momliz is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 07:13 AM
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I recall this important topic from the past and even found the thread. The on time suggestion comes through loud and clear.

I'll also add one more suggestion that has not been made before. Please do not sing any opera on the game drives. I shared a vehicle with a guy who performed in community theater and he was moved to song during one game drive. He stood up and belted out a few arias. We had some quiet game viewing moments after that until we drove out of earshot.

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Mar 15th, 2008, 09:55 AM
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atravelynn, I didn't like how your link turned into a bashing of Americans, but other than that it was good....
mdlopez05 is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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shooting video and expecting everyone else to remain deathly silent for a prolonged period so as not to interfere with your mini-masterpiece
thit_cho is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 12:45 PM
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No red suitcases - elephants hate them.

No food dissertations at the common table - no one cares.

Bring proper meds./first aid, OTC's, blocks, repellents, etc. so that I don't feel the need to share mine.

Don't stiff the tip
cybor is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 01:52 PM
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Please don't assume that because you got your photo that others are ready to move on. Me, - I like to stay a while and watch what the animals will do next, even if I have an awesome photo already.
Jess215 is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 02:40 PM
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If you DIDN'T get the shot, don't make everyone else stay another hour until you do.

Find the people in your group who are of similar skills and interest and ride with them. Rotate around.

It's OK if your spouse/partner isn't in the same vehicle as you for a drive or two. Help make the entire group work out; don't make the entire group work for you.

If you have allergies, pleeeease take sinus pills instead of blowing, snorting and hacking all day in close quarters.

Don't be rude or condescending to camp or lodge staff whose accent YOU can't understand. Be patient, ask again, and relax - it will all work out.

Don't have a mighter-than-thou tantrum when camp or lodge staff can't understand YOUR accent. Be patient, say it again, and relax - it will all work out.

mydogspud is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 03:14 PM
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Don't stress too much .... just by the tone of your question, sounds like you will be okay and will have a great time .......
HariS is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 03:59 PM
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Some additional suggestions:
The silence and serenity you experience on safari is part of Africaís charm

In the truest sense of the word Ďadventureí, try to remain flexible

Show patience with fellow travelers who are having trouble adjusting (especially in the beginning of their trip

Be ready to laugh at yourself (At least 100 of the rhino I spotted were just rocks)

Learn how to handle your equipment before you arrive

Donít be embarrassed if you are the one who constantly asks for ďbush stopsĒ (and don't stop drinking liquids to avoid embarssment!)

Don't ask your driver to go off-road where not permitted or encroach closer to the animals than allowed

Donít remove any natural material from the parks/reserves

Donít feed the animals

Donít wear perfume in such close quarters;

Be aware of cultural etiquette and show sensitivity to their customs

Donít trouble everyone with your complaints; take them to the guide or hotel manager

Donít be afraid to tell your guide that you are not feeling well, or that you require special handling

Khakif is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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I didn't realize the link ended up bashing Americans. My comments prior to the link did bash one particular amateur opera singer and I take full responsibility for that.
atravelynn is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2008, 05:13 PM
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My biggest pet peeve is if there is another safari vehicle near me that cuts off my view of whatever my subject is. Totally drives me nuts. This recently happened to me in the Serengeti in a very remote location of the park, and a fellow photographer from another region of the world moved his vehicle and intentionally cut me off from view of a pair of cheetah. Professionally extremely rude, and something that I will not forget anytime soon. He has a very poor reputation amongst fellow photographers and guides, and I know that the safari company he used in the past refuses to take his business any longer. Karma.
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Mar 16th, 2008, 01:16 AM
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Andy, he's not by any chance someone who has a tendency to Photoshop his wildlife photography (to add more zebra and wildes to a crossing or more bears to a salmon run) without necessarily admitting it is he? Someone whose images tend to make it onto a lot of greeting cards/ calendars?
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