Hi from Claudia and Murray
Whether you are on the back of a safari Land Rover in Africa or on board a boat taking you along the rivers in the Meeting of the Waters National Park in Brazil, we believe these 10 Tips can come in handy.
5 Do’s and 5 Do nots
Always take water with you wherever you go. Sometimes your ranger/guide may not have enough or you are out for longer than they thought. Needing to head back to camp because kids or you are thirsty (and no not for beer or wine!) may mean that you miss an epic sighting!
Always take your camera and make sure that it is charged and has memory before you head out on any Tour, Trek or Safari! Boasting to your friends back home as to the wonders of your trip is good for our business plus you get to take home cherished memories!
Ask questions. Many of the guides have worked many years in the industry or bush and they have watched many of the animals for many years and will regale many a story! They will also help create a wholistic view of the environment and place that you may be in. This point of view gives you a greater experience and will open our eyes in more ways than you might think. Also no such thing as stupid questions. As long as you don’t ask if a wildebeest eats meat (yes this has happened to me).
Make sure you always take the good seats! Just kidding… be conscious of your fellow guests (mother-in-law included) as we all want to make the most of what could be a once in a life time trip and its good to carry good karma. The guide will always make room to see if he/she can get a better angle or even better if you have the patience to wait for the animal to move from behind the bush. We are not there to disturb the animals and make it move. We are observers in their home. Also recognize the guides decision to leave a sighting or animal in peace. Guests drive/walk/trek these areas very often not just the 4 or 5 days you are there for.
A good pair of binoculars can go along way when you happen to be far from the animals (granny can’t always see more than 30 meters even if she says she can.
Call, whistle, shout or bang on the vehicle to get the animal to look up from its nap so you can take a photo. This is probably one of the most annoying and sometimes stupid things that guests can do. It has three effects: pisses off the guide who then leaves the sighting, annoys other guests, third and most important it disturbs the animals! They are not there for your entertainment. Thats why we watch football, ballet or bachelor! These amazing creatures are literally watching their natural habitat shrink everyday.
Give them what little peace they can still find. If another guest does the above please quietly whisper in their ear that they are disturbing the animals and when you find that some guest sleeping by the pool after lunch walk up to them and make a loud noise waking them up and take a flash of their faces when they wake up.
Mindful. Mindful of how your kids are behaving on the vehicle around dangerous animals such as the Big 5. Mindful of your belongings on the vehicle IE hats, sunglasses, litter, snacks, camera or binoculars. If these things fall off the vehicle it can be time consuming trying to find them and this might mean your guide/rangers perfectly timed sundowner is lost. Mindful of the slow pace in the wilderness. Its not always like Nat Geo says.
Not drink water because you are afraid you might need the loo. The bush always provides a private tree for one to mark their territory. If you do not drink water for 4 or 5 hours you will get dehydrated. This as a knock on effect not only physically but also emotionally. Due to the fact that you now have a headache you are cranky, short tempered and ill.
For your guide this is terrible news. She/He now knows when she/he gets back to camp and has to meet you for dinner you have had an argument with spouse, kids, partner, family. Now he/she has to sit at the table in awkward silence when he/she thought every one would be drinking wine and celebrating the days epic sightings. Drink Water you idiot!
Get a good nights rest. Everyone is excited on holiday and wants to enjoy the most of the time we get it but on most trips/treks/safaris you will need to get up early. Being awake early and literally watching the sunrise is amazing! You want to enjoy it! Also your guide wants to enjoy it and if he/she has been up till late looking after you they will be cranky and tied!
Last but not least. Don’t not stop the vehicle when you thought you have seen something. I have had guests spot a cheetah on a termite hill 100m away. I know right! Its true I thought they had taken to many malaria pills! But when I put the “bino’s” up there it was! As a guide you are trying to navigate the roads, talk on the radio, answer other guest questions! This means that you cant be looking everywhere all the time. 6 sets of eyes is far better than one! Don’t look at the road! You spend hours in traffic going to work everyday! Look around and grab the bragging rights when you get back to camp!