Five things to remember when planning a South African safari

Five things to remember when planning a South African safari


Originally from the Elgin Valley in the Cape Jacques Smit is a passionate advocate for wildlife conservation and South Africa. He has worked as a safari guide in Southern Africa and is now marketing director for Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve as well.


Use an African specialist to help design your Safari on a public or Private Reserve. Choose operations with an ethical sustainable philosophy and proven community program like involvement in education sporting or care initiatives for neighboring communities. Private reserves such as Sabi Sabi are part of the greater Kruger National Park there being no fences between them. They offer highly trained rangers and trackers control the number of vehicles in each sighting we aim for no more than 2 vehicles at a time viewing rhinos or elephants and aim to manage the environment so that the animals feel comfortable.


Respect towards the environment is rule number one. Do nothing to interfere with the animals' natural surrounds and nothing to allow that animal to associate our presence with stress. Most private game reserve safaris are in off road open Safari vehicles for close encounters whereas most vehicles in the national parks are covered as they travel on public roads and by law must be covered. There is no standing up in the safari vehicle as by doing so you break the shape of the vehicle. Put cellphones on silent and no leaning out of the vehicle to get the perfect selfie. There is also no calling for sure no feeding any animals and sometimes times flash photography may be banned and total silence required. 


There really is no better time to travel. The rainy season is spring or summer with a lot of water and lush bush the migratory birds have returned and food is aplenty. Autumn and winter are equally beautiful: grasses are lower and wildlife spotting is focused around water sources while the night skies in winter are spectacular. It depends on what it is you are combining your Safari experience with that will determine your best time. Victoria Falls, Cape Town, a beach resort in Mozambique?


Allow at least 2 to three full days to absorb nature enjoy multiple Safaris and also take an environmental walking Safari which is an hour or 2 on foot with your armed ranger getting to know the small stuff. The most common thing we hear from any Australian who has visited is "had I known what we were in for we would have stayed at least another night".


Follow your Safari team's social media sites. Many of us post what happens on our reserves so if you are planning a year out look at what was happening a year before for a pretty good idea of what to expect. You will often find photography tips blogs daily temperatures and packing tips as well.

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