• Kerilouise Cherry

Is It Safe To Go On Safari In Africa?

Updated: Jun 2

Vehicle with Elephants crossing the road
On Safari in the Kruger National Park

Is it safe to go on a safari in Africa? This is one of the top questions asked to our Nhongo Safaris Africa Team.

They want to know whether it is safe to visit Africa. They’ve read about the lions and elephants that live near an open jeep, and seen pictures of people gazing in awe at Lions and Elephants just a few metres away. They hear about the thrills of walking safaris in Kenya and can imagine experiencing a night under the stars in a safari camp halfway through the African country.

When in Africa on a safari, you have access to some of the world’s greatest animals in their natural habitat. But is safari tourism safe?

When going on a safari in Africa, is safety a priority? These destinations present amazing opportunities to explore and get up close to magnificent creatures from across the world. However, Africa is not without danger for an adventurous tourist.

Millions of travellers go on African safari's every year and on average, \\\"perhaps one tourist dies per year as a result of wild animals.\\\" African safari deaths are very uncommon, however all wildlife encounters carry risks due to the unpredictable nature of these wild animals.

You can also mitigate these risks by going on safari with expert guides who are well-trained in safety procedures. But you should brush up on what generally rules and tips there are for a safari experience before you head off.

Safaris and other adventures may be feasible for those with disabilities and the opportunistic traveler. Nhongo Safaris — to name a few — work with many top camps and lodges that assure safety to all visitors. With decades of collective experience on safaris across Africa, our safari planning team provides expert advice, even when managing safaris for wheelchair users.

Can you go on a safari in Africa while staying safe? In this comprehensive guide, we’ve rounded up their insights on everything you need to know to stay safe on safari. We’ll also answer all your burning questions including what colours to wear, how to take a toilet stop on safari, why animals don't attack open jeeps, and essential animal spotting etiquette.

Before you leave

How to keep yourself safe in Africa before going on a safari

Vaccinations and Medication:

Be sure not to let pesky mosquitos ruin your safari in Africa. With malaria prophylactics and a strong mosquito repellent, you can avoid these pests and have a safe and enjoyable trip to Africa.

To go on safari to Africa, you'll need a verifiable yellow fever vaccination before you travel.

For Covid-19 information click here

What to Pack for your Safari:

Save packing time by following these safari packing list do's and don'ts. Pack the essentials to bring on safari, but minimize clothes by bringing quick-dry items that can double as day clothes or on-site work clothes. Pack at least two pairs of shoes that will fall on the formal end of your spectrum, too.

What to Wear on Safari:

You should pack clothes made out of moisture-wicking material to help with the heat. We recommend wearing a hat and light, long layers to protect you from prickly plants, stinging insects and reptiles while on safari in Africa. It's safe to go to Africa on a safari as long as you bring a few key things. For example, pack some warm layers and wet the bandanna or scarf to make it cooler. Africa can provide unique opportunities to experience untouched beauty, but there are precautions that must be taken. Wear comfortable shoes like boots or hard rubber soles before your trip to make sure they will not get you stricken with blisters.

FAQ: What Colours should I Wear on Safari?

In order to maximize your safari experience, you should wear dark green, brown and khaki clothing. The colours you wear can startle or scare away animals that would otherwise interact with you. If wearing neutral colours, try not to wear black, white, or bright colours as they will pop against the location's background.

What to Take on Safari:

  • Binoculars

  • Camera

  • Torch or head flashlight

  • Sunscreen

  • Mosquito repellent

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Simple first aid kit

  • Waterproof bag

  • Sturdy backpack if trekking

  • Good quality sunglasses

  • Portable chargers

  • Extra memory cards for all your incredible photographs

  • Travel insurance - essential protection in the unlikely event of safari injuries, illness, and lost or broken possessions

What to Leave at Home:

  • Black camera bags - dark bags will heat up your equipment. Bring a light coloured, waterproof bag to keep out the dust, sand and rai

  • Drone cameras are illegal in most safaris in Africa

  • Plastic bags- Kenya, Tanzania & Rwanda have banned plastic bags due to their damage to the environment. Even plastic bags for liquids in your hand luggage are illegal so it’s best to use transparent toiletry bags

  • Camouflage clothing is not recommended for safaris, and is banned in Zimbabwe.

People sitting in a Vehicle
Clients on Safari With Guide Amanda

Essential Safari Safety Tips:

There are many different safari experiences that can be had in Africa and the tips listed below apply to all safaris, which includes open jeep, self-drive and even walking safaris.

Listen To Your Guide:

Safe travel while on safari is facilitated by following your guide's instructions. A guide is an expert in the environment and animal behaviour, and will have the best judgements in any situation. Paying attention to your guide continues safety for you while traveling, so always follow their instructions.

FAQ: Do the Guides Carry Guns on Safari?

The guns are rarely used, but may be needed for protection. Guides carry the guns only as a last resort. You don’t need to bring any weapons if you go on a Safari.

Do not Disturb the Animals:

If you’re considering going on a safari in Africa, remember that the animals should not be disturbed. For your safety and theirs, it’s best to stay quiet and keep your distance.

There may be easy to spot dangers while on safari in Africa, but make no mistake, there are other more subtle risks by which safari-goers should remain vigilant. For instance, never approach an animal, come too close or make sudden movements even nearly to avoid an accidental startle reaction.

Keep Quiet:

It’s recommended to avoid getting too close to the animals when driving a safari. When you start driving, begin with a slow speed and then slow down when you get closer to the animal in case they panic and try to run off. Mute your phone or switch off your speaker when passing them by or if it’s needed, keep your voices at a whisper so nothing will cause the animals to be startled. Taking a luxurious trip in Africa can also take your breath away. Enjoy awe-inspiring safaris where you can explore the beauty of the African bush in majestic silence.

No Food or Drink:

Dangers on safaris include animals that have an incredible sense of smell who will be attracted by something as small as a wrapped candy. Don’t bring any food or drink except water. Africa is a wonderful place, but it does have its risks. Sodas and sweet drinks lure insects, so stick to water instead. If you need to eat during the safari, try to avoid noisy foods. Inform your guide before heading off if necessary.

FAQ: Are There Toilet Stops on Safari?

Depending on your safari, there may be safe times to take a toilet break or there may be no stops at all. Guides will explain the rules for toilet breaks before you depart and if you need to make an emergency stop just let the guide know. Be prepared to go behind a bush while checking the ground for creepy-crawlies before you go.

No Smoking or Littering:

Fortunately, you can still keep your safari fun by following these rules. For instance, there are no-no’s for smoking trash in the African bush. There are designated bins for trash disposal, so be sure to dispose of all litter.

Protect Yourself from the Sun:

Wear a hat and sunscreen and stay hydrated; dehydration can quickly become a serious problem in Africa. Africa is home to many animals, some of which may want to feed on you for dinner. Carry tempered glass to use as a shield against anything hungry, but remember that your vehicle is the safest place to spend your time in Africa.

FAQ: What Happens if it Rains Heavily Suddenly?

When touring Eastern Africa, be prepared for heavy showers. It you are on an open jeep safari, I recommend bringing a poncho. Walking safaris are not recommended during the wet season as the trails may become muddy and unsafe. Protect your camera by keeping it inside a waterproof bag or purchasing a waterproof case.

Minimize Your use of Technology:

Safaris are a great way to go to Africa and enjoy the wildlife. The trip requires that you use your camera, but be careful about clicking it. The animals may run away when they see the flash, spoiling the sight you came for. On your safari, don’t bring your phone. You likely won’t have a connection, and it can be annoying to people to see someone chatting and texting on their device. That said, if you must bring your phone, make sure it is turned off or on silent

Vehicle Safaris:

Open-jeep and self-drive safaris are the most popular ways to see wildlife in Africa, all while reducing your carbon footprint. D