Africa, Responsible Travel

Responsible wildlife viewing

I have no doubt that most travellers who visit wildlife reserves and parks want to ensure that their visit does not cause any negatives impact to the environment or wildlife.  However, for those people who are perhaps taking a wildlife safari for the first time, they may not know what is and is not acceptable when on safari.

“Guides can make the difference between a good and an outstanding holiday.”

A good guide will always direct visitors in a safe and sensitive way, but there are sadly plenty guides whose prime motivation is the big tip for getting very close to animals, and such guides rarely have the interest of the wildlife at heart.

Here are a few guidelines to help those who want to be sure of a few safari do’s and don’ts.


  • Stay on tracks if required by the reserve.
  • Keep numbers of vehicles at any animal sighting to a small number. [eg in Timbavati in Kruger, there is a maximum of 2 vehicles at any sighting).
  • Drive slowly.
  • Keep quiet near wildlife.
  • Your guide should not knowingly put you in a position where you are frightened of concerned for your safety. If this happens, speak up.
  • Speak quietly and do not make any sudden movements when close to wildlife so as not to alarm it


  • Do not destroy the habitat by unnecessarily driving over/through it.
  • Do not break the line of the vehicles by standing up or putting your arms out of the sides when near wildlife.
  • Do not harass wildlife by getting too close, cornering, following too long.
  • Do not shine spotlights into the eyes of animals. It can (temporarily) blind them. Red lights are preferable for night spotting if available.
  • Do not Leave any rubbish at all.
  • Do not smoke.
Amanda Marks - Author

Amanda Marks is a founder and director of Tribes Travel. She believes travel opens hearts and minds.

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