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Etiquette on Safari

Garth Thompson is the author of the great guide reference book A Guide's Guide to Guiding and he has some great advice for all well-intentioned guests:

Tourist Etiquette

  • Try not to be loud when in a wildlife area. Don't whistle and bang on the vehicle to attract an animal's attention.
  • Don't always take the prime seat in the safari vehicle.
  • Be considerate of others with you.
  • It is pointless comparing things in Africa with your home country.
  • Be considerate of African culture and etiquette. Don't treat the locals as if you are from the civilized world and they are inferior.
  • Ask permission to take a photograph of someone or to hold their child or enter their hut. Imagine if they barged into your home, picked up your kids and photographed all and sundry how upset you would be.
  • Try not to be argumentative with the guide and others in the safari vehicle or camp.
  • Don't leap around when other people are trying to take photos, thus rocking the vehicle or boat and potentially messing up the photo.
  • Don't get drunk and unruly when in wild areas, the bush doesn't lend itself to this kind of behavior. It's a long way to travel to behave like you can at home.
  • Don't encourage the guide to break park rules; it could cost him or her their job.
  • Be sensitive to what you say about other nationalities, gender, gays, politics etc.
  • Try not to enter into 'We saw more than you' competitions with other guests. It cheapens the experience.
  • There is a lot of bureaucracy in Africa, be patient and keep your cool.
  • Most of all don't disturb the natural order of things. Don't keep pressuring animals for a better photograph. Remember they are wild and that is why you have come so far and spent so much to see them.
  • Lastly remember that 'please', 'thank you' and a genuine smile go a long way in Africa."

- Garth Thompson, author of the book A Guide's Guide to Guiding