General Safari Safety Precautions
Safaris and game viewing are very safe indeed as long as you follow the rules and use common sense. Incidents are rare and your safari guide and hosts are there to look after your safety and well-being. Some general safari safety guidelines include:
- Always follow your guide’s instructions and guidelines.
- Stay in the vehicle during game drives except at designated areas or as instructed by your guide.
- Never walk far off to pee behind a bush, just go straight behind the vehicle.
- Don’t stand up in the vehicle, hang out of the window or sit on the roof.
- Don’t be loud or noisy
- Stay close to your guide and group on a walking safari.
- Watch where you put your feet while walking in the bush.
- Do not run or jog in a wildlife area as it tempts predators to attack. For the same reason you should never run away from a predator if confronted. In the unlikely event that you are confronted, walk slowly backwards while facing the predator.
- Never walk between a hippo and water as this can result in the animal panicking and charging towards you.
- Keep enough distance from animals on river banks.
- While camping, or in a tented camp, never leave open food in your tent as it can attract wild life.
- Cover your arms and legs in the evening and use insect repellent to protect against mosquitoes. The repellent should contain at least 20-30% DEET.
- Wear a hat, use sunscreen, and drink plenty of water.
- Don’t wear excessively bright or colorful clothes or too much perfume. This is especially true for walking safaris and, to a lesser extent, for other wildlife viewing activities.
- Bring warm clothes (layered) for morning game drives in open vehicles during the cold months of June, July and August.
Malaria in the Kruger Park
Kruger Park is situated in a malaria zone, but the risk of contracting the disease is very small indeed. There is a slight risk during the summer months (from October to April), but if you take the necessary precautions you will be fine. These precautions include:
- It is usually recommended you take antimalarial tablets if you are visiting an area where there is a malaria risk. It is very important that you take the correct medicine as well as dosage and that you finish the course of antimalarial treatment. If you are unsure, check with your GP or pharmacist how long you should take your medication for.
- Wear protective clothing (long pants and long-sleeved shirts) at night.
- Use insect repellent with DEET (N,N diethylmetatoluamide). The repellent is available in varying strengths up to 100%. In young children, use a preparation containing less than 24% strength, because too much of the chemical can be absorbed through the skin.
- Use mosquito netting over your bed
- Use air conditioning and/or electric fans
- Young children (under 5) and pregnant woman should avoid travelling into malaria prone areas.
You can contract Malaria if you are bitten by an infected mosquito. It is a curable disease but if you get flu-like symptoms following a visit to a malaria-prone area you need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.