You may be wondering how tourists can come so close to lions and other wild animals while on a safari and still remain safe. There are certainly risks. Animals can be unpredictable. However, the key to staying safe is to avoid appearing as a threat or as food.

Neither Predator Nor Prey

In the wild, most animals are not inherently aggressive towards humans. Their primary instincts are focused on survival – finding food, protecting their territory, and caring for their young. Humans are not seen as prey, and many wild animals prefer to avoid human interaction.

Many safari animals have grown accustomed to the presence of safari vehicles and do not perceive them as a threat. This is partly due to strict conservation efforts and guidelines that safari operators adhere to, ensuring minimal disturbance to the animals.

Safari guides often state that animals do not see everyone in the car as separate individuals. Instead, they see the vehicle as one giant object that is neither predator nor prey. Your Land Cruiser becomes part of the natural landscape, like a tree, and is to be ignored. Additionally, the vehicles are larger than anything they would normally attack.

There are a few rules you should follow to ensure your safety.

Listen to Your Guide

Your guides are experts in animal behavior. It is important to obey the commands of your guide. He may ask you to be quiet at times, to sit down, or stop moving around. These instructions might be given to stop a animal from charging, to prevent your actions from irritating an animal, or to preclude you from disrupting an animal’s normal behavior.

Don’t Disturb the Wildlife

We must maintain our role as observers only. Stay inside the vehicle and watch the animals quietly and with minimal disturbance to their natural activities. Do not call out or wave to an animal. Refrain from making loud sounds, clapping your hands, or throwing objects. Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle. Never try to touch an animal.

Stay in the Vehicle

This should be obvious, but never leave the vehicle. As long as tourists remain within their vehicles and maintain a respectful distance, animals perceive no direct threat. Being outside of the vehicle will provoke the animals. When you leave the safety of the vehicle, to the animals, you become either a threat or a prey item as soon as you do. You also put everyone at serious risk.

If you need to use the bathroom, your guide will take you to a safe place where you can exit the vehicle.

Follow Rules at Camps and Lodges

Tented camps are located in unfenced areas and dangerous animals can (and do) wander through the premises.

Similar to safari vehicles, animals do not see your tent as something to get into. While you might hear animals outside your tent, they are not trying to enter. Wild animals do not come near humans if they can help it. We are simply not on their menu. Our mere presence keeps most wild animals away.

The easiest way to be safe is to stay inside your tent or room once you go to bed at night (tented camps have bathrooms inside). If for any reason you must leave your tent or room, you can request for staff to escort you.