How Safe Is A Night Safari?

How Safe Is A Night Safari?

Are you planning a safari to South Africa and contemplating whether to opt for a night safari or not. You’re obviously worried about safety before you take the plunge. Well, the South African bush requires sharp senses in the dark. With predators and night crawlers roaming, you’re right to worry whether it is a safe idea. 

A night safari offers a truly unique experience to explore the wilderness under the cover of darkness. When you book a night safari, here’s how you’ll be safe.

Bring The Right Items

When going out on a night safari, your comfort is very important. So, ensure to douse yourself with some insect repellent before departure. Although Welgevonden Game Reserve is “Malaria” Mosquito free, there may be other pesky insects like moths and crickets flying at night. 

The insects come out to hunt for food, mate, or seek sources of moisture. Dress in warm clothes with a hat and gloves. Carrying a blanket is also a good idea. Temperatures may be about 23 degrees Celsius during the day in Winter.  

But don’t get fooled. The temperature may drop to 3 degrees Celsius during the day and early morning. Carry a flask of coffee to warm you and protect you from drowsiness during the night drive. 

Know How To Behave When You Spot The Animals 

A night safari allows getting a unique experience of seeing nocturnal animals at the time when they’re most active. The experience allows seeing the hunting patterns and routines of these animals. 

Additionally, there’s also the excitement of seeing some animals like aardvarks and genets that rarely appear during the day. You may also see lions preparing for their evening meal or a leopard in a tree. There’s also a chance of watching elephants trudging silently in the moonlight. 

Your professional guide won’t take you anywhere where it may not be safe. The guides usually have safety protocols and equipment to keep everyone safe. Professional guides are armed for your safety if the animals become a threat. 

Follow the advice of your experienced guide. If the guide tells you to back away or move on, don’t hesitate. And if you respect the animals’ routines, everything will be fine on a night safari. 

Take Photos Carefully

Taking photos is an integral part of any African safari experience. However, capturing shots at night is a bit challenging. You must understand the best way to take good photos while keeping yourself and the animals safe. 

Red filter spotlights are better for illuminating the animals since it doesn’t affect their night vision like white light. Don’t think about using the camera flash to avoid disturbing the night. A good idea is to carry a good camera to capture images you will brighten on the computer. 

Some handy tips for using your camera to take photos on a night safari include:

1. Increase camera ISO to more than 1600

2. Adjust aperture to maximum

3. Change shutter speed to 1/40

4. Don’t use the flash

Overall, safety is paramount when taking photos during a night safari in South Africa. Avoid getting carried away since no photo is worth risking your safety. Don’t go out to capture the best shot. It‘s likely to end badly. 

Animals in a game reserve are wild, and you can’t predict their next move. Although deaths during an African Safari are uncommon, they usually result from the unpredictable behaviour of the animals. 

Understand The SOPs

Before booking a night safari, understand the rules and regulations. Does the camp have floodlit water holes to catch glimpses of the animals without moving out? You’ll get more chances to spot the animals and observe their movements when you go out on a night safari. 

However, only camps and lodges within the boundaries of the park or reserve offer night safaris. For example, Mhondoro Safari Lodge and Villa are situated within the boundaries of Welgevonden Game Reserve. 

Avoid Noise 

Just like on regular game drives, minimise noise and movement in the vehicle. Animals get scared easily. You may miss seeing a pride of lions because you made a noise that scared them away. 

Although the animals are used to the sound of the tour vehicles, human noise may upset them. Never wave or call out to any animals on a night safari to avoid spooking them. The animals may run away and ruin your experience. Or, they may charge at you, putting everyone’s life at risk. 

Understand Safari Vehicle Etiquette

Avoid moving out of the safari vehicle even with no animal in sight. There may be snakes lurking in the darkness. When in an open vehicle, look out for low-hanging branches. And avoid dangling your legs and arms out of the vehicle. There may be prickly bushes in your path. 

Wild animals sometimes come close to safari vehicles without any special interest. The animals see the vehicle and the people on it as a single item. Staying still in the vehicle is very important to avoid giving the animals something that may pique their interest to investigate. 

Avoid Leaving Traces

A safari takes you into the heart of the South African wilderness. However, you should always respect your environment at all costs. Keep in mind that this ecosystem is very delicate, and its protection ensures the survival of its biodiversity.

Be careful to avoid disrupting the ecology. Some of the best ways to do this are by:

1. Not littering or throwing plastics out of the window

2. Smoking while in the wild

3. Feeding the animals 

4. Uprooting any plant life 

Trust Your Guide

You’re provided with a professional guide when you book a night safari from a reputable company. The guide has the experience and knowledge to ensure that nothing happens that may put you in danger. Even when the vehicle breaks down, you must stay calm and let the guide take control. 

Final Thoughts

A night safari offers a different perspective to a South African safari during day time. There’s nothing to worry about your safety if you follow the SOPs and your guide’s advice. Professional guides do whatever it takes to keep you and the animals safe throughout the whole experience.

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