Guide to Driving Among Wild Animals
The South Africa bushveld is a thing of beauty. It’s great that we have so many game reserves and that we can hop into our car and access them very quickly for a day drive. When driving among wild animals, though, we need to remember that the rules are very different.
We need to make as little impact as possible on our surroundings and keep safety procedures in mind. As they say, “Don’t feed the animals.” That means not giving them food and also not giving them the opportunity to eat you either.
The bush can ignite in a second so one misplaced cigarette butt can have serious consequences. Dispose of your old cigarette butts responsibly.
It is not that always that easy to stop quickly on a dirt road. You also need to drive slowly to avoid potentially hitting and injuring animals on the road.
Game watching is fun but the driver does always need to stay alert. Scan the area up ahead and see if there are animals that look like they are about to cross the road.
Watch out for groups of animals – if one starts crossing the road, the others probably will as well.
The Animals Are Wild
This means that they might do things that are not that logical. They might see your car lights and run into the road because they get a fright, for example.
That lion is not just a huggable big kitty cat. It is extremely strong and can be dangerous, especially if it feels that it is in danger. They can also be extremely curious and this can be dangerous too.
Respect for Wild Animals
Wild animals should be respected. Those lions might be lying on the side of the road, playing now and looking relaxed but if something alarms them, they can run a lot faster than you can. Stay in your car. Do not get out to get a closer look.
This also applies to other animal as well. The animals might look cute but they can be ferocious. I remember going on a game drive with a friend of mine. We saw a baby hippo on the side of the road and she wanted to go and pat it.
I thought that the guide was going to have a heart attack when she started off towards it. Hippos may look funny, but they are responsible for more deaths in Africa than any other animal, including lions. They can also run faster than you, believe it or not.
Respect the animals in the wild. Do not attempt to startle them or get their attention. Keep yourself looking as unthreatening as possible.
If an animal moves away from you, let it go, don’t try and chase it down with your car. That is the perfect way to make it feel cornered. And a cornered animal is dangerous.
The most important safety rule when you are driving among wild animals is to be patient. Take your time and, above all else, remember that you are in their territory now.
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