Traditionally, when one took an African safari, the only way to view wildlife was on a game drive. Today there are more options for game viewing, ensuring that there is a way for everyone to view wildlife on safari, so check out these options before you book your African safari with Wild Destinations.
Game drive in vehicle
This entails driving slowly through the park or reserve, in the vehicle of your choice, looking for game. Once you spot something, you can stop for some time observing the animals.
The vehicles used for this type of activity are the 8 or 9 seater minivan with roof hatches that pop open (cheapest option) , a 4WD Landcruiser which has the roof panels opening up, and finally the 4WD Landcruiser/Landrover from which the sides of the body have been removed and replaced with either canvas or tarpaulin – which can be rolled down in case of rain (this type of vehicle is normally based in the parks or reserves).
This is an activity which is best undertaken in the morning hours or the late afternoon hours, before it gets too hot, and normally lasts about 2 to 3 hours. The game walk, in addition to being more eco-friendly than the game drive, allows you to get closer to nature. Your guide will show you things that you cannot see from a vehicle, like animal tracks and droppings – and you will learn about traditional medicine as well.
Also viewing wildlife from this perspective is completely different from when you are in a vehicle. It’s usual to have an armed ranger accompanying you on the walk, together with your guide and/or naturalist. Game walks cannot be done in national parks or reserves, only in conservancies and sanctuaries.
Flying high over the plains gives you a bird’s eye view of the wildlife below and this is particularly interesting when there are big movements of game happening, like the wildebeest migration. Getting a closer look at game is difficult as you are high above them, but the feeling of soaring above the plains and watching the game below is fantastic.
This is a unique way of viewing wildlife, gliding on the waters of the river, watching the hippos and elephants crossing the river and other wildlife coming down to drink. This activity is not so common in East Africa except in Lake Manyara, but is quite popular as you go further south to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
The possibility of seeing cats are quite slim – mostly you would see hippos and crocodiles with occasional glimpses of elephants. However the scenery is wonderful and it is a wonderful way to pass the time, drifting along in the canoe. However this is a potentially dangerous activity so do make sure you book with a reliable and professional operator.
If you are an experienced rider, there is no better way to experience a safari than from the back of a horse – you get to ride up close to elephant, zebra and wildebeest. This is a specialised safari where the horses have to be trained to be near wildlife, and so it not on offer at all parks and reserves.
Remember you don’t have settle for the traditional game drives on your safari, you can tailor make your safari and choose the type of wildlife viewing that appeals to you.