1. Briefly explain how the safari vehicle works

Introduce your clients to the features of your safari vehicle as they differ in modification and style between different national parks and countries, and also cover the safety things your clients need to watch i.e when getting in and out of the vehicle (doors, seat-belts, steps and windows). The vehicle may have a high step to get in and out, so to be careful to mind the head from knocking the roof top. Try and make sure that guests always watch the person behind them to avoid accidents like closing doors on other clients fingers or opening doors into other’s face.

2. Go through park rules and regulations

Most parks have a huge sign post explaining the rules and regulations of the park. If possible, while waiting for entry permits, encourage your clients to go through the rules and explain why it’s important. In some parks copies are available to give your guest to read beforehand. You can also discuss during you drive to the park and answer any questions in regards. Either way, just make sure that all is clear for them.

3. Explain safety issues

Some parks have different rules in regards to standing up in the vehicle. In some parks the animals are tolerant and in some they are not. So explain to the guests if they have to be seated the whole time. If standing up is allowed, explain when it’s safe. It is important to observe your guests before you start driving in case some of them may fall or their camera gear and binos may drop or take a knock when you move. So let the guests know before you make a move. Always remember that safety comes first. 

4. Warn about sun burn and dehydration

Politely encourage your guests to put on sun cream and appropriate clothing like long sleeves especially if they are going to be directly exposed to some strong sun during the game drive. Also encourage your guests to drink water and stay hydrated. Explain to them about toilet stops in the park. Some parks the distances to designated stops are long. Also remember to include some washroom breaks along the way so your guests are comfortable.

5. Discuss about responsible behaviour when in the park

As your guests are there to enjoy the animals and nature, explain to them what they need to know when you are approaching the animals. Some like to clap their hands to get the animals attention or a picture. Some whistle, and some may even throw things at the animals. So as guides it is our responsibility to influence our guests to behave appropriately when in the park. For safety reasons and minimal disturbance to the nature.

Any littering is strictly prohibited. Make sure you collect any rubbish you see. Keep all your rubbish in the vehicle in some bag which you can dispose outside the park in a rubbish bin. If you have smokers on board, explain to them about the smoking and non smoking areas. The African bush can get very dry and catch fire easily especially during the dry hot season. Let your clients know you will stop at designated sites and that they must completely put out their cigarette and dispose the buts in the rubbish bins. And no smoking in the car.

Photo © Oliver Schaef