One of the first questions we get whenever we talk to someone new to safaris is, “Is an African safari safe?” We immediately assure them that it’s very safe, but we know that the word of safari enthusiasts may not be as reassuring as you would like.
So, to help you determine for yourself if an African safari is safe, we’re going to delve into the main arguments we hear over and over again.
They Are Wild Animals! How Is an African Safari Safe?
You are absolutely right! The animals you will see on a Brave Africa safari are entirely wild. We are not taking you to a zoo or conservation area where the animals walk alongside humans. When you go on an African safari in Botswana, you are going to be seeing animals that are as wild and untamed as they come.
In fact, your Brave Africa guide will remind you at the very start of your safari that these animals are wild and MUST be treated with respect. You will have rules about getting out of the car, moving during an animal sighting, staying calm near animals, leaving your tent at night, and more.
If you follow all of the advice your safari guide gives you, you’ll be safe. Your Brave Africa guide is an expert on animal behavior.
- He knows when to approach an animal and how.
- He’ll get you close enough to get a great picture without putting your safety in danger.
- He’ll constantly watch the animals, ensuring that we do not put them under too much stress, which can cause dangerous behavior.
What Happens if the Animal Gets Too Close!?
“I have seen those YouTube videos where a lion or something climbs into the safari car with the tourists! What if that happens to us?”
First, those viral videos do not reveal anything about whether or not an African safari is safe. Many times, those videos aren’t even in Africa—the most recent viral video with a lion crawling on top of tourists was filmed in Crimea (Ukraine).
Second, even if the too close animal encounter happened in Africa, rarely is it with a licensed safari guide. Often, it is a self-drive vehicle where the driver did not understand animal behavior and so was not able to respond appropriately and safely to the situation.
If you are on safari with Brave Africa, you are not going to need to worry about a lion or other animal getting in your car. The animals may get near you, but your guide is watching closely. He will make sure that you and the entire vehicle are protected from the animals while still having a fantastic time.
Now, it is possible that a cheetah could jump on your Land Cruiser to get a better viewpoint of the savannah, but this is rare. Also, cheetahs are typically not aggressive animals, and so this is not something you should ever worry about.
Will Animals Attack the Car?
As for animals attacking the Land Cruiser? That will not happen. Your African safari guide knows how to keep the vehicle at a safe distance that will not upset the animals.
Also, the wildlife in Botswana are used to seeing safari vehicles. They know that the cars are not there to hurt or disturb them, so they ignore cars. We are just another large animal in the Bush.
The animals do not see everyone in the car as a separate person. Instead, they see the vehicle as one giant beast that is neither predator or prey. Your African safari is safe because your Land Cruiser is nothing but an annoyance, one that is easily ignored.
We Are Camping in the Bush. What if an Animal Attacks my Tent?
It is true. Our Brave Africa camps are always set up in the middle of nature. In fact, one of the best parts of going on an African safari is hearing the animals outside your tent at night. It is an amazing sound and something you will never forget.
Also, it is true that animals walk right into camp. We have woken up to find trash everywhere, thanks to a family of honey badgers. Elephants and hippos have walked through camp many, many times. We have even watched a wild dog pack hunt from camp.
There are no fences, gates, or other barriers to block camp from the wild. You are in the middle of it all.
However, that does not mean camp is not safe. Wild animals do not come near humans if they can help it. We are not in their diet, and we do not belong there. Our presence automatically keeps wild animals away when everyone is awake.
Safari Camp Safety at Night
At night, when everyone is safely tucked inside a tent, the camp is just another thoroughfare for the animals. But no, they are not going to attack your tent. Animals do not see your tent as something to get into. It is like a tree or large rock that they move around. You may hear animals outside your tent, but they are not trying to get in. They are just walking by.
And having food or other smells inside your tent will not make a difference. Remember, these are truly wild animals. They do not know about human food. It does not factor into their lives, so they are not interested in what you have.
The key to staying safe at camp is to stay inside your tent once you go to bed at night, no matter what. If you are inside, you are safe. Never leave your tent at night without a camp escort. And, if you get scared, you will have access to an air horn to call for help and scare off any nearby animals. However, you should never have to use it.
Is it Safe to Walk Anywhere When on an Africa Safari?
Yes, it is! When you are at camp in the morning or while there is still light out, you can walk around camp freely. It is easy for the Brave Africa staff to see if any animals are nearby.
At night or in the evenings, you will be escorted around camp, and to and from your tent. This is purely a safety measure to ensure that you do not accidentally run into an animal.
While on game drives, you will also have chances to walk around. We have coffee and tea, lunch, and sundowners in the bush. During these times, your Brave Africa guide will park in a safe location without any animals too close by. You might have elephants or antelope across the river or within a few hundred meters so that you can enjoy the Bush TV, but they are always a safe distance away.
Even if you have to use the Bush toilet during a game drive, your guide will ensure your safety. He will check the area nearby to make sure there are no hidden animals, and you can use the toilet in comfort and safety.
Bush Walk Safety
There will also be times where you can go on a bushwalk with your Brave Africa safari guide. This is a very exciting opportunity to see the animals up close and on foot.
To go on a bushwalk, you must have a Level 3 certified guide, and they must carry a rifle for guest safety. Both of our Brave Africa guides are Level 3 certified and have over 24 years of experience between them. And in all that time, they have never used their rifle
The rifle is solely there to be used in a worst-case scenario. It is not a tool that our guides rely on. Instead, they rely on wind direction, animal behavior, and deep bush knowledge to safely lead the group to an up-close and personal animal encounter. Your guide will know how close to get and what animals to approach, so as long as you put your trust and faith in them—listening to all of their rules—you will be safe.
Yes, an African Safari is Safe!
So, is an African safari safe? Yes, it is.
At Brave Africa, we have many rules in place to ensure your safety while you are with us. As long as you follow your guide’s instructions when it comes to camp, game drives, and bush walks, you should never feel like your safety is at risk. In fact, many guests are amazed at how safe and comfortable they feel their entire vacation.
The key is to treat wildlife with the respect they deserve. When you go on a Botswana safari, you are in the animals’ territory. If you always remember that, you will be fine and you will have the experience of a lifetime!