Hoping to catch some cool wildlife on your African safari adventure? If so, read these top tips for animal spotting on a safari.
There are far too many “convenient” travel destinations in today’s world. Trips around the European continent, all-inclusive resorts, or even week-long cruises have now become the mode of travel. It may seem like there are no fun, adventurous options that truly spike your curiosity.
Luckily, there are those options out there. One of the best adventurous vacations you can take is an African safari vacation. By venturing out into the wild, uninhabited plains of Africa, you can see the wonderous nature and incredible scenes that only a continent like Africa can offer.
If you are planning an adventure like this one, you’re going to want to learn how to maximize your experience, especially if you’re an animal lover. Here are 10 animal spotting tips for your next safari excursion.
1. Know the Animals
One of the keys to seeing animals on your expedition is knowing about the animals: their habits, actions, and features. For example, understanding an animal’s sleeping schedules is a great way to be ahead of the curve.
One key feature to understand is the animals’ physical features. This will allow you to spot the animal in an instant and from far away, even through their attempted camouflage. For example, knowing the typical leopard eye color may help you identify a leopard through the bushes.
2. Visit Hotspots
It may seem like animals are randomly dispersed throughout the entirety of the African plains, but this could not be further from the truth. Knowing the hotspots where animals congregate will allow you to maximize your visit.
One hotspot every visitor should know is the watering hole. Any form of water will be sure to attract thirsty animals, and various different species will visit these every hour. If you can find a body of water, consider camping out there to see who will show up.
3. Know Your Time
Just like there are popular locations for animals, there are also popular times for animals to be out and about. Due to the heat of the plains, most animals will mainly hibernate during the day and be active in the morning or night.
If you’re planning your safari adventure, consider taking an early morning or late evening trip to maximize your potential of seeing animals.
4. Look Down for Tracks
Just like you would use footsteps to follow a person, following an animal’s footsteps in the sand or dirt may be huge in leading you to an entire den of, say, lions. Be sure to look around for the signs of nearby animal presence.
On top of footsteps, looking for animal droppings, food leftovers, or even the signs of nests may also be key contributors in you finding animals.
5. Know Their Homes
Understanding where an animal lives is akin to staking out someone’s house. If you’re looking for a certain kind of animal, try to find their home in order to see them.
For example, if you’re looking for monkeys, look for trees and other locations with branches. If you’re looking for meerkats, look for some burrowed areas where these animals may have set up their homes.
6. Check the Weather
Just like your actions on a daily basis may be impacted by the weather outside, animals tend to follow suit. Many animals like to stay inside on a very hot, sunny day. Likewise, high winds will often bother animals enough to force them back inside.
On the other hand, overcast conditions with light rain may allow for animals to be out for even longer. Knowing the best weather conditions for the animals you’re looking for will help on your safari.
7. Be Well Equipped
A big mistake many casual tourists make is not having the necessary gear when looking for animals. Being well equipped on your African safari does not only mean having the tools to search for animals, but it also means having the supplies to keep yourself comfortable.
Be sure to bring binoculars and an animal guide with you. Bring food, water, and protective gear. This will help maximize the time you can spend searching and minimize your time inside.
8. Take Your Time, Be Patient
Ultimately, an African safari is not a chase for wild animals. Sometimes, you will find the animals. However, most times, they will find you. It may be a good idea to just stop, set up shop in one location, and wait for animals to pass you by.
This strategy is key because animals tend to avoid noisy human interruptions to their habitat. If you can blend into their surroundings, animals are more likely to carry on as usual.
9. Bring a Guide
Many safari excursions allow you the option of going with a guide, and this is often the best strategy. These guides are well versed in the area and can do all the heavy lifting while you appreciate the animals.
Don’t undervalue an experienced guide when going on your first African safari. These guides will not only help you see more animals, they may also be key in keeping you safe out there.
10. Be Safe
When searching for animals, it may be easy to get caught up in the moment and want to approach these animals a bit too closely. Make sure to keep a safe distance as advised by your guide and other experts.
Safety also means preparing in advance. Be sure to bring additional food, water, and protection from the sun and mosquitoes. If you’re taking a driven tour, also consider bringing along extra gasoline so you won’t end up stranded.
The Best African Safari
Now that you know how to make the most of an African safari, your next step is to get started on planning! There is never a bad time to take this trip of a lifetime, a true change of pace from the other convenient travel options that exist in our world today.
If you’re looking for even more tips for your future travel or for more vacation inspiration, be sure to check out our other work. Happy trails!