5 things you should NEVER do on a game drive

Posted on 4 April 2024 By Savanna Douglas

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: nature is unpredictable. It is not uncommon to run into a potentially dangerous encounter with wildlife in the bush. After all, it is their home.

The chances of a dangerous scenario escalating when you’re on a game drive depends on several factors – the experience of your guide, the parameters of the area in which you are exploring, the temperament of the wildlife, and lastly, what you do to ensure your safety.

We’re sharing 5 things you should NEVER do on a game drive, for everyone’s safety onboard.

1. Never stand up, and don’t flail around

After being seated on a long game drive for hours, it might be tempting to stand up and stretch your legs, or to lean your arm over the side of the vehicle for comfort. The first rule of safari club? Never do this, it’s incredibly unsafe. Wildlife can be unpredictable, and sudden movements could startle them and lead to dangerous situations. Always stay seated inside the vehicle, and keep all body parts inside to minimise the risk of injury.

2. Don’t lean over for photo-ops

We’ve all wanted to capture that special once-in-a-lifetime shot on safari, but it’s not worth putting yourself or your fellow passengers at risk. Tourists often make the mistake of leaning over in the 4×4 vehicle to get a better view, or to snap a photograph. This happens to be one of the most dangerous things you could do whilst on a game drive, as you risk destabilising the vehicle, especially on uneven terrain. Leaning over the 4×4 could also inadvertently provoke wildlife or put you in a vulnerable position if an animal approaches unexpectedly – even the most gentle of giants can be stealthy.

3. Don’t brush aside your guide’s instructions

Trained guides have years of experience with being in the bush. Brushing aside their instructions will compromise the safety of everyone on board the vehicle. Guides are professionals who understand the behaviour of wildlife and know how to keep you safe. If they ask you to keep your voice down or to shift aside, do so.

4. Don’t be loud

It can be overwhelming and perhaps even a little frightening to see wildlife in person for the very first time, but you should never scream or raise your voice whilst on a game drive. Stay calm, soak up the moment, and ask your guide questions to get to know the wildlife better. Reacting to their presence with loud noises and sudden movements is highly dangerous.

5. Never use flash photography

Never use flash photography when on a game drive. Using the flash function on your camera could startle, disrupt and even provoke wildlife. The Big Five, as famous as they are, don’t want paparazzi following them around. Instead, opt for natural light or adjust your camera settings accordingly for better results without causing disturbance.


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