The Do’s and Don’ts of Being Out in the African Bush

I spent an amazing three weeks on an overland African safari adventure encompassing parts of South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.  I was fortunate to experience first hand what it was like to sleep on the dusty, hard ground under the southern hemisphere’s amazing night sky, go without a shower for days on end and get as close as possible to some of the most dangerous animals on the planet (and I do not mean my travel mates).  I cannot wait to do it again!

In looking back I have a few tips to pass along on what to do and not to do while roughing it in the bush.

Do be quiet.  Animals have amazing hearing and can hear you long before you see them.

Do blend in with your surroundings.  Avoid bright colors and wear clothes in muted earth tones- khaki, greens and browns.

Do bring plenty of insects repellent.  Insects like sand flies (no-see-ums) are so tiny to the naked eye that this advantage gives them plenty of freedom to feast upon you.

Do use soft-sided luggage like duffle bags.  Think mobility and ease of getting on and off of vehicles.  Wheeled suitcases have no place in the dirt.

Do listen to your guide’s instructions.  They are there not only to give you an amazing experience, but also to make sure you stay safe.

Don’t wear any strong scents.  The animals will smell the cologne or perfume and keep their distance.

Don’t bother with makeup and jewelry.  The lions, leopards and elephants will not be impressed and the hyenas might laugh.

Don’t leave a trace.  The bush is not an oversized trash receptacle.  Whatever you bring in should be brought out so as not to harm the ecosystem.

Above all DO be in the moment while you are there and DON’T let an opportunity to enjoy the natural wonder of Africa and all it has to offer pass you by.

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