Home to lions, elephants, rhinos and more, Africa is a wild land filled with a rich array of unique fauna and 21 per cent of Aussies list an African Safari tour on their bucket list.
For those planning a trip, May to September is a great time to visit South Africa’s wildlife parks as this is the dry season when bushland is low and animals regularly congregate around watering holes and rivers. High season for Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia is slightly later, beginning in July and running through to October.
Whether experiencing the continent’s raw beauty from a vehicle or on foot, the team from World2Cover has these insider tips to help keep travelling Aussies safe on safari:
- If you are planning to enjoy a 4WD-style adventure, avoid standing up or sticking your arms out of the car as this has been known to startle and even aggravate nearby animals. If your vehicle has windows, there may also be times where you need to keep them closed to deter baboons looking to steal a cheeky snack – they are not afraid of human interaction. Failure to follow your guide’s safety instructions can also negate your travel insurance policy, as it reflects that due care has not been taken should anything happen.
- African safari can be a photographer’s dream but don’t be tempted to get too close to an animal and never leave your vehicle or group if on a walking tour, even if the creature seems docile. If you do have a close encounter with one that doesn’t seem to like your presence, give it a wide berth with a clear exit route and back away slowly and quietly. If you turn your back or run, this could be mistaken for behaviour of prey and the animal could give chase.
- Sleeping under the stars might seem like a great idea but predatory animals such as hyenas and cheetahs are also active then. Stay in a fully-zipped tent and don’t take any food in there as this may attract foraging wildlife.
- Although Australia is no stranger to venomous creepy crawlies, Africa too is home to snakes, spiders, scorpions and other dangerous insects. Take insect repellent and wear enclosed walking boots and keep them in your tent overnight. Check inside your shoes before putting them on too to avoid any nasty surprises.
- While you might get warm, resist the urge to take a dip in local lakes or rivers. Crocs are camouflage experts and hippos are renowned for being aggressive. They may well be the most dangerous of all the big animals you encounter.
- Get the paperwork right – check you have plenty of time left on your passport and you have the correct vaccinations and visas in place before you travel. Also ensure you have the correct travel insurance that will ensure you are protected should anything go wrong and secure this as soon as you book your trip. This will mean you’re covered in the event your plans need to change.
Claudio Saita, Deputy CEO and Executive Director in Australia for Tokio Marine, underwriters for World2Cover travel insurance, said maintaining high safety standards outside of the bush should also be kept front of mind.
“It is easy to relax when lions and crocs are no longer in the immediate vicinity, but your holiday doesn’t end when the tour stops. When travelling through urban areas before and after your tour, keep your valuables well secured and out of sight and stay up to date with local news to avoid unsafe urban areas.”
Mr Saita also said it’s important to be fully protected when travelling internationally and all World2Cover policies will be underwritten by the Australian arm of leading global insurer, Tokio Marine, Japan’s largest non-life insurance company.
“World2Cover offers protection from the moment you buy, covering cancellation and lost deposits. Our comprehensive cover is available to all Australian travellers, delivering peace of mind, a simple claims process and superior customer service.”