The dos and don’ts of wildlife watching

The best place to watch wild animals is…in the wild. Not only for the animals but also for you. You, the tourist, get to see the animals in their natural habitat, where you can see how they really are. However, even this peaceful way of animal watching can turn into a bad experience for you or for the animals without following a set of rules. Here are some of the dos and don’ts of wildlife watching:

Dos

  1. Do your research – go only with a certified guide and find out as much information as possible before the trip. Read reviews from other tourists and make sure that the company takes care of your safety and that they also care about the animals’ welbeeing.
  2. Follow the rules of the national park and also follow the instructions of the guide.
  3. The guide should stop at a minimum distance  of 20-25 meters from the animals.
  4. Keep your eyes and ears open to new information – try to learn something new.
  5. Be silent – try to go unnoticeable so that the animals behave naturally.

Don’ts

  1. Don’t leave your mark – don’t leave anything behind – that means no garbage and no food leftovers.
  2. Don’t drink alcohol – you can’t make the most out of your experience if you go there under the influence of alcohol and you might even ruin the experience of the other members.
  3. The jeep should not be overloaded.
  4. The guide shouldn’t be driving off road.
  5. Don’t go in the middle of a group of animals.
  6. Don’t interact with the animals and don’t block their movements or do anything that would stop them from caring out their activities.
  7. The jeep driver shouldn’t go with more than 25km/hr – don’t encourage speeding.
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Photo credit: Joe Turco (no modifications were made)

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