Safari Etiquette

adventure safety

Going on a wildlife safari? If you respect the jungle and the animals that live in it, there are certain basic guidelines you should follow.

Dress down:

Always wear colours that are one with nature: olive, grey, brown, khaki, camel, are preferred. Leave out the reds, bright yellows, oranges etc. Bright colours can distract animals. Leave out the gold and silver sequins and even the mirror work: the light reflected from these can confuse the jungle residents. There have been cases where colour has attracted the wrong kind of attention from animals. A few years ago, in Banaglore’s Bannerghatta National Park, a lion reportedly attacked a child, who was swathed in a red cloth and was being held out of the bus window by his grandfather.

Other no-nos:

Don’t wear strong smelling perfume or deodorant, the smell can attract animals. Glittery jewellery should also be avoided.

jungle safari

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Silence is the key:

If you are in the jungle, absolute silence is a must. Don’t listen to you i-Pod. Keep those headphone away. Instead, enjoy the sounds of the jungle. You can hear the incessant ‘chir’ of the crickets, the lilting melodies of chirping birds, the knocking sound made by woodpeckers etc. And when you want to track one of the big cats, it’s the alarm call of the deer and the langur that can alert and direct you to where the tiger is lurking. Loud noises always scare the animals away, so if you keep silent the chances of spotting animals is better.

Don’t get off:

Never get off the jeep/ canter during your safari to get a better picture. You can always get one later. It’s an offence to get off the jeep during a safari inside a national park. You can be fined up to INR 500 – 1000 if a forest guard spots you. I know of instances in Dikhala Range of Corbett, where tourists have been fined by the forest department for getting off the jeep.

Listen to you guide:

Always abide by the instructions of the guide. If he asks you to be silent or not get off the jeep, do follow the instructions. They have years of experience in taking tourists on safaris and know best. Keeping quiet also helps the guide to listen to jungle calls and track tigers and other animals. Many tourists tend to take them lightly, but these guides can be a fount of information and they can help you differentiate between species of birds, insect, deer etc. And don’t tease the animals ever.

Prepare for the safari:

Safaris are usually long: lasting for three to four hours. So hunger can be a problem. Try and eat something before you go on the safari. Don’t carry chips and other fast food on the safari. The smell of food can attract animals and that’s something you need to avoid. Make a trip to the toilet before you leave on the safari, sometimes you may not find a convenience stall inside the jungle. Some parks have the facility for a tea break and a toilet break.

Must carry:

A pair of binoculars (you can borrow the guide’s binocs also); a good DSLR camera, a bird book, a hat to keep out the sun. Also apply sunscreen lotion before stepping out of home and carry water bottles on the go.

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Vidya Deshpande has been a journalist for more than two decades and has worked with top newspapers and TV channels in the country. She is a freelance writer & blogger. Using her passion for travel, Vidya runs an experiential travel organisation for women, Soul Purpose Travel, in which she takes women on curated travel experiences.