Game Drive Tips for Your African Safari Trip


Those looking for ways to make the most of their African safari trip should consider going on a few game drives, one of the best activities for maximizing your time.

If you want to get the best photos during your game drives and increase your chances of seeing Africa’s most famous animals, you can follow these tips that can ensure you have a good time while respecting wildlife and respecting others.

Follow the Most Important Rules: Stay Inside the Vehicle, Keep Quiet and Don’t Feed the Animals

Game drives disrupt the typical experience of wildlife in the bush, but guides and safari tour companies do their best to compromise with nature. By sticking mostly to set paths, taking steps to not stress the animals and keeping interactions to snapping photos, the natural experience can be preserved as much as possible. Most animals even get used to the site and sound of 4x4s.

Uphold your end of the bargain by staying quiet during drives. Do not call out to animals to get their attention, and try to talk softly the entire drive. Definitely do not feed animals, since this can get them sick and encourage them to associate humans with food — not a good connection!

Also, most importantly, keep within the confines of the vehicle at all times. Leaning out or, heaven forbid, exiting the vehicle can stress animals and place you in a very dangerous situation.

Dress in Layers, Wear Sunscreen and Bring Repellant

Game drives can be chilly in the morning and hot in the afternoon sun. Dress in layers so that you can prepare for these temperature changes. Also, wear a brimmed hat and cover yourself in sunscreen to prevent getting burned.

Biting insects are common in many parks, especially during open air drives, so bring along plenty of repellant to reapply during your drive.

Take Along a Guidebook

During your drive, you will probably see a ton of animals you do not recognize but that look interesting. Take along an informative guidebook with photo identification of bush animals so you can know as much as possible about the world around you.

For younger safari-goers, you can print off a checklist of animals so that they can stay engaged and focus on seeing the most interesting species.

Bring Binoculars

Binoculars help you spot far away animals and set up your photos more quickly. Being forced to share binoculars can mean watching a speck by a drinking pool while everyone else sees a lion, so bring a pair for each person to ensure no one misses out.

Wait for the Vehicle to Stop Before Taking Close-Up Photos

The powerful engines in 4x4s tend to vibrate, which leads to blurry pictures if you have your lens zoomed in. Feel free to snap wide angle shots as you drive, but for the best photos wait until the engine is cut off.

Look for More Than Just the Big Five

Everyone wants to see lions, elephants and other famous “big five” animals on their trip, but you should recognize that there are plenty of beautiful species on the African continent, both big and small. Use a guidebook to help you spot birds, tell the difference between antelope-like species and appreciate sights others might miss.

Talk With Your Ranger

Your ranger has gone on hundreds of drives and has likely spent much of their life living in the bush. Feel free to ask them questions or to get them to describe their experiences, especially if you want to know more about a specific animal.

Let Nature and Your Spotter Be Your Eyes

With the tallest necks in the bush, giraffes tend to be amazing lookouts, helping you identify big cats crouched in the grass where you cannot see. Other animals like antelope tend to focus sharply when they see possible dangers. Your spotter guide will also help keep everyone focused either by staring at their target, quietly pointing or informing your ranger.

Tip Your Guides!

Game drive guides earn some wages, but they get much of their income from tips. They also tend to get motivated to do more for groups that tip generously, so if you are particularly keen on seeing something elusive like a leopard, then be a little more giving.

Tip amounts are at your discretion, but R30 to R50 or $8 a person is considered fair. No matter how much you give, be sure to thank your guide since they are providing you a service few others are capable of rendering!

Go on Several Drives to Get a Diverse Experience During Your African Safari Trip

Morning drives are usually the most productive times of day, but afternoon and nighttime drives offer differing experiences. Regardless of when you go, recognize that each drive is a dice roll in that you never know what you will see — or if you will see anything. If you have a disappointing drive one day, do not think that means you will not see more than the average group on your next drive.

You can ensure that you go on as many different drives as possible while enjoying other amazing activities like bush walks and boat rides when you book an African safari tour package and start planning your trip today!

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui


Peter’s African Safari Travel Diary

Waking up this morning in this wonderful place (The Manor) was like a dream. When walking out for breakfast everything had completely changed compared to last evening, it was now a bit cooler and foggy what resulted in nice colours of all the flowers and bushes around.


We had a delicious breakfast in the main building and it was actually very hard for me to leave with so much hospitality offered and while residing in all these beautiful rooms, reminding us of great but long gone times of the last century.


We finally said good bye to the nice people of The Manor and jumped back into our car in order to drive up to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area – the Ngorongoro Crater.


While driving, Ute had the idea to try to visit the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, that is normally closed for day visitors but we wanted to give it a try, because from this lodge one has quite the best view over the crater. While driving towards the lodge we passed by at the memorial place for Michael Grzimek who died here in 1957 while his plane crashed against the crater walls in fog. Michael and his father Bernhard Grzimek had spent their lives working for conservation of the Ngorongoro area.


After a short drive we arrived a the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and were lucky, as they would let us in for sight inspection.


The crater has an approximate diameter of 30 miles and is the caldera left from an ancient big volcano that is estimated to had a height of around 6000m. Today approximately 25000 large animals live in the crater including the black rhino, buffalos, hippopotamus, zebras, gazelles, impalas waterbucks, impalas, lions, leopards and Tanzanian cheetahs. The large lake in the southwest of the crater is Lake Magadi and gives home to flamingos.


It is absolutely true, the lodge provides a magnificent view over the crater. But also the lodge itself is one of the most beautiful and comfortable places in whole Africa.


We were enjoying the hospitality of Nafue, who showed us happily around and was also not shy to pose for some photos, what beautiful people the locals really are!


Fast forward from this stunning place we visited a Masai camp outside of the crater on our way to the Serengeti National Park. We were not only seeing some original dances but were also shown the interior of one of the huts, a really interesting experience.




Once in the Serengeti National Park we had lunch at the Serengeti Pioneer Camp where we could see the spectacle of a tropical thunderstorm accompanied by heavy rain. The storm lasted for maybe one hour and drained the whole Serengeti in some very welcome water.


Before we reached Serengeti Migration Camp, our final destination of this exhausting but also exciting day, we were lucky to find a group of lions eating their kill – a zebra. This was so special as we could see the cubs play and eat more or less at the same time.


If you would like more information on planning your African safari vacation, visit the safari tours page or contact a representative with Roho Ya Chui today.

Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Peter’s African Safari Travel Diary

Today was already our 4th day in a row on travel adventure and safari through the beautiful Tanzania. How fast time runs is hard to tell and as we had so many impressions throughout our travel time was flying even faster. After a delicious breakfast at the Arusha Coffee Lodge we were leaving around 10:00am with our new guide Semle.



Our first destination was the Maramboi Tented Camp at lake Manyara for site inspection. But the road is the destination, as we could get already gorgeous impressions during our drive through the Masai land.


Arriving at Maramboi we immediately went out for photographing and filming the beautiful and picturesque surroundings of the camp where one could see zebras, antelopes and wildebeest strolling between the pool and lake Manyara – you have to see this in reality in order to fully understand this beauty.


After a delicious lunch we went out to the planes ourselves to get even a closer view of all the animals, a paradise for photographers and filmmakers.


We were walking literally in the mid of all these animals, totally in harmony at least as was our impression – not so sure if all the animals felt exactly the same.



Needless to say we were all more than satisfied with all the photo opportunities we got presented in such a short time. After a selfi we went back on our vehicle again to head to Tarangire National Park that is just opposite to the Maramboi Camp.


Wildlife is also stunning here and we were able to see warthogs, the usual suspects as wildebeest and antelopes, but also ostriches. The ostrich is one of the large flightless birds native to Africa and males can reach a heigth of 2.8m and achieve maximum running speeds of up to 70km/h.



The absolute highlight were elephants, especially two males crossing the horizon that allowed for great photographs and videos.


Now it was time to drive up to the Ngorongoro highlands as we anted to get to the viewing point for Lake Manyara in time before sunset. Semle worked hard behind his steering wheel to bring the truck to breath taking speeds, but finally we made it in time for a wonderful sunset view over Lake Manyara.


We could even see the animals grazing down in the juicy green banks of the lake, especially flamingos showing in a beautiful pink even far away.


Now the sun started to disappear behind the Ngorongora crater rim and we headed to our final destination of today, the beautiful Manor Ngorongoro in the Ngorongoro Highlands. This is a rebuilt coffee planation pretty high up in the mountains and the climate was so totally different from where we came today, cool, humid and simply what you are looking for after such a day.


Yes this place is really as gorgeous as the pictures show and as a great end of our photography day we had the chance to shoot a stunning rising moon.


Our dinner was nothing short of being spectacular, for sure this was also because of the colonial style surrounding of this place that made us feel transferred back some 100 years in time – the best that could happen as the end of that day.

Find out more about the safari destination and accommdoations.

Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa