Travel Safety and Wildlife in Southern Africa
There is no doubt that Africa has its fair share of dangerous animals - indeed sightings of lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, elephant, hippo, crocodile become the highlights of many a holiday. Travellers certainly need to show great respect to these animals and not take their safety for granted.
For those who are especially nervous of close animal encounters, rest assured that traveling in South Africa and Namibia are particularly safe wildlife destinations. All of the national park rest camps are fully fenced. Some private game reserves may not have fenced lodges, but if that is the case guards and guides most often escort you to and from your rooms. Driving on safaris requires a bit more care and consideration. Those on guided safaris are in the hands of experienced individuals, those on self-drive safaris will have our comprehensive information sheets to guide you through the dos and don'ts of driving with African wildlife.
Walking in the bush, gliding on mokoros (dug-out canoes) in the Okavango Delta or canoeing on the Zambezi River do carry slightly more risk - going with well qualified guides is key to ensuring you are well cared for - and Travel Africa always books with well qualified and accredited partners. For those who like more adventurous wildlife encounters southern Africa is for you - especially Botswana, northern Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and certain parts of South Africa. In these regions you can get more off the beaten track with less tourists, less fences and much more opportunity for exciting encounters with animals. We can highly recommend camping with roof top tents in the fenceless campsites of Botswana, enjoying encounters with desert elephants from your community campsite base in northern Namibia or going on a ranger-led eco-trail in South Africa. Once again our detailed information sheets will explain any dangers which may be present and the dos and don't of keeping yourself, and the animals, safe!
As in Australia, southern Africa also has its fair share of poisonous critters - especially snakes and scorpions. And just like in Australia, a close encounter with them is rare. With due caution you should be just fine on your holiday. Our detailed information sheets will brief you on any potential dangers. The key advice is to wear closed shoes and use a torch when walking at night in national parks and game reserves.
See our Personal Safety in Southern Africa page for more information about having a safe holiday in Africa.