African Safari Tips: The Importance of Good Company

Excerpt from Alex Shaland’s new book “Suburbanites on Safari” in print and available at Amazon:

The importance of a good company on an African safari cannot be overstated. We feel perfectly safe when our ranger, Florence is brandishing his rifle.  The only question bothering me is “did he actually load the darn thing?”

Going on an African safari by yourself or in a small group is not advisable. Suppose, you are standing in front of a lion or a rhinoceros and trying to calculate your chances of getting out of this situation in one piece and hopefully not perforated in too many places. You are staring at the whatever it is that is going to do a very bad thing to you …. and all that is going through your mind is “o sh….t”. But look at the situation from the lion’s point of view. It has to charge you, yes you. Who else is there to eat? You are the protein!

The first thing people are asking when they find out that we were on an African safari is “did you see the lions?” I guess going on safari and not “bagging in” so to speak a lion is a waste of money. So, my answer is always “Did we see the lions? O yes we did!” 

However, you chances of not becoming the next lion’s meal improve drastically if you are in a large group of preferably slow moving Eco tourists. Simple math tells you that one out of, for example ten, is a much smaller chance of the bad thing happening to you than one out of one. As a bonus, there is actually a better chance of scaring some predators away if you are in a bigger and very loud group, typically American.  Though, I will tell you that the French are probably even better at scaring wildlife away with their loud and incomprehensible speech. I still don’t understand how they missed the opportunity to become part of Great Britain during the 100 years war.  Can you imagine how much easier the life of an average French man, woman and child would be if they spoke English that everybody understands, instead of French that nobody does?  Well, but enough of that.

The good news is loud noise might work with a lion. The bad news is, it won’t with a rhinoceros or a buffalo. So, always go with a group of friends. Remember, strength is in the numbers!

Known as “Black death” African Buffalo is one of the most dangerous adversaries.
Though, I would never say it openly to his face, a male rhino’s IQ is rather low.  But if you weigh a thousand pounds, have a horn that can skewer almost anything and anybody, and can gallop up to 35 miles per hour, who is going to ask you about your IQ score? I will tell you who, only a person with very low IQ!

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Published by Alex Shaland

I am a travel and wildlife writer, photographer and author of a safari adventure book "Suburbanites on Safari." A contributor for several Penton Publishing periodicals and other publications, I also collaborated as an editor and photographer with my wife, Irene Shaland, in producing several books and articles published in numerous magazines in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and East Africa.

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