TRAVELLERS are being warned to take greater care on safari in Africa as this year’s prime game-viewing season approaches.
Travel Insurance Direct general manager Ian Jackson said a lion attack on an American tourist near Victoria Falls last month provided a timely reminder of the dangers of African wildlife.
“Now that the dream of an African safari has become more commonplace, we’re hearing occasional reports that travellers aren’t always paying full attention to their safety,” Mr Jackson said.
“A safari is generally a very safe and rewarding experience, but it’s vital that travellers take precautions and follow the instructions of their guides.”
Travel Insurance Direct provides five key tips for Australians taking safari expeditions in Africa:
• Always stay in the vehicle - unless directed by a guide, travellers should never stray from the safety of their van, truck or four-wheel-drive.
• Never turn your back – watch and listen at all times. When on a walking safari, always remember the adage that the only thing in Africa that turns and runs is prey.
• Listen to your guide – always pay attention and never stray. If a guide instructs you to move on or to back away, do so.
• Keep your voice down – animals scare easily and are less predictable when startled.
• Ensure you’re protected – only travel with a licensed safari guide and ensure you have adequate travel insurance.
Mr Jackson said the best game-viewing seasons in many African countries fell between June and October, making these the most popular months for travellers.
He said animal attacks on tourists were still extremely rare, but the growing popularity of African tourism meant increasing contact between animals and humans in some areas.
“No photograph is ever worth the risk of an animal attack,” Mr Jackson said. “Never try to get closer and remember to put the camera down and be aware of your surroundings.”
Mr Jackson said safari travellers were covered by most travel insurers as long as they travelled with a licensed guide and did not behave recklessly or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
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