This is how you survive on safari

This article was translated into English from the original article in Dutch by Paul Serail on Quest.

“It’s not a safari”, Biosphere Expeditions warned in advance. It was an adventure.

Cheetah (c) Paul Serail

Those who go on safari are driven around the savannah for a day by a guide. I went to Kenya for science. With twelve citizen scientists we counted zebras, wildebeest, giraffes and other cool animals in the Enonkishu Conservancy nature reserve.

How far is that wildebeest? Editor Paul Serail, third from left, measures the distance. (c) Paul Serail

Then you should also set out on foot. And not all animals on the savannah are harmless. As I walked into the bushes to take a pee, an irritated elephant hooted furiously nearby. Oops. During another walk I really had to run it twice for an elephant.

Hippos are the most dangerous

How do you get through your expedition safely? Tip 1: stick together. Tip 2: keep your distance from the animals.

But what should you do if the animals do not keep their distance from you?

Hippos are the cause of most casualties in Africa. A hippo usually flees to the water. Therefore, make sure you never stand between a hippo and the water.

If you leave elephants alone, they will leave you alone. Mostly. (c) Paul Serail

Elephants pretend to attack

Stressed elephants often perform a fake attack, then stop and make themselves big. They shake their heads “no” and rake the ground with one foot. They can also trumpet at the same time. The right solution: get out.

Buffalo, especially the bulls, have a short fuse. (c) Paul Serail

If you stay, it can happen that an elephant really attacks. He does this without sound, with folded ears for extra speed and with the tusks ahead. Running makes no sense, because the elephant will win that competition. Stand still, make yourself tall and yell, “Stop!” It works, I am told.

Buffalo do not fake attack. You better stay far away from the animals to avoid misery.

Whoever runs away from a lion is prey

Has she already eaten? (c) Paul Serail

If a lion comes across as slightly interested, stand still. It will be difficult, but otherwise the hungry hunter sees you as prey and you don’t want to be that. It can be wise to make yourself big and shout loudly. Then you come across as a threat, rather than a meal.

Other expedition pictures, all (c) Paul Serail

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Do you also want to go on an expedition? You can. Biosphere Expeditions organises volunteer trips in nature. From diving to coral reefs to the mountains where snow leopards live. And everything in between.

(c) Paul Serail

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