Day Game Drives – the classic way to see wildlife is in specially adapted 9 seat, 4×4 safari vehicles (Land Rovers or Land Cruisers) driven by an expert local guide. The vehicle enables greater distances to be covered in comfort whilst also, by virtue of the tiered seating, giving you a raised view of your surroundings. Be aware though that the rear seats, whilst offering the most elevated views, offer what has become to be known as an ‘African Massage’!
In southern Africa the vehicles tend to be open sided but often with a canvas awning to keep occupants shaded from the sun (or rain), whilst those in eastern Africa are generally hard sided with roof hatches. Most safari operators place no more than six guests in a vehicle, giving every occupant a side seat for unobstructed game viewing.
Many lodges and camps offer a safari drive by day with one in the early morning and one late in the afternoon going through to dusk, usually with a break for refreshments. There is something magical about watching an African sunset with a gin & tonic in hand! Some areas allow night drives, allowing you to the nocturnal animals and the rare but incredible sight of leopard and lion hunting.
Top Tips for Day Game Drives
- at dawn & dusk, when the sun drops below the horizon, which it does quickly due the closeness of the Equator, at many times of the year it will be chilly. Always wear clothes in layers, so you can add them or take them off as necessary. Many lodge operators provide you with a blanket or a fleece lined poncho.
- if you have two SLR camera bodies take both, one equipped with a close up lens and one with a distance lens; it will save a mad rush to change a lens if something surprises you.
- take a small camera rest ‘beany’ bag or monopod; it’ll help to steady your camera for sharp photos.
- take off anything metallic, such as a watch, that might bang on the bars of the vehicle and startle animals; it’s happened to me.
Day Game Drives