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Top Tips for Preparing for Your First Wildlife Observation Trip  | Optics and Lab Equipment

Top Tips for Preparing for Your First Wildlife Observation Trip 

Last Updated: 12.12.19

 

Observing nature’s wonders is one of the most liberating experiences for outdoor lovers. However, you need to properly prepare for an outdoor adventure, meaning you’ll have to take a look at the gear found here and consider the best accessories to enhance your future wildlife trip. Apart from staying safe and wearing comfortable clothing, here are other tips that will help you enjoy your time spent outside more.

Have you always wondered how it feels to watch the elephants or tigers up close? Or maybe you’re fascinated by dolphins and want to swim with them in the wild waters? If you’re a nature and wildlife lover, there are thousands of opportunities to enjoy what nature has best to offer you all around the world. 

However, planning your first wildlife experience could prove a challenging task, especially since you don’t know what to expect or how to act. Continue reading to find out the easiest ways to prepare for your next adventure while remaining safe and making memories to last you a lifetime. 

 

 

Do your research 

Before going on your trip you must find the perfect one according to your preferences, budget, and mobility. Don’t forget that watching wild animals or birds in their natural habitats involves some comfort sacrifices, including waking up early in the morning, standing still for hours in a row, and dealing with various weather conditions. 

Therefore, take your time and do your homework properly. There are thousands of agencies providing private trips and tours for animal lovers all across the world, so make sure you pick the one that best suits your budget, time, and expectations. 

 

Choose the right season

Planning a trip into the wild requires not only a generous budget but also availability according to the season. For instance, some countries like South Africa will help you enjoy some wildlife no matter the season, while other countries will require planning in advance. In India, there are strict seasons to watch the tigers, while some national parks are closed during the rainy season. 

Don’t forget about hot temperatures either as they can be a major setback to your wildlife experience. Generally speaking, the best months of the year to enjoy a safari trip are between October/November and March but you still need to check each country separately and stay away from extreme temperatures. 

 

Wear proper gear

A safari trip is a wonderful opportunity to experience some of the world’s wildest animals in their natural habitat, so you need to prepare accordingly. Take this trip as a chance to observe the animals’ behavior and feel closer to nature instead of looking for the perfect Instagram photo spot. In other words, don’t forget to opt for proper safari gear. 

Your clothes should be made of thick yet breathable fabrics like reinforced cotton. Camouflage colors like green, earth tones, beige, and brown are necessary unless you want to scare the animals away. 

Boots should be made of breathable leather and feature strong and sturdy soles that will keep your feet cool and dry, no matter the temperature outside. Don’t forget other accessories like a hat that will prevent sunstrokes, a pair of sunglasses, and even a warmer jacket since morning temperatures are close to the freezing point. 

As for tech gear, you will need a small backpack to store all your personal belongings, water supplies, snacks, and other essentials. Look for a lightweight and compact item that is waterproof and comes with enough pockets for convenient storage. 

A pair of good binoculars is mandatory if you want to observe wildlife closer. There are plenty of items designed for newbies and professionals alike, depending on your budget and expectations. But, no matter the brand or product you choose, make sure it is waterproof, fog-proof, dust-proof, and shock-absorbent to help you see in all weather conditions and resist accidental falls. 

Night vision goggles and a high-performance camera represent other pieces of tech gear that might come in handy and help you enjoy your wildlife adventure to the max. 

 

 

Know the rules and follow them

Safety is your number one concern when planning for a wildlife trip, so make sure you know and obey the rules of your safari at all times. Keep in mind that some national parks don’t allow nightlife safaris, while others won’t allow you to get anywhere close to the animals. 

That being said, you should always travel with a professional guide and stay on the path at all times. Don’t get lost from the group and avoid remaining behind to observe animals more or wait for the perfect photo opportunity. 

Don’t feed the animals either and, under no circumstances, should you trespass the animals’ territory. Lions, rhinos, tigers, and even elephants are extremely territorial animals so you don’t want to risk being injured in your one-on-one encounter with one of them. 

 

Show respect to the animals and to the entire community

Often enough, people consider that by giving money to a service or a product they are entitled to much more than that. Just take a look at people throwing away tons of food at all-inclusive hotels just because “they paid for it”. 

Paying for an adventure in the savannah only grants you the right and amazing opportunity to see what others might only dream of. That being said, limit to what is stated in your agreement and booking arrangements and pay respect to the community. Treat all employees with respect and don’t take anything for granted. 

Going to national parks and reservations grants you access to the premises but doesn’t guarantee you will actually see the animals. Keep in mind that all wildlife forms have their own habits and may make you have to wait for hours before catching a glimpse of them. 

When on safari, don’t forget to always switch off the sound and the lights on your camera or phone and never make sudden moves to scare off the animals. You should never feed animals either or threaten them in any way. 

 

Keep away from newborn animals or babies 

Can you imagine something cuter than a baby giraffe trying to learn the laws of gravity by standing on all its four legs? Or, a baby elephant taking its first bath in the river? These adorable moments are definitely worth capturing but not by putting your life in danger. 

Bear in mind that mothers are overprotective of their babies and newborns, so you should try to keep your distance from these animals unless you want to pay a visit to the hospital anytime soon. 

 

 

Make a difference 

You may be there on holidays but for some people, working in the safari is the only way they can make a living. Don’t forget that administering wildlife reserves takes a lot of time, money, and other resources, so think of a way you can support the local efforts to preserve these wild animals and provide a safe environment for them. 

Reach local authorities or NGOs and ask them if there is a way through which you could help. Donating money to the reserves would be the easiest way but you can also volunteer, prepare media campaigns or simply raise awareness regarding the endangered species and convincing tourists to give back something to the community they are visiting. 

According to a United Nations report, over 1 million species of animals, plants, and insects are at risk of extinction, while the Fields Museum in Chicago says that a total number of 33 species go extinct every 24 hours, many of them which we didn’t even know existed. 

So, how can you give back to the community and support wildlife? First of all, always choose safaris organized in big natural reservations or national parks and stay away from private zoo owners. The former dedicate their lives to preserve wildlife and make animals feel at home with minimum human invasion, while the latter only cater to their profits. 

Secondly, try to be as invisible as possible whenever visiting national parks and never interfere with the animals’ daily lives. Keep your distance, learn to be respectful, and never leave garbage behind. As we previously mentioned, never feed the animals either as they need to learn to forage on their own. 

 

 

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