Only certified driver-guides can operate game drive vehicles. These guides have a deep knowledge of and respect for nature. The ethics of their profession require them to drive carefully around wildlife, limiting their speed and avoiding any maneuvers that may cause stress to the animals. Game drives take place predominantly on designated tracks to avoid damage to plant life, and most national parks prohibit off-road driving. On some private reserves, drivers may go off these tracks in search of wildlife. If a game drive needs to go off-road, the guide will search for areas with more resilient soil and avoid going over the same area twice to minimize impacts. To get the best of both worlds, consider visiting both public and private lands on your safari.
Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa. Photo credit: South African Tourism
Care for animals and nature always come first. If the choice is between stopping a vehicle close to an animal and stressing it, or stopping the vehicle a bit farther away, the guide will choose the latter. Even so, you will be amazed at the intimate views of wildlife you can get from a game drive vehicle.
Game drives also play a huge role in protecting wildlife. Park admission fees provide much-needed money to conservation efforts, and the presence of guides and safari-goers in a wild area discourages poaching. Going on a safari is a great way to support preservation of some of the world’s most beautiful wild areas.
Game drive and dueling elephants. Photo credit: South African Tourism