Advice for visiting game reserves
While regulations for each park may vary according to the season or particular features of the area, there are some ubiquitous rules – largely common sense – that are worth remembering when visiting the parks and reserves during your safari.
- Leave the animals in peace – never harass or chase the animals and always give way - they have the right of way under any circumstance.
- Do not make noise, flash lights or make sudden movements to scare them away. For wildlife photography, silence is golden.
- Do not feed the animals – this may seem obvious, but it happens! If you have pets at home, you may know that the fact that they accept your food does not mean it is good for them. The food you provide might produce illness. Even more, this practice alters the behaviour patterns and makes the animals seek such “easy” food and they can react aggressively when they do not get what they want. This is apparent in the fact that baboons here do not usually climb on top of cars and often exhibit aggressive behaviour, as happens in many European Safari Parks where they have become accustomed to receiving food from visitors. .
- Do not throw any litter or cigarette butts; never light fires. This not only increases fire risk in landscapes that in the dry season become tinder dry, but also animals can eat whatever they find. Discarded food may be harmful for them and the environment.
- Do not disturb other visitors; this applies to many types of behaviour. For instance, respect the right of the "first spotter". If you discover a stopped vehicle and you want to check what they are looking at, never block their sight or stop within their photographic field. If there is no room for another car, simply wait for your turn; when the other party eventually leave, the animals will still be there. Keep quiet. When you are peacefully watching animals with your engine off, the last thing you want is another car arriving, full of noisy tourists and attracting the animals' attention.
- Wild animals are unpredictable and can be dangerous. Despite their beauty and apparently inoffensive aspect, unless you are an experienced ethologist (animal behaviour expert), wild animals' reactions are unpredictable. Avoid any unnecessary risks - severe accidents have occurred due to over-confidence or bravado.
- Do not take or purchase any type of animal or parts of it, alive or dead. This is an offence and is heavily fined. You will find that curio shops (or dukas) no longer sell any items manufactured with animal materials. Should someone at a petrol station or a market approach you trying to sell such products - the Maasai could, for instance, attempt to sell ostrich eggs to the passers by – do not buy anything. Not only could you get into trouble, you would be supporting poaching, with its adverse consequences for nature and unsafe conditions within the country.
- Pets of any kind are not allowed into the parks and reserves. They could attract predators and can pass on diseases to the wild animals.
- In marine parks, the same behaviour rules apply. Do not take or harm coral, shells, starfish or any other living organisms. As in land parks, this is illegal and hazardous for the ecosystems. Do not purchase any shells or other products made from living things - this promotes looting in reefs and strands around the protected areas.
Obviously, do not throw litter into the water. Remember that sea turtles can take plastic bags for jellyfish and they will surely die if they swallow them. Do not feed the fish, some species can be dangerous and this also disrupts the traditional feeding patterns. Line and bait fishing is allowed in reserves, but not in the parks. Harpoons are forbidden in all cases.