Every regular self-drive game reserve visitor has his or her own preferences, tips and tactics for improving their chances of spotting the best wildlife. The reality of a self-guided safari, however, is that there are no guarantees. Although many choose guaranteed sightings radioed in from spotters in private reserves, the thrill you’ll feel when you spot your first animal in the wild is worth the added effort.
It’s important to drive slow, and to keep a beady eye out your windows at all times. The longer you stay out on the road, the greater your chance of seeing wildlife, but staying out all day can get exhausting.
As such, most choose to do two shorter drives each day — one at first light, when rest camp gates open, and then another later afternoon. This approach increases chances of spotting nocturnal wildlife, and there’s often more activity at these times than during the heat of the day.
Another alternative, particularly if you’re visiting in the heat of summer or during a dry spell, is to head out to a nearby dam or watering hole and relax there for an hour or two. There’s always a possibility of seeing wildlife heading to the water for a midday drink, and even if not, the peace, tranquility and simmering tension of possible sightings make for time well spent.