Benefits of Hiring a Knowledgeable Guide
A knowledgeable Safari guide will add a unique dimension to your Africa trip. Wildlife is just part of the safari experience and people are often keener to understand African cultures and the way of life of rural communities. Guides can interpret for you and arrange visits to local villages and markets. They can also help prevent any cultural misunderstandings by explaining the traditions and taboos of certain tribes.

Local guides know more about local conditions. It’s as simple as that. This can be crucial if you’re travelling to remote areas or into reserves during the rainy season. Many a game vehicle has been towed out of the mud by a savvy guide who could see that the ground was too waterlogged for safe passage. Good guiding isn’t just about avoiding problems – it’s about knowing when and where to go to find what you’re looking for. Tracking animals is a skill that takes years to perfect and is something that is often overlooked by less knowledgeable guides.
A knowledgeable guide will significantly enhance your safari experience. Guides are the best resource for understanding Africa’s flora and fauna. Their knowledge of the bush and powers of observation will mean that you’ll discover and learn more on a guided safari. Many guides are trained in specific areas such as botany or birding and their enthusiasm is infectious. Most of the top guides now carry a library of books to help answer all your questions.

Expertise in Wildlife and Nature
An experienced and knowledgeable guide will have the ability to recognize all those little things that most of us would likely miss seeing. They can identify a wide variety of animal tracks, and droppings, and understand animal behaviour. By understanding what the signs in the bush are telling them, guides can take their clients far closer to wildlife than they would normally be able to get. This provides a great opportunity to observe animals and is especially fantastic for those wanting to get that perfect wildlife photograph. Getting closer to the wildlife is an exciting and truly memorable experience. A professional guide can greatly enhance your chance of seeing the wildlife. Let me elaborate: If you were on a self-drive safari in say the Kruger National Park, and you came across a pride of lions right next to the road, it’s more than likely that you would be so excited and perhaps a little intimidated that you would close the windows and drive off, thus not getting any good photographic opportunity and also not giving the lions the chance for you to view them at close range. Now consider the situation where your guide had spotted the same pride of lions. Being a professional and experienced guide, he would know that the lions pose no threat to you and that this is a fantastic opportunity for you to get a close look at lions and get a great photo. This he would explain to you, and then drive off the road and switch the engine off (the perfect photo opportunity is not to have a car in the picture) now all you need is a cold drink and some good company, and you’re all set.

Enhanced Safety and Security
Your safety is paramount whilst on safari. A guide’s knowledge of an area is valuable in many ways but perhaps most so in knowing if there are any potential dangers in an area, be it wildlife, tribal tensions, or if there are any areas where visitors are advised not to travel. They will know the political situation of an area and know where any safe zones may be located.
The guide will also know how to avoid areas of high tourism, not always because these areas are dangerous but because it is often nicer to see animals in a more remote setting. An example of this is the Serengeti in Tanzania. A guide will know when and where the migration is taking place and will be able to plan your visit so that you avoid the convoy of tourists in vehicles all trying to see the same thing.

Having a knowledgeable local guide with you often gives out a statement to the locals that you are not just an average tourist, and you have ties with the area. This, in itself, can often make your stay safer. There are many private reserves in Africa where the owners are the guides. They have families living in the area and are heavily involved with conservation efforts. They are not the type of people who want tourists to miss out that their area is too dangerous to visit.
The huge diversity in Africa’s wilderness areas throws up many different types of travel, transport, and accommodation. Your guide will have knowledge and experience of all these things and will know what is both comfortable and safe. At times, it may be necessary to decide whether to visit a certain park or to take a game walk rather than a game drive. Your guide will know how to make an informed decision. Step one again provides customers with a high experience, skill, and ability. High experience and ability build trust in customers with step one, providing them solid proof of better security compared to price.
Explanation of the text on “1.2. Enhanced Safety and Security”.

Insight into Local Culture and Traditions
An experienced guide remains key to the interpretation and understanding of cultural and traditional ways of life in most rural areas in Africa. Local people often take their traditions and customs for granted, and it takes an in-depth conversation to discover more about their culture. Without an insider’s view, several complex and absorbing cultural ceremonies could be easily overlooked by visitors. Discussions regarding local traditions are always enhanced by the guide’s knowledge and experiences within his own culture. Often, cultural insights can be explained from comparative experiences in the guide’s own life. This sharing of information assists greatly in breaking down cultural barriers between foreign visitors and rural Africans. Guides will often be able to facilitate a meeting or some form of meaningful interaction between the local community and visitors. This is something that is hard to achieve for the average tourist and is usually an enlightening and uplifting experience. During such encounters, the guidance of an experienced hand is vital in ensuring cultural sensitivities and taboos are not violated.