Game Reserve Etiquette

“Good heavens!” you might think. “What on earth are these people on about? Game reserve etiquette? Whatever next!“

This is a ticklish one, simply because in writing it we had a sense of preaching to the converted. In spite of this, we felt that it would be a good thing to remind folks of the niceties that all visitors should consider when visiting an Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife protected area – well, not only a KZN one –  any  one. So please forgive us if we preach just a little!

The key to a really enjoyable visit to a protected area is peace and quiet, a space where spiritual and emotional rejuvenation can be experienced, and we expect all our visitors to respect this simple fact. Keep in mind what you want from your time in the protected area, and consider how your activities are going to affect your fellow visitors most of whom are looking for the same thing. For this reason we ask our guests staying in the chalets or campsites to be as quiet as possible, certainly we will insist on silence from nine pm each night. You will soon realise that the night is alive with tiny sounds. We provide TV sets in most chalets and cottages, and ask that guests keep the volume down. The same applies to any other device capable of playing music such as car sound systems, CD players, laptops and so on.

game-reserve-etiquette

llustration 1: A Burchell’s zebra with its foal in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

As has often been said, there is a time and a place for everything, but when you enter the gates of an Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife protected area the rules do change slightly. Your holiday is not the time, nor is a protected area the place for loud music and raucous parties – no matter if the Sharks Rugby team have beaten the Bulls yet again!

Consideration for others is the key here – and this applies more than ever when in one of the Zululand game or nature reserves where game viewing is done from your car. We have often seen scenarios where the folks in one car spot a leopard or lion near the road and park quietly to watch it. Within minutes however, other cars have gathered and it turns into a bit of a free for all with cars jockeying for a better view. Inevitably the animal is disturbed by all the activity and noise, and retires into the thickets.

Next month we’ll take a brief look at how to understand certain elephant behaviours a little.

9 replies
  1. Cheryl Herrington
    Cheryl Herrington says:

    I am so pleased to see you mentioned this as we get very frustrated when guests talk at the top of their voices not realizing that the sound travels far. Also after a few drinks it gets louder and louder when in camp. The tranquility is what we are there for. Another frustration is when in the hides. People intend to speak normally not considering the others that are very quiet watching the animals and the animals do get very skittish when lots of noise. I would love to have a “Silence Please” sign put in all the hides as it would help, hopefully to draw attention to the quietness required in the hides.

    Reply
    • Rhino Club Team
      Rhino Club Team says:

      Hi Cheryl, thanks. As we have noted in our other replies, a gentle reminder does no harm and enhances everyone’s experience. People don’t realise how sound travels in the bush. We have often overheard some extremely private conversations while sitting in the bush near to a road. It’s a pretty sure bet that the folks in the car would die of embarrassment if they knew we had heard every word! The same applies to sitting in a hide, or your car at a lion kill. Your neighbours can hear you clearly. So can the animals!

      Reply
  2. Gail Langley
    Gail Langley says:

    This etiquette should be shared with Ezemvelo staff members. We arrived at our chalet in the afternoon only to find staff members watching a very loud game of soccer in the communal lounge behind our chalet. We were very thankful when the game ended.

    Reply
    • Rhino Club Team
      Rhino Club Team says:

      Hi Gail, please never feeling hesitant about letting our reception staff know if members of staff of Ezemvelo have misbehaved or are noisy. They too benefit from a timely reminder…

      Reply
  3. R Buchanan
    R Buchanan says:

    Sometimes the people who come upon the animal won’t move aside a little to let the other cars pull closer and have a sighting of the animal. Especially with the difficult animals to see eg lepoards, wild dogs ,lions etc. There may be people in other cars who haven’t seen them in the wild and may never have the chance to see them again.

    Reply
    • Rhino Club Team
      Rhino Club Team says:

      Indeed – this is precisely why we decided to take the bull by the horns and write these ‘etiquette’ articles. There is no harm in a gentle reminder now and then. We all benefit from it.

      Reply
    • Rhino Club Team
      Rhino Club Team says:

      This is another example of why we are producing this series of articles. We all get excited by seeing something exciting, but we all need to remember our manners and let other folks have a chance too. Our parents all used to tell us not to hog all the good stuff and to let others have a chance too. It applies to game reserve sightings as well. We certainly would like the word to spread that courtesy costs nothing.

      Reply
  4. Marsha O,Brien
    Marsha O,Brien says:

    Please please please do something…I have no idea what…..to control the machine gun clatter of Bazooka sized cameras destroying the tranquility of hides. My recent trip to Mkuze was totally spoilt by 3 sets of photographers,taking up extra space for their enormous amount of equipment and totally ruining my experience with the noise of their cameras.For goodness sake people…do you really need to shoot off 500 frames of 1 giraffe?

    Reply
    • Rhino Club Team
      Rhino Club Team says:

      Hi Marsha – our apologies for the delay in replying to your comment. Hopefully this forum will alert photographers to be a bit more considerate of others using the hides in terms of space and noise. If anyone is using a digital camera the shutter sound can be switched off, and we certainly do appeal to the serious photographers out there to consider other folks.

      Reply

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