Game Viewing Tips

Successful game viewing obviously depends on you finding the animals so we will be looking at a few strategies to help you be more successful.

Male Lion near Mopani camp, Kruger national park

After a wonderful day of game viewing we normally chat to our neighbors in the bungalows next to ours and ask how their day was - more often than not their answer is "we saw nothing".

I then ask them which route they took, what time they went out and what animals they saw. At the end of the day we find that "nothing" means they did not see lion or one of the other predators but they did see a whole lot of other animals but did not stop to appreciate them.

You can spend your whole day driving aimlessly around the national parks and game reserves hoping to see ‘something’ (and you may be lucky) or you can come up with plan – how does that saying go; ‘if you fail to plan you plan to fail’ - and maybe on your next trip it will be you in one of these cars…!

Leopard near Crocodile bridge, kruger park
Lions near Punda Maria, Kruger National park
Cheetah on hippo loop, Pilanesberg
Wild Dogs near Punda Maria, Kruger National Park

We will show you further on how we have seen most of our predators by stopping to watch the prey - yes we do stop to watch impala in the Kruger Park and Pilanesberg or springbok in the Kalahari and Etosha - and sometimes we are rewarded with a cheetah, lion or leopard sighting and even some kills!

So, successful game viewing while on an African Safari tends to be a combination of choosing the right method, right time of day and right route, if you are going on a game drive, and then having a bit of patience.

Let's now look at a few strategies to help you be successful in finding animals...

Game Viewing Methods– here we look at the various methods of viewing game, from using vehicles, hot-air balloons, hides, or even from the comfort of your own bungalow

• If you are looking for specific African Mammal species we provide a list of which Southern African parks they are found in

When to Look- most animals are active in the cool hours of early morning and then again at the end of the day, but you should also consider the seasons and weather in order to enable you to find more animals

Sighting boards– these are important tools in locating game on a daily basis. Each camp has one or more sighting boards in addition to sightings books and / or chalk boards

Animal Behavior – understanding animal behavior is the key to finding them and then to anticipate what they may do once you have found them

Best routes– some routes are consistently more productive than others – here we will reveal the routes that have given us the best sightings during our more than sixteen years of visiting the various national parks and big-five game reserves

Camps and bungalows– each camp is unique in terms of feel, location, local species and so it’s important that you choose the right camp depending on what type of animals you want to see

Veld condition should also be taken into account when you are deciding when to visit which park.

See the animals- we are amazed at how many people drive past animals, even large elephants, as they did not 'see' them! We will share some of our seeing techniques with you

Patience- if you have patience you will end up very successful in finding and photographing game! Here we will share with you what has worked for us

Etiquette for viewing game– we all want to have an enjoyable wilderness experience so it’s important to stick to the rules and to be considerate towards other people. If a few basic rules are followed everyone will enjoy their game viewing experience more

BinocularsA good pair of binoculars will greatly improve your chances of finding birds and animals and your game viewing experience will therefore be much improved.

Identifying the Animals- It is important to correctly identify the animals you see when on game drives, that is why a good animal identification guide is so important. Here we provide comparisons of the animals most confused by people on safari.

Spotlights are crucial if you want to do game viewing at night or nocturnal photography. You should invest in the best spotlight or torch that you can afford!

We have tested many spotlights claiming millions of candle-power but there is only one champion - read about the best safari spotlight

• Thousands of animals end up as Road Kill each year in national parks caused mostly by people who supposedly love animals! Here is some information on how to avoid killing the creatures we want to conserve.

Lioness near Olifants camp, Kruger National Park

Return from Game Viewing to

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Please leave us a comment in the box below.
Photographer's Guide to Etosha

"Your time and money are valuable and the information in this Etosha eBook will help you save both."
-Don Stilton, Florida, USA

"As a photographer and someone who has visited and taken photographs in the Pilanesberg National Park, I can safely say that with the knowledge gained from this eBook, your experiences and photographs will be much more memorable."
-Alastair Stewart, BC, Canada

"This eBook will be extremely useful for a wide spectrum of photography enthusiasts, from beginners to even professional photographers."
- Tobie Oosthuizen, Pretoria, South Africa