Our basic guide to your first time on safari.

Congratulations! You have planned and booked your bucket-list trip to South Africa to enjoy a Safari. Here’s some basic information to get you prepared. Going on safari is an incredible experience. Some of our guests find it addictive and have become regular, repeat visitors. It is also unlike any other holiday you may have been on, and it is helpful to know what to expect when going on your debut African wilderness trip. If this is your first time visiting Morukuru Family Madikwe, knowing the basic drill can help you plan and prepare.

Our Freedom Concept:  Morukuru Family has gained a reputation as the specialist for exclusive use stays in South Africa. We are proud to have pioneered this concept in South Africa, and our ‘Morukuru Freedom Concept’ allows guests to do “whatever they want, whenever they want”. The Morukuru Family philosophy is high-end exclusive use experience underpinned by flexibility. Early wake-up calls and late evenings: You can look forward to two game drives each day. Ideally one early in the morning, expect to be woken up while it is still dark, and one late in the afternoon. These times are the optimum game-viewing opportunities as animals are most active just before sunrise and after sunset. Plus, you can experience the magic of an early morning African sunrise and a spectacular African sunset with glorious, flaming colours. However, as per our Freedom Concept, the game drive times can be altered to suit your personal preferences. Before setting out at dawn, you will be served hot beverages and a nibble like home-baked, traditional South African rusks. This will keep you going until you stop for a coffee- break when you can refuel. Before heading out in the late afternoon, you can enjoy afternoon tea with some freshly baked treats. Proximity to wild animals: You will be in an open vehicle near wild animals. This is the Madikwe Game Reserve and not a theme park. Before setting off, your team will explain the basic game-drive etiquette. Keeping you safe and giving you a memorable experience is our priority. The most important rule of all is to enjoy your visit to Morukuru Family and go home with lifetime memories.

Children of all ages are welcome too: Thanks to the exclusive-use nature of the Morukuru Family safari houses we are able to welcome families with children of all ages. And children of all ages can join on game drives too, there are no minimum age restrictions. We even provide booster seats, if required. Taking your children on safari in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve is an experience they will never forget.

There are no toilet facilities in the wild: Game drives are usually 3 hours or longer. Go to the toilet before you leave. If you don’t mind answering the call of nature behind a bush or a tree, your guide will show you to a suitable spot. You will stop for drinks and snacks:  On morning game drives, you will stop for a tea/coffee break with some treats from our kitchen to tide you over before you enjoy your breakfast back at the house. Evening drives include a sundowner pause when you can witness the true beauty of the sunset with your favourite ice-cold beverage in hand and some bush-style canapes. Now’s your chance to talk to your ranger and ask any questions you may have left out.

Have some fun - our rangers, field guides and trackers are very knowledgeable and entertaining: Our team is very experienced and can share fascinating stories about their encounters with wildlife. Speak to them. A good question to start with is, “What was the most interesting/dangerous experience you’ve had in the bush?” They are usually quite happy to start talking about this. It may be difficult to get them to stop, though… You will not see the Big Five on every game drive: Some days you may see a lot of animals and birds, and other days barely anything. There are no guarantees in the wild. The Big Five refers to the five most revered animals wildlife enthusiasts hope to see while on safari: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. If you see rhino, do not geo-tag the locations because this helps poachers to find them. You can also have plenty of fun with other species, including the Small Five: the ant lion, leopard tortoise, elephant shrew, buffalo weaver and rhino beetle. The exclusive Ugly Five club members are the hyena, wildebeest, vulture, warthog and marabou stork. It’s good to remember that your time in the bush will include a wide range of sightings - including birds, insects, reptiles and trees and plants.

Game drives can get bumpy: Expect a lot of bumping and bouncing around because the roads are untarred. We call this the “Morukuru massage”, and it comes free of charge.

Game drives can get cold:  No matter the height of the mercury in camp, game drives can get quite chilly in the early mornings and late evenings – because you are travelling in an open Landrover at a fair amount of speed. Always carry a jacket.

What to pack: Your time at Morukuru Family will be casual, so you can keep your luggage light and uncomplicated. Your safari packing list should include neutral-coloured, lightweight clothes, comfortable shoes, long trousers to avoid being bitten by insects, a hat, and a jacket. Do not forget your camera, binoculars and some safari books. Early morning and evening drives will be cold, and you will need a decent jacket, a couple of warm layers, a beanie, and gloves. Our team will supply blankets and hot water bottles to turn up the heat. Once the sun is up over the horizon, you will want to lose the layers and have your essentials like sunscreen, a wide-brim hat, and sunglasses on hand.

Activities when not out on a game drive: When you are not exploring the bush in a game drive vehicle, you can enjoy other activities, such as a guided bush walk with one of our experienced ranger and tracker teams.  Or you can simply relax by the pool, enjoy a good book or catch up on some sleep. Your trip is a holiday, after all, and now’s the time to just do nothing except listen to the sounds of the bush and catch sight of roaming game as they stroll past the camp. Mary Poppins told us that “anything can happen if you let it”. Pack your bag, get on your flight and prepare to have the time of your life on your first safari. We’ve got everything else covered.