Game viewing from a vehicle is the ‘classic’ safari experience, available at all safari destinations. However even here there are wide variations. In Zambia, for example, this will always take place in an open topped (sometimes there is a canvas sun canopy) 4×4 Toyota or Landrover vehicle. However in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa it is more likely to take place in a windowed hard top ‘minibus’, sometimes with a raised sun roof. But believe us, there is nothing to compare with game viewing from an open vehicle, seeing a lioness walk alongside you, close enough to touch, with nothing but the open air between you.
Now, almost by definition, the game can be difficult to spot while out driving or walking (even very large objects such as elephant or giraffe), simply because they are naturally camouflaged. Often the sharpest-eyed member of the group (after the guide, of course, who can almost see around corners) will spot something that others can’t – not because their eyesight isn’t good enough, but simply because they haven’t ‘locked on’ to the animal against its background. Once you do, you will wonder why you couldn’t spot it before.
There are two ways in which the person who has spotted the animal can communicate its whereabouts to others. One is to declare with ever increasing exasperation ‘there, there, under that tree’. The other is to use a description such as ‘at three o’clock about 100 metres away to the left of a small green bush, just to the right of the two tall trees’. One of these methods is considerably more helpful than the other.
Unfortunately the guides aren’t always skilled in the latter sort of description. You also need to be careful not to take your eyes off the game. You can be looking at an elephant quite close by (and they aren’t exactly tiny), only to find that it has vanished after briefly looking away.