Rules of the Bush Delta Willis

An American man who taunted a bison in Yellowstone National Park was sentenced to 60 days in jail and banned from the park for 5 years. In September, 2018, a German woman was trampled by an elephant near Mana Pools, Zimbabwe, after she left her vehicle to get a closer look.

Visitors put themselves in danger by not knowing the rules of the bush. You can’t expect to become an expert on wildlife behavior overnight, and even experts with decades of experience will tell you an animal’s behavior is not always predictable. So before you go, read the rules carefully, even if you are on a guided tour, and especially if you are traveling independently.



In most national parks and reserves in Kenya it is forbidden to leave your vehicle except in designated areas, or travel with an open-top vehicle. The open-top rule may seem spurious, but big cats can be overhead in trees, and cheetahs have been known to use a vehicle as a perch. Some park roads take you close to rocky outcrops where big cats like to rest in the shade or survey for prey.

Sunroofs for most vehicles allow you to photograph but still give you cover overhead. If you rent a vehicle with a canvas top that you remove, in certain countries and parks, you can be fined or ousted from a park. Open top vehicles are used in Southern Africa. A friend who just returned from the Kalahari complained of being baked. More travelers suffer from sunburn than any other peril, but this blog will give you an idea of the reasoning behind the rules most people read in a hurry or not at all.


Observe speed limits (30kph) do not interfere with a hunt, and use a telephoto or zoom to get closer. ?Do not press closer than 20 meters; annoyed cats may leave and return later to move the carcass to another site. Worse, a lioness moving her cub was surrounded by vehicles in Nairobi National Park. Visitors did not know she left two other cubs hidden in the grass, or that male lions sometimes kill cubs in order to make females come into estrus again. She became stressed, and when a KWS ranger tried to tell visitors to give her some space, they complained they had paid good money to get close, perhaps not knowing they were endangering what they had come to see. Be respectful of rangers, and wildlife.

Also, if a lioness has cubs, and visitors flail arms about from vehicles, she may view you as a threat. Do not extend yourself out of the roof or open the door to get a better shot; under no circumstances should you climb out of the vehicle or get on the hood.

Animals in popular parks have learned to disregard a vehicle that poses no threat to them. They may have quite a different reaction to the human form. This is especially true of lions and elephants which have been harassed by humans, or a mother with young.

Some tourist vehicles interrupt a chase or foil a kill by crowding cheetahs or lions as they stalk prey. Do not race along side or rush toward the “scene” (what you guess to be the kill site or prey.) Instead view it from a distance with binoculars or through your telephoto. Some years ago, vehicles interrupting chases became so abusive in Nairobi National Park that cheetah became dangerously lean during the tourist season. (An August, 2018 game count recorded not one cheetah.) ?There’s no way to predict which way the chase will turn; you may hit and kill one of the animals, for which you can be banned for life from the park and fined, and your driver will lose his license and his job.

In parks like Amboseli where vegetation is fragile, driving off the park road is forbidden. You usually receive a list of park rules when you pay your entrance fee. Adhere to them carefully. Breaking the rules can result in a fine or being banned from the park. It doesn?t take an official warden as witness; if you see bad behavior, record it and report it.


If you post on social media, do not report locations of rhino, big tusker elephants, or bird nests, especially owls. Delay your post by at least 24 hours, and be vague. Poachers troll; a 2017 National Geographic report inspired offers of illicit trade in the comment section.



Baboon and monkeys have been known to snatch food from travelers eating at a picnic table. Do not tempt them, and take your leftovers to dispose of in trash bins. Keep the windows of your vehicle up when near wild primates. Do not keep food in your tent, especially if you are in it.

Some people bang the side of the vehicle or whistle to get an animal to turn their way. It’s not a good idea, and you may endanger other people in your group. Annoyed rhino and elephant have been known to charge vehicles. You will find it more rewarding to sit quietly and simply watch. The longer you stay and whisper, allowing animals to ignore you, the more natural behavior you are likely to see. Patience allows you time to study the light and anticipate a great photograph.


Do not throw trash, plastic bottles, or cigarettes out your window. Organize a system inside your car and dispose of in a bin or recycling unit near park gates.


Hippo are faster on land than you might think. Should you come between them and water, they can attack, or simply run over you to get back to their safe haven. Better camps and lodges provide an escort to walk you back to your tent after dinner. ??Stay in shallow waters when canoeing or boating, giving hippo the freedom they prefer in deeper waters. You may still encounter the occasional rogue (which also happens with bull elephant) or the injured, ticked off because they?re in pain. These are times when your local safari guide is golden. They often know animals individually, and can steer you away from dangerous ones.

Even experts in animal behavior have close encounters. Joan Root had her face mask ripped off by a hippo when filming at Mzima Springs, the tusks missing her eyes by millimeters. The hippo, fresh from a losing battle, may have taken her diving bubbles for a sign of his rival. Alan Root didn’t get off so easily; the same hippo bit his leg, which gave fodder to George Plimpton’s New Yorker profile “The Man Who Was Eaten Alive.”

To photograph hippo, use a blind, a telephoto, or shoot from a vehicle.


Walking safaris can only be conducted in certain areas. Walks may be as brief as an hour or you may traverse 10 miles a day, with tented camps en route. Walking is an opportunity for a different perspective, but it requires agility of body and mind. ??You may laugh at instructions given beforehand: “If a buffalo or rhino charges, climb the nearest tree!” But if you are unable to climb a tree, you should think twice before going. You may not only put yourself in danger, you may cause an unnecessary killing of an animal.

Led by a naturalist who knows how to identify spoor, a walking safari may also include a gun-bearer, for there is the odd chance of surprising a rhino or buffalo. However, a weapon can provide a false sense of security, so be alert, be nimble, and spare the bullet.

Buffalo appear to be docile creatures when viewed from a vehicle, but they do not like to be surprised. One visitor, going for a stroll after lunch in the Maasai Mara, was fatally pinned to a tree by a buffalo. A traveler who went for a jog was injured by an elephant calving on the same trail.

According to some wildlife experts, the most dangerous creature in Africa is one that is half-tame, half-wild. Consider the attacks by lions at Kora on their very people who fed them.

Baboons can do a lot of damage with their canines: the best defense is to yell and back off. Keep your face to the animal and drop your camera away as you back away. With some animals (like elephant or lion) throwing up your hands and shouting may scare them off. Ultimately, you must signal by body language that you do not intend to pursue them further. Never tempt animals with the opportunity of a chase.


Many visitors assume that they will be able to go on their daily jog while on safari, but jogging anywhere in the bush is not smart. Lion, cheetah, and leopard are big cats, and cats like to chase things.

Rules of the Bush could fill a book, but the best rule of thumb is to remember that in any wild terrain, you are an intruder and out of your element. Wildlife deserve your respect for many reasons. Some endangered species, like rhino, have been on this earth far longer than humans-40 million years. At best, our kind has been here 4 million, but our numbers invade wild spaces on every continent. Treasure your chance to see these creatures. Your visit can help protect them. Be kind to wardens and rangers; many risk their lives, working for low pay in tough conditions. Be a solution, not a problem.


DELTA WILLIS worked with wildlife filmmakers for the British television Survival series. As Editorial Consultant for the Fodor?s Travel Guides to Kenya & Tanzania, she learned from top guides on over 100 safaris. A member of The Explorers Club, she participated in scientific expeditions, including a geological survey of Lake Turkana, and tracking man-eating lion descendants in Tsavo National Park.


  • Stay in your vehicle at all times, except at designated areas.
  • Respect wildlife, this is their habitat.
  • Don’t crowd animals or make sudden noises or movements.
  • Don’t feed animals, it upsets their diet and leads to conflicts.
  • Keep quiet and whisper; noise disturbs wildlife and fellow visitors.
  • Keep below the maximum speed limit (30 kph/15 mph).
  • Never drive off-road, this damages habitat.
  • Keep a minimum distance of 20 meters from wildlife.
  • Leave no litter; never leave fires unattended or discard cigarettes.
  • Do not post exact locations of endangered species online.


 2018 9 6?

Chinese Translation: Jeffrey Wu



一名在黄石国家公园追赶一头野牛的美国男子被判入狱60天,并被禁止进入公园5年。同样在2018年8月,肯尼亚马赛马拉的游客从附近的狮子车里下车;一名中国游客在肯尼亚的纳瓦沙湖被河马杀死。 2018年9月,津巴布韦玛娜池塘附近的一名德国妇女离开她的车想接近观看一头大象时被大象踩死。




遵守速度限制(30kph),不要干扰动物的捕猎,并使用长焦或变焦镜头来获得更近的画面。保持20米以上的距离; 被打搅的猫科动物会离开并稍后返回将猎物尸体移到另一个地方。更糟糕的是,一只正在转移幼狮的母狮在内罗毕国家公园被车辆包围,游客不知道的是她把另外两只幼崽藏在草丛中,以防雄狮有时会杀死幼崽,以便让雌性再次进入发情期。她变得紧张起来,当一名肯尼亚野生动物保护局的园警试图奉劝游客给她多一些空间时,他们抱怨说他们付了很多钱才能靠近,也许并不知道他们正在危及他们来到这里观看的动物。我们应该尊重园警和野生动物。

此外,如果一只母狮有幼崽,当游客从车上挥舞手臂,她可能会认为你是一种威胁。不要将自己身体伸出屋顶或打开门以获得更好的拍摄效果; 在任何情况下都不应该爬出车辆或上车顶。


太多的旅游车辆在猎豹或狮子追捕猎物的过程中过于拥挤,从而打断了追捕行为。不要跟着动物急驶,也不要冲向“场景”(你猜测是捕杀地点或猎物。)用望远镜或长焦镜头从远处观看。几年前,在内罗毕国家公园,干扰捕猎的的车辆粗暴无视这些规则而干扰中断了许多捕猎,以至于猎豹在旅游季节变得危险地瘦弱下来。 (2018年8月的公园计数没有发现猎豹。)世上没有办法预测捕猎时的动物的转向方向;你可能撞到或杀死其中的一只动物,为此你会被终身禁止进入公园并被罚款,你的司机也将失去执照和工作。


3.不要在互联网上报告濒危物种的位置如果您在社交媒体上发帖,请不要报告犀牛,长牙象或鸟巢尤其是猫头鹰的位置。延迟发布你的帖子至少24小时,并且含糊不清。偷猎者会在网上寻找线索; 2017年国家地理报告在评论部分引发了非法交易的提议。

4.不要喂食或挑逗野生动物众所周知,狒狒和猴子会从游客的餐桌上抢食物,不要诱惑他们,把你的剩菜丢弃在垃圾箱里。当靠近野生灵长类动物时,保持车辆的窗户关闭。不要将食物放在帐篷里,特别是如果你也在里面时。 有些人敲击车辆的侧板或吹口哨让动物转过身来。这不是一个好主意,你可能会危及你车中的其他人。众所周知,被激怒的犀牛和大象会撞击车辆,你会发现安静地坐着观看它们更有意思。你停留的时间越长并轻声说话,会让动物忽视你使你可能会看到更自然的动物行为。耐心也让你有时间研究光线,并捕捉到一张更好的照片。


6.请警惕河马河马在陆地上的速度比你想象的要快。如果你介入它们和水之间,它们可能会发起攻击,或者踩过你回到它们的避风港。条件好的营地和度假村为您提供护送,让您在晚餐后带您回到帐篷。在划独木舟或乘船时待在浅水区,让河马在更深的水域中享有他们喜欢的自由。你可能仍会遇到偶尔离群的独兽(有时也会是公牛或大象)或受伤的独兽,因为疼痛而非常暴躁。这些时候你的当地野生动物导游就特别显得重要了。他们经常更了解单个的野生动物,并可以引导你远离危险的动物。  即使是动物行为方面的专家也会遇上危险的境遇。在姆自玛泉水区拍摄时,乔安.鲁特的的面罩被河马扯掉了,河马的长牙仅差几毫米就会击穿她的眼睛。那只河马刚刚输给了对手,可能将她的潜水时的气泡当成了对手的标志。 阿兰.鲁特就没有那么幸运了; 同一只河马咬了他的腿,这给了乔治.普林顿的“纽约客”短文的标题 “被活吃的人”。 拍摄河马,应使用掩体,长焦镜头或从车辆中拍摄。


7.徒步是危险的徒步旅行只能在某些地区进行。步行可以是简短的一个小时,或者你可以每天走10英里,途中在帐篷营地停留。步行提供了一个不同视角,但需要身体和思维的敏捷性。你可以嘲笑指示牌上写的:“如果水牛或犀牛发动攻击,爬上最近的树!”但如果你不能爬树,你应该三思而后行。你不仅可能使自己处于危险之中,还可能导致不必要的动物杀害。  徒步旅行应该在一个知道如何识别动物足迹的自然学家的带领下,也应该包括持枪警卫,因为还会有一个很小的惊吓犀牛或野牛的可能性。然而,武器可以提供虚假的安全感,所以要警惕,灵活,并且不要轻易开枪。 坐在车里看,野牛似乎是温顺的生物,但他们不喜欢惊吓。一位游客在马赛马拉吃午饭后散步,被一头水牛钉在了一棵树上致死。一个慢跑的旅行者被同一条小路上的一头生小象的大象弄伤了。根据一些野生动物专家的说法,非洲最危险的生物是半驯服,半野生的生物。想想阔拉的狮群对喂养它们的人发动的攻击事件。 狒狒可以用它们的犬齿造成很大的伤害:最好的防御就是大喊大叫并且后退。保持面对动物,扔掉相机,向后退却。对有些动物(如大象或狮子)挥舞手臂,大喊大叫可能会吓跑它们。最终,您必须通过肢体语言表示你不打算进一步追赶它们。也不要给动物一个追赶你的机会。


8.不要跑许多游客认为他们可以在野外旅行时继续他们的日常慢跑,但在灌木丛中的任何地方慢跑并不聪明。狮子,猎豹和豹子都是大型猫科动物,猫科动物喜欢追逐东西。 丛林规则可以写一本书,但最好的经验法则是要记住,在任何野外的地形中,你都是一个入侵者并且你不是在属于自己的环境中。很多原因让野生动物更值得你尊重。一些濒临灭绝的物种,如犀牛,在地球上的存在时间远远长于人类,在人类出现前4千万年就存在了。我们人类存在不过4百万年,但是我们在每个大陆都在侵入野外的空间。珍惜看到这些物种的机会吧,你的来访可以帮助保护它们。善待公园巡警和园警; 许多人冒着生命危险在艰苦条件下低薪工作着。成为一个问题解决者,而不是问题制造者。

黛儿塔.威利斯   与英国电视台的野生动物电影制作人一起制作了野外生存系列片。作为佛舵肯尼亚和坦桑尼亚旅游指南的编辑顾问,她从超过100次野游的顶级导游那里学到了很多东西。作为探索者俱乐部的成员,她参加了许多科学考察,包括对图卡纳湖的地质调查,以及在察沃国家公园跟踪食人狮子后裔。




  • Stay in your vehicle at all times, except at designated areas.
  • Respect wildlife, this is their habitat.
  • Don’t crowd animals or make sudden noises or movements.
  • Don’t feed animals, it upsets their diet and leads to conflicts.
  • Keep quiet and whisper; noise disturbs wildlife and fellow visitors.
  • Keep below the maximum speed limit (30 kph/15 mph).
  • Never drive off-road, this damages habitat.
  • Keep a minimum distance of 20 meters from wildlife.
  • Leave no litter; never leave fires unattended or discard cigarettes.
  • Do not post exact locations of endangered species online.

公园规定- 简版·       •除指定区域外,始终待在你的车辆中。·       •尊重野生动物,这是它们的栖息地。·       •不要过于接近动物或突然发出噪音或动作。·       •不要喂动物,它会扰乱它的饮食习惯并导致冲突。·       •保持安静和轻声细语;噪音会干扰野生动物和游客。·       •保持低于最大速度限制(30 kph / 15 mph)。·       •切勿下路行驶,这会破坏栖息地。·       •与野生动物保持至少20米的距离。·       •不留垃圾; 永远不要让明火无人看管或丢弃香烟。·       •不要在互联网发布濒危物种的确切位置。