Plan your trip and times and choose a waterhole where you want to spend some time. The best time to observe the activity at a waterhole is early morning or late afternoon when the animals come for a drink. You may see different animals at different waterholes as the vegetation may differ considerably – be choosy.
When approaching the waterhole drive slowly as to make the less possible noise and dust when arriving. If you arrive in a fanfare the animals and birdlife will be gone before you even know it. We are all there to have a once in a life time experience!
Be considerate and pick a spot where you will not obscure the view of other people already present. Wait your turn. They were there first and we all want to experience the animals. After all that is what we all are there for.
Go prepared. Take binoculars and a camera, download the necessary apps before you leave home and take the appropriate reference books to make the outing enjoyable. It also helps to pass the time while waiting for the animals to arrive. Take some snacks and drinks and settle in and wait. If you have children teach them how to use the reference books to kill the time.
Do not forget the small creatures at the waterhole. Look at the birds, tortoises and ground squirrels, observe interesting plants and flowers and the interaction that is taking place between all these things. Expect the small creatures and be surprised by the big ones!
Be responsible at the waterhole. Do not get out of your vehicle. The warning sign is there for a reason. That lion that is on your bucket list might just be sleeping in the grassy patch behind the bush! And yes, that lethargic croc is quicker than you think!
Be quiet and keep your voice down. Do not bother them – they might be taking an afternoon nap! Animals can hear you from a distance and will not approach the waterhole if there are unfamiliar noises. This includes not playing music and putting your cell phone on silent!
And last, but not least – do not litter! Keep a bag for the litter in your car. The golden rule of the veld is what you take in is what you take out. Leave only the footprints of your vehicle behind.
“Clearly, animals know more than we think, and think a great deal more than we know.” ― Irene M. Pepperberg