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Safari Glossary

You may come across many words that are new to you whilst searching for information about African wildlife safaris. To help you learn the safari lingo, we have put together a glossary of some of the most common phrases that are used to describe safaris, wildlife characteristics and environment types.

Is a Swahili word which translates to ‘journey’. Safaris are generally a trip around a wildlife reserve spotting animals.

Private Safari
Many tour operators place random groups of people into the same vehicle to fill it up and cut costs. However, a private safari means that you have your own vehicle and driver/guide regardless of how many people are in your group.

Custom Safari
The ability to create your own itinerary of safari locations and hotels tailored to your exact needs and requirements.

Walking safari
Many reserves with low predator counts offer walking safaris. You will be led through the area by an expert guide to meet the wildlife on its level.

Balloon safari
A soaring wildlife experience from the great heights of a hot air balloon, a great way to see a parks surrounding scenery.

Horse riding safari
A safari that is conducted on horseback.

Motorbike safari
An adrenaline pumping tour that is carried out on a motorbike.

A place that cares for and feeds injured or incompetent of surviving animals.

An organisation that’s sole mission is to preserve the wildlife, environment and natural resources.

Early morning Game Drive
A safari that is taken at dawn to catch the day time wildlife waking up and the night time wildlife heading home to give a greater chance of sightings.

National Park
A National Park is land owned, preserved and maintained by the government which is public property.

Game Reserve
A Game Reserve is a location created for tourism and in some cases, game hunting is allowed.

National Reserve
A National Reserve is similar to a National Park, but is focused to preserve the inhabitancy of humans as well as wildlife.

This is a piece of land that is generally flat and is mostly covered by grass.

Plains game
This term is used to generalise fair-game species of gazelle and antelope that are found in open plains

Watering hole
A water source that is used by a large variety of animals to hydrate.

This means that the area has trees that well spaced out from each other.

Montane Forest
A tropical forest that is fogged over due to cloud mist.

Wildlife that only hunts and lives at night time.

Animals that hunt and live in the day light hours.

Animals that only eat plants and trees such as grass.


Meat eating animals that hunt and rely on killing and eating other animals, generally grazers as their main food source.


An animal that is hunted for food.


Animals that walk on hooves.