1. Start with the Big 5 – On a South African game drive, many safari companies focus on the Big 5: lions, leopards, buffalo, elephants and rhinos. In the search for these animals you'll end up seeing most other species on your list. The guides will often use radio and phone communication to keep each other informed when a rare animal is spotted.
2. Keep an eye on the sky – While not always the primary mission of many safari groups, there are amazing bird-watching opportunities in South Africa's Kruger National Park. It's home to more than 500 species of birds including this Yellow Hornbill.
3. Make friends with your guide – It pays off to develop a relationship with your guide. Their keen eyes are honed to spot wildlife, but they also have to focus on staying on the road. If you do your part to help pick out animals, they'll be even more willing to go the extra mile and take you to special places off the beaten track.
4. Go animal-spotting inside the camp – Most game drives happen early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This leaves plenty of time in the middle of the day to relax and explore camp. While the fence around the camp keeps out the large and dangerous animals, there are still plenty of smaller critters around.
5. Appreciate all creatures great and small – With the focus on mega fauna it's all too easy to overlook life's small things. While some will never appreciate the giant spider webs glinting in morning light, there are small birds, rodents and reptiles all around.
6. Enjoy the local night life – Kruger is full of nocturnal animals that head for bed right as the park opens for the morning. Only official park staff are allowed to run tours out of camp after dark. They're worth it! This rule is in place to aid in the monitoring and reduction of poaching within the park.
7. Don't be afraid to ask to stop – Animals like this impala are everywhere and guides rarely stop to watch them. They call them "McDonald's" because they're omnipresent, have an "m" on their rear end and everything eats them. If you spot something you'd like to take a closer look at, just ask your guide to pull over and they'll usually be happy to comply.
8. It's about flora as well as fauna – You might visit an African park to see the wildlife, but that isn't all there is to offer. The vast, beautiful landscape in which the fauna makes its home is also full of mystery and majesty.
9. Consider the seasonal benefits – There are many arguments to visit a park during a specific season. Most recommend going during the dry season when wildlife is concentrated around the few watering holes. The wet season is just as spectacular, with greenery, baby animals and storm clouds to enjoy.
10. Take the time to sit – Morning and evening game drives can be intense and don't allow a lot of time for relaxation. Skukuza has an excellent outdoor dining area with an excellent view over the Sabie River. After relaxing in the sun for part of the afternoon this elephant walked out of the shrubbery and spent 30 minutes playing around in the water.
11. Visit in April if you love baby animals – April is prime time to see baby animals in Kruger. Pairs like this Chacma baboon mother and infant have many seemingly human interactions as the mother teaches the youngster how to live in this brand new world.