Those visiting the African bush for the first time might very well be afraid of encountering a snake or two. Although it’s not very common to spot a snake in the wild or at the lodge, we like to keep our guests armed with the knowledge they need to safely avoid potentially dangerous encounters with these reptiles. We thought we’d share a few tips on snake safety.

If you’re ever surprised by one…

When spotting a snake, leave it alone. It’s definitely more wary of you than you are of it. Freeze first before slowly backing away, allowing it to pass you. Should you find yourself with a snake indoors, call a snake catcher and observe it from a safe distance of 5m until help arrives. By not keeping a watchful eye on it, you risk the snake escaping or hiding, making the task of capturing and relocating a bit more difficult.  

Don’t ever kill a snake.

Snakes serve an important purpose in the food chain and are essential for biodiversity. Without them, populations of frogs, lizards, rodents and bats would become far too great. Snakes are also a source of food for animals like genets, mongooses birds and more. Killing a snake is also incredibly dangerous as you risk being bitten should the snake try to defend itself.

If you’re bitten or get spat in the eye

Some snakes like the Mozambique Spitting Cobra are responsible for the most snake bites in South Africa each year. It’s highly venomous and is also capable of spitting its venom into your eyes up to 3m away. Should you ever find yourself spat at, don’t rub your eyes and do not flush your eyes out with milk. Instead, use a hose pipe on low pressure or a tap to immediately flush your eyes with water for at least 15 minutes. Try to keep your eyes open as long as you can. If you’re bitten by any kind of snake, get to a hospital immediately. If you can’t identify the snake that bit you, your doctors will use your symptoms to determine which species is responsible and what anti-venom to use.

Try to identify the snake

Look at its features. What colours or markings are on the snake? What size or colour are its eyes? Was it able to rear up or spit at you? If it is safe to do so, take a picture of the snake, otherwise, try to remember a few key distinguishers that will allow experts to identify the snake.

At Nambiti Hills Private Game Experience, we take the safety of our guests very seriously. It’s why we do everything we can to prevent dangerous encounters between our guests and the wildlife who share our reserve with us. To book your stay at Nambiti Hills Private Game Reserve, contact our reservations team today on +27 (0)31 333 6723 or To see our current specials, click here: