I think those are a couple of good questions. And the advice already offered for you to clarify with your PH is the best answer.
In the wild areas with tent camps I have hunted in Zimbabwe and Mozambique I generally took my cased rifle to my tent with me in the evening. While in the tent I kept my rifle loaded and readily available, but very unlikely to be needed.
In Moz, the lions were in camp most every night and I’m pretty sure they took sadistic pleasure in making it difficult to sleep. Not from fear, but roaring lions will rattle your tent flaps. On about night 4 I said screw it and stuffed in some ear plugs which helped some.
There are Outfitters/PH’s that have had some scary experiences in camp with loaded rifles. A PH that has experienced accidental discharges, particularly in camp, may regard a client with a loaded rifle as more of a hazard than a lion or elephant. Who can blame him? Discussing the camp rules and PH preferences is likely to help put his mind at ease.
Generally speaking it is discouraged to leave your tent at night once the generator has been turned off and the lights are out. As long as you heed this you are very unlikely to have a problem. However in certain situations and locations it may be wise to pack your rifle with you when heading to your tent after a sundowner around the fire. If so, I would expect your PH to suggest this to you.
Regarding the shooting of inbound hostiles in self defense. I’m sure the policy varies by country, outfitter and PH. Once again, make sure the rules are clear, and you and your PH are both comfortable and on the same page. I can assure you of this, while hunting in a wild area with Dangerous Game my rifle is going to be carried with a round in the chamber and on-safe. And the muzzle will always be pointed in a safe direction. Prove to your PH on Day 1 (or before) that you strongly believe in safe gun handling and he can trust you. If a PH is not comfortable with me carrying my rifle in the field with a round in the chamber I believe we’re going back to camp and hash things out ‘til we can come to an agreement.
A PH’s first priority is making sure everyone stays safe. The policy on every Dangerous Game hunt I’ve been on has been this: If threat of injury of death is imminent use whatever means necessary to neutralize the threat. If you have to shoot a non-target animal there may be some repercussions in the form of paperwork and red tape, but the PH will sort it out and it is a much better option than a stomped or chomped client, PH, tracker, etc. Also, if you’re not sure you if you are in imminent danger, you’re probably not. There’s the sticky wicket. Sometimes a client may feel like they are in danger, but the PH has things under control. Your PH is going to be mightily pissed if you shoot unnecessarily. So pay close attention to your PH. If things have indeed gone around the bend, your PH will likely either be shooting or shouting at you to shoot. He’s not going to be just standing there with his mouth agape. There could be a situation where he can’t shoot for one reason or another, but in that case he’s probably going to be trying to get into position for a shot post haste and yelling at you to shoot.
There are rare incidents that happen when the encounter is so abrupt there’s no time for anything but immediate decisive action. You’ll probably know it if you see it. Such as the elephant that no one knew was there in the thick bush at 10 paces and the first indication of it’s presence is a screaming trumpet and crashing bush coming right at you. It happens. Not regularly, but it does happen and it can happen to you. Or maybe the same thing with a hippo. In this scenario if you wait around for permission you may be pink paste.
I hope that’s somewhat helpful to you. But the best thing you can do is look at your trip as a learning opportunity. Everyone has their own first time hunting DG in a wild area in a tented camp. It’s a magical experience and your PH will guide and mentor you and help you learn the ropes. You’ll still be learning the ropes on your 20th safari. Enjoy it! Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Every unasked question is a missed opportunity. Make the most of your time and enjoy every minute.