There is no disputing the magnitude of the “Big Five” of the safari (as seen on my previous blog post: The Big Five: Africa Part 2), however, there are MANY other impressive animals to be seen in the Sabi Sands region of South Africa. I want to give equal air time to these creatures as well…so I give you the also rans of the safari.
I really wanted to see giraffes. Like elephants, these huge creatures appear and disappear astonishingly well. You’d think that it would be difficult to miss seeing a giraffe, but their coloring and thin neck allow them to blend into tree lines very successfully. We saw giraffes on several occasions.
One of my favorite animals was the blue wildebeest or brindled gnu. This particular fellow was a single, waiting for some ladies to join him. He roamed around his territory with high hopes, but alas, we didn’t get a chance to witness his success. Rob explained that wildebeest are swift, but not especially smart. I enjoyed watching him show off!
We also saw hippos…hippos spend most daylight hours in water. Their skin needs to be moist. They venture onto land at night to eat. We saw one hippo on land, at night, thanks to Ronald’s spotlight. Hippos are responsible for more human deaths than any other large animal in Africa (take THAT Big Five!) per about.com. They are territorial and have big teeth! Rob explained that these deaths are usually due to people not understanding hippos and their environment. We observed a hippo near Idube. Rob predicted the hippo’s early warning system. First, he made lots of noise. Next he showed us his [big] teeth and lastly he flicked poop with his tail. Rob’s assessment: the hippo has already assaulted 3 of your senses…get away, fast!
We saw a leopard tortoise on a grassy airstrip. And a marvelous bird called: lilac-breasted roller. This bird was truly breathtaking. When it flies, the turquoise colors are exposed on their wings. So beautiful!
Still on my animal list: Hyenas (we saw one at night in the distance) and African painted dogs…
And finally, as promised, here is some footage of the cavorting elephants as well as some highlights that Ronald the Tracker captured from our safari…click here.
Next up: the creepy crawlers of the safari!