All Creatures Great and Small
On safari in Africa, see wild animals on their own terms, in their natural habitats, as they go about their lives unfettered. For many of us, it’s a dream come true – and a great privilege to be a guest in the home of these amazing creatures.
Which wildlife might you see?
Africa's "Big Five"
The lion lives in social units called prides, usually made up of five to six related females, a single adult male or coalition of males, and any cubs; over 80% of a pride’s hunting is done by females.
Often seen in large, intimidating herds, the buffalo can weigh as much as 1,500 lbs. – big and dangerous enough to keep most predators at bay.
Hunted almost to extinction in the 20th century, and still endangered now, the two species of rhinoceros found in Africa include the black rhinoceros and the white rhinoceros. You may spot rhinos on our walking safari in a rhino sanctuary in Zambia, in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater, and Kenya’s Masai Mara game reserve.
Although the beautiful, solitary leopard is prevalent in most parks and reserves in east and southern Africa, you’ll often need to look up to spot one... since they spend much of their time in trees!
The African Elephant is the world’s largest land mammal – and one of the most adaptable; it is able to thrive in the desert, rainforest and savanna. Elephants use their trunks for drinking, smelling, snorkeling, and yanking tree branches, large clumps of grass, or even a single leaf for snacking.
And some other incredible animals our
guests have spotted on safari…
Intelligent and crafty, baboons are some of the world’s largest monkeys – males can weigh up to 100 lbs. Living in large troops of up to 300 members, they spend hours a day grooming each other and use more than 30 vocalizations ranging from grunts to barks to screams; their non-vocal gestures include yawns, lip smacking, and shoulder shrugging.
Elegant, graceful, and built for speed, cheetahs have special pads on their feet for traction and a long tail for balance. They have been clocked running at up to 70 miles per hour, faster than all other animals anywhere!
Thought to be the biggest bird in the world, the ostrich can grow up to nine feet tall and weigh up to 320 lbs. (They have 3 stomachs!) Unlike other birds that have three or four toes, these flightless birds have only two toes on each foot. They are among the fastest runners of any birds (or other two-legged animal) and can sprint at over 43 mph, covering up to 16 ft. in a single stride!
At an average height of 16 to 18 ft., the giraffe is the tallest land animal in the world. They spend most of their days eating; they love acacia tree leaves and often consume up to 100 pounds of sticks and leaves per day.
Meerkats are charming , highly sociable cousins of the mongoose who live in tight-knit communities, hunt termites and small prey for a living , and stand 9 to 14 inches tall on their hind legs, which they do a lot, on the lookout for predators. The meerkats you’ll meet with us in Botswana are accustomed to humans (or indifferent?) and don’t mind a little interaction as they scurry about their routine in groups that are properly called meerkat “mobs,” “clans,” or “gangs.”
You’ll never forget the first time you hear a spotted hyena laugh. To us, their laugh is eerie; to them it’s a way of signaling the location of a food source. Not a picky eater, the spotted hyena, both a scavenger and a hunter, is Africa’s most common large carnivore and can weigh up to 190 lbs. Females dominate their clans.
The wildebeest is a kind of antelope that looks as if it were assembled from spare parts – with forequarters that could have come from an ox, the hindquarters of an antelope, and the mane and tail of a horse. A rather noisy animal, the wildebeest, a.k.a. gnu (pronounced “new”), constantly moans and if disturbed, snorts explosively.