The Incredible Animals of South Africa
I’m very excited about this post, and I hope you are too. Because there will be animals left, right, and centre.
I am a MASSIVE animal lover. I love animals more than humans. I just love them. So, you can imagine my absolute glee at being surrounded by them in South Africa. Everywhere I looked there was a springbok, or a colourful bird, or some other wonderfully cute creature.
So, today I’m introducing you to some of the animals I had the pleasure of meeting during my trip.
I’ll start with a hook to keep you wanting more. Lions. But not just any lions. White lions. I didn’t realise that lions sleep for a large proportion of the day (around 22 hours in some cases). But, after seeing these sleepy beasts it wasn’t hard to imagine.
I love giraffes. I think they are wonderful creatures. All lanky and awkward with huge eyes and really cute, snuffly noses. This one in particular was a baby, hence why he was kept in a pen. When he’s old enough he’ll be released back into the wild.
While we’re talking about baby animals, here’s a white lion cub. In the next week or so I’ll be publishing a post about whether these incredible creatures should be put up for petting by visitors. For now, though, enjoy his lovely little face.
Back to baby animals. Here’s a baby blue wildebeest. It’s important to note the difference between a blue wildebeest and a black one, because the latter are much more violent. This little guy doesn’t look like he’d harm anyone.
Before my trip, I don’t think I had seen a zebra in the flesh. They are amazing creatures though. Apparently, they stick with the highly alert antelopes who warn them when danger is near, and then when being chased they stick in groups of three to confuse predators with their stripes. Clever, huh?
White tigers aren’t native to South Africa, but the country has a conservation programme running to re-populate the dwindling species. It was a shame to see them in pens when the lions had free roaming rights, but their offspring do get re-introduced into the wild.
Hyenas are known for their scavenging ways, but they are in fact extremely good predators. This one was extremely well looked after, as you can see by its coat. The condition of his fur doesn’t quite reflect the distant look in his eyes, though, does it?
I took so many pictures of birds in a rainbow of colours, but this guy is definitely one of my favourites. He had found a small spot of shade underneath a tiny tree and wouldn’t budge for anyone.
Deer, or ‘boks’ are probably the most recognised of South Africa’s animals. As you can imagine, I saw many, many different kinds. There were hemsboks, springboks, blessboks, and all manner of other smaller and bigger breeds with varying sizes of horns. Here’s a selection of my favourite.
Now for the good bit.
I visited the Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary outside of Johannesburg which is a great project focusing on the conservation and rehabilitation of monkeys. Many of them have been rescued from circuses and other shady places, which meant that, among other things, they were very good at pickpocketing. If you had a zip on any of your clothing, their little furry hands would find them and start rooting around for shiny things. They were also particularly good at undoing shoelaces.
Here are some of the monkeys from the sanctuary.
This monkey had a very sad story. She had recently given birth but unfortunately the baby didn’t make it. For a few days afterwards, monkeys carry around the body of their child in mourning before accepting reality. She was still in the stages of carrying it’s tiny lifeless body around.
On a lighter note, meet Sarah…
I was lucky enough to see all of South Africa’s Big Five except the rhino which is a famously elusive creature. I only got a quick glimpse at elephants, too, and not enough time to grab a photo.
Nonetheless, I hope you enjoyed looking at these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!