South Africa has tried to go one better by introducing the “Big 7” in their Cape Provinces. This included the main five and adds Great White Sharks and Whales, giving the list a more nautical feel. Just like the original 5 however it still concentrates on big, powerful and deadly, a throw-back to when the creatures were being stalked as worthy trophies.
They’re all breath-taking and well worth seeing. But there are many other creatures that are just as fun to see, even if not so big and bad. Here’s another “5” that we think’s well worth looking out for, even if your friends and family may not be so impressed with the photos upon your return.
The Little 5
These tiny antelope look as if they are young fawns even when fully grown, ensuring that everybody always wants to “bring one home”. Big doleful eyes, trembling with nervous energy and twitching nose always checking for danger makes them hard to see but worth the effort.
Boy, these are ugly! A wild pig, resembling a boar, they live below the ground in burrows emerging when they think the coast is clear to forage for just about anything. When alarmed they run away with their tails bolt upright like a radio antenna.
Found in Southern Africa, these busy creatures are a type of mongoose and live in large communities. They too live in extensive burrows and will set one or two sentries as the rest forage for food. When disturbed they stand on their back legs to get a better look, their heads often twitching in time.
These small creatures, about the size of a large rabbit, look like a cross between a beaver and a guinea pig. As the name suggest they live on rocks and crags, using
cracks and caves in the rock as home. Their agility is impressive, displaying a sure-footedness that keeps them seemingly glued to the rock face. They are also, rather surprisingly, the closest living relative to the elephant.
OK, they are common and a pest, but as someone from the UK I really enjoy watching these creatures playing in the gardens of a lodge or camp in the late afternoon. They just seem to be having so much fun. Having said that, if they come after my crisps or peanuts they are off the list…
As well as the Big and Little 5’s there are also many other animals, birds and reptiles to enjoy while on safari. Giraffe, zebra and hippo’s are all synonymous with African safari and nearly always seen. Cheetah grace the plains, hyena and jackal follow the lions. Its not about seeing one particular animal or another, its seeing and experiencing the whole that makes a safari such an experience. But don’t forget the little ones..