What Is That… African Animal?


We recently spent a couple of weeks in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. We visited three wildlife reserves: Entabeni in the Limpopo province of South Africa, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and Choebe National Park in Botswana.

Five land safaris and two river safaris allowed us to observe and photograph many animals, birds, plants and landscapes.  When we submitted our “Shock of Yellow” article a few days late because of the trip, Brent Eades, our editor, suggested we share with you some of our adventure and photographs of African wildlife.

First the king of beasts, the lion.  Members of this small pride of four had just feasted on a warthog. They were quietly digesting their meal and guarding the remains of their kill.

Next, Carolyn’s personal favourite, the giraffe.  In addition to its amazingly long neck which it uses to reach vegetation high in the canopy, it has a robust prehensile tongue which it manoeuvres around the thorns of the acacia tree.  Our guide told us the giraffe replaces the skin of its tongue several times a year.

We arose each morning from our comfortable beds well before dawn in order to start out on our morning jeep safari when the animals were most active, the night hunters heading to bed and the daylight feeders getting up.  It was not until we returned to the lodge around 9:00 a.m. that we had our breakfast.  Delaying coffee and shivering in the surprisingly cold breeze while bouncing over rutted trails for three hours is well worth it when you get to see beautiful sunrises such as these two.

We saw many species of animals, far too many for one short article in the Millstone, but we would be remiss not to include the hippopotamus which we saw in both South Africa and Botswana.  Surprisingly, these large mammals are difficult to photograph because they essentially spend their days lolling in a lake, pond or river.  From the photographer’s angle one sees the top of the head and, if lucky, the dorsal view.  The best we could do is capture this yawning beast amongst his family.

Bruce’s personal favourite (and that of his mother) is the cheetah.  These brothers were seriously hunting, probably for young impala, during our second early morning in the Entabeni reserve.  Intent on their prey, they walked right along side our jeep within 10 feet of us.  Fabulous.