South Africa Animals

2016 - Nov 12 to Dec 4; Trip to South Africa; Louis, Chris, Emily


What animals can be seen in South Africa?

Big Five: African Elephant, White/Black Rhinoceros, Cape Buffalo, Lion, Leopard

Ugly Five: Wildebeest, Warthog, Marabou Stork, Vulture, Hyena

Moody Seven: Cape Hippopotamus- most dangerous mammal in Africa, short tempered, big teeth, runs fast, it is dangerous to get between a hippo and water, feeds on vegetation at night; Southern Giraffe- tall, can kick viciously; Plains Zebra- can not be ridden, runs away as a group, Nile Crocodile-lots of teeth, ambushes animals (including people) in the water; Vervet Monkey- monkey rule is that possession is the law, will steal any fruit available, do not try toget it back, can get through open car windows; Chacma Baboon-bigger than the monkey, do not feed, opens unlocked car doors, takes all food around, if they come...retreat; Dassie(Rock Hyrax)- looks like a rat, can bite, more related to an elephant

Bird Eight: African Penguin, Cormorant, Ostrich, Yellow Weaver, Hornbill, Tawny Eagle, Lilac-breasted Roller, Saddle-billed Stork; there are lots of these in the right habitat

Bok Nine: Impala, Kudu, Waterbok, Bushbok, Eland, Nyala, Sable, Springbok, Gemsbok; members of the antelope family

When I mention a trip to South Africa, the usual question is "Did you go on a safari?". The assumption behind this question appears to be that the only way to see animals in the wild is on a guided safari in something like a four-wheel drive truck with other tourists while staying in a tent or expensive resort. We visited several parks in South Africa, and especially Kruger National Park, in our ordinary Toyota Corolla rental car. There is a paved road running the length of Kruger, and there are many easily passable dirt roads throughout the park. Economical accommodations are available in permanent buildings within several fenced camps that can be booked with little notice except during high season. The organized tours also tend to start before dawn for best viewing and return to the originating location. This is inefficient and sleep depriving. My choice was to start at Phalaborwa in the north of Kruger and drive through the park to Crocodile Bridge in the south. We saw interesting animals at any time of the day including close views of all of the "Big Five".

Where to get the best safari? Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa are currently good.

My evaluation: How to see South Africa? Do it yourself!

The roads are reasonable except for left-hand side driving. English is widely spoken and used in all signs. Food is acceptable and tap water is mostly drinkable. Tourists are treated nicely except in some parts of Johannesburg. Beware of people who volunteer to carry your luggage or provide advice.

Phalaborwa Copper Mine Elephant Elephant Baby Rhinoceros Rhinoceros Cape Buffalo Lion Lion Leopard Hippopotamus Hippo Hippo Pod Giraffe Giraffe Zebra Crocodile Monkey Baboon Baboon Stork Stork Antelope Impala Impala Bird Kudu Waterbok Yellow Weaver Hornbill Hornbill Eagle Egret Duck Dung Beetle Baobab Tree Dassie Penguins Penguin Cormorants

Fencing of wildlife preserves

There are many large private wildlife preserves in South Africa; many are adjacent to Kruger National Park. Fencing options include one meter high fence supported by wood sticks; two meter high fence supported by iron posts; three meter high fence with periodic steel bracing. Options are barbed wire; concertina wire at the bottom, concertina wire in the middle, concertina wire on top; electrified fence; high voltage electrified fence; inspection road behind the fence; another similar fence behind the inspection road; armed guards; TV camera; IR sensor. Rhinos, in particular, need good fences and armed guards.