South Africa is a biodiversity-rich country that sits at the tip of the African continent. This is where the icy, cold Atlantic Ocean meets the warm, tropical Indian Ocean. It’s an area of land covered in a diversity of animal and plant species and a must-visit destination for any traveller. Approximately 300 mammals and 900 bird species are found in South Africa alone. South Africa is bursting with wonderful wildlife!
When visiting South Africa, look out for these unique and interesting animals:
Driving along the open roads in SouthAfrica, especially between cities and towns, you are likely toencounter a troop of baboons. The Cape baboons are an example of adominant troop that many tourists, and locals, encounter when in CapeTown. These baboons are one of the largest monkey species. Theyprefer eating fruit and insects and sit by the roadside hoping fortourists to throw them an easy meal. Baboons are extremely crafty,very intelligent and most adaptable as well, part of the reason theyare considered by the natives to be pests. Please only take photosof wild animals, do not feed them as it onlyencourages aggression.
Everybody knows how fast a cheetah is, but do you know how many spots it has? Almost 2000 solid black spots. Cheetahs are active during the day, so you’ll be fortunate enough to witness them in their beauty as you go on a safari. They are absolutely magnificent, but highly vulnerable because of biodiversity loss. The importance of nature reserves plays a part in saving these animals.
The Springbok is South Africa’s national animal. The Springbok is also the emblem and nickname of the South African national rugby team. It is a remarkable animal that belongs to the antelope family. A dark patch marks the forehead and dark stripes extend across the white face, from the corner of the eyes to the mouth. They are interesting because of the way they move over the ground, especially rocks. The Springbok will jump or pronk, which is to leap into the air with all four legs. They are popular game animals and are valued for their meat and skin.
You’ve heard of horse racing, but we bet you’ve never ridden an ostrich? These flightless birds are massive. Some can be as tall as 2.8m. They feed mainly on plants and can be easily spotted in the bush because of their long necks. Common ostriches have inspired cultures and civilizations for 5,000 years. The eggshells, which are large in size, are popular for decorating trends and jewellery. Some ostriches are used for racing in Africa. It has been part of an old tradition and recently used for entertainment in the United States too. Some ostrich farms will allow you to ride the ostrich, but remember to be gentle and use your intuition whether it is done in a sustainable and fair manner.
We hope you have been inspired to visit this wonderful part of the world. There are many other mammals and bird species to see too.