Animals, animals everywhere

When I lived in Africa, I regularly came across people from other parts of the world who wondered if we had wild animals in the garden. No, of course not, I would say, we live in a city.

Well, on this trip I have been fortunate to (mostly) avoid the cities, and visit the places where wild animals are, in fact, very much a feature of the general environment.  And wild animals there were aplenty – it would be fair to say, if we’d been building an ark, we would have had no trouble stocking it!

And so, in the spirit of Noah and his ark, let me share with you some of our sightings across Southern Africa.

There were green alligators…

Well actually crocodiles, but at least two that we saw were definitely green (from the algae in the dams), and as so often the case, where crocodiles are, hippos are not far behind.

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And long necked geese…

Actually, there were geese, Egyptian geese, lots of them, but not particularly photogenic, so instead, I’ll share a couple of other long necked creatures instead.

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Humpy backed camels…

Yes, now that we’re in the Namib, we have in fact seen camels, but only of the tourist attraction ride on variety, and a lone sign on the road, pointing to a camel farm, presumably breeding camels for tourists to ride on.

There are, however, lots of humps in the bush – these are my very favourite antelopes, the majestic kudus!

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See the buffalo having a go at each other in the background.  These are imposing creatures, yet ultimate a pushover for other large animals.  We saw them being seen off not only by elephants, but also by hippos and rhinos…  and of course, by each other.  Though I did love this shot of the three asking the big guy permission to cross his river.

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There were chimpanzees…

Well certainly monkeys, lots of monkeys – though no chimpanzees in Southern Africa (as far as I know).  These baboons crossing the main road from Windhoek to Namibia…  we didn’t stop to wonder why.

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There were cats and rats and elephants, as sure as you were born…

One single “cat” sighting – apparently the lions in Kruger have been literally decimated by TB – and thankfully, no rats….  but elephants, oh my goodness, were there plenty of elephants.  Elephants, elephants everywhere – in the bush, in the rivers, on the road, cavorting in mud pools, seeing off some buffalo…

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But the loveliest of all was the unicorn….

Yes we did see these semi-mythical creatures, though we can’t say where, because there be bad men about with guns and chainsaws, organised to deliver horns for no good reason at all.  Truly tragic to hear how many are lost each year, despite massive efforts to keep them safe.  Most visibly, the strategy for those in semi-captivity, to have their horns removed so that they are no longer targets.  Sad, sad, sad…  one day, photos like these may be the only evidence of their existence.

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