Africa is not for sissies
As a child, the most gut-wrenching scene from any movie was Mufasa being killed by a herd of running Wildebeest, poor little Simba trying to wake him up while all the children of the world cry into a box of popcorn and parents curse Disney for destroying little Johnny’s world!
But Disney was certainly right about the possibility of danger from unexpected animals in Africa. The Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant) have long been renowned for being the most deadly of Africa’s big animals, but did you know that there are a whole host of other African superstars that can easily kick your arse! Here are a few close-encounters that remind overly-complacent tourists that African Wildlife should not be trifled with!
Ostrich vs Cyclist
Imagine going for a cycle with your friends through a national park in Africa and an ostrich takes a disliking to you. Well, this is what happened one fateful day whilst a few friends were out for a bit of a leisurely bike ride through the picturesque reserve of The Cape of Good Hope. The setting is stunning, with ocean to one side of you and mountain and natural fynbos on the other. Now ostrich aren’t the smartest in the animal kingdom – its eyeball is larger than its brain – but boy oh boy, those legs can move: 70km/h move! And if you’ve ever been chased full speed by an ostrich then you know what we mean…
Leopard vs Tourist’s Shoe
Botswana is known for its exceptional animal sightings and brilliant game drive opportunities which provides visitors intimate, get-up-close viewings of some of the most elusive and stunning animals on the planet. The leopard is pound for pound the strongest of the big cats and is often spotted shimmying up a tree with a full kill in its mouth like its going for a walk in the park. Leopards survive on a variety of prey, however this leopard seems to have a taste for leather boater shoes. And this visitor has nerves of absolute steel!
Hippo vs Pick-Up Truck
Whoopsie-daisy! It appears this hippo was in no mood to be interrupted while it was out for its leisurely 6am stroll. While hippos are usually only territorial in the water, it’s clear this fella has a particular affinity for this bridge and a particular dislike for pick-ups. After charging the vehicle, it chomped down on the bonnet and then realised that perhaps steel isn’t the best breakfast meal and casually strolled on… bye Felicia!
Gorilla vs John
Whilst trudging along in the jungles of East Africa, I am sure most of us are exceptionally excited to spot the ginormous Silverback gorilla, and even more excited to be in smelling distance of a troop. Male gorillas can grow up to 1.6 m tall and can weigh 180kgs, and they have hands and feet like ours. When John woke up that morning, he donned his trusty black shirt and set off in search of the gorillas, however, surely never in his wildest dream would he have thought he would become one of the band.
Giraffe vs Jeep
Giraffe are the tallest mammals on earth, but did you know their necks are actually too short for their heads to reach the ground… hence that weird spread eagle thing they do. The giraffe’s legs are generally taller than most people, around 1.8m, and they can run at 56km/h. That’s faster than Usain Bolt just so you know. Usually, when spotting a giraffe on safari, their calm and relaxed nature fills guests with a sense of tranquility. But that’s not what these tourists experienced…
Of course, we simply love Africa’s wildlife and highly recommend a visit for anyone with an appreciation of the wonders of the natural world. But remember, when travelling to Africa’s wilderness areas it’s always best to have an experienced guide with you, not only to steer you clear of danger’s path, but also to share with you the fascinating insights into animal behavior and the wonderful workings of the African bush.