Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hanging Out With the Not-So-Big Five in South Africa

My recent trip to Cape Town was amazing, but unfortunately, it didn't include a safari. While I'm determined to get back to Africa in the coming years, and to see The Big Five on a safari, getting to see what I'll call the "Not-So-Big Five" was still pretty amazing.

Here they are:

1. Zebras

Zebras outside Cape Town, South Africa
Zebras near the Cape Town Winelands Region

Zebras (pronounced "zee-bras" in North America, and apparently "zeb-ras" in South Africa) were the first wild animal I came across - a nice warm-up, as it was an amazing rush to get close to them, but they still felt very familiar in a way. They're truly beautiful creatures to look at!

2. Springboks

Springboks outside Cape Town, South Africa
Springboks hanging out near the zebras

Springboks are common throughout southwestern Africa, but are especially closely-associated with South Africa, and the national rugby team in particular. They're cute, little animals - and very graceful, as you might expect. Oh... and they're quite delicious (shhhh!)

3. Seals

While making our way out to Cape Point, we stopped at Hout Bay, and took a quick boat trip out to see the seals. A short boat trip later, there they were - hundreds and hundreds of seals, splashing about and having a good time. It was incredible to see so many of them in the same place at the same time!

4. Baboons

The baboons were a special treat - we weren't expecting to see them, but then all of a sudden we came upon a troop of them just off the side of the road near Cape Point! Dozens of them altogether, from little babies all the way up to the big, brooding alpha male. There were lots of signs in the area, warning people of the dangers of getting too close or feeding them - but I was still shocked to see how close they were to the only road in the area.

5. African Penguins

African Penguins at Boulders Beach in Cape Town
African Penguins, chillin at Boulders Beach in Cape Town

The last (and smallest) animal we saw was the African Penguin. Much smaller (and less famous) than his cousin the Emperor Penguin, these little guys were irresistibly adorable. That is, at least, until we saw them as a group. Once again, seeing so many together at once was very, very cool - but virtually all of them stood motionless, almost like little black and white statues. It was kind of eery!

What are you favorite animals that you've seen out in the wild, whether in Africa or somewhere else?

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1 comment:

  1. as i drove into Jasper Alberta, a deer walked right up to the driver's side window of my car. that's been my closest encounter, but my best was watching a hawk slow down for a landing near the side of the road as i drove past. about two or three seconds of wonderful. lastly, seeing the bald eagle at the sanctuary. it was caged, but i got a superb photograph anyway. Jim