01 August 2010 by Kate Turkington

Kruger Park’s Big 10

It had to happen. The Big 5 became the Big 7 when dolphins and whales were added by the coast-dwellers, now the safari-goers are looking for the Big 10 - add cheetah, wild dog, hyena, hippo and giraffe to your lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino list.

  • Cheetahs are our fastest land animals - they can clock up to 112km per hour. Slim and light, they have to kill and eat quickly to avoid losing their prey to lion, leopard and hyena. Look for them as they hunt in early morning or evening in open grassland and savanna. Their facial black ‘teardrops’ distinguish them from leopards.
  • You’ll not miss a pack of wild dogs or ‘painted wolves’, trotting purposefully through the bush on a communal hunt, or lying up under a tree in the heat of the day. Highly endangered, there are only 300 in Kruger, count yourself really lucky if you spot them.
  • Hyenas - ‘the Big Uglies’ are all over the park, particularly at night around the perimeter fences of camps. Don’t feed them. You can’t mistake their whooping call.
  • You’ll easily spot hippos in any large river or body of water. Check the surface of the water for pointy ears, nostrils, and beady eyes gazing at you curiously. In cold weather hippos lie on sand banks for warmth. Listening to their hectic snorts, grunts and chuckles is one of the highlights of a safari.
  • The tallest, most stately and elegant of all bush animals, with long sexy eyelashes, the giraffe is many people’s favourite. Gentle, silent and graceful, it moves in small groups as it delicately strips the leaves off trees and shrubs with its long tongue. Females have bushy tips to their horns; the male has bald ones.

Any ideas now for the Big 12?

Category: Adventure, Attractions, Wildlife

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