No matter where you look on a safari you’re likely to be amazed at the wonders which surround you, and although there will be a wide variety of animals just a few meters away, there are specific creatures that are on the list of most safari enthusiasts. Here’s a list of the top 10 “must see” animals which will make any safari worthwhile.
#1 The King
Flying in at first place is the lion, also known as the king of the jungle. When you hear them roaring during the night, or the day, you will be amazed at how loud and powerful they actually are – don’t worry about not hearing the lions snarls or roars as they can be heard for 5 miles around. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the females hunting while their cubs are jumping around their feet, nibbling at each other ears.
The elephant is the largest land animal on earth and you will be stunned by the sheer size and presence of these creatures, not only on the first time you see them, but every time to come. Elephants play a vital role in the survival of other species by digging waterholes in dry riverbeds, spread seeds through theirs faecal matter and their trails act as fire breaks on the landscape, and they do all this on only 2 hours sleep in a 24 hour period…and that is why they have received second place on the list.
There are only a few species of Rhino left on earth that look prehistoric with their oversized bodies, folded leathers skin, elongated heads and large horns, as described Rhinos are something you just need to see to understand how impressive they really are. A rhino sighting is always special and as you look in awe your heart will definitely skip a beat.
Gorillas are highly intelligent, they can laugh, grieve, have close family bonds and form emotional attachments with each other – sound similar? That’s because Gorillas share 95-99% of their DNA with us. Despite their intimidating appearance they are actually gentle, loving creatures, and watching them interact in their family groups, playing, eating and squabbling is one of the most fascinating and rewarding wildlife encounters you will ever experience.
The giraffe is the tallest of all land animals and the largest ruminant. Giraffes have long held the interest of their human admirers and were considered by Arab prophets as the ‘queen of the beasts’ because of their delicate features and graceful poise. With a tongue of around 2 feet they don’t really need any other reason to make the top 5.
Spending most of their days keeping cool in the water or mud hippos are semi aquatic animals. The appearance of a hippo is mind boggling, as they resemble large pigs but are in fact related to the whale species, and despite their large appearance they could easily out run a human, so you better keep your whit’s about you!
As mentioned before prehistoric animals are a wonderful thing to witness, so why would you want to miss out on one of the most prehistoric looking animals on the planet? Despite this ancient appearance they are biologically complex and have a cerebral cortex a four chambered heart and a functional diaphragm. One amazing experience, although tense, is watching as they ambush and catch their prey, their powerful gnashing jaws pulling their victims under water, yes this may seem tragic, but it definitely is a once in a life time opportunity.
Reaching speeds of up to 70 miles per hour when hunting, and being able to accelerate from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 63 seconds the cheetah in the fastest land animals, this fact alone is enough to explain why the cheetah is a must see animal on a safari. These cats need land and space an d seeing one in action is an incredible sight.
The elusive leopards are one of the shyest and least sociable animals in the animal kingdom but are still opportunistic hunters and are highly adaptable. Watching a Leopard carry its prey up a tree is a fantastic sight and one of the best opportunities you could hope for. Yes, the leopard may be the smallest of the big cats but they definitely make up for that in their beauty and grace.
#10 Wild Dog
Wild dogs as their name suggests are wild animals that can never be tamed. They live in packs of around 6-20 and are highly intelligent and sociable. One of the most fascinating sights is the bond they display before a hunt; the group begin mingling within the group, vocalising and touching each other, working each other up into a frenzy of excitement. Sadly, these animals are highly endangered
So there you have it the top 10 animals you should be looking out for when on your safari travels, look out of their behaviours and their unique ways, and don’t forget to take a camera. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice just take as many shots as you like (or read our guide to taking photos on safari), that way these moments can live with you forever, not that they will ever leave your mind!
Author Rachel Coope is an avid wildlife photographer who loves to travel whenever and wherever she can, follow her on twitter @RachelCoope to find out more! If you’re looking to search for some of these animals or create memories of your own and need some affordable airport parking take a look at Skyparksecure who offer safe and secure airport parking in Manchester and many other destinations.