An African safari is an absolute treat for the senses, offering pure indulgence in nature’s most untouched splendour. The typical safari guide seeks out to find the big five and other similar favoured animals such as the giraffe, hippopotamus, zebra, kudu and other fascinating creatures. But what about the weirdly wonderful safari beings that are less talked about but equally as intriguing?
These six weird animals are a combination of commonly found creatures and also very rare sightings. How many of them have you seen on safari before?
Not the prettiest of creatures, the marabou stork has been lorded as one of the ugly five of safari animals. This black, grey and dirty white stork somewhat resembles an undertaker in a funeral home as it skulks around with its shoulders hunched and its beak tucked into its chest. It also has a baldhead that looks like it’s covered in liver spots. But when you spot one lurking around next to a waterhole you can’t be faulted for finding a little soft spot for it in your heart.
The spotted hyena is most definitely a weird looking creature that scavenges for the scraps of food that predators leave behind. Their short back legs and rounded tail area make for a very odd shaped animal, especially when they’re on the run. But it’s their strange and slightly humorous call that sounds like maniacal laughter that really makes them stand out as the weird ones in the lot! It’s quite something to hear in person especially when the whole pack of hyenas join in the chorus.
The pangolin is a very rare sighting as it’s extremely shy. They are also endangered creatures as they are being hunted in large numbers for their scales and meat. If you are fortunate enough to spot a pangolin in the wild, you might well see it roll up into a tight ball too! This action protects the tender parts of their body as the scales act as armoured plating. They do this whenever they feel threatened and it’s considered an honour to witness a pangolin on safari.
The aardvark is a particularly odd looking creature that is almost like a combination between a bat, a pig and perhaps even a rabbit. Long ears, a long snout, small eyes and an oddly proportioned body make for one of the strangest safari animals out there. It’s also an incredibly rare sight to see and you’d be lucky to spot one foraging in anthills and termite mounds for its dinner.
The caracal is a member of the cat family that can also be fairly rare to spot, but very rewarding to see. It has long, pointed ears and a very defined face, which make it a very captivating sight to behold. It looks like an oversized domestic cat with much longer legs and ears. Feathery tips extend from the ears and its face is far too small for its body. But it’s still an incredibly robust and strong creature that is beautiful to spot on safari.
The okapi looks very much like the offspring of a zebra and a form of buck, but it’s actually very closely related to the giraffe. This odd-looking safari animal has a very small head for its body with a zebra striped hindquarters and legs. You won’t see it anywhere outside the Democratic Republic Of Congo and if you do see one, count yourself very lucky!
Let us know which ones you’ve spotted before and what other weird safari creatures you’ve seen on your travels.