Species

Baboon

Habitat

Savanna woodland and mountains. Baboons are very seldom seen in open grasslands. As long as food, water and suitable sleeping places are available, they can live almost anywhere.

Habits

Baboons live in troops of up to 40 or 50 individuals, congregating at nigh in a chosen tree or cliff, where they sleep, and from which they descend in the morning to look for food. They never travel too far from their sleeping spots, not more than 2 or 3 kilometres, but they normally have more than one of these sleeping-sites, within their territory, that they use on a rotation basis. Spending most of the daylight hours on the ground, Baboons are very exposed to predators, Leopard in particular. They have a very good hearing and eyesight. Baboons are always on the alert, very often associating with other animals, like Impala. If a predator approaches, the males give the alarm bark, and all the troop will go up the tree or trees; if no trees available, the vulnerable members of the troop will congregate in the centre of the group, with the males on the outside. Adult males can weigh up to 43kg and females up to 17kg. Their life span anything from 20 to 30 years.

Diet

Baboons are omnivorous, feeding on fruit, roots, leaves, grass, flowers, insects, lizards, birds and their eggs. They might even kill the newborn of some antelope and even Leopard cubs. They can stay without water for up to 11 day by eating succulant vegetation and fruit.

Breeding

Females give birth to a single young after a gestation period of about 6 months, not mating again for the following 18 months.

Black Wildebeest

Habitat

Open and grassland where water is available, preferring areas of short grass for both feeding and good visibility.

Habits

Most active in early morning and late afternoon. Rests in the middle of the day in the open, not seeking shade like most animals. Prime bulls hold territories throughout the year. They mark their areas with scent from preorbital and interdigital glands, and with middens of urine and faeces, usually pawing the ground before defacating, They paw and horn the ground, and can often be recognised by the mud and broken vegetation sticking to their horns. They display their status with a stiff-legged trot and give a loud, high-pitched honking call described as ge-nu, from which they get their species name, and a loud sharp `hic` accompanied by an upward jerk of the chin.

Diet

An unselective grazer with a preference for short grass. Grass provides 94% of the diet. Males spend longer feeding than females because territorial bulls have extra energy demands, and bachelor herds occupy areas of poor grazing. The bulls mass is 180kg. and the cow is 160kg.

Breeding

Females give birth to a single young after a gestation period of 250 to 260 days and give birth from November to January.

Blesbok

Habitat

Highveld grassland with permanent water.

Habits

Active during the day. Shelters amongst trees and bushes. In very hot weather stands facing the sun with head lowered. Drinks at least once a day. Both sexes and all ages depost preorbital gland secretion on grass stalks, which are then stroked with the horns, picking up a deposit of secretion between the ridges. Secretion from glands between the front hooves is deposited while walking and when territory residents paw the ground and scrape dung. Standing sideways on to intruders, foot stamping, horn swinging and digging up soil with the horns advertise territory occupation, and territories are defended by vigorous bouts of horn clashing, which can become serious, and are sometimes fatal.

Diet

A grazer, but will take some browse. The males mass are 70kg. and the females are 60kg.

Breeding

Females give birth to a single young after a gestation period of 246 days and give birth from August to December. They have a lifespan of 13 years.

Blue Wildebeest

Habitat

Light wooded open savannas and short grass plains are the ideal conditions for Wildebeest.

Habits

Wildebeest are gregarious animals, concentrating in herds of up to a few thousand individuals, if conditions are propitious. There is no stable social groupings in the herd. Adult bulls establish their own territories within the herd, where they try to retain the cows and their calves. Fights amongst adult bulls consist mainly in a lot of pushing, each contender on his knees, not causing any body harm at all. Young Wildebeest are evicted from the breeding herds at the age of 12 months, forming "bachelor groups" of up to 40 individuals. The female Wildebeest does not leave the herd to give birth. Although it's fragile appearance at birth, the calf is able to follow his mother within about 2 hours. Wildebeest have two annual cyclic migrations coinciding with the rainy Summer Season and the dry Season in Winter. They follow fixed migration patterns, with the same wet and dry season concentration areas used every year. Adult bulls can weigh up to 250kg and cows up to 215kg. and have a life span of about 20 years.

Diet

Wildebeest are exclusively grazers and prefers growth less than 10 to 15cm high.

Breeding

Cows give birth to a single young in November and December after a gestation period of 250 to 260 days and give birth from for the first time at the age of 3 years. The calf is born strikingly different from the adults.

Cape Eland

Habitat

Arid scrub and grassland, savanna woodland. Independent of water.

Habits

Feeds at night when vegetation contains more water, pulling leaves into the moutn with the lips, not the tongue. Breaks down branches by twisting them between the horns, or hooking the horns over them. Rather than sweating to stay cool, allows body temperature to rise during the day, then unloads excess heat at night. Herd members groom one another. Bulls horn the soil and bushes, and rub the tuft of hair on the forehead in soil where they or an oestrous female have just urinated, caking it with mud. Eland are slow runners, and trot rather than galloping. When threatened by predators, herds bunch with calves in the middle, and counterattack with horns and hooves.

Diet

Predominantly a browser, but will eat green grass, which is the bulk of the diet in summer. Prefers grass burned within the past year. Browses on both leaves and twigs, and also takes fruit and berries. Will eat dry fallen leaves.

Breeding

Single calves are born in November after a gestation of 271 to 279 days. The females are infertile after 15 years. The weight of the bulls can be 650kg. and the cows 460kg. They have a lifespan of around 18 years.

Giraffe

Habitat

Savanna with high proportion of Acacia species.

Habits

Giraffe are semi gregarious animals, and can be found in groups of about 7 or 8 individuals, or singly( normally old bulls). Concentrations of 40 and 50 Giraffe are common. It as nothing to do with social ties, but rather with a concentration of their favoured foods on that specific location. Although they are one of the favourite prey of Lion, very often the predator will come off second best, as Giraffe can deliver devastating blows with their forelegs. Fighting amongst Giraffe bulls is not uncommon, and is limited to an alternate strike at each other with their heads. Giraffe associate, very often, with Impala, Baboons, Zebra and Wildebeest. Although they have an extremely long neck, it has the same amount of vertebrae as any other mammal, but they very elongated an attached to one another with ball and socket joints. Giraffe have a massive heart, with walls more than 7cm thick, in order to pump the blood about 2,5 meters up to the brain. Male Giraffe can attain a height of about 5,5 meters and weigh about 1500 Kg. Their lifespan is about 20 years.

Diet

Giraffe are browsers. Eats soil to obtain minerals and very commonly chews bones, especially in areas where the soil is deficient in phosphorus.

Breeding

They give birth for the first time at about 6 years of age, to a single calf, that after a couple of hours is able to follow his mother. The gestation period is 450 to 457 days. Birth weight is 100kg. and shoulder height of a newborn is 1,5m

Red Hartebeest

Habitat

Open grasslands and semi-arid bush savanna, to a lesser extent open woodland. Avoids denser woodland except when passing through. Independent od water, but will drink if it is available.

Habits

Most active in the early morning and late afternoon. Rests in shade in the summer, in the open in the winter, but is heat tolerant and can graze all day if necessary. Very mobile and will move long distances. The long forelegs allow an energy-saving canter. Highly adapted to hot arid conditions. The metabolic rate is low, and blood going to the brain is cooled by heat exchange with blood coming from the nasal membranes. A fast runner, reaching speeds of 60 to 70km/h. Calves that can not keep up with a fleeing herd drop flat on the ground in an attempt to avoid detection.

Diet

A selective grazer and browser. Selects for species, and for leaf over stem. If no water is available eats melons and digs for tubers.

Breeding

Single calves are born in September to November after a gestation of 240 days. The weight of the bulls can be 155kg. and the cows 125kg. They have a lifespan of around 16 years.

Impala

Habitat

Areas of short grass with medium or dense stands of bush and a permanent water supply are the ideal Impala habitat. They avoid, at all costs, areas of tall grass.

Habits

Being highly gregarious animals, Impala form herds of several hundred individuals. During the mating Season, from April to June, each adult Impala ram establishes it's own territory, and spends the greater part of his time trying to keep the females and their young within the boundaries of his domain, defending it against the intrusion of any other male. At this time, only one ram is seen with each group of females. All young males are evicted from the herd, congregating in "bachelor groups". On defending their territories, males will resort to some characteristic rituals, their nose extended forward, heads down, tails outstretched and uttering awesome snorts, sounding more like a large predator than a small herbivore. If this intimidation process proves not enough, then fight will ensue. So preoccupied both antagonists become with their fighting, that they totally disregard any approaching danger. After the mating season, peace and tranquillity returns to the herd, and some of the evicted young males rejoin the herd. Impala are very often seen associated with Giraffe, Kudu, Zebra, Wildebeest and Baboons. With these, Impala avoid associating when the lambs are born, as Baboons are known to prey on young Impala lambs. Adult Impala males can weigh up to 50kg. and female up to 40kg. They have a life span of about 12 years. Only males have horns.

Diet

Impala are both grazers and browsers, feeding on grasses and the leaves, flowers and seedpods of shrubs.

Breeding

Normally only one lamb is born in December and January after a gestation period of 194 to 200 days, and will be strong enough to walk within a couple of hours. Females give birth for the first time at the age of 3 years.

Jackal

Habitat

Black-backed Jackals occur in a wide variety of African habitats, such as open woodlands, scrubland, savanna, and bush. They can easily adapt to different habitats. They are quite common throughout their range, and have a low risk of endangerment.

Habits

Black-backed Jackals usually live together in pairs that last for life, but often hunt in packs to catch larger prey such as impala and antelope. They are very territorial; each pair dominates a permanent territory. They are mainly nocturnal, but Black-backed Jackals come out in the day occasionally. Their predators include leopards and humans. They sometimes are killed for livestock predation or for their furs.

Diet

These jackals adapt their diets to the available food sources in their habitat. They often scaveng, but they are also successful hunters. Their omnivorous diet includes, among other things: impala, antelopes, fur seal cubs, gazelle, guinea fowl, insects, rodents, hares, lizards, snakes, fruits and berries, domestic animals such as sheep and goats, and carrion.

Breeding

Black-backed Jackals have a 2-month gestation period. Each litter consists of 3-6 pups, each of which weigh 200-250 grams. At 8 months pups are old enough to leave their parents and establish territories of their own. They have a life-span of about 13 years and weigh up to 11 Kg.

Kudu

Habitat

Kudu are found in practically any habitat, with the exception of open grass plains.

Habits

Kudu associate in small family groups of up to 20 individuals. Adult bulls form bachelor groups and do not associate with breeding herds for the greater part of the year. Although they are not territorial animals, fights between adult bulls are common, and, very often, the horns of the 2 contenders, become interlocked. Unable to desingage, they fall easy prey for predators. Juvenile Kudu are preyed upon by Leopard, Cheetah, Hyena and Wild Dogs; adults, due to their size, only have to fear Man and Lion. Only Males have horns, and they can weigh up to 270 Kg. and live for about 15 years. Only bulls have horns.

Diet

Kudu are mainly browsers. They will eat freshly flushed green grass.

Breeding

One single Calf is born in February after a gestation period of 260 to 280 days. The calf will hide for the first 3 weeks amongst tall grasses and shrubs, attended by it's mother for short periods of time.

Oryx (Gembok)

Habitat

Arid and semi-arid open grassland, scrub, light open woodland, penetrating into savanna woodland. Truly desert adapted, survives in the Kalahari and Namib without water.

Habits

Both sexes have horns. Males and females are difficult to tell apart unless the udder or scrotum is visible. Males are slightly and more heavily built than females. Their horns are thicker but shorter and blunt. Spends up to 60% of the day inactive, in shade if possible to save energy and water and to avoid overheating. Body temperature is allowed to rise during the day, then excess heat is lost at night. Grazes for long periods at night when the moisture content of the vegetation is higher. Blood flowing to the brain is cooled by heat exchange with blood flowing from the nasal membranes in a network of vessels called the carotid rete. This cools the hypothalamus, which controls the body's heat balance. Both males and females are aggressive. Blows with the length of the horn and jabs with the tips are common, and Gemsbok usually stay more than a horn's length apart. Herds bunch around calves if predators are detected, and the adults use their horns in defence.

Diet

Primarily a grazer, but will browse if grass is not available, and dig for roots, bulbs and tubers. Eats tsama melons and gemsbok cucumbers for their water content. Obtains minerals by eating soil and salt encrustations at water holes.

Breeding

Single calves are born any time of the year peaking in August to September after a gestation of 261 to 275 days. Females leave their herd to give birth. Calves lie hidden for 3 to 6 weeks. The weight of the bulls can be 240kg. and the cows 210kg. They have a lifespan of around 20 years.

Ostrich

Habitat

Feral stock found on farms virtually throughout South Africa and now in Namibia. The only genuine wild Ostriches occur in northern Namibia and the Kalahari. All others are a mixture of races introduced from North Africa for domestic stock purposes.

Habits

Ostriches live in nomadic groups of 5 to 50 birds that often travel together with other grazing animals. With their acute eyesight and hearing, they can sense predators such as lions from far away. When lying down and hiding from predators, the birds are known to lay their head and neck flat on the ground. When threatened, ostriches run away, but they can also seriously injure with kicks from their powerful legs.

Diet

They mainly feed on seeds and other plant matter; occasionally they also eat animals such as locusts. Lacking teeth, they swallow pebbles that help to grind the swallowed foods in the gizzard. They can go without water for a long time, exclusively living off the moisture in the ingested plants. However, they enjoy water and frequently take baths.

Breeding

Ostriches become sexually mature when 2 to 4 years old; females mature about six months earlier than males. The mating process differs in different geographical regions. Territorial males will typically use hisses and other sounds to fight for a haremof 2 to 5 females. The winner of these fights will breed with all the females in an area but only form a pair bond with one, the dominant female. The female cowers on the ground and is mounted from behind by the male. night, making use of the different colors of the two sexes to escape detection. The gestation period is 35 to 45 days. Typically, the male will tend to the hatchlings. The life span can extend from 30 to 70 years, with 50 being typical.

Springbok

Habitat

Arid and semi-desert scrub and grassland. A true desert antelope, able to survive indefinitely without drinking. Very widely translocated.

Habits

This very beautiful animal, the national and sporting emblem of South Africa, is found only in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and in a very small part of southern Angola. Active at any time of the day and night. They are capable of reaching speeds of 88 kilometres per hour, in short bursts. The males weight on average is 41 kg and females 37kg.

Diet

A versatile feeder, changing diet according to availability, and selecting for nutrients. Typically grazes in summer and browses more in winter and during droughts. Eats grasses, forbs, bushes, seeds, pods, fruits and flowers, and digs for roots and bulbs. Will eat plants that are unpalatable and toxic to other species. Wild melons and cucumbers are eaten for their water content, and soil for minerals.

Breeding

Normally only one lamb is born after a gestation period of 165 to 180 days with the peak period varying in relation to the timing of rainfall. This is normally from September to January.

Steenbok

Habitat

Steenbok occur in a wide range of habitats, from open plains to open woodland. They prefer however, plains with short grass and shrub.

Habits

Both sexes are territorial and solitary animals, being seen together only during the mating period. They have pre-orbital glands, but these are not used for territorial demarcation. Instead, Steenbok use their intermandibular gland, situated between the two halves of the lower jaw, for that effect. Steenbok are diurnal animals and do not depend on availability of water. They drink in very rare occasions. Only males have horns, and they weigh up to 12Kg. and live up to about 10 years.

Diet

Steenbok are mainly browsers. They will dig for tubers and bulbs and will eat melons for water.

Breeding

One single calf is born after a gestation period of 168 to 173 days. The calf will hide for the first couple of months of his life in bushes and abandoned holes. They start following their mother at the age of 4 months. On reaching maturity, at about 12 months, each one goes its own way.

Warthog

Habitat

Warthog avoid tall grass and thickets. Savanna or woodland areas covered with short grass and with plenty of termite mounds, are the ideal Warthog habitat.

Habits

Warthog are normally seen in small family groups of one or more sows and their most recent piglets. The adult boars normally leave isolated from the family groups, in small "bachelor groups". When the matting season arrives, fights between boars can accur, but normally end with the weaker animal running away from his contender. Adult boars have 2 pairs of outgrowths of thickened skin, just below the eyes. Sows have only one small pair of these "warts". They feed during the day, in a characteristic way, walking on their knees. At night they retire to the safety of their burrow, entering always backwards, with the exception of the piglets. Leopard and Lion are the major predators of Warthog, and young piglets are sometimes taken away by big eagles, like the Martial Eagle. The males can attain a mass of around 100kg. and the females 70kg. Their life-span is about 15 years.

Diet

They are mostly grazers, but can occasionally feed on wild fruits. During the dry season Warthogs spend a lot of time digging for tubers and rhizomes with heir powerful snorts.

Breeding

After a gestation period of 167 to 175 days, the sow gives birth to as many as 8 piglets, in the protection of a burrow, where they stay for about 2 weeks suckled by their mother. After this period they will emerge from the burrow, for very short periods. They will start follow their mother after about 5 weeks. Sows normally have their first litter at the age of 2 years.

Waterbuck

Habitat

Floodplain, reedbeds, grassland, woodland and rocky areas within 2km of water.

Habits

Most active in the early morning and late afternoon. Also feeds at night. Bulls first hold territories at 5 to 6 years old. Territorial bulls have a very strong goaty body odour which taints the meat if the skin is allowed to touch it. Cows leave the herd to give birth. Calves are hidden for 3 to 4 weeks, but if approached they run rather than freezing.

Diet

Mainly a grazer, with a preference for long grass. Some browsing when grass is low in protein.

Breeding

Single calves (rarely Twins) are born throughout the year possibly with peaks in February and March after a gestation of 270 to 280 days. The weight of the male is 260kg. and the female is 180kg. They have a lifespan of around 16 years.

Burchell Zebra

Habitat

Open woodland, scrub and grassland. Strictly dependent on water and rarly moves more than 12km from it. Very widely translocated

Habits

The main periods of activity and grazing are the cooler early morning and late afternoon. Drinks at least once a day, with a strong preference for clean water. The basic social unit is the breeding herd of a stallion with an average of four or five mares and their foals. Stallions fight viciously for control of females. Zebra males can weigh up to 320kg and females up to 260kg, and their life span is about 20 years.

Diet

Zebra are exclusively grazers.

Breeding

After a gestation period of 360 to 390 days, one single foal is born. Females reach maturity at 3 years of age.

Hartmann Zebra

Habitat

Zebra occurs where mountains and lowlands meet, using the two areas according to the availability of food. They are dependent on water. If surface water dries up, it will dig for it.

Habits

Zebra graze mostly in the early morning and late afternoon, resting in the shade during the midday heat. Dust bathes regularly. The basic social unit is the family group, consisting of one stallion and the mares with their young. This unit stays together, even when they congregate in bigger groups. At this stage, the stallion will spend the greater part of his time, chasing away other stallions from other family groups. They extremely courageous animals, and, very often, they confront predators, like Lion, the latter sometimes coming out second best, after receiving a devastating kick from the Zebra's hooves.

Diet

Zebra are exclusively grazers.

Breeding

After a gestation period of 362 days, one single foal is born. Females reach maturity at 3 years of age.

Get social with us.

Print Print | Sitemap
© Errol Lambrechts Safaris