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Ungulates of Africa

Ungulates of Africa

Africa has many kinds of ungulates, ranging from the prehistoric like rhino’s to the tiny steenbok. That’s why I wanted to give them some special attention in a separate blog and give you an idea of the kinds of ungulates you could encounter in Africa, which I’ve indeed encountered during my trip through South-Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

I’ll kick-off with the most appealing species, why save the best for last after all? For me that’s the rhino. There are only four species of rhino in the world and they are all endangered or are on the brink of extinction. A real shame, especially when you see how very unique they are. In Africa it’s possible to see two species, the White and the Black Rhino. The last one is the most rare although it can be quite easily seen in Etosha National Park in Namibia. The first Rhino I ever saw in the wild luckily still had two huge horns, that’s how they are supposed to look! Later we got the opportunity to view one a bit closer.

The White Rhino I saw in the Pilanesberg Park in South-Africa. Although the name might suggest otherwise, the colour is not the biggest difference between the two species. On the photo you can see that the Black Rhino has a hooklip and a differently shaped head. The White Rhino on the other hand has wide lips. This is why some people also call them hooklipped and widelipped Rhino. Personally I think Black and White Rhino sounds a bit more charming.

Here’s another peculiar animal, the Giraffe. An animal that cannot be misidentified! In the forests of Congo lives another kind of Giraffe, the Okapi. Although the Giraffe is divided into four species by some scientists, this is not widely accepted. So there are differences between the Giraffes, but they are not very striking. In any case it’s a remarkable animal. What I also found strange to see was that the Giraffe eats thorns of a centimetre long, like they are candy! That tongue must be made out of leather…

The zebra is another one of the cool animals, they can be very easily seen in Africa. The Plains zebra is the most common species, but I’ve also seen another species over there: Hartmann’s zebra: a subspecies of the Mountain Zebra.

The zebra’s above are all Plains zebra’s

But this is a Mountain zebra!

The Wildebeest is an animal that migrates by the thousands in some African countries. I only  saw small groups of them.

And then there are the different kinds of antelopes. Of course this is such a large group of species, that there are all kinds of separate families within, but I’ll just throw them into a big pile for now. One of the largest antelopes I’ve seen over there is the Greater Kudu. The males have peculiar shaped antlers. This antelope can be easily found.

 

The Waterbuck is also a large antelope. This antelope is a bit harder to find, but still not that hard.

A species that is less well known is the Roans antelope. The animals on the photo don’t have full-grown horns yet, but when they do they will look like a big sized goat. A goat the size of a horse of course!

Red Hartebeest is another big antelope. It has a strangely formed head and small curved horns.

The Gemsbok has a striking appearance with long horns and a white and black coloured head.

I’ll finish with the most common antelopes of Africa. The first one is the Springbok, impossible to miss. The second is the Impala, even harder to miss. The third one is also an Impala but this is a rare subspecies: Black-faced Impala.

Alright, just one more: the tiniest antelope I’ve seen: the Steenbok. Sadly I wasn’t able to get good pictures of it. An antelope that is even smaller is the Dik-Dik, sadly I didn’t see that one. By all means look it up yourself: it looks very special!

The elephants deserved their own blog and you can find that here. Click here for Hippo’s!

We also saw cats. Click here for Lion, Leopard and Cheetah.

Africa has many birds, read about birds of the African garden, the swamp, the savanna and hornbills.

For pictures of African landscapes click here for Okavango, Sossusvlei and Spitzkoppe.

 

LennartVerheuvel

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