When people go on a safari trip, of course they’re looking to catch a sight of a pride of lions, a rhino or a hippo. But what most folks on such trips really want is a look at something truly bizarre and unusual. There are many animals in Africa that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and catching sight of one of these can be a life-changing experience that can never truly be relived. Here are some of Africa’s strangest animals, and where they can be seen.
The African Civet
These amazing creatures look like a cross between a fox, a leopard and a ferret. They are the largest animal in their family currently existing in Africa. These unique animals can be seen in the central and southern African forests and the savannas of Niger, Chad and Mali. They prefer to congregate near water as they are excellent swimmers. Because they are nocturnal and have short legs, a pointed nose and spotted coat, they are sometimes mistaken for a hyena.
The famed anteater, or aardvark, is an animal that everyone has seen in drawings and possibly in photos, but which few outside of its native environment get to see in person. Nocturnal in nature, these creatures look like a cross between a pig, a rabbit and a tiny elephant. They are amazing burrowers with a long, sticky tongue that enables them to feast on termites and ants. Their large, kangaroo-like ears allow them to remain constantly vigilant for predators. They are usually found in sub-Saharan regions of Africa.
Also called the bushbaby, this animal is an adorable creature that lives in trees and is known for its ability to cry like a child when it senses danger. Their gigantic eyes allow them to possess exceptional night vision, and their long tail provides balance as they leap from tree to tree. Their wide ears allow them to listen for the insects upon which they feed. Oddly, use their own urine to grease their paws for movements and mark their territory. They can be found in woodlands and bush lands in both East and West Africa where they live in trees and abandoned nests.
This amazing creature almost looks like a cross between a mouse and a bird! They have a long trunk-like nose like that of an elephant and have long legs when compared to the rest of their body. They also have a long tail that aids in balance and movement. They are able to hop like a rabbit and are incredibly fast runners. Very adaptable animals, the elephant shrew can be found all over the African continent. They live in burrows and feed on insects, worms and millipedes.
The gerenuk is related to the antelope and gazelle but has a very long neck and small head, with very large eyes and ears. They use scent markers produced in the eye and are found in African woodlands and deserts. They can survive without water for a long time by eating leaves, flowers and buds and processing the water from these plants.
These are just a few of the incredible animals you can see on safari in Africa. Part II of this blog will cover even more unique creatures on this continent. If you’re ready for an unforgettable experience, check out our Safari Tours page and get in touch to book yours today!
Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa