Things I have learned: Part 1….African Animals

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Guest Blogger – Lauren Dionysius


Africa’s animals are unique and mesmerising, yet incredibly vulnerable within their environment. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Africa has more things that can bite (+/- eat) you than Australia does!
  • lions are identified by their whisker patterns
  • elephants are identified by the notches on their ears
  • giraffes are the goofiest animals ever
  • the only thing goofier than a giraffe is seeing them run!
  • being sneezed on by an elephant is a somewhat slimy, chunky and grassy experience
  • baby elephants weigh 80kg when they are born
  • black rhinos have the memory of a goldfish so you have to keep talking to them or they will forget you are there and charge at you
  • a boma is where animals are kept at night
  • the endangered black rhinos in Zimbabwe have 24/7 armed security guards to protect them from poachers
  • two year old baby elephants can be just as naughty as two year old baby humans
  • when rhinos break out of their bomas you just have to let them do what they want and hope that they will decide to return of their own accord sooner, rather than later!
  • do not stand behind an elephant when he farts….the smell is not of this world!
  • an elephant has ten thousand muscles just in his trunkElephant ride
  • lake flies are a rich source of protein…just ask the local Malawians!
  • it takes 40 minutes for an elephant to digest his dinner, from one end to the other!
  • I will never get sick of the sight of a cheetah…or a leopard for that matter!
  • porcupines can re-grow their spikes when they fall out
  • cheetahs can go from 0-100kph in 3.4 seconds, but can only maintain their top speed of 110kph for around 12 seconds
  • a tortoise doesn’t live in water (how did I survive the first 31 years of my life without realising that?!)
  • don’t make eye contact with a monkey…he WILL chase you (and yes, I am speaking from experience!)Baboon
  • don’t leave the fruit bowl in the middle of the camp dining table…the baboons will eat the lot!
  • pulling down an enclosure fence is so satisfying…run, cheetahs, run!
  • don’t look for eyes in the bushes after dark…you will find them!
  • guinea fowls are not the smartest animals in the bush…
  • oryx poo tastes…grassy!
  • a group of zebras is called a “dazzle”
  • a group of standing giraffes is called a “tower”, but if they are moving they are a “journey”
  • donkey intestines are really…big…and stinky when left to sweat in the sun!
  • cheetahs purr just like domestic cats
  • the mozzies in East Africa must be on some kind of steroids!
  • Ugandan Mountain Gorillas are worth the effort trying to find them…more so in hindsight!
  • it takes the migrating animals six months to walk from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara…then they turn around and walk right back again!
  • after seven months in Africa I still cannot get excited about birds
  • there are no words to describe the feeling of riding on the back of a 5 tonne elephantCheetah

This list of random facts about African animals is truly never-ending…go and check out these amazing creatures for yourself!

Thank you again to last year’s winner Lauren Dionysius for contributing to the Umoja Writing Competition blog. Don’t miss Lauren’s part two.

All these wonderful wildlife photos are courtesy of Lauren Dionysius.




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