A-Z of Where the Wild Things Are

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Wild animals are generally found in the wild. And the wildest of all animals that pops into all of our minds first, has to the King of the Jungle – the Lion. One of the best places to see lions in Africa has to be at the Lion Sanctuary in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, where it is possible to get so close that you can walk with them!

Only 10 minutes outside of Victoria Falls, you will find the Masuwe Estate, where a group of lion cubs live and roam freely. They are not leashed or tethered, and as they range in age from 3 to 16 months of age, guests can see and safely experience them in close contact. The training techniques used by this “Lion Encounter” are based on extensive research and assist in educating tourists about ecology and lion conservation. The facility is managed and staffed by experts who have supervised over 15,000 Lion walks without any incident of personal safety.  

The lions come to the Masuwe Estate from a Lion Park in Harare, where they had been threatened by local farmers whose livestock herds were being raided. The Sanctuary ensures that the lions are cared for correctly and will live with the threat of being canned, while offering visitors a safe and informative experience with lions. Guests who have been to the Masuwe Estate rave about this amazing wildlife experience, which is suitable for all ages.

Another of Africa’s specialties starts with the letter “E”; the largest of any land animal on the planet. “E” is for ELEPHANT! Known to represent intelligence and wisdom, the African elephant is an amazing sight to see close up. Many African safari trips begin with one goal: to see an elephant in the wild. With its incredible size and strength, powerful trunk and legs, an elephant can tear down a tree in mere seconds. Despite this strength, elephants are seen as gentle giants, with strong family bonds and an excellent memory! They are social creatures that are able to hug their loved ones by wrapping their trunks together to show affection and simply to greet each other.

One very popular request on many African safaris is not only to see, but to ride an elephant! Elephant-back safaris are available in Victoria Falls and offer an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. The beautiful scenery of the African bush surrounds you while you sit comfortably atop this majestic animal. Experienced elephant trainers assist in making this experience safe and comfortable, and provide amazing insight into the world’s largest land mammal. We also recommend a visit to the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary in Victoria Falls.

“B” is for Buffalo. The African buffalo is four times stronger than an ox, and yet can be surprisingly affectionate with humans, when tamed over a long period of time. They fight other buffalo for dominance, and have a memory as good as an elephant. 

“B” is also for the African Buck. There are so many types of African buck: Kudu, Nyala, Red Hartebeest, Eland, Blesbok, Bontebok, Grysbok, Wildebeest, Dikdik, Duiker, Antelope.........the list goes on and on! These varied, beautiful and peaceful animals roam freely throughout many game parks in Southern Africa.

To see the many varieties of “B” animals in Africa we recommend a visit to Kapama River Lodge, near Kruger National Park in South Africa. Kapama River Lodge gets its name from the nearby Kapama River. Near the river lies a small permanent waterhole, which attracts animals like buck, Elephant and Buffalo.  These can be seen in close proximity to the lodge, and one can be caught by surprise by a wild animal which has come onto the lodge property. The Kapama Lodge itself is absolutely beautiful, a five-star treat in the middle of the African bush. It is suitable for families, with excellent services, and all the comforts and amenities you would expect of a luxury lodge.

“Z” is for Zebra – of course! The zebra is synonymous with all things Africa: wild, beautiful, and free.  There are no two zebras with the same set of stripes; they are like fingerprints. Zebras may even use stripe patterns to help them recognize different individuals. Camouflage leads the list, though. Stripes make a herd of zebras look confusing to a predator, especially when they're moving, and particularly at dawn and dusk. It's hard to tell where one zebra ends and another begins. If a predator such as a lion can't pick out an individual zebra to zero in on for a kill, it's less likely to succeed in bringing one down for a meal.

“R” is for rhino! There are two different species of rhino in Africa, the black rhino and the white rhino. The white rhino is the second largest land mammal in Africa next to the elephant. They are solitary creatures who establish, mark and defend their territories. Rhinos use their horns in battles for territory and to defend themselves from predators such as lions. They areincredible animals and are endangered – under threat by humans who falsely believe their horns have powerful healing properties.  In fact, the rhino horn is made of a substance similar to a human fingernail, although obviously much bigger!

“D” is for.........dog? Yes, the African Wild Dog! Also known as the “painted dog”, the African wild dog is a rare treat to see on safari. Speaking of all these wild animals, it’s strange to think of dogs as anything but house pets. But these dogs are different; they are strong and wild, they live in packs, and they are among Africa’s most endangered species. Like zebras, each painted dog has a unique coat pattern, allowing others to identify individuals by their markings. To see wild dogs in Africa, we recommend a visit to tHwange, Zimbabwe. The Centre offers lots of information about African wild dogs, and a chance to see the dogs in their rehabilitation enclosures.

To see African wild dog, elephant, zebra, lion, buffalo, and to visit the Painted Dog Conservation Project or the Masuwe EstateLion Park, we recommend a stay at the Victoria Falls Elephant Camp. Situated on a private concession alongside the Masuwe River and the Zambezi gorges, The Elephant Camp is a secluded luxury lodge that offers close-up encounters with wildlife. All guests staying at The Elephant Camp have an opportunity to meet elephants at the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary, and experience breath-taking views of Victoria Falls in all its splendour.

Please contact www.jenmansafaris.com for all enquiries and booking information, or email info@jenmansafaris.com

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