Close Encounters with the Big 5
Memorable Moments from Kirkman's

Birds and Beasts of Sabi Sands

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While the Big 5 get a lot of safari attention, there are lots of other marvelous creatures to see in South Africa.

Africa has so many fabulous bird,s but it's really hard to beat the lilac-breasted roller when it comes to gorgeousness!

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And who can resist these cute little vervet monkeys?

 

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Africa is home to many different species of antelopes, with impala being the most plentiful of all.  They are called the "McDonald's" of the bush for a couple of reasons:  the black "M" marking on their backside plus the fact that they are the fast food for the predators, especially the leopards and cheetahs.  (A single impala is merely a snack for a lion...but they definitely do hunt them!)

 

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Pretty little kingfisher....

 


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Most people do not consider hyenas beautiful creatures, but I think they're very cool.


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We saw lots and lots of giraffes....

 

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Did you know their tongues are purple?  

 


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Another common antelope, this one a female waterbuck....

 


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And the majestic kudu with his curly horns...

 


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This big boy has outrun more than a few big cats in his day....

 

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Several different types of mongoose....

Or is it mongooses?  Or mongeese?  Not a word I use often enough to look up.....

 


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Many gorgeous wading birds....

 


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Even the starlings are lovely!  That iridescent blue...wow!

 

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This antelope is a male nyala...identifiable by the yellow "socks."  It hung around Kirkman's Camp a lot....

 

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...as did this family of warthogs.  They are certainly in the running for the ugliest animal on earth....



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Zebra, of course.  Notice the shadow stripes, present only in the southern races of plains zebras.

 


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I am mesmerized by the incredible and unique patterns...

 


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We did see a few African wild dogs outside their den, but I'll leave my wild dog stories for our Botswana camps where we spent a lot of time with the wild dog packs.



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Wasn't it nice how this pair of bee-eaters posed so cooperatively for me?  Just spectacular coloring!

 

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The African hoopoe, yet another striking example...

...of the birds and beasts of Sabi Sands.

 

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