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African Safari blog

What makes a summer luxury African safari so special?

Safari

If there is one good reason you should always consider going on a wildlife safari during the summer months, it is this:

The baby animals!

The prospect of seeing young animals and how they learn to cope with their environment makes planning your African safari holiday from Australia even more enticing. Even the ugliest animals’ babies will put a smile on your face. They will definitely make your visit worth the while.  

Here are some of our favourites:

Elephant calves

Probably one of the cutest things you will see on your African holiday. Baby elephants never fail to entertain – even when it comes to the guides who see them every year. Since they do not quite have a handle on those trunks yet, it is always a treat to see them swing it around, or even attempting to grab hold of some leaves or grass.

Impala lambs

You can only expect these beautiful antelope to have even more beautiful lambs. Because guests see these antelope very often during a wildlife safari, they often forget how magnificent these animals actually are.

Did you know that impala have the ability to delay giving birth with up to a month? This is so the lambs are born after good rainfall when the grazing conditions are more favourable.

Furthermore, they will “flood the market” with newborn lambs. This gives the lambs a better chance at survival. Since lambs are easier targets, predators focus on them. There is safety in numbers – especially when a herd almost doubles in size in matter of a few weeks, allowing more lambs to escape the clutches of dangerous predators.

Impala lambs can run mere minutes after they are born. This might sound impressive, but they have no other choice. Running is their only hope of surviving an attack from a predator.

Wildebeest calves

If you have ever seen a wildebeest while you were on a luxury African safari, you will know that it has a face only a mother could love. Even so, wildebeest calves are still a cute sight to behold, especially in their large numbers. Across Africa wildebeest have defined breeding seasons. This resulted in their young being born during the same window every year. Their huge numbers have enticed tourists to especially visit the Serengeti and Masai Mara every year.

A range of predators will stalk herds of wildebeest during and after the birthing period. Due to the huge numbers of new calves, there is far too many for the predators to catch them all. Hence, only the strongest and fastest calves make it into adulthood.

Lion cubs

How can we possibly exclude the king of the jungle? Even though lions live in prides, the lioness will hide the cubs in a den away from the pride when they are born. She will only introduce them to the rest of the pride almost a month after birth.

Cubs are born blind and toothless. The lioness will safely hide them while she goes out to hunt. Finding a safe hideaway is crucial, as defenceless cubs will be killed by any other predator that comes across them.

No matter where you go on an African safari, whether it is South Africa or Namibia, Botswana or Zambia, seeing lion cubs will certainly be one of the highlights of your trip.

Leopard cubs

Unlike lions that have a pride to protect young cubs, leopards are far more vulnerable. Cubs are only raised by the mother, since mating is the only time that adults spend together. The leopardess has to feed her cubs by herself, and teach them to hunt when they are old enough.

Climbing trees is one of the best defences that leopards have against larger predators such as lions and hyenas. Cubs are extremely vulnerable to these predators until they have mastered the skill of climbing trees.

Cubs will start leaving the safety of their den with their mother when they are 3 months old. Keep your eyes peeled while you are on a wildlife safari. You would not want to miss these cute little fluff balls.

Hyena cubs

Assuredly not the prettiest little animal you will see on Africa holidays, but still a wonderful sighting.

Hyenas have rather interesting social interactions. Clans are dominated by females who are considerably larger in size than the males. This comes in handy when they have to protect the cubs from any males that want to kill them.

Nepotism rules in clans. The dominant female’s cubs will immediately outrank any of the other adults in the clan. Cubs will often fight each other and even kill the weaker cubs to establish and maintain dominance. Female cubs remain with their clan, while male cubs will leave the clan when they’re 2 or 3 years old.

Warthog piglets

Yes, this may be one of the ugliest mammals in Africa, but you cannot deny that the piglets are a precious thing to spot. A summer African safari holiday cannot be complete without seeing them run while lifting their tails in the air like antennas.  

Piglets are born in burrows, and will start venturing outside after about 15 days. They are usually raised by both parents. Because they are so small, the piglets fall prey to many predators from lions to wild dogs, pythons to martial eagles. However, do not rule out that the adult warthogs (especially the females) are fearless protectors, and will do what is necessary to protect their young. Have you ever seen all these baby animals while on an African safari? If not, give Destinations Africa a call. We are your Africa travel specialists and would love to put a bespoke itinerary together for you

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