My favourite Africans.

There are so many more animals to see in Africa than just the ‘Big Five’.

Sure the lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalos might kill you but there are others that have their own intrinsic character, beyond their ability to take your life.


Giraffes for their pure beauty and elegance. 

The supermodel of the animal kingdom with their extremely long neck and legs, as well as their come-hither eyes.

Measuring between 4.3 and 5.7 metres in height, they’re the tallest living terrestrial mammal.

They are most vulnerable to predators when drinking, as they have to spread their legs in order to get down to water level.

Currently there are believed to be six species of giraffe. The West African, Rothschild’s, Reticulated, Masai, Angolan and South African.

Their habitat ranges from Chad in the north to South Africa in the south and Niger in the west to Somalia in the east.


Warthogs for their character. 

The ugly comedian – a combination of Marty Feldman and Rowan Atkinson.

The common warthog is a wild member of the pig family with a head and body length ranging from 0.9 to 1.5 metres and shoulder height from 63.5 to 85 centimetres.

With a disproportionately large head, two formidable tusks, steel wool for hair and skin that’s like extra course sandpaper, they are neither graceful nor beautiful.

Due to their short necks and relatively long legs they kneel on their front legs when they eat.

I am so taken by the warthog that I was given a pottery one for my birthday. It’s a very flattering representation of a truly ugly animal – it has pride of place in our living room.

There are four subspecies, the Nolan Warthog, Eritrean Warthog, Central African Warthog and Southern African Warthog.

They are found all over central and southern Africa.


Hyraxes for their cuteness.

They seem to love life and enjoy just mucking about.

Hyrax have a number of nom de plumes and are also known as Dassies or Rock Rabbits. They measure between 30 and 70 centimetres in length and weigh between 2 and 5 kilograms.

They are closely related to elephants and dugongs but look more like a rodent. There are four species, the Rock Hyrax, Yellow-spotted Rock Hyrax, Western Tree Hyrax and the Southern Tree Hyrax.

They can be found across Africa and the Middle East.


Hornbills for their annoyance factor.

If their squark didn’t wake us up pre-dawn, then the banging on the window did.

They vary in length from 30 centimetres to 1.2 metres and are characterised by a huge, often brightly coloured, bill and strong neck (all the better to bang on the window with).

There are about 55 species ranging from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent to the Philippines and Solomon Islands. There are 25 species found in Africa.

The hornbill is the most travelled of my favourite Africans – a true tourist.

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