South African Wildlife
South Africa’s national heritage is made up of the wonderful African bushveld, the gorgeous oceans and the interesting fauna and flora here. In the Cape, you will find the indigenous Protea plants. There are many different species of Protea and some of them are rare. In the Cape you will also come across some wild animals that are mostly harmless like the Rock Rabbit or Dassie, various shy buck, snakes, and spiders including the enormous Rain Spider that will sometimes venture inside the houses just before it rains. These are generally harmless though.
In some areas you are likely to meet some troops of baboons foraging for food.
They are mainly found in Cape Point Nature Reserve and along the Garden Route, although they do enjoy wandering into the nearby neighborhoods and homes. Be warned that they are dangerous if provoked and you should never leave any windows open and unattended. If they approach you, do not look them in the eyes, do not show them your teeth (this is a sign that you are going to attack them) and if you are carrying food or a bag, put it down and slowly back away – do not run!
While this sounds very dramatic, the baboons are handled and monitored by a group of people who are trained to call them, touch them and who they respect. Another wonderful creature that you have the privileged of seeing when you visit the Cape from Simon’s Town up to Tsitsikamma is the Southern Right Whale. They visit the warm waters to give birth and will often come very close to the beaches. They are quite a sight and can also be viewed carefully from one of the many boats that offer tours in the various bays.
The Great White Shark is another sight when visit the Cape. Various measures have been put in place to warn bathers including a siren that is set off by the various shark spotters strategically positioned on the mountain cliffs above the beaches of Fish Hoek and Muizenberg. Shark cage diving, by the way, is an exciting tourist attraction especially in Gaansbai. In Simon’s Town you will also see the rare and quirky African Penguin or Jackass Penguin as it is affectionately called due to the sound it makes.
These creatures live at the protected area of Boulder’s Beach.
In Johannesburg you will find various city dwelling creatures that can make you shriek. One of them is the Parktown Prawn, named after the suburb that they like to live in. They are massive crickets that can spray black, viscous liquid when feeling threatened. This stains anything, making these pests a nightmare for housewives, although they are not dangerous.
In the north of the country, you will find the most spectacular wildlife in the various nature reserves like the Kruger National Park, and Sabi Sabi. Elephants, lions, leopards, giraffe, cheetahs, crocodiles, hyenas, rare wild dogs, rhinoceros, hippos, buffalo, and wildebeest are just some of the amazing wildlife that you can see here. With various antelope including the rone and sable, impala, water buck, gemsbok, klipspringer, and kudu as well as the icon of South African rugby, the springbok, you also have the chance to take in thousands of birds and smaller, interesting creatures.