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Big and small animal safari



big five2

The great Big Five

Here they are, in all their beauty. But who are these animals that are called in safari expressions Big Five? Elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, buffalo.



Owen e Mzee are a hippopotamus and an Aldabra giant tortoise, respectively, that became the subject of media attention after forming an unusual bond of friendship. They live in Haller Park, Bamburi, Kenya. Owen was separated from his herd as a juvenile following the December 2004 tsunami and was brought to the Haller Park rescue center. Having no other hippos to interact with, Owen immediately attempted to bond with Mzee, whose large domed shell and brown color resembled an adult hippo. 

They formed an odd friendship that continued until 2006, when it was determined that Owen had grown too large to safely interact with Mzee. A separate enclosure was built for Owen and a new (female) hippo named Cleo, with whom he bonded quickly. With Owen now twice Mzee's size and well on his way to being socialized to other hippos, the famous friends went their separate ways and Mzee was returned to his regular enclosure.






These adorable apes move around in groups. They are great stealers of food – extremely invasive and impertinent.


Very approachable, they love accosting passing cars in the hope of snagging lunches and snacks.




In order to avoid attracting entire families of baboons, you are recommended to throw biscuits, fruit and snacks from the car window without stopping. Be careful not to get too taken by the baby baboons, the mothers and above all the fathers, are waiting in ambush, ready to jump onto the bonnet.





The most common wildlife worry for friends in European territory is not large animals, the big five, for example, but rather those that we come across every day, referred to in Swahili as Dudu.



It’s easy to come across majestic ant hill - either on their own, or at the base of large trees - that appear deserted, but that are actually full of ant colonies which can be extremely agitated when disturbed by an unfamiliar presence, but are otherwise harmless.



I have suffered their invasions twice over the years. It is a very strange sensation – a bit like having your body covered in tiny dancers in the final of ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Nowadays I walk on tiptoes when entering crowded places and I rarely sit in velvet chairs in order to avoid the winner of that particular dance show…



And enormous millipede, sometimes up to 20cm in length. You can see them everywhere; they are inoffensive, and if disturbed will do little more than roll up into a spiral.


Lizards & LIZARDS


Close encounters with them are very common. They can be seen in the hotel gardens, behind the shrubs next to the swimming pool, beside the smaller roads and on pebbly paths. They come in a variety of sizes, but they are usually inoffensive – almost certainly more frightened by our presence than we are of theirs.



Little cockroaches


This category of wildlife, although innocuous, is the most insidious. Hotels and public places are usually equipped against them (or maybe they just avoid being spotted, which is my fear) but they are far more easily seen in and around the fruit and vegetable markets.


If you spot a solitary cockroach in the car, it is highly likely that an entire intrusion is living in there – you have only two options – change your car or resign yourself to the situation!

Can it be true?




It seems that Dum Flin – the uber-powerful insecticide – is the only solution against an invasion of cockroaches inside a car.


The secret is to spray it all over the interior of vehicle, but especially around the engine – leave it overnight… and hope for a miracle!


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© Kenya non solo safari - Manuela Pox - 2012 -