South Africa - Safari
When in Africa, especially in the eastern and southern parts, going on safari is a must. Safari means travel, but is used about a specific kind of journey, one that takes you into the wilderness of Africa to look at or hunt the continent’s incredible wildlife.
South Africa has large game reserves where all sorts of wild animals, from the Big Five to the small duiker antelope, can be seen in their natural environment. In the northwest, Kalahari Gemsbok National Park extends into the red sands and scrub grasslands of the great Kalahari Desert. The world-famous Kruger National Park lies in the northeast.
Nowadays, a safari usually takes place from the passenger seat of a four-wheel drive, and not on foot like in the old colonial days, and the objective is not hunting with guns, but rather with a camera lens. There are hotels in the parks, and one can either drive from one to the other, or use the hotel as a base for day-trips. The hotels vary from the five-star variety to simple tent camps, but they usually have one thing in common – they are built so as not to interfere too much with the surrounding nature. Some are actually built in treetops, others camouflaged in a kopje – a small, rocky hill sticking out of the savannah.
The best time to go on safari is between May to August, their winter season, as there is less rain during this period and the vegetation is less dense, making it easier to see the animals. There are all sorts of animals in the game reserves; giraffes, cheetah, hyenas, antelopes, elephants, lions, rhinoceros, leopards and buffalo. The last five are known as the Big Five and are the primary target of a safari tourist.
There are, in fact, two sorts of rhino, the black and the white; the latter being almost extinct, and only to be found in South Africa. The name has nothing to do with its colour – they are both grey, but the white rhino has a wide lip, “wijd” in Dutch. The black rhino has a pointed lip and is the more aggressive of the two. If attacked, stand absolutely still! Their poor eyesight can only detect movement, and they are stupid enough to be confused when you remain still and will abort the charge. Of course, it is quite a challenge for the nerves to remain standing when faced with a two tonne beast armed with a long pointed horn, but it does actually work!
Tasks and Activities
Make a photo-based presentation of South Africa. You may focus on a particular topic, like safari or wild life, or present South Africa as a whole with pictures from cities, mountains and savannahs. www.flickr.com has lot of nice pictures from South Africa. But there are many other providers of pictures as well. If you publish a presentation you need to check whether the pictures are copyright protected or not.
See How to Make a Visual Presentation.
If you were to explore the wilderness of South Africa, would you do it in the safety of a car, guided by a local, or on foot by yourself? Watch Battle at Kruger for inspiration.