South African Safari: Wild Beasts of the Cape

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The Cape of Africa

Credit: Jesse Lewis
A jackal barks and whines nearby, warning me away from its den full of pups. Rock doves and African hoopoes (a colorful bird) purr in the drowsy dawn light,…Read More »

and a lone ostrich walks by on gangly legs bobbing its long neck. This is the quintessential African experience a sensory assault of plants and animals, sights and sounds flavored with the memories of our deepest human origins. Squashed between the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and cooler waters of the Southern Atlantic, the African Cape is one of the most geologically and ecologically distinct regions of the African continent. The varied habitats found throughout the Cape are created by the forces of water and geography constantly mixing. Along the Western Cape, a dry Mediterranean-like climate supports one of the world's richest floral communities called the fynbos while inland the land rises to semi-arid desert in the Karoo region. In the middle, the land rolls away into unbounded grassland called the highveld and the lowveld, while in the northeast grasses give way to scrubland and rotund baobab trees. You can experience this diversity all within the boundaries of modern day South Africa. You can watch penguins play in the cold waters off the Cape of Good Hope, trek over wind-scoured ridge tops in the Drakensburg Mountains, gaze on the open desert of the Kalahari, and safari in the wildlife-rich scrub savanna of the north all within a few days' journey around the Cape.   Less «
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