Most of us associate a safari with the majestic larger animals. A huge part of any safari is spotting the magnificent animals in their wild habitat, from the giant elephants, elegant giraffes, roaring lions, skulking hyenas, to name but a few – there are many smaller animals and insects that are often overlooked yet they are just as interesting and fascinating.
Walking safaris are a great way to get up-close and personal with these smaller inhabitants of a safari. How many of you knew that the hard working dung beetle buries larvae in the ball of dung they work hard to collect and form into a perfect sphere? Larvae are kept warm as they gestate and turn into fully fledged dung beetles, ready to carry on the clean-up. Another fascinating dung beetle fact is that they use the stars of the Milky Way to navigate their way at night.
Termite mounds have their own story, and you will see many of them dotted about the landscape – they are a characteristic feature of Botswana. Each mound starts with just one king and one queen termite, all the termites are off spring of these two and a large colony can hold up to a million termites. Each has a job to do, either soldier or worker and there are strict hierarchies within the two jobs.
The painted reed frog is hard to spot, but your eagle eyed guide should be able to find one for you as you float along the waterways in your mokoro. It’s hard to believe that these tiny little frogs can produce such a loud and delightful sound, like bells tinkling – it’s a lovely sound to fall asleep to.
As small and insignificant as some of these animals and insects may seem, they all play a part in the balance of life in Botswana and your guide on safari will be only too happy to introduce you to some of the smaller inhabitants of this beautiful country.