We're all familiar with Africa's Big 5 - elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino - here in the office we've come up with our alternative top 5 animals to see on safari in South Africa. Some of these animals can be a little more difficult to spot but they'll be worth the extra effort, while others are found only in South Africa so seeing them up close will be something you can only experience here.
The blesbok antelope is endemic to South Africa and can be seen easily in most national parks, they spend most of their time in open grassland areas. Their distinctive white face and forehead will make them easy to pick out of a crowd!
These gregarious creatures are often seen in groups, making them a little bit easier to spot. Meerkats inhabit dry sandy plains with little vegetation and many families can live together in a large community. With a TV series made on the lives of a mob of meerkats, it's easy to see why spotting these guys would be worth the effort.
Kudu can be a bit tricky to spot as they spend most of their time hidden in thickets for protection, their brown coats and striped pelts help them disappear into the scrubs easily. The horns on the males are very impressive and witnessing a stand off between two males locking horns is an exciting show to see.
Tsessebe are very social animals and bachelor herds of young males can reach up to thirty individuals. Look out for this territorial relative of the wildebeest in grassland areas near water and close to woodlands. One peculiar habit to keep an eye out for is when the tsessebe sleep they rest their heads mouth down on the ground with their horns sticking strait up in the air!
Tackle the challenge of ticking off each of South Africa's seven species of elephant shrew. If you're up for a challenge on your safari keep an eye out (with binoculars!) for these cute little shrews. They live in a variety of habitats and feed mostly at dawn and dusk so this is the best time to spot them out and about.
If you've alreeady seen some of these animals on safari in South Africa share your wildlife encounters below in the comments section or visit us at our twitter and Facebook pages to keep the conversation going.
If you're ready to experience the thrill of a safari for yourself, why not take a look through all our trips to South Africa. There's bound to be something to get your heart pumping! Then order a free brochure and sign up to our monthly eNews for trip updates, deals and competitions.
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Where and when: Thousand Pound Bend, Lonsdale St, Melbourne on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 6:30pm. Tickets are $35 and RSVP is essential. Find out more
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Take 25% off all Gecko's trips in Africa. Simply book between Feb 27 to 31 March 2012, and travel by 31 October 2012 to receive the discount. Visit the website for more details.