Giraffes are one of the most loved mammals in Africa, possibly after the elephant. Fully grown giraffe males can attain a height of 20′ – most of that neck of course, and weigh between 1600 and 2000 lbs. Females are about 20% shorter and lighter. On top of a giraffe’s head are ossicones, unique structures that are neither horns nor bumps; rather they are hardened bits of cartilage covered by skin. The uses are unclear, ranging from intimidation to sexually related to heat dissipation.

All belong to the same genus and species, with nine different sub species including the Nubian, the reticulated, the Angolan, the Kordofan, the Masai, the South African, the West African the Rhodesian and Rothchild’s. Some argue there are acually four separate species; the Northern, the Reticulated, the Masai and the Southern.

Giraffes range in the wild throughout Africa, but are most often found in the savannas and the woodlands. The most common herd is made up of adult females and their calves, and a few males. These can typically total 10-20 individuals. Herds are typically egalitarian with no clear leader.

The gestation period for giraffes is about 15 months. At birth, calves are about 5 1/2 feet tall. They are weaned at 15-18 months. Females have their first calves at 5-6 years.

Giraffes subsist on a variable vegetarian diet that includes leaves, stems, flowers and fruits. They do not have to drink daily. Their main diet consists of variants of the acacia tree. They are ruminants, and constantly chew their cud. Herds forage together, and have a home range that averages 100 square miles. Interestingly a group of standing giraffes is called a “tower”; when walking they become a”journey”.

Giraffes are classed as vulnerable by the IUCN, because of ongoing habitat loss, expansion of agriculture and population growth, civil unrest, illegal hunting and ecological changes. They are unlikely;y to be attacked by lions or hyenas, which may attack young, sick or aged individuals.



African Wild Dogs

The wild or painted dog is a real favorite of mine.They typically roam the open plains and sparse woodlands of southern Africa, most particularly in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.The species was classified as endangered by the IUCN in 2016, as it had disappeared from much of its original range. The 2016 population was estimated at roughly 6600 adults, only 1400 of which were reproductive. The decline is ongoing due to habitat fragmentation, human persecution and disease.

These long legged canines have only four toes per foot. The dog’s Latin name means “painted wolf”, referring to the animal’s irregular, mottled coat, which features patches of red, black, brown, white and yellow fur. Each animal has its own unique coat pattern, and all have big, rounded ears.

The dog is a highly social animal, living in packs with separate dominance hierarchies for males and females. The females are dominant. The female has a litter of 2-20 pups, which are cared for by the entire pack.

The dogs hunt in formidable, cooperative packs of 6-20 or more animals. Packs hunt antelopes and will also tackle larger prey like wildebeests. The average life span is up to 11 years. The dogs weigh 40-80 pounds, and are 30-43″ in size.


Birds of Botswana

Just pictures in this blog. The birds are too spectacular for words.

Lilac Breasted Roller


Bee Eaters


Malachite Kingfisher


Pied Kingfisher




African Fish Eagle



Ground Hornbill


African Hawk Eagle



Martial Eagle


Secretary Bird



Long Tailed Shrike


Brown Coucal









Tawny Eagle



Meyer’s Parrots






Saddle Billed Stork












African Jicana



Spotter Dikkop


Grey Lourie (Go Away Bird)



Sacred Ibis


Egyptian Geese



African Darter



Kori Bustard



Yellow Billed Stork