This summer vacation was the most special one for me. It was a trip to Kenya and the amazing national parks there. When I grow up, I want to be a naturalist and a safari for me is unlike any other holiday experience, as it is always an adventure and a chance to discover something new and wonderful in the natural world. It is a wonderful thing to have a family adventure, in which all are equally excited by the joy of sightings and discoveries.
Although we were only there for 8 days, I miss Africa every single day. I sat down to write this piece not only to share with you what I learnt in Kenya but to keep it as a reminder to myself of how beneficial travel can be for me as I grow up.
I liked everything about African wildlife and have lots to share. Giraffes in Africa are a dream come true.
I read that there are nine giraffe sub-species: Nubian, Reticulated, Angolan, Kordofan, Maasai, South African, West African, Rhodesian and Rothschild’s.
Though all the species share the distinctive long necks, they can all be distinguished by differences in their coat patterns. Masai giraffes have the darkest spots with distinctively wavy, ridged edges. Individuals of any variety may be darker or lighter than expected, as the color of the spots is mostly dependent on the vegetation the animals eat, as well as the age of the animal. The Masai giraffe’s irregularly-shaped, darker spots make it easy to recognize.
A Rothschild’s giraffe is one of the most endangered subspecies, looks very similar to a Masai giraffe at first, but it has distinctive creamy “stockings”; the sub-species can easily be identified by the lack of any markings on the lower half of the leg.
But the spots aren’t just a way to tell one variety of giraffe from another.
Like our fingerprints, even within a subspecies, each giraffe’s spot pattern is unique. Giraffes use the patterns to recognize the members of their own family.
For all the species, the spots serve as a form of camouflage, helping the creatures blend in with the patterns of light and shadow.
All of these differences made the prospect of “spotting” giraffes on safari very exciting.
I have been very lucky to have spotted some very friendly and curious Giraffes like the one you see in the picture. This fellow was very curious to see what I was eating out of my strawberry wafer packet 🙂