Who Are the Hounds of Kruger National Park

who are the hounds of Kruger National Park

If you ask yourself who are the hounds of Kruger National Park – where rhinos and hippos, wild dogs, impalas and zebras, crying cheetahs, slithering snakes, and other African animals live – know that these dogs are an ultra special K9 unit trained to protect the wildlife of Kruger National Park especially the rhinos, against poachers.

Once upon a time, as late as the last Ice Age, the woolly rhino roamed as far as Europe. At the beginning of the 20th century only 500 000 rhinos were left in Africa and Asia. Today, only 27 000 rhinos are left in the wild, says WWF.
Out of the 20 000 white rhinos and 5 000 critically endangered black rhinos still living on the African continent, approximately 80 percent are found in South Africa.

But the situation is dire as here, in sunny South Africa, between 2008 and 2018 over 8 000 rhinos were poached in nature reserves such as Kruger National Park – that conveniently borders Zimbabwe and Mozambique making it easy for the illegal huntsmen to escape law.

Whenever a rhino is poached its horn will reach the smugglers in Asia in the blink of an eye, all the middle men taking their hefty profit… while its carcass is left to rot under the African sun where it first saw the light of day.

That’s why the free-running hounds of Kruger National Park entered the wildlife scene. But who are these dogs?

Who Are the Hounds of Kruger National Park?

They are beagles, short-haired pointers, bloodhounds, spaniels, German Shepherds, and Malinois (the same Malinois who make great military working dogs), and other breeds of hounds, but what they all have in common is their passion for following the trail, their love for chase, the stamina, and their deadly… olfactory abilities.
For these free-running hounds catching the scent (meaning following it till they seize it – and apprehend the poacher) is a way of life. Is what’s on their mind when they get up in the morning, and what they dream of while they nap.

In their spacious, open-air pens – where they are kept for protection against the African beasts as well as to restrict them from going on a wild chase on their own, out of too much excitement – you almost never see them laying down to rest. They are either standing, alert as soon as their handlers approach, springs of pent-up canine energy with focused eyes, pointy ears and quivering noses, or sleeping in blissful exhaustion after a day of training or poacher-hunting.

They say if you love them, let them go… Let them catch the scent. Let them run.

amazing dogs from history, dogs who changed it - Who Are the free-running dogs of Kruger National Park

These pack dogs are like this, chasing together over any kind of tricky landscape at 40km per hour, while each one longs to be the first to reach the target. And if they don’t, when another hound is first to lounge at the petrified, cornered insurgent, baying and barking in a spray of foamy drool, they still feel the same thrill and celebrate the group effort and the shared victory with a song of yipping and howling, and a storm of wagging tails. A chorus of shared joy for a job well done, the capture, and not in the least to celebrate a planned slaughter… For these free-running hounds the chase is what fills their heart, and what their hearts beat for.

They bolt from their shelters after a feint scent, even a couple of hours old, race across the golden African plains, often under an unforgiving sun, speed past herds of undisturbed impala and fierce wildebeest, dart through thickets, dodge thorny Acacias, and jump over fiery termite mounds. On and on they run, their eyes focused through a tunnel-like field of scent that only their noses can pick up. The scent of the poacher, and it pulls them like a magnet. The stronger it gets, the faster the hounds chase and the louder they cry – even after a 15 kilometers chase – as if they are one with it until they get their fill, and the target is apprehended. Before it reached the border, and made it for freedom.

The triumph is always shared, as are the yips and barks, the signals they send to one another during the chase, the cries indicating that they’re on the right track and they are making good time, as the scent gets stronger. Shared are their meals too, the lengthy walks meant to relax and keep in shape, and the sleeping quarters.
But mostly, these free tracking dogs share the mind-set to bring it all together. Each time.
Affectionate towards their human handlers, fearsome when following a poacher’s scent.
They are like a platoon of Marines fighting not rebels but poachers (in Kruger National Park) or escaped prison inmates (in Texas, USA, where they were first introduced.)

the ultra special k( unit of Kruger National Park who protects the rhinos

In the Kruger National Park these dogs form a K-9 unit fitted with GPS collars that tracks the poachers and scares them to death into a tree, where the field rangers make the arrest, while all the time being supervised by aerial pilots (to drive off dangerous predators or shoot before a poacher starts a gun fight.)

Why free-running hounds? Because no human can keep up with a hound dog chasing a scent on a leash, both exhausting themselves too soon – the human from sheer racing exertion, the dog from tracing a scent while dragging a clumsy human on a leash.

Before the first free-running hounds were introduced in the Kruger National Park (from ‘Texas Canine Tracking and Recovery’ USA), an average of 3 to 5 percent of poachers were caught. The rate increased to 54 percent with the aid of the K-9 unit.

With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work our grandchildren might get the chance to see rhinos in their natural habitat. I do ask myself, though, if it is fair towards these free-running dogs. But dogs are happy being with their humans, happy when chasing a laugh and the wind together… Dogs stood by our right side, right side of our hearts, from immemorable times. To take care of us.

“Early in the morning as the sun comes up
And heat and war engulfs the land,
A man and his dog walk side by side
And know that none is all alone.”

Patricia Furstenberg, The Soldier and his Dog

South Africa is not the only country in Africa to fight rhino poachers. Kenya does too and part of their dogs forming the elite K9 unit are trained in Suffolk, UK. The Kenyan Ol Pejeta Conservancy is home to 144 rhinos. Ol Pejeta prides itself that none of its animals have been poached since 2018. The hard work of the free-running dogs pays off.

Some book links!

Books by Patricia Furstenberg on Amazon

Discover The Cheetah and the Dog on Amazon.
Die Jagluiperd en die Hond (Afrikaans Edition) on Amazon.
Der Gepard und der Hund (German Edition) on Amazon.

Why Rhino is Grumpy and Hippo is mad at Hare, folktale part 2

Why Rhino is Grumpy and Hippo is mad at Hare folktale part 2

Following part one, let’s get to the bottom of this and learn Why Rhino is Grumpy and Hippo is Mad at Hare, a humorous retelling of an African folktale that also teaches a lesson or two.

Why Rhino is Grumpy and Hippo is mad at Hare, folktale part 2

There, curled up under a tree, with his feet pulled under his gigantic body, his head resting on one side, his horn pointing sideways, his ears folded back and only his nostrils quivering, gone from this world, slept Rhino.

Why Rhino is Grumpy and Hippo is mad at Hare, folktale part 2

 Rabbit tiptoed closer, completely unnecessary as he knew how deep Rhino could sleep, pulled a leaf from the tree, and tickled Rhino’s nostril. Just for fun. Rhino squealed to complain, still fast asleep, and Rabbit covered his mouth for colossal Rhino sounded just like the teeny puppies he’d spotted by the human’s farm.

Next, Rabbit plucked another leaf and scooped a few Matabele ants, vigilant not to let them crawl on his fur, then ever so careful, while balancing on his tiptoes he let them fall, one by one, into the sleeping Rhino’s ear.

Rabbit quite liked these ants, these diver ants known to pick wars even with the termites, and he quite feared them too. ‘They should do the job quite fine,’ he thought. And in the shadow of the night his front teeth were the only spot to stand out.

Then Rabbit tiptoed away, hiding behind the tree trunk. And not a moment too soon as Rhino jumped from his sleep and the earth shook, some even say it cracked at his feet and the crevice can still be seen today – if you know where to look. Rhino sprang to his feet half-dazed with slumber, half irritated by the ants diving deeper and deeper, crawling round and round into his ear tube. Rhino growled and grunted, grunted and growled, screamed his pain, and trumpeted his anguish while running to the left, running to the right, unsure if the great Zambezi River was the solution or the great baobab nearby.

That’s when Rabbit called out at the top of his voice, while still keeping a safe distance. ‘Shame, what an itch that must be! But help is at hand! Allow me,’ and he came around from behind the bush to get Rhino’s full attention. ‘It will be like pulling out a tooth,’ Rabbit went further.

Rhino stopped from his agitation, still shaking his head, his mouth now clamped shut. ‘Never mind,’ said Rabbit. ‘I’ll use my paw then,’ and he pretended to reach inside Rhino’s ear.

‘So good of you, Rabbit,’ said Rhino, ‘To use your small paws for such a job. Mine, although mighty strong for they support my colossal weight, are too thick.’

‘Mine are just as strong, if not stronger,’ said Rabbit stopping what he was doing and looking down at the light shadows that were his legs, pale white in the moonlight and much lighter than the black Rhino’s ones, completely lost in the shadows.

Rhino grunted, fed up with Rabbit’s chatter and with the ants that were again dancing inside his ear, and eager to have the hare’s help again. Rabbit took the grunt as a defense, one as full-bodied as Rhino was, so he riposted hastily, ‘I’ll prove it to you. Though a tug-of-war,’ and moved away.

The words were still steam leaving Rabbit’s mouth while the cunning long-ears was already tying the other end of the rope around Rhino’s hind leg. Then, with the shadow of a grin stretching his mouth, Rabbit jumped behind the anthill and shouted ‘PULL!’

Rhino pulled, for the ants were squirming in his ear and he wanted them out. He pulled and he ran like his life depended on it. He made it for the forest, away from the anthill, and as he ran the rope stretched like the metal tongues of the Mbira, the musical instrument the humans called ‘the voice of the ancestors.’ The rope stretched and as it did so something anchored it at the opposite end. Something mighty heavy for it forced the Rhino to stop from his chase and it nearly pulled his back leg out of its socket.

as he ran the rope stretched like the metal tongues of the Mbira, the musical instrument the humans called ‘the voice of the ancestors.’

How the Rhino grunted! And how the echo grunted in reply, at the opposite end of the rope. And the more Rhino pulled, the more the rope tensed and something from its opposite end was fighting the Rhino, even pulling the beats towards the shoreline.

Rhino had forgotten all about Rabbit’s boasting by now. And Hippo, who was snoozing while enjoying his juicy grass, had forgotten all about the long-ear’s big mouth as well. Yet here they were, both giants tied to each other through a long rope. Pulling for what they were worth, towards the forest and towards the water. Grunting and bubbling, squealing and growling, making such a commotion that it covered Rabbit’s giggles.

Halfway between the two strong beasts, rolling over with laughter, was Rabbit. So giddy with the outcome of his mischief that he let all worry slip down the ant mound, and he, too, rolled away with it.

The moon was right above Rabbit’s head by now, who looked like a white, round rock on the move. First, it caught Hippo’s eye who gave an all might roar, fed up with Rabbit’s trick and goggle-eyed with outrage. Hearing Hippo’s clamor and catching sight of Rabbit’s glee, Rhino forgot all about the ants when he realized he got played by the hare. So he changed his direction quickly, unbelievably especially giving his massive body, and headed for Rabbit at full speed. While from the lakeside Hippo did the same. How the earth shook. How the night air vibrated with roars of thunder. How lost little Rabbit suddenly looked, for it seemed like he will soon be turned to pulp.

Why Rhino is Grumpy and Hippo is mad at Hare , African hare
The moon was right above Rabbit’s head by now, who looked like a white, round rock on the move.

Something hare hadn’t counted on. Or had he?

But prankster Rabbit hadn’t survived this long by living in fear. So he kept one eye on the roaring, rimmed Rhino, and one eye on the howling, humped Hippo, while his moon-washed, fluffy legs quivered with anticipation, his whiskers pulsating each time the ground shook. Waiting, was he, trembling was his fluffy tail, thumping was his little heart, thudding in his ears… readying himself for the right moment.

From its left, Rhino came charging quickly and deftly. His massive horn seemed to attract the light of the moon like a magnet, pointing towards the skies, as if it was showing Rabbit where he will end, and soon.

From its right, Hippo bulldozed closer and closer while clamping its mouth, its sharp tusks gleaming in the moonlight too, pointing Rabbit towards the possibility of a very spiky ending.

Between them stood Rabbit, shaking with the tremor of the earth, not with fear – as he told the story later, and many times over. And Rabbit stood, not moving, till the right moment, when he jumped forward, giving one of his award-winning leaps.

Rhino, at top speed, crashed headfirst into Hippo, who couldn’t slow down either due to his massive size. Horn against tooth, rhino’s hard skin plates against hippo’s soft skin, hippo’s massive body against Black Rhino’s compact frame.

No winner emerged, just two bruised animals with two wounded egos, and, in the distance, the painted reed frogs and their whistled chorus of laughter.

The following day Rabbit had a sore tummy, sore from laughter, but also big plans to move his residence. Why? Because Rhino’s bad temper (some said because of the ants still lodged in his ear, Rabbit thought that due to his mischief) turned the horned black beast into an impossible neighbor during day time; while at night Hippo scoured the river banks endlessly, still searching for long ears, wanting revenge.
And Rabbit? In search of a new home, away from the enraged Rhino and Hippo, but also away from the farming fields, and away from a sweet, although boring, life.

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to my e-Newsletter for fun and informative content on dogs, books, history, folklore and a castle or two:

Books by Patricia Furstenberg on Amazon

Why You Must Have Transylvania on Your Holiday Destinations List

why you must have Transylvania on your holiday list

Watching over Romania, coming from eternity and traveling into history, echoing of a famous past, Transylvania belongs on any holiday destination list, be it that of a family, of a solitary traveler, or of an adventurous historian buff. National Geographic said it, and here’s exactly why you must visit Transylvania.

Why You Must Have Transylvania on Your Holiday Destinations List

Where should one start when visiting Transylvania? With its medieval cities? Its spectacular fortresses and enchanting castles? Its white or black churches? In search of Dracula, or better Vlad Țepeș, the Impaler? Admiring local art and folklore, perhaps? Or better getting lost in its secular forests? Find it the stories here, on my blog.

Cities of Transylvania for your Holiday List

Put Brașov on your holiday list

One would say, begin with the charming Brașov, an 800 years old city that will bewitch you with the charm of its eclectic architecture, its narrow, winding streets, and the picturesque surroundings that spiral all the way to the top of Tâmpa Mountain.

If you’re not feeling sporty, just let your feet wonder around its maze of streets and admire centuries old doors or slowly climb up to Șcheii Brașovului and learn its history, which began during the 14th century when the Black Church of Brașov started.

Why You Must Have Transylvania on Your Holiday Destinations List, Brasov, Scheii

There is so much to take in while in Brașov. Do remember to look up.

Why You Must Have Transylvania on Your Holiday Destinations List, Brasov, Strada Sforii, Rope Street
Looking up in Brasov, on the very narrow and ancient Rope Street, Strada Sforii

Medieval Sighișoara, a city from Transylvania that you must visit each season

If you journey through Transylvania, ‘the land across the forest’, (searching for Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler or Dracula) and head towards Brasov along the banks of the Big Tarnava River, you will surely spot from quite afar the pointy towers of medieval Sighisoara City, with its centuries old fortress and churches. We traveled there by train one winter.

Once in Sighișoara you simply cannot miss it, the Clock Tower will be the first to welcome you on your journey.

Yes, visiting the house where Vlad the Impaler was born (and discovering its secret entrance) will be next on your list. But there is so much more to medieval Sighișoara, such as the medieval horns adorning one of Sighisoara’s oldest houses, or climbing a medieval staircase to Sighisoara’s hill for more amazing winter scenes and photos.

The significance of Sighisoara City? Discover it beyond its gray rampant walls shadowed by a tumultuous history, by remembering its Saxon merchants and shepherds, as well as its prominent, Draculesti leaders (Vlad the Impaler and his father before him. A journey through the medieval city of Sighisoara is sure to unravel the fortress’ high status. To it contributed its ideal location, at crossroad between Moldavia and Wallachia, and East and Western Europe.

Castles, Fortresses, and Churches of Transylvania that You simply Must See

Făgăraş Castle, Transylvania

In the vicinity of Brașov lies the rocky walls of Făgăraş Castle. The initial fortification was raised with the secular fir trees from its adjacent forests, going back to 12th century. Within its walls, rocking the modern perceptions of the Middle Ages, is the Iron Maiden of Făgăraş Castle.

Engraving of the Făgăraș Citadel by Ludwig Rohbock (~1883)

Did you know that traditionally, the duchies of Almaș and Făgăraş were fiefs of Wallachian prince. Yet John Hunyadi, appointed the Voievode of Transylvania at that time (as Transylvania, although a Romanian county today, was part of the Kingdom of Hungary during he Middle Ages to say the least) seized them. Hunyadi gave Almaș to the citizens of Sibiu and kept Făgăraş for himself. And he knew exactly why.

Brâncoveanu Monastery at Sâmbăta de Sus, a must see in Transylvania

Allow your mind be transported in a time of peace and tranquility within the pure walls of Brâncoveanu Monastery at Sâmbăta de Sus.

If you wonder how a Wallachian Voievode built a monastery in a different principality, know that the hamlet and the land on which the monastery was built belonged to Preda Brâncoveanu, his grandfather. Who even built a small wooden church on it in 1654.

Part of Brâncoveanu’s motivation behind rising this monastery was to strengthen the Orthodox presence in the region at a time when Catholicism rose together with the Habsburg domination over Transylvania (who had just escaped Calvinism). Brâncoveanu wanted to leave a legacy to the Christian religion of Romanians on both sides of the Carpathian mountains (Transylvania and Wallachia).

Corvin Castle, Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle, Transylvania

If you ever wondered how a 15th century wooden door that survived four massive fires that engulfed almost everything else looks like, then you must set a day aside to visit Corvin Castle.

If you like jambs, recesses, and coat of arms, then you will love Corvin Castle and as soon as you will leave you will find yourself planning a return visit. Built over a few hundred years, with so many ups and downs stairs that it is a 3D giant maze, one will surely admire here Gothic stone door frames of the original fortress.

Watching over Romania, coming from eternity, echoing of a famous past, Transylvania belongs on any holiday destination list. Here is why.

To visit Corvin Castle we traveled by train from Bucharest to Brasov for a night over and allowed an entire day only to visit Corvin Castle. We couldn’t have done it without the amazing support and advise of Mr Cornel and Mrs Cristina, the owners of Guesthouse Casa Cristina in Brasov, always welcoming, offering the same top accommodation and a hearty breakfast for the past ten years that we’ve been visiting them (this endorsement is not backed by any financial gain).

Did you know that Corvin Castle was featured in numerous movies?

Folktales and Art of Transylvania to take in during your holiday

It is said in local folktales ~ whispered on moonlit nights ~ that if you glance straight into its shimmering rivers, and long enough that their brightness still flashing behind your closed eyelids, then the fairies, or charmstresses, ielele, as they are known in the sweet Romanian language, have put a spell on you. Watch out, for they might lure you into Transylvania’s millennial and magical forests.

‘Blessed, alluring IELELE,
Mistresses of breeze,
Ladies of the earth and mist,
Through the air you rise,
On the grass you slide,
And on waves you glide.’

Translated from Romanian folklore by Patricia Furstenberg

Wood carving in Transylvania, as everywhere in Romania, often tells a story before becoming art. Worth mentioning is the Folk-Art ~ Romanian Symbols: when carving in wood, the Romanian folk artists puts a lot of thought. Each carving tells a story, some symbols are for protection, others to remember them of the families left behind:

A cross is for protection.
A cross in a circle symbolizes God.
A circle is for eternity, a dot for perfection.
A diamond represents the woman.

Visit Transylvania online, from the safety of your armchair, right now

You can travel to Romania and Transylvania right now via amazing photos because Romania is a country that deserves to be seen. Not many know, but its brave people have watched over the central and western Europe for centuries, acting like a breathing barrier against the Ottoman and Russian powers. Come on over.

Time stands still in Romania. Embrace it, for Transylvania has been known from Prehistory and all the way to Roman Dacia ~ do take kindly to it.

See the kneeling of the twilight,
Hear the hesitation of a footstep at dawn,
Admire old landscapes,
Growing young with the joy they give.
A light that calls
Through history,
Stories that perpetuate,
For each one of us
Is a facet of their reflection.

© Patricia Furstenberg

Subscribe to my e-Newsletter for fun and informative content on dogs, books, history, folklore and a castle or two:

A Halloween Game 13 Questions & Answers

A Halloween Game 13 Questions & Answers

The idea behind A Halloween Game 13 Questions & Answers is to have some fun. 🙂

First read each question and attempt to answer it, then, too see the answer:

* scroll with your mouse over the image – if you view from a PC
** select the image (tap and hold to select) – if you view from a mobile device.

1. What is the name of the Celtic harvest festival that many people believe Halloween is based on?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. halloween toothless pumpkin haiku

~~~

2. What fruit would you go for, bobbing at Halloween?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers 
What fruit would you go bobbing for at Halloween?

~~~

3. Count Dracula is based on a real person. What was his name?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers, Vlad Dracula, Romanian Voievode also known as Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler

~~~

4. Where is Transylvania located?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers - Transylvania, Romania

~~~

5. What was Bram Stoker’s original name for Dracula?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers, Halloween haiku, bats goblins

~~~

6. What is a group of witches called?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. A group of witches called a coven

~~~

7. In which town of medieval Transylvania were witches executed?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers, Strada Sforii, Rope Street, Brasov, wehre witches were executed during the Middle Ages

~~~

8. What is the day after Halloween called?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers

~~~

9. Which countries traditionally celebrate The Day of the Dead instead of Halloween?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. Celebrating All Saints Day instead of Halloween, Romania

~~~

10. What do we call the fear of, or the Halloween phobia?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. What do you call a fear of Halloween?
black and white square moon photo

~~~

11. What does the word “Hallow” means in old English?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. What does the old English word “Hallow” mean?

~~~

12. Why did Victorians put bells above the graves, attached to a string that reached inside the coffin?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers, Why did Victorians put bells in their coffins?

~~~

13. What do you call a ghost that moves objects around the house?

What do you call a ghost that moves things around your house?

~~~

I hope you found A Halloween Game 13 Questions & Answers fun!
What about you? Do you know any Hallowe’en questions for me?
Write them in comments below and I’ll answer to the best of my knowledge 🙂

Christmas Haiku
Christmas Haiku

Subscribe to my e-Newsletter for fun and informative content on dogs, books, history, folklore and a castle or two:

Die Woestyn Dromedaris, the Desert Dromedary

woestyn dromedaris, desert dromedary

Die Woestyn Dromedaris or the Desert Dromedary is the first installment in a series of posts about babadiertjies van Afrika, animal cubs from Africa.

Die Woestyn Dromedaris, babadiertjies van Afrika

Die dromedaris woon al vir langer as ses duisend jaar in die Sahara-woestyn. Anders as die kameel wat twee bulte op sy rug het, het hy net een groot ou boggel. Hierdie boggel word met reg sy ‘spens’ genoem. Met net ‘n klein bietjie water en baie min kos, kan hierdie diere baie lank in die woestyn aan die lewe bly. Daroom is hulle sulke nuttige pakdiere om in die droë woestynwêreld lang togte mee af te lê. Geen wonder dan ook dat hierdie dier die ‘skip’ van die woestyn genoem word nie.

Met sy fyn reukvermoë, kan die dromedaris van baie ver af water ruik, of dit nou by ‘n verafgelseë oase of selfs onder die sand is! Ook het hy ‘n baie skerp ontwikkelde instink wat hom help om koers te hou, al het sandstorms ook alle spore uitgewis.

Die Woestyn Dromedaris, the Desert Dromedary, babadiertjies van Afrika
(Image Wolfgang Hasselmann, Unsplash)

By geboorte is die klein dromedaris bedek met ‘n pragtige wollerige vag. Geleidelik verloor hy egter hierdie wollerigheid en daar bly uiteindelik net so ‘n klossie daarvan op sy groot ou boggel oor. Alhoewel dit seker nie ‘n vreeslike mooi versiering is nie, bied dit darem aan die dromedaris ‘n mate van beskerming teen die moordende strale van die woestynson.

Die dromedariskalfie drink ‘n volle jaar lank aan sy ma. Dit maak sy verhemelte taai genoeg om die droë woestynstruike te kan vreet. Gedurende hierdie tyd ontwikkel sy herkoutjiemaag ook heeltemal. Hierdie magie van hom bestaan uit vier kompartemente: in die eerste drie word die kos gedeeltelik verteer, om dan eindelik in die vierde gedeelte opgeneem te word. Hierdie laaste kompartement word die melkpens genoem.

Die dromedaris het lang, sierlike wimpers wat beskutting aan sy oë bied wanneer sandstorms woed.

Dit is ‘n bekende feit dat die dromedaris tot sestien kilometer per uur kan aflê. Soms lê hulle tot agt honderd kilometer in minder as vier dae af!

The Desert Dromedary, baby animals from Africa

The dromedary, or Arabian Camel, has lived in the Sahara desert for more than six thousand years. Unlike the camel that has two bumps on its back, the dromedary has only one big hump. This hump is rightly called its ‘pantry’. With only a tiny bit of water and very little food, these animals can stay alive in the desert for a very long time. That’s why they are such useful pack animals to take on long journeys through the dry desert world. No wonder that this animal is called the ‘ship’ of the desert.

Die Woestyn Dromedaris, the Desert Dromedary, babadiertjies van Afrika
(IMage Mads Severinsen, Unsplash)

With its fine sense of smell the dromedary can smell water from very far away, whether it is in a remote oasis or even under the sand! Also, the dromedary has a very sharp instinct that helps him keep its route, even when sandstorms have wiped out all traces.

At birth, the baby dromedary is covered with a beautiful woolly fleece. Gradually, however, he loses this woolliness and all that’s left in the end is just a tuft atop his big hump. While not a decoration, it does offer the dromedary some protection from the deadly rays of the desert sun.

The dromedary calf drinks from its mother for a full year. Until the top of his mouth, its palate, has developed and became tough enough for him to eat the dry desert shrubs. During this time, his stomach also reaches full maturity. The magic of the dromedary’s stomach consists of its four compartments: in the first three the food is partially digested, then the food arrives in the fourth compartiment, called the mammary gland.

The dromedary has long, graceful lashes that protect his eyes during raging sandstorms.

It is a known fact that the dromedary can travel to a speed of up to sixteen kilometers per hour. Sometimes they can cover up to eight hundred kilometers in less than four days!

Die Woestyn Dromedaris, the Desert Dromedary, babadiertjies van Afrika
(Image Vera Davidova, Unsplash)

Some Dromedary Wisdom

It is said that an Arab merchant, after loading all his goods on the dromedary’s back, looked at the poor beast, only it’s long neck and four legs as thin as stick visible from underneath the mountain of bags and crates, and felt sorry for him.

So the Arab merchant asked his dromedary if he would rather travel uphill or downhill. At which the dromedary replied, ‘is the flat road through the desert closed, then?’

Now in Afrikaans: Drie populêre kinderboeke, nou beskibaar in Afrikaans. Helder en kleurvolle illustrasies en beminlike karakters wat opwindende avonture deel. Vir kinders en ouers om saam te geniet.

Die Leeu en die Hond
Die Olifant en die Skaap
Die Jagluiperd en die Hond

babadiertjies van Afrika

I hope you enjoyes die Woestyn Dromedaris, the Desert Dromedary from babadiertjies van Afrika, animal cubs from Africa series.

Subscribe to my e-Newsletter for fun and informative content on dogs, books, history, folklore and a castle or two: