50 words to use on your next safari

Did you know that each grouping or ‘family’ of animals has its own collective noun? Here are 50…

A safari is at the top of many a bucket list. And for good reason. It is an adventure; a true broadening of horizons; an education for the mind; and a rejuvenation of the soul.

Fully kitted out in brand new khakis, cameras and binoculars, wildlife and nature enthusiasts from around the world eagerly clamber up onto the rugged Landcruiser, barely able to contain their childlike excitement as they embark on a journey of discovery and amazement. For the next few hours or days, they will be captivated by nature’s beauty, mesmerised by the most fascinating facts and regaled with stories they’ll continue to tell their own friends and families for years to come.

While on safari, you get to do things you’ve only ever dreamed of. Like listening to the grunting gnus of the Great Migration as they traverse the mighty plains of East Africa. Or riding a horse in the African wilderness alongside curious zebra and giraffe. Perhaps you’ll take to the sky in a hot air balloon and float peacefully over the world-famous Mara River or equally renowned Namib Desert. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the Big Five, perhaps catch a fleeting glimpse of one of the Elusive Eleven, or you might even witness a kill, like something straight out of a wildlife documentary.

Going on safari with an expert &Beyond guide is like stepping into a real-life encyclopaedia that is filled with the most fascinating and unexpected facts about the most curious of creatures, both big and small. You’ll learn all sorts of wildlife trivia, like how the chameleon changes colour, what makes the flamingo pink, why the dung beetle spends its day rolling around in dung, and why lions have black tufts on the fur on their tails and the backs of their ears.

You’ll watch in awe as the golden orb spider effortlessly spins its silky, golden web. If you’re patient, you’ll likely see one or two of the Little Five, the pint-sized namesakes of their more widely known Big Five counterparts. You might even learn some age-old bush survival skills, such as how to build a fire, or how to make a toothbrush out of a twig and toothpaste out of ash and water.

The more inquisitive and adventurous safari goers often end up doing things they never even thought imaginable, like sticking their fingers in (dry) elephant dung to determine the gentle giant’s diet or taking part in a highly competitive and always entertaining dung-spitting competition. Yes, you read that correctly. Known as “bokdrol spoeg” in Afrikaans, this is the comical sport of spitting small, hard pellets of impala or giraffe dung. The farthest flung dung determines the overall dung-spitting champion. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

Perhaps one of the most popular “safari classroom” lessons is the amusing collective noun discussion. Did you know that each grouping or ‘family’ of animals, from the tawny tiger and the leaping lemur to the sleepy sloth and the hefty hippo, has its own, often rather charming, collective noun?

Here are 50 words to use on your next safari …  or ‘journey’ … to the plains of Africa, the jungles of Asia or the wide-open vistas of South America. Don’t forget to pack your sense of humour and a keenness for adventure, and join us for a dazzling journey (pun intended).

And if you’re looking for some more animal inspiration, have a look at our Safari by Numbers blog. Think of it as Safari 101: a beginner’s guide to understanding the local lingo and getting the most out of your luxury safari adventure. As they say in Swahili, “safari njema” or have a good trip!

1.    A crash of rhinoceroses

2.    A dazzle of zebras

3.    A sounder of warthogs

4.    A pride of lions

5.    A coalition of cheetahs

6.    A streak of tigers

7.    A bed of sloths

8.    A herd of buffalo

9.    A paddling of ducks

10. A murder of crows

11. A waddle of penguins

12. A charm of hummingbirds

13. A bloat of hippos

14. A pack of wild dogs

15. A caravan of camels

16. An armoury of aardvarks

17. A chorus of frogs

18. A plague of locusts

19. A quiver of cobras

20. A pod of dolphins

21. A smack of jellyfish

22. A herd of dugongs

23. A skulk of bat-eared foxes

24. A shrewdness of apes

25. A safari of people

26. A journey of giraffes

27. A herd of elephants

28. A cackle of hyenas

29. A leap of leopards

30. A prowl of jaguars

31. A conspiracy of lemurs

32. A troop of baboons

33. A prickle of porcupines

34. A gaggle of geese

35. A parliament of owls

36. A convocation of eagles

37. A venue of vultures

38. A bask of crocodiles

39. A litter of wild dog pups

40. A posse of vicuñas

41. A band of gorillas

42. An army of caterpillars

43. A colony of matabele ants

44. A kaleidoscope of butterflies

45. A bale of turtles

46. A shiver of sharks

47. A mess of iguanas

48. A business of mongooses

49. A flamboyance of flamingoes

50. A randy of rangers (as coined by the late Bob Griffin, a dear friend of &Beyond)


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