90 words to use on your next safari

From aardvark to zebra, each grouping or ‘family’ of animals has its own collective noun…

A safari is at the top of many a bucket list. And for good reason. Whether it’s your first game drive or your 100th, each and every one 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, with cameras and binoculars at the ready, wildlife and nature enthusiasts from around the world eagerly clamber up onto the rugged Landcruiser. Barely able to contain their childlike excitement, they embark on a safari into the unknown.

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 (and safari words) they’ll continue to tell their own friends and families for years to come.

While on a 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 (image © Kaskazi Horse Safaris).

Perhaps you’ll take to the sky in a hot air balloon and float peacefully over the world-famous Mara River or the 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 a safari with an expert &Beyond guide is like stepping into a real-life encyclopaedia that is filled with countless unexpected (and often unbelievable) 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 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, like how to make a fire using sticks, 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! What happens on a safari, stays on safari.

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

Here are 90 words to use on your next safari … or journey (after all, safari is the Swahili word for journey). Whether you’re exploring the plains of Africa, the jungles of Asia, or the timeless landscapes of South America, these safari words often weave their way into discussions amongst wildlife lovers. While some are bonafide terms widely accepted in the industry, some are just tongue-in-cheek and meant for a smile.

And if you’re looking for some expert advice (and a few more safari words), our Safari 101: a beginner’s guide sheds light on some more game drive lingo and how to get the most out of your luxury safari adventure.

As they say in Swahili, safari njema or have a good trip. Don’t forget to pack your sense of humour and a keenness for adventure, and join us for a dazzling journey [pun(s) intended].

1. An armoury of aardvarks
2. A colony of ants
3. A shrewdness of apes
4. A troop of baboons
5. A cloud of bats
6. A skulk or leash of bat-eared foxes
7. A sloth of bears
8. A hive of bees
9. A herd or obstinacy of buffaloes
10. A kaleidoscope of butterflies

11. A caravan of camels
12. A chain of caracals
13. An army of caterpillars
14. A glaring of cats
15. A coalition of cheetahs
16. A cartload of chimpanzees
17. A quiver of cobras
18. An intrusion of cockroaches
19. A consortium of crabs
20. A bask or float of crocodiles

21. A murder of crows
22. A pod of dolphins
23. A cluster or flight of dragonflies
24. A paddling of ducks
25. A herd of dugongs
26. A convocation of eagles
27. A herd, memory or parade of elephants
28. A school of fish
29. A flamboyance of flamingoes
30. A chorus or army of frogs

31. A gaggle of geese
32. A journey of giraffes (on the move)
33. A tower of giraffes (standing still)
34. A charm of goldfinches
35. A band of gorillas
36. A cloud of grasshoppers
37. A confusion of guinea fowl
38. An array of hedgehogs
39. A bloat of hippos
40. A colony of honey badgers

41. A charm of hummingbirds
42. A clan or cackle of hyenas
43. A mess of iguanas
44. A prowl or shadow of jaguars
45. A smack or brood of jellyfish
46. 47. A conspiracy of lemurs
47. A leap of leopards
48. A pride of lions
49. A lounge of lizards
50. A herd of llamas

51. A plague of locusts
52. A labour of moles
53. A business of mongooses
54. A swarm or scourge of mosquitoes
55. A consortium of octopus
56. A parliament of owls
57. A bamboo or embarrassment of pandas
58. A pandemonium of parrots
59. An ostentation of peacocks
60. A waddle or convent of penguins

61. A prickle of porcupines
62. A rhumba of rattlesnakes
63. An unkindness of ravens
64. A crash of rhinoceroses
65. A round of robins
66. A bed of scorpions
67. A sluthe of servals
68. A shiver of sharks
69. A stench of skunks
70. A bed or snuggle of sloths

71. A knot of snakes
72. A clutter of spiders
73. A scurry of squirrels
74. A murmuration of starlings
75. A fever of stingrays
76. A streak or ambush of tigers
77. A knot of toads
78. A bale of turtles
79. A posse of vicuñas
80. A venue or committee of vultures

81. A kettle of vultures (when flying overhead)
82. A boil of vultures (when coming down to land)
83. A sounder of warthogs
84. A pack of wild dogs
85. A litter of wild dog pups
86. A confusion of wildebeest
87. A dazzle of zebras

And, finally, just for a laugh…

88. A safari of people
89. An ingratitude of children
90. A randy of rangers (as coined by the late Bob Griffin, a dear friend of &Beyond)

NB: there is no official collective noun for pangolins because they are solitary; some say predicament; I prefer perfection.


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