South Africa’s National Zoological Gardens: Pretoria Zoo

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This past weekend was a long weekend in SA, so Ninja and I took advantage of the slower pace and headed off to Pretoria to visit the National Zoological Gardens. Here are a few of my favourite pics from our lovely day out 🙂

We were amused at how fussy this elephant was while eating its breakfast of beets. The veggies were strewn across its sandy enclosure. After selecting a piece of beetroot with its trunk the elephant carefully shook off as much soil as possible before depositing the beet in its mouth.

Picky eater

Picky eater

The shy Knysna turaco has been on my list of must-snap birds for a long time now. Unfortunately for this shot the birdie wouldn’t stop hiding among the twigs, but hey… I’ll take it!

Shy turaco

Shy turaco

A dassie (pronounced ‘duss-ee’) is a South African rock rabbit or rock hyrax. Very cute critters who always start the day by warming up in the sunniest spot they can find.

Sunbathing dassie

Sunbathing dassie

This dassie pair looked especially daft sleeping bum-to-bum atop their small hut!

Mirror image

Mirror image

South Africa’s national animal also made an appearance…

Springbok

Springbok

… as did Australia’s.

Comical kangaroo

Comical kangaroo

I liked the expression of this ‘smiling’ hippo calf as it lounged by the pool. Hard to believe it’ll grow up to be a fat monster like its mommy! Hippos are Africa’s most dangerous creatures, killing more people than any of the continent’s great hunters. But for now this little one looks sweet and innocent.

Happy hippos

Happy hippos

In the farmyard section of the zoo, Ninja and I met this friendly little goat who nimbly leapt out of his enclosure and onto the wall. I don’t think they designed this as a petting zoo, but his pelt was amazingly soft to touch.

Farmyard escape artist

Farmyard escape artist

The Pretoria Zoo is enormous and there’s something new to look at around every corner. We felt it was a much more rewarding and interesting experience than that of the Johannesburg Zoo. The grounds are clean and well tended, the animals’ enclosures are generally larger and better laid out, and there are many more animals to see.

Manmade beauty

Manmade beauty

In the aquarium section of the zoo I found this pale pink miracle: the upside-down jellyfish. Designed that way just because the Creator can 🙂

Upside-down jellyfish

Upside-down jellyfish

The grey crowned crane is always photogenic:

Striking a pose

Striking a pose

The Cape vulture has long been a symbol of vulnerable and endangered species here in Southern Africa:

Vulnerable vulture

This spotted hyena was giving us puppy eyes 🙂

Spotted! Hyena

Spotted! Hyena

I liked this juxtaposition of a massive dusty rhino next to a dainty colourful peacock:

Beauty and the beast

Beauty and the beast

I’d never before seen the curious ‘forest giraffe’ or okapi in real life. They are striking herbivores with coats that look velvety soft. These two were sweet and affectionate with each other.

Okapi

Okapi

It was incredible to watch and hear this lioness calling out. She used all her strength to heave the deep sounds from her belly and out across the zoo.

Queen of the jungle

Queen of the jungle

The star of the zoo was definitely this alluring white tiger with his piercing pale eyes. Ninja and I thrilled to watch him closely through our binoculars… wish my camera could’ve done him justice!

Top attraction

Top attraction

The neighbouring bengal tiger was equally beautiful and positioned a little closer to his adoring fans on the other side of the fence.

Fierce beauty

In the end, it was the bengal tiger who gave me my shot of the day:

Timeless tiger

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4 responses »

  1. Your photos are awesome. You are certainly multi-talented. Loved the adventure with you. I had no idea about hippos and their penchant for killing people. There are creatures in there that I have never heard of. Thanks for taking time to insert photos with stories and share your day off.

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