Elephant shrews may in fact be one of the tiniest and cutest animals discovered in Africa. They are also known as jumping shrews. The elephant shrew has 19 species in total around Africa. They can survive in all kinds of habitats.  These include places like plantations, plains, mountains, and deserts.

These small mammals are adorable. Here are some fun facts about elephant shrews:

Only one Species of Elephant Shrew is Endangered

Among the 19 species of elephant shrew, the Golden Rumped elephant shrew is the only shrew that is an endangered species.  It is the biggest among all the elephant shrews.

It is endangered because of fragmented forest environments. They live all over the Arabuko-Sokoke forest in Kenya. They are victims of traps in their living areas. Other animals do not like them as prey because of their bad taste.

Elephant Shrews are not Rodents

Elephant shrews are compared to mice, but they are not rodents. They look like gerbils or mice because of their shape. They aren’t really shrews either, but are more similar to tenrecs and moles. The name “elephant” is because of their long flexible snout.

Elephant Shrews like to Feed on Bugs

The elephant shrew feeds on smaller bugs like termites, beetles, ants, millipedes, earthworms, and spiders.

Secret Africa - Facts about Elephant Shrews

These small animals only feed during the daytime. They also maintain insect populations. They create a series of small paths to catch their prey. The elephant shrew has a sensitive sense of smell, sight, and hearing to detect both predators and food.

Elephant Shrews are Faithful

Elephant shrews always travel around or live with partners. They are monogamous animals sticking to their own territory. They keep track of each other’s whereabouts through marking their scents.

Young Elephant Shrews become more Vulnerable when leaving their Parents

In a single year, the elephant shrew can give birth around four to five times. When their babies are born, they are already covered in fur. They are usually kept hidden in the first three weeks and obey their mother for a period of one week. After they become more independent and weaned, the babies will remain in the parents’ territory for another six weeks before moving to their ow  territory.

Elephant Shrews are not Friendly

Elephant shrews are tiny but fierce. They are intolerant of intruders and will viciously evict anyone who invades the sanctity of their peace. Destructive encounters will usually include sparring, shrieking, jerking and snapping. When this happens it can be a huge blur of animals fighting against each other on the forest floor.

So, you’re planning a trip to Africa, how do you connect with the country that you are going to visit? Easy, you learn the language!

Samburu is a Maa language dialect that is spoken by the Samburu tribe in northern Kenya.  Tanzania is home to about 130 different tribes and each of these tribes speak their own language. Swahili is the language used in Kenya and Tanzania, which is fairly easy to learn.

While travelling around Africa, you will meet many Samburu and Maasai natives who live close to game reserves. So, in order to prepare for encounters, here are some basics that you need to learn.

Basic Samburu Greetings

  • Good morning – “Serian iteperie
  • Good afternoon – “Serian itumumutie mpar”
  • Good evening – “Serian etunye swom”
  • Good night – “Teperie nkai”
  • Hello – “kejua”
  • Goodbye – “ikidua”
  • See you soon – “Ikidua tookuna naatana”
  • See you later – “kidua kenya”
  • Have a good time –  “tewenie nkai”
  • I have to go now – “kaloito taata”
  • It was very nice – “keishupat duo oleng”
  • My name is  – “kaaji nanu nkarna”
  • What is your name?  -“Kijuai nkarna”
  • Pleased to meet you! – “Kasham kutumote”
  • How are you? –  “Aji itiu iye”
  • Fine, thanks. And you?  – “Keisidai, ashe, oh iye”
  • Thank you – “ashe”

Basic General Samburu Terms

Do you speak English? – “Indim airoro lkutuk e lachmb”

  • I don’t understand – “madamuta”
  • Please speak slowly – “iroro akini”
  • Please repeat that – “ngila”
  • Please write it down – “ingero”
  • Excuse me, please – “tining’okija”
  • Could you help me? – “Teretoki”
  • Could you do me a favour? – “Taskaki”
  • Can you show me? – “Ntoduaki ja”
  • How? – “Aikoja?”
  • Where? – “Aji?”
  • When? – “Anu?”
  • Who? – “Ng’ai?”
  • Why? – “Aanyo?”
  • Which? – “Aaha?”
  • I need – “kayeu”
  • Yes – “eeh”
  • No – “mara nejia”

Transcend Cultural Barriers

Secret Africa - Samburu-Kenya-tribe

These easy to remember words and phrases will make your trip even more enjoyable. Now you can converse with the locals, and get to know them a little better.

Africa is home to many beautiful wild animals, stunning scenery, and all kinds of interesting things. The Baobab is the real representation of life in the African plains. This giant, strange looking tree grows in low-lying areas all over Africa, Madagascar, and Australia.

The Baobab has nine different species. It belongs to the genus Adansonia cluster of trees. There are only two species native to the African mainland, which are the Adansonia Digitata and the Adansonia Kilima. Six of the other species can be located in Madagascar and another in Australia.

The baobab tree can grow to enormous sizes and can live up to 3,000 years. They go by many nicknames as well which include boab, boaboa, tabaldi, monkey bread, upside down tree, bottle tree, and dead rat tree, to name a few.

It’s definitely the symbol of the African jungle. To feed your curiosity about this giant tree, here are some quick fun facts about the Baobab tree.

The Baobab Tree is also known as the Tree of Life

This massive tree is also known as the tree of life, because it has many useful properties. It acts like a huge succulent and its trunk is packed with up to 80% water. San Bushmen used to rely on these trees for water when the rivers started to run dry and when there was no rain.  One baobab tree contains 4,500 liters (or 1,189 gallons) of water. The center of the tree can also give people shelter.

Secret Africa, Fun Facts about the Baobab Tree

The bark and inner parts of the tree is soft, fibrous, and resistant to fire. It can be used to weave clothes and rope. Other parts of the baobab can also be used to make rubber, soap, and glue. The leaves and part of the bark is used in traditional medicine. It’s also a source of life for African wildlife. It provides food and shelter for a variety of species, from the tiniest insects to some of the biggest animals in Africa like the elephant.

It has a Nutritious Super Fruit

The baobab tree has a unique fruit that resembles an oblong velvet covered gourd. The fruit has big black seeds and it has a slightly powdery tart pulp in the center. There are a lot of health benefits that you can gain from eating the fruit and leaves. The young leaves can be an alternative to spinach, while the pulp of the fruit can be soaked and blended into a drink.

The baobab fruit is a super fruit thanks to its high levels of potassium, iron, vitamin C and calcium. According to some reports, the pulp has ten times the amount of vitamin C as oranges. It’s recommended for weight loss, skin elasticity, and contains 50% more calcium that spinach. It can also help the health of your cardiovascular system.

There are many Stories and Legends

When it comes to the baobab tree, there are tons of traditions and legends. The African tribes believe that the baobab tree once grew upright. Because it considered itself to be better than all the other trees, the gods decided to teach it a lesson. To stop its boasting, the gods uprooted it and planted the tree upside down to teach it humility.

Secret Africa, Fun Facts about the Baobab Tree

Specific trees in other parts of Africa also have stories attached to them. Zambia’s Kafue National Park is home to one particularly large tree. The locals refer to it as the Kondanamwali or “the tree that eats damsels”.  According to the legend, the tree fell in love with four local women, who rejected the tree and instead chose to look for human husbands. As a form of revenge, the tree pulled the ladies into its bark and kept them there forever.