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South Africa 

Fastest  Animals on the Travel Guide South Africa

"Cheetah" comes from the Hindi word "cita," meaning "speckled."
Location: Africa south of the Sahara, southwestern Asia.
Habitat: Terrestrial. Savanna and arid, open grasslands.
Description: It has a distinctive black mark on each side of its face, and the rest of its body is varying shades of yellow with numerous black spots. These cats reach six and a half feet long, and the tail adds another two feet or more to that length. They weigh up to 130 pounds, with the female smaller than the male.
Behaviour: The somewhat gregarious cheetah hunts by day, preferably at dawn and sundown. It gets as close as possible to its prey, and then breaks into a short and very fast sprint in pursuit of its victim. It cannot run like this for very long, but it can reach speeds up to 70 mph, making it the fastest land mammal! It is a quiet, shy animal, which does not tolerate environmental changes very well.
Reproduction: After about a 95-day gestation, one to eight cubs are born. They nurse for about six weeks and become independent after a few months.

"Dolphin" is an old Greek word for the animal.
Location: In all temperate seas.
Habitat: Coastal waters, but also on the open sea.
Description: The basic colour of the bottle-nosed dolphin is a silvery gray. In the southern parts of its range the colour tends to be darker. The "beak" is short and the mouth seems to be permanently smiling. Bottle noses grow to about 12 feet in length, and average about 500 lbs - but may reach over 1400 lbs.
Behaviour: This is the dolphin best known to the general public, and its exploits and intelligence have received much attention. They enjoy approaching ships and following them at the same speed for some time. This dolphin can swim at a speed of at least 14 knots (a knot is slightly more than one mile-per-hour) and dive for more than seven minutes. They feed on all types of fish.
Reproduction: Gestation lasts about 12 months, with the delivery of a single calf about 3.5 feet long. It nurses for over a year.
Note: There have been some experiments in training this and other dolphins to perform tasks that might be of practical value to human beings.

"Impala" is the Zulu word for the animal.
Location: Southern Africa.
Habitat: Terrestrial. Wooded savanna.
Description:This graceful antelope has a glossy, reddish brown coat. The chin, throat, rump, and underside of the body are white. There is a conspicuous black line on the hind part of the thighs and black tufts on the heels of the hind legs. The tail is fairly long and has a white tuft at the end. Impala can reach five feet long, and weigh up to 175 pounds.
Behaviour: Impalas live in herds of about 15 to 25 females and young. When in flight it makes remarkable leaps, up to 30 feet, often for no apparent reason. It feeds mainly on leaves and twigs of acacia trees, bushes, fruits, and short grass. Generally dependent on water, it can survive several days on dew. It is active both night and day. The main predators of impalas are leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs.
Reproduction:Gestation lasts about 170 days, after which one young (occasionally two) is born.

Greater kudu
"Kudu" comes from the southern African Bantu word "iqudu," for the animal.
Location: Eastern and Southern Africa.
Habitat: Terrestrial. Scrub and open forest; rarely in plains.
Description: The general colour is bluish-gray to grayish-brown. Its flanks have a conspicuous series of seven to ten vertical white stripes. There is a long erectile fringe of hair from the chin down the length of the neck, and another along the back as far as the tail. The long horns, found only in the male, average 50 inches long, make two or three complete twists of a spiral, and diverge slightly. These animals reach eight feet long and weigh over 700 pounds.
Behaviour: The kudu lives in small family groups of four or five individuals, often without males. The males sometimes form their own herds, but are frequently solitary. It is largely a nocturnal animal, resting in the shade during the heat of the day. It feeds on leaves and shoots of a large variety of plants.
Reproduction: After a 7 to 8-month gestation period, a single offspring is born.

Leopard: "Leopard" comes from two Greek words "Leon pard," meaning "lion (large) cat."
Location: Africa south and southern Asia.
Habitat: Terrestrial. Wooded savanna and forests, at various altitudes; rocky semi-desert areas with scrubby vegetation.
Description: The beautiful and unmistakable coat of the leopard varies in the ground colour from yellow to gray. The black spots are grouped in clusters or rosettes. A leopard can reach five feet long. This cat weighs up to 100 pounds
Behaviour: The leopard is nearly always solitary except for a brief period of courtship and mating. It is completely nocturnal, and spends its days resting in branches of trees. Its preferred prey is small antelopes, hares, warthogs, and ground birds. , but it will eat most species of monkeys, especially baboons. It moves with agility in trees, where it often brings and devours its prey.
Reproduction: The gestation period lasts for about 100 days, after which two or three cubs are born.

Caracal: "Caracal" comes from the Turkish words "kara kulak," meaning "black ear."
Location: Africa, Arabia, the Middle East as far east as Pakistan.
Habitat: Savanna in Africa; desert areas in Asia.
Description: The colour of the coat is uniform reddish brown above and white underneath, but sometimes no darker than beige. The fur is short and soft. The caracal grows to about 4 feet long and it can weigh 40 pounds.
Behaviour: This animal is nocturnal, primarily to avoid the heat of the day. Despite its long legs it does not run a great deal. It jumps very well, and often catches birds by leaping up at them as they fly by. It feeds on many species of mammals and birds, especially rodents and small antelopes.
Reproduction: The gestation period lasts 70 days and 2 to 4 kittens are born. 

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"Oribi" comes from the SouthAfrican word for "antelope."
Location:Central and southern Africa.
Habitat: Terrestrial. Lowland areas and savanna, never far from water.
Description:The slender shape of this small antelope is accentuated by its long neck and tall, oval-shaped ears. The upper coat is uniform pale brown to reddish, and pure white underneath. The Oribi grows to almost 4 feet long and it weighs up to 45 pounds.
Behaviour: The Oribi is active both day and night, but it remains concealed in vegetation during the hottest hours of the day. It lives singly, in pairs, or in small groups of up to six individuals of both sexes. It moves swiftly with leaps and quick sprints. It feeds on grass and must drink water regularly.
Reproduction: After a gestation of about 210 days a single young is born. 

"Springbok" is the Afrikaans (South African Dutch) word for "springing buck."
Location:Southern Africa.
Habitat:Terrestrial. Open dry plains.
Description: The head is white with a brown band and the overall colouring is reddish-brown with a darker strip separating the back from the white underside. The horns are relatively short, powerful, markedly ringed, and average 14 inches long. The springbok grows about 5 feet long and can weigh 80 pounds.
Behaviour: This gregarious antelope lives in mixed groups which split during the breeding season into separate herds of females and young males. It feeds on grass, leaves and shoots, and can go for long periods without water.
Reproduction: They mate in May and about six months later a single young is born. 

"Steenbok" is a variations on the same Afrikaans (South African Dutch) word for "stone buck."
Location: Southern Africa and part of East Africa.
Habitat: Terrestrial. Open plains and lightly wooded savanna.
Description: The coat Is a uniform reddish colour, sometimes turning grayish with a light silvery sheen. The horns, present only in the male, curve slightly forward and average 6 inches long. Length of head and body is about three feet and it weighs about 35 pounds. The male sometimes lighter than the female.
Behaviour: The Steenbok is active both day and night constantly moving in search of food. It feeds on many plant species, eating grass, tubers, leaves, and fruit. It can go for long periods without drinking.
Reproduction: Gestation lasts about seven months, and one young is born.
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