A Dassie a Day
Written by Jaillan Yehia
Despite South Africa being full of world class wildlife and impressive Big 5 game, there’s one little animal that really wins your heart against the odds: the dassie. They look like a guinea pig, their name means little badger, and improbably, they are the closest living relative of the elephant, but these funny, furry little creatures pop up all over the place – and they certainly aren’t shy!
My new favourite furry little friend lives all over South Africa (except the Northern Cape and KwaZula-Natal coastal areas) as well as the rest of Africa and the Middle East, and was apparently named Dassie from the Afrikaans dasje, or Little Badger, which the Dutch settlers came up with.
Also known as Rock Hyrax or Procavia Capensis they are most often spotted by tourists at the top of Table Mountain and in Tsitsikamma National Park, where these pictures were taken. They tend to laze around on rocks rather a lot to warm up their bodies in the sun, as they don’t have very good internal temperature control, which is handy as it makes for some good photo opportunities. I just think they are really comical, in a sort of podgier fluffier Compare The Meerkat kind of a way.
Where to stay to see the dassie:
For Table Mountain try The Adderley Hotel in downtown Cape Town
For Tsitsikamma National Park on the Garden Route, try The Rex Hotel, Kynsna
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