African Wildlife Adventure – The Ugly 5

G’day!  Now that you know all about Africa’s Big 5, both on land and in the water, and the Little 5, it’s time to get acquainted with the Ugly 5. Which animals are considered so unsightly they get their own little club? Turns out the Vultures, Marabou Storks, Hyenas, Warthogs, and Wildebeest are the winners. Check out this great video for a quick intro on these weird and wonderful “ugly” creatures!  Get ready for an Africa Wildlife Adventure like no other!


Dependent on carcasses for their meals, the vulture can bring about an uneasy feeling. However, vultures, in their own way are beautiful in the air. You may think these birds are stinky, based on their gruesome ecological niche, however, they’re quite meticulous about their hygiene!

Marabou Stork

The likelihood getting close enough to a Marabou Stork to smell it is quite small. However, if you do you’ll know. Marabou Stork can be found picking through carrion, and these birds have an oily unctuous air. Top it off with their bald pink heads (often featuring blisters from the African sun) and you’ve got a heavy contender in the Ugly 5.


Hyenas have some odd proportions, all the power stacked in the forequarters and jaw, with little in the back end. These scavengers are usually typecasted as batty, but those who study them will tell you there’s beauty to be found. What do you think?


Ever wonder how the Warthog got its name? It’s from those huge, wart-like protuberances on their faces.

Fun Warthog Facts:

  • These guys are vegetarians.  They eat short grass by kneeling (their knees are padded and calloused for this purpose) and they use their snout and tusks to dig for bulbs and roots!
  • Warthogs have 4 tusks – two on each side of their snouts.
  • They also have an excellent sense of smell and hearing, but rather poor eyesight
  • Warthogs travel in small groups called sounders
  • They have manes like horses!


The Wildebeest’s shape is not one of grace. With skinny legs, tall shoulders, short neck, and a barrel chest – and some with some really strange facial hair. But does this lack of proper proportion really make the Wildebeest a contender for the Ugly 5?

Ready to meet the local wildlife on an African Wildlife Adventure?  Why not bring the family on an African Safari, check out our 7-day family adventure package, featuring Sabi Sand Reserve, Kruger National Park, a bit of Cape Town, here.  Give us a call today and start planning your next African Wildlife Adventure