The Best Dads in the Animal Kingdom

When perplexed by this complication we call life, we look to the ways of our fathers for guidance. We don’t always remember the advice they have given, but the wisdom of their actions is imprinted in our perspective.

The greatest dads in the animal kingdom show their young what it means to provide, protect, and persevere.

African Wild Dog: the mealtime police

a pair of African wild dogs

African Wild dogs at uMfolozi Big Five Reserve

African wild dog fathers play a huge role in the feeding of their pups, which are unable to digest solid food during their first ten weeks in the wild. The dads swallow food and regurgitate a pulp version for their young to eat. The dependence on dad for daily nutrition keeps the pups safe as they are less prone to wandering off and falling victim to predators. Good looking out, dad!

uMfolozi Big Five Reserve has one of the highest densities of wild dogs in Africa. There are just 450 wild dogs left in South Africa, and guests at uMfolozi have enjoyed some of the most prolific sightings on game drives in the uMfolozi concession and the greater Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

lion: The Knight in Shining Armour

a pair of male lions walking in the Luangwa river

Lions in the South Luangwa. Photo by Edward Selfe at Lion Camp by Mantis

We all know that it’s the lionesses that keep the pride together and ensure that everyone has eaten, and for that reason, lion dads almost didn’t make the list. Until we remembered The Lion King…and how fiercely lion dads protect their cubs. Male lions keep their territories marked and will take out any animal that threatens their young; particularly other male lions.

The lions of Zambia are an exceptional sight and they can be seen from a vehicle or on foot in the great South Luangwa National Park; home of the walking safari and Lion Camp by Mantis.

Gorilla: Chivalrous and charming

gorilla and its baby

Visit Rwanda to witness the tenderness of gorilla dads

Till death do them part; gorilla parents stay together to raise a tribe of exemplary infants. Male gorillas are the ultimate providers and spend a lot of time hunting for their troop. When it comes to mealtimes; dad and mom indulge in a romantic meal for two before the youngsters join in. Gorilla dads are hands-on parents and often play mediator when younger band members fight.

There are few things that stir the soul more than watching these majestic primates in their natural habitat. The Volcanoes National Park is one of the most famous of these, and Mantis guests will soon be able to package this experience with a luxury lake cruise on the Kivu Queen by Mantis in Rwanda.

the greater flamingo: in touch with their feminine side

two greater flamingos in an embrace

Greater Flamingos doing a flamenco 🙂

Just as flamenco dancers perfect their synchronicity; male and female flamingos spend their life with one mate and share the daily parenting duties even prior to mating. Flamingo dads help to find the perfect muddy spot to make a nest, help incubate the egg and continues to take equal responsibility for the daily duties of rearing their hatchling. This dad just makes us swoon!

Greater Flamingos are differentiated from the Lesser Flamingos by the black colouring on their wings and can be found on Lake Natron near Arusha which is a scenic drive from Siringit Villa by Mantis, Tanzania.

emperor penguin: the stay at home dad

emperor penguin colony

Emperor Penguin colony in the South Pole

Female penguins can be away from the colony for up to two months after laying their egg, and penguin dads dutifully nurture the egg until mom returns from her much-needed fishing expedition. Penguin dad is basically a single father while mom is away and takes his job so seriously that he does nothing but incubate the egg until it hatches, and once it has hatched, he feeds his chick with milk produced from his oesophagus. This is one dedicated daddy!

White Desert Antartica offers 5- and 8-night expeditions to Antarctica and South Pole; where curious explorers and experience-collectors can stand among thriving colonies of Emperor Penguins. Enquire now.

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