Hunting for High Speed in Kenya - Nature's fastest runners
Come with us and enjoy vibrant cities, a rich cultural heritage and scenic landscapes of unimaginable beauty - ranging from evergreen forests to mountainous moorlands, gorgeous sand beaches to savannas and dry deserts - all of which are home to a spectacular Flora & Fauna.
With over 25,000 different animal species in 23 vast national parks and many more natural reserves and sanctuaries, only a few countries on the planet can compete with Kenya's rich and diverse wildlife. While most tourists are attracted by the "Big Five" - elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, lion and leopard - some of the wild animals that can be found in the East African country are real record breakers as far as their speed is concerned. Having a look at the most specialized runners, we will discover that each of them excels in their own way. Let us take you on a Safari in Kenya to discover the "Fast Five"!
Not only is this species among the fastest on the planet with an astonishing speed of 80–90 km/h (50–55 mph), this subgroup of the antelope is capable of avoiding becoming another animal's lunch with its ability to maintain the pace for a long time period - while most predators have to give up if they have no initial success the Thomson's Gazelle will continue running away with ease. What makes it even harder to catch them is their incredible agility, allowing them to zigzag and make sudden turns.
You might be surprised to see one of Africa's most voluptuous animals among the contestants for record-breaking runners but with 30 km/h (18.6 mph) they are still quite fast on land and outmatch most humans. But their true specialty lies in them living a semi-aquatic life - they show an outstanding performance moving forward in water - up to 8 km/h (5 mph)! They actually don't swim but walk under the surface, which also keeps them cool during the day. Their body is designed for spending most of the day in rivers and because of their aggressive behaviour you should think twice about getting too close to Hippos - they might outrun you on land and under the water!
Famously known for putting their head into the sand (which is a myth) this flightless bird can race with a speed of 70 km/h (43.5 mph) peaking at 96.6 km/h (60 mph) making them the fastest birds (and two-legged animal) on land! And not only that, Ostriches are also the biggest feathered specimen on the planet. Their wings - although not capable of lifting them up into the air - help them to navigate while racing at top speed.
The wildebeest - also known as Gnu - can reach up to 80 km/h (50 mph) but what's even more impressive about this wild animal is the fact that it never runs alone! In fact, up to a million specimen migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Masai-Mara plains in southern Kenya. Together with Zebras and other migrating animal, they're always following vegetation and water - and make up to an astonishing sight which is especially popular among tourists.
So, as we can see, the prey in Kenya can be quite difficult to catch for a predator. To have a chance against the well-prepared game, any animal that wants to feast on the likes of gazelles, ostriches and gnus has to be adapted to do so - among them one stands out above all - let us present to you the world's fastest land animal, the cheetah! Believed to be capable of reaching velocities of up to 113 km/h (70mph) nothing stands in the cheetah's way. It comes to no surprise though that this ability comes at a price - the high speed can be maintained only for a short time frame and if the hunt was not successful the cheetah will need some rest first before trying again. Upon catching some poor creature cheetahs usually relax some 30 minutes to regain strength before starting to eat.
Kenya is home to some truly amazing (and high speed) wildlife, stay tuned until we are back with more fascinating stories about our awesome planet!
Our first Kenya Run & Marathon. Join our friends from Kenya, enjoy the freedom of lions and get your unique lion medal, whether it's a 3km (1.9mi), 5km (3.1mi), 10km (6.2mi), half marathon or the full marathon.
Picture 1 : Jaliya Rasaputra via unsplash
Picture 2 : DANIEL LEBEGUE via unsplash
Picture 3 : elCarito via unsplash
Picture 4 : Rohan Reddy via unsplash
Picture 5 : Sammy Wong via unsplash