Sand Castles in the African Bush?

Sand Castles in the African BushAfrican Delicacies?

There is a story behind every photo I post, as you’ve undoubtedly seen.  But what’s the story behind all these mounds that dot the African landscape.  You see them all over Africa.  Sometimes they’re red, other times, brown, other times they almost look black.  What Gives?  They are TERMITE mounds.  Yes, those little pesky things that can destroy your home over time.  But these are not the wood eating type, in fact, it’s just the opposite.  Africans consider these a delicacy and might be considered a staple in some countries.

Intricate Architecture

Sand Castles in the African BushSome are tall with open chimneys, others are wedge shaped, some have two spires, some have ‘windows’, or ‘doors’, still others have their own castle-like style.  There are intricate tunnels and compartments deep within, many beneath what you can see atop the ground. Most are in moist areas, and the underground may remain moist year round, when above ground may be dry. Sometimes the weather and terrain dictate how small or large or short or tall a mound may be.  Like ants, termites are good organizers, always patching up, or ensuring the correct amount of air, wind and moisture is controlled within the body of the mound.

Shelter for Others

Sand Castles in the African Bush, Termite MoundsTermites are creative little creatures, to say the least.  So creative, in fact, I started taking photographs of their handiwork whenever I travel to Africa.  Some termite mounds have outlived their usefulness, and the termites are long gone.  Still others are very active with over 30.000 termites living in them. It’s a sight when some 30,000 termites leave the mound.  Like ants, there are workers, soldiers and reproductive, the king and the queen.  Once the termite mound is inactive, it remains and becomes home for many other species like aardvarks, warthogs, hyena, mongoose, snakes and I’ve seen one or two with leopards hiding in them.

No Blueprints

Sand Castles in the African Bush, Termite MoundsTermite building is an art in and of itself.  I think the termites have figured out an efficiency that humans are still working on.  The study of these termites could be a lesson for us, if only we could watch them from beginning to end, if only they’d show us how it’s done.  There are no blueprints, or planning that goes into the building, or working for a goal together, there is a hierarchy and each of the termites knows their job, performs their job while the king and queen continue to pro-create to add more and more workers to the colony.  The pictures in this post are just a few of their handcrafted ‘homes’

What would you have guessed the were?  Would you consider snacking on termites? Post your thoughts in the comment box below.

Safari Kay

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