National Geographic : 1972 Feb
Watering places for the African ark invite a steady parade of wildlife. A giraffe splays its forelegs to drink in Rhodesia's Wankie National Park. Because the animal's neck is so long, valves in its two jugular veins check the downward rush of blood when the giraffe lowers its head, preventing rupture of blood vessels in the brain. Predators haunt the water holes, and so do enthralled humans, coming to film the animals or simply to watch. Visitors at Bube Pan in South Africa's Mkuzi Game Reserve (opposite) find a blind built over the water where they can peer at creatures that come to drink. A nearby inn attracts capacity crowds, as do hotels in many African reserves. PHOTOGRAPHS BY VOLKMAR WENTZEL The elegant and the grotesque patronize the water hole at Bube Pan. Burchell's zebras (left) display the handsome hide that tempts poach ers. A South African relative, the quagga, is now extinct, and two other kinds of zebras are rare and endangered. Thick upper tusks of a warthog (above) may help it to push through thornbush. Sharp lower tusks serve as chief defense against attacking leopards or cheetahs.