Polly Nightingale

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner there’s love in the air. We humans celebrate by showering loved ones with cards and presents, proffering overpriced bunches of flowers, wining and dining. If this all seems a little staid, maybe we can draw some inspiration from nature. Look and you’ll see some touching examples of affection. Here’s my little selection of Nature’s Valentines, to lift your spirits, elicit a few sighs and maybe stir you into action.
A couple of examples from our feathered friends in the form of graceful carmine bee-eaters and albatrosses, who perform elaborate courtship rituals and famously mate for life.

Albetross-Heads and carmine bee-eaters

Some animals are simply inseparable…

sealions and antelope

While others are working up to that first kiss…

zebra and giraffe


snake and lion

So don’t get yourself in a tangle or be tempted to walk away from the whole thing, but instead get inspired, and, who knows, perhaps you too could be heading off hand-in-hand into the sunset!


Read on to find out where you see these guys:

Carmine bee-eaters are found throughout sub-equatorial Africa. These fellows were spotted from Shenton’s Safaris special carmine hide in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park.

Waved albatrosses can be seen at close quarters in the Galapagos Islands and some 12,000 pairs breed on Espanola each year. For a comprehensive selection of Galapagos holidays, yachts and information about wildlife and islands please see our dedicated site, Galapagos Specialists.

Sea lions are another Galapagos stalwart and you’ll come across these endearing animals wherever you are in the archipelago.

The intertwined antelopes were spied in South Luangwa, widely regarded as one of the very best safari destinations in the whole of Africa, with high concentrations of game and predators. Click here for more information.

Those amorous zebras hail from the Ngorongoro Crater in northern Tanzania. We have several holidays that include this scenic location. Click here for more information.

The kissing giraffes were observed by Amanda in Timbavati, a private game reserve in the Greater Kruger, South Africa. We offer a choice of accommodation within the reserve, all offering great wildlife viewing.

Snakes and lions can be seen all over Africa, though these two specimens were captured on camera in Uganda and Tanzania respectively. See out safari holidays section for suggested itineraries.

Finally, the penguin couple fin-in-fin are at Boulder’s Beach, just outside Cape Town. Though many people think primarily of shops, Table Mountain and Robben Island, there’s plenty more to Cape Town including a number of bays and beaches, of which Boulder’s Beach is just one.