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Digital Subscriptions > Travel Africa > January-March 2019 (85) > DANCING WITH THE SCARS?


The natural world stages a mean dance show, but is it always strictly to impress? In a world of territorial rivalry, Mike Unwin explains how to separate the rhumba from the rumble

The African bush may seem an unlikely ballroom. Book your ticket at peak season, however, and you might bag front row at a dance spectacular. In place of glitter and sequins, expect feathers and scales. And rather than all that fancy Latin, brace yourself for more authentic African rhythms: not mambo, but mamba; not quickstep, but nyala side-step. Amid the elaborate choreography, it can sometimes be hard to tell what’s going on between the couples. Animals take to the floor to claim a partner, just like any dancer. But they also do so for the opposite reason: to drive away a rival. Here are some of the top performers.

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