Living things are divided into five kingdoms: monerans (single-celled things without a nucleus, basically bacteria); protists (mainly single-celled, nucleated organisms such as amoebae and algae); fungi; plantae; and animalia. The kingdoms are divided into phyla (singular, phylum) also called just divisions. The phyla are divided into classes; the classes into orders; the orders into families; and these into genera and species. These classifications are based on evolutionary relationships, and on how fundamental the differences between organisms are thought to be.

Reptilia (reptiles), Aves (birds) and Mammalia (mammals) are three classes of the kingdom animalia and the phylum Chordates. Chordata is the phylum which includes vertebrates, that is, animals with a backbone, and also some near-vertebrates.

The large mammals  - the antelopes and big cats, and also the elephant and giraffe, rhinos and hippo, are the animals which are the centre of the African Safari. The crocodile is another animal which visitors want to see, and there are also the monitor lizard and the agama lizards. The mammals and reptiles are dealt with together in the section Wildlife. The birds are also animals, of course, but they are given their own section due to their number and variety.

Due to developments in the analysis of DNA and to the desire to categorise animals solely by their evolutionary relationships (Cladistics), the classification of animals is the subject of great debate among biologists at the moment. This site does not attempt to take a position in this debate, but presents things in a way thought be perspicuous to the general reader.

Animals: Introduction