The first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Africa is Big 5 Safari. This African Big 5 Safari is on the bucket list of most people. The countries where you can spot these Big five animals are South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana & Namibia.
Even though Africa is more than the big five, but these enormous creatures add more charm to the Africa Tourism. Big Five was traditionally used as a hunting term to describe the five most dangerous animals in Africa to hunt. It was originally termed ‘The Big Five’ by big game hunters who found them to be the most difficult and dangerous African animals to hunt on foot. Considered a rite of passage for seasoned travelers, everybody from American presidents to European royalty and heads of state came to Africa to shoot a large, dangerous animal in the 19th and 20th Century.
THE AFRICAN LION
Often referred as the King of Jungle, the African Lion is one of the Big five animals in Africa and is the world’s second largest cat after the tiger. These creatures are thought to be the most social of all cats and can be found roaming around in groups called ‘prides’.
The pride usually consists of five or six related females, their cubs of both sexes, and one or two males. With an average lifespan of up to 15 years old, you can generally tell how old a lion is by looking at its mane – the darker it is, the older he or she is.
Lions can sleep up to 20 hours a day and they don’t spend a lot of time hunting. The lioness are the hunters of the pride- usually on the prowl at night, in the afternoon or early morning. Their prey includes Wildebeest, Zebra, Giraffe, Buffalo and even young elephants. They are ambush hunters, using their tawny coloring as effective camouflage.
Though these lions are found throughout Africa, but they are best spotted in Kruger National Park, Masai Mara Safari, Serengeti National Park Safari and Chobe National Park Safari tour.
THE BLACK RHINO
The Rhino is one of the endangered species among the Big five animals. These rhinos are at the highest risk of extinction and have been decimated by poaching for their horns.
What make the black rhinos different from the white ones are their double horns. Their front horn is the prominent one and is the main reason why this species is still poached. The black rhinos of Africa are solitary creatures and prefer to live alone. They usually feed at night as well as during dawn and dusk.
THE AFRICAN ELEPHANT
African Elephants are the biggest wildlife species among the big five animals of Africa. The largest land animal in the world, they can be found in 37 different countries in Africa. They are herbivorous mammals and have almost hairless skins, and a long flexible, prehensile trunk.
There are two different species of African elephant – Savannah elephants and the other is the forest elephant, both of which are fiercely poached. The Savannah elephants can be found in the Savannah of Africa. The forest elephants inhabit the rain forests of Central and Western Africa. These massive creatures can live up to 70 years, walk around 4 miles per hour. They can swim long distances making it the largest mammal among the bug five animals.
From their thick skin to their enormous ear, the elephants in South Africa are well adapted with their environment. The best place to spot these elephants is Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa.
The leopard is one of the most adaptable predators and the smallest of the big fives animals in Africa. Naturally shy and exclusively nocturnal, leopards spend the daylight hours hidden from view. It is difficult to spot them as they like to rest and stay hidden during the day.
They tend to be the most elusive and less seen out of the Big Five animals in Africa when you go on a safari. These creatures are excellent climbers using trees to scan for prey and to store fresh kills away from scavengers like lions and hyena.
African Leopards have a preference for rocky landscapes with dense bushes and riverine forest. It making them staying in an area more than three days. Along with their superb camouflage, it is a very silent and stealthy predator, catching their prey by taking it up to the trees to prevent other animals such as lions or hyenas from stealing their food.
THE CAPE BUFFALO
The Cape buffalo of Africa are large and the lesser known species of big five animals of South Africa. These can be found in water rich game reserves and national parks throughout Africa. These massive creatures not only differ in size but also in the shapes of the horns and color. They are sometimes considered the most dangerous of the big five and are the most popular with hunters.
The Cape Buffalo have never been domesticated probably due to the danger factor. They are the only type of wild cattle in Africa. They are said to have killed over 200 people every year earning the names like ‘Black Death’ and ‘Widow Maker’. These animals are often hunted by lion and are extremely loyal to their herd and would often try to rescue another member if being caught by attacking the predator. Buffaloes spend more time feeding at night than during the day. They have excellent memories, even ambushing creatures that have previously attacked them.
African Big 5 Safari Animals
From breathtaking places to the famous big five mammals, Africa has a lot to offer to travelers. You would be surprised to watch these humongous creatures living in different parts of Africa. Wildlife lovers have a good opportunity to get up close with these animals and capture the best shots through their lens. Today the big five has become an integral part of South Africa as it has now considered as one of the famous things to do in South Africa. If you love nature, the environment and these gigantic creatures, South Africa tourism promise to showcase its best five African animals to the travelers.
Although these big five animals were difficult to hunt down earlier but today these animals remain essential African animal encounters on safari to capture through your camera lens. Your trip to the African continent would be incomplete without witnessing these creatures which offers the most exciting, memorable and exhilarating experience of your life – coming face to face with the BIG 5 SAFARI.