The lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and buffalo are Africa’s Big Five. Because they were the most difficult beasts to hunt on foot, big game hunters coined the term “Big Five.” Today, a Big Five safari means seeing five of the continent’s most spectacular and iconic creatures in their natural habitat.
Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are among the African nations that have the Big Five.
The Lion (Panthera Leo)
The lion, our first member of the Great Five, is undoubtedly the most iconic of the big cats and, without a question, the continent’s top predator. Lions are most commonly seen in territorial pride, which is made up of either a single dominant male or a coalition (typically two brothers) and a slew of females with their pups. A Pride has an average of 13 members, but it may have up to 40! When young males reach 2–3 years of age, the dominant male or coalition forces them out of the pride, and they travel as nomads until they are large and strong enough to confront a reigning male.
We love seeing lions when on a game drive across the Maasai Mara and Serengeti eco-systems. It’s impossible to surpass watching a pride of lions wandering amid the lush grasslands on an afternoon safari. At dusk, the previously dormant lions begin to stir and get restless. They roar, they play, and finally, they get ready for the night ahead, which might include a massive hunt!
The African Savanna Elephants (Loxodonta Africana)
The African elephant is the world’s biggest land animal and our favorite of Africa’s Big Five. A single ‘ele’ may weigh up to eight tones, which is about the weight of seven Mini Coopers! Elephant numbers, which were once in the hundreds of thousands, have been severely impacted by poaching during the previous four decades. Their ivory tusks are regarded as a significant commodity on the South-East Asian market, and as a result, these magnificent creatures are at the vanguard of a broad conservation movement.
Leopard (Panthera Pardus)
Leopards are incredibly powerful creatures. They are the most powerful large cats, pound for pound. They can climb trees even when carrying large prey, and they frequently opt to rest on tree branches during the day. Leopards occasionally take their prey up in the trees to keep lions and hyenas from stealing them.
Leopards are well-known for their quickness. They can sprint at speeds of up to 58 km/h and jump 6m horizontally and 3m vertically. They can also swim well.
The leopard is the most elusive and shady of the great felids. In the wild, they are incredibly tough to track and find.
Leopards are mostly solitary creatures with a vast territory. While male territories are bigger and tend to overlap, individuals normally allow encroachment into ranges primarily for mating purposes. They use urine to identify their territory and leave claw marks on trees to warn others to keep away.
Leopards, like cats maintained as pets, will growl when they are furious and purr when they are happy. They have a variety of vocalizations, including a rasping cough, that they use to alert other leopards to their presence.
There are 5 species of Rhino, Two African rhinos, black (Diceros bicornis) and white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum), and three Asian rhinos (greater one-horned, Sumatran, and Javan rhinos). Three of them (black, Sumatran, and Javan) are classified as ‘critically endangered’ by the IUCN; there are estimated to be less than 70 Javan and 100 Sumatran rhinos living in the wild, putting their populations at risk of extinction.
The titles “black rhino” and “white rhino” are deceptive because both are grey. The white rhinoceros is supposed to have derived its name from the Afrikaans word for broad (‘wyd,’ which refers to its wide, square lip (in contrast, black rhinos have a pointy upper lip). Because early English explorers misinterpreted this term for ‘white,’ they labeled this species as ‘white’ rhino and the other as ‘black’ rhino to distinguish them.
For the past ten years, poachers have killed over 7,100 African rhinos – approximately two each day. The sophistication of poaching groups is rising. In certain situations, helicopters are used to monitor the rhinos, and once the animals have been shot with firearms or tranquilizing darts, their horns are cut using chainsaws and transported away. The entire procedure may be completed in as little as 10 minutes, and if the rhino is not already dead, it will frequently bleed to death.
Buffalos (Syncerus caffer)
In Africa, there are just one species of buffalo, although there are four unique subspecies: woodland buffalo, West African savanna buffalo, Central African buffalo, and southern savanna buffalo (also known as the Cape buffalo).
Savanna buffaloes are huge, hefty cow-like creatures. They differ widely not only in size but also in the form of their horns and their color. Adults are normally dark grey or black (but they may seem red or white if they have been wallowing in that color muck), while the young are often reddish-brown. Even as adults, the smaller forest buffalo retains its red hue, however many savanna buffaloes in western Uganda are likewise red or light orange rather than black. Adults lose hair as they age.
Males and females both have massive, ridged horns that grow straight out from the skull or bend down and then up. The horns are excellent weapons against predators and are employed while struggling for space within the herd; males use the horns in dominance contests.
The Wilderness Awaits!!!