Africa’s wildlife has long been an intriguing attraction for tourists. When planning a safari, it’s a common goal for travelers to spot “The Big Five”. The name originated from hunters who deemed these animals as the five most difficult to hunt on foot due to danger. Safari and tour companies quickly adopted the term for marketing purposes.
The countries where you can see all members are Malawi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Here are the Big Five in Africa:
African lion: Lions are now only found in sub-saharan Africa due to habitat loss and over hunting. It is the second largest living cat, after the tiger, and they live in prides of female hunter lionesses, their cubs, and a few males. They sleep for the majority of the day, except during their three day mating season, on which they have sex on average three hundred times.
African elephant: African elephants differ from Asian elephants in several ways, most notably in the shape of their ears. Once species, called the bush elephant, is the largest living terrestrial animal. They live in family units of several females and their calves, led by a matriarch. They are known as one of the most intelligent creatures in the world, and their brains are strikingly similar to that of humans.
Cape buffalo: These animals are considered dangerous due to their highly unpredictable nature. They travel in herds of various sizes, and migration and decisions on movement seem to be made not be a leader but by a consensus. Buffaloes mate and birth only during rainy season, meaning their gestation period is just about a year.
African leopard: This is perhaps the most elusive animal of the big give due to their loss in numbers. Despite their increasing disappearance, they have an exceptional ability to adapt, and can grow accustomed to a wide variety of food, including insects and reptiles. Their beautiful coats, and their rarity, make them a sought after sight.
White/Black rhinoceros: These dinosaur looking animals are not distinguishable by color but by their mouths, body shape, and body size. They each of two horns, which are illegally hunted and sold for a high cost on the black market. Other than humans, rhinos have no natural predators.
Have you seen any of these animals on your African safari?