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Top 5 African Animals to Spot
If you are heading to #Africa, getting close to the wild animals is a must! Always an #aspirational dream for us, we took a #safari in order to see the 'big 5': lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant. We came across four of the five, but we'll happily do it again to catch that evasive rhino!
An African Safari is generally quite high on the bucket list of any traveler, and between Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia, there is no shortage of options or availability!
Each country is a popular safari destination in its own right, and each of the above provides travelers with an absolute classic African Safari setting which pretty much guarantees spotting the “Big Five!”
an absolute classic African Safari setting which pretty much guarantees spotting the “Big Five!"
That being said, a Tanzania safari is usually most popular with the majority of travelers, Tanzania being home to the famed Serengeti National Park.
Nomads of the North
Tarangire, Serengeti & Ngorongoro Tanzania Lodge Safari
Mountain & Valley Discovery Tour in Kenya
“The big five” animals of Africa are the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant.
“The big five” animals of Africa are the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant
While African wildlife is definitely not limited to just those above mentioned, the term “big five” was coined by game hunters, referring to the most difficult and dangerous African beasts to catch on foot.
Nowadays African Safaris have turned this into a clever marketing term, as today it is more about choosing which lens to shoot them with! We managed to ‘shoot’ the following Big 4, just missing out on a shot of a Rhino. The Rhino is the hardest to spot in the wild, however, as they have been hunted to nearly the point of extinction.
The Rhino is the hardest to spot in the wild, however, as they have been hunted to nearly the point of extinction
All animals below “shot” by Mike Jerrard!
The King of the savanna (not the jungle!). Lions are the largest, fiercest and most sociable of African cats.
Lions are the largest, fiercest and most sociable of African cats
They live in prides of up to 40 lions and the lionesses will do all the hunting, sharing their prey with the males of a pride. Thankfully we remained within the confines of our Safari truck, however If you find yourself on foot within close proximity to a lion, DON’T turn and run! Easier said than done, I know, however a running target will look like prey and will therefore probably be seen as such! Try to make yourself look big instead, while gradually backing away.
The largest land mammal in the world, the African Elephant weighs up to 6 tonnes! You many recognize him by his large trunk, huge ears that cool the body when flapped, and highly sought after tusks. Keep your distance from wild elephants as they can be dangerous, especially herds of mothers with young elephants. Remember that if an elephant is flapping it’s ears and kicking up dust there’s a high likelihood it is about to charge – and make sure if in a vehicle you have a way to drive forward – elephants can run faster than a car can reverse!!
Remember that if an elephant is flapping it’s ears and kicking up dust there’s a high likelihood it is about to charge
The African buffalo weighs a little less than a ton, and has a reputation for being bad tempered, aggressive and dangerous. Single buffaloes can be unpredictable and wild, however they are usually quite tame when in a herd…notwithstanding a tendency to stampede in mass when startled!
Single buffaloes can be unpredictable and wild, however they are usually quite tame when in a herd
They are a cousin of the lion, however slightly smaller. Leopards are excellent at camouflage which leads to the impression that they are rare, and are active at night which also allows them to stay hidden. They prefer hunting in the dark and use the day to lounge around in trees. Leopards are very independent, and will only rarely be seen together during mating.
Leopards are very independent, and will only rarely be seen together during mating
Next time we head out with African Safari hopefully we can spot a Rhino in order to say that we have truly seen the African Big Five!