Mama Africa and Her Creatures – The Big 5

The Big 5 of Africa

Have you always been bewildered by the wilderness? Then make your escape from reality. Apply the brakes on monotony and break free!

Transport yourself to the land brimming with life to live through a million amazing moments that’ll make you want to relive those memories once again. Greet animals hailing from different places and treat yourself with the mind-boggling experience of encountering innumerable four legged masterpieces in the African canvas. It’s safe to say that you are just a Safari away from the game changing big five.

Before we get started, let’s address the elephant in the room, the big deal about the big five! The big five are the five animals that previously hogged the limelight mostly from the hunting communities as the animals that gave hunters a run for the money. The African Elephant, the Cape Buffalo, the African Leopard, the African Lions and the African Rhinos make the cut for posing the greatest challenge to be hunted, much to the appeal of adventure thirsty game hunters because of their erratic and unpredictable behaviour. Get ready to be awestruck as you see them drop their jaw, flex their muscles and jump into action!

However, relax! Breathe easy,don’t jump the gun as the term has taken a new direction and has swiftly moved to being a tourist friendly term. Now, various safaris in Kenya and even safaris in Tanzania and other African countries offer exquisitely crafted safaris that help you sight them all.  Let’s tread a little further to know more about the big five and get an insight.

The African Elephant is the jumbo of all time and definitely a big catch, pun intended!  Claiming its dominance as the heaviest and largest animal on the land, these elephants leave behind a mighty legacy. Loxodonta Africana also known as the African Elephant weighs about a whopping 10 tons/22000 pounds.

Don’t be surprised to see a herd of elephants moving around and little elephants being playful and tinkering around with their trunks. These elephants are very social and thrive in a matriarchal society. The herd usually comprises of  at least a hundred elephants efficiently communicating with one another via low frequency rumbles that span across several miles.

From living in the arid deserts to the lush wetlands, these big guys live life king size and  seem to know it all. Tarangire National Park is especially known for its huge herds of social elephants, try not to  miss this on your next safari in Tanzania.

The African buffalo or The Cape buffalo makes it to the top of the most dreaded creatures in the hunter’s list as it holds the record for causing the highest number of hunter deaths among the big five. They are found in game reserves rich in water and also national parks spread across the sub-Saharan Africa but are averse to living in desert conditions. The Eastern and Southern Africa houses the largest member of the four sub-species. The Cape buffaloes generally weigh 920kg or 2010 pounds and seem to be keen on being healthy as they binge on tall, coarse grass.

The Cape buffaloes are big on being team players and are model examples for collaboration as they exhibit a strong sense of responsibility towards their kind. They harbor peace with fellow buffaloes and sometimes thousands of them assemble on the open grasslands in herds and this is truly a treat to the eyes. Also,they come together to form a defensive circle around the weaker members, sick and young to protect from hungry lions, uninvited guests and unwelcome intruders. Should their peace be disrupted or should they feel threatened, they truly lose their calm and exhibit their displeasure with swift aggressiveness. Don’t miss catching them at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area or Serengeti National Park on your next Tanzania Safari.

The African Leopard: Contrary to the Cape buffalos, these mammals are loners, perched on top of the tree, with eager eyes to jump on its prey unwarrantedly. The African leopards are known to burn the midnight oil and spend the mornings tactfully hidden from plain sight and are accustomed to living in a variety of terrains and habitats.

Look up  to spot a leopard, and you will not be let down. Renowned for its phenomenally beautiful black-spotted coat, the leopard is also known for its stealth and versatility. The African leopards usually tend to live in rocky landscapes with dense bush and riverine forests but are also highly adaptable to other terrains as well. The tawny coat of the leopard is embedded with dark, irregular spots called rosettes. These rosettes are circularly shaped in East African leopards but are squared in their Southern African counterparts. Stand in awe as you spot these spotted wonders in the midst of the wild.

These big carnivorous cats are smart, opportunistic hunters. They are the strongest of climbers and often stockpile their kill high up the trees where it can feed in safety without having to worry about the lions or the hyenas stealing away their kill. Catching them in the wild is purely a game of luck for these shy giants.

The African lions: Weighing about 230 kilos and growing up to ten feet long, the lions are the second largest members of the cat family after tigers, something they aren’t exactly proud of. The thunderous roar of this king of the jungle can bring anyone to their knees and can be heard up to five miles. Roaring enables them to mark their territory by communicating their presence to possible intruders. Lions are the only cats in the animal kingdom to live in social groups called prides. Only male lions boast of impressive fringes of long hair encircling their head, called a mane. Male lions are the defenders of the territory while the females take care of laying the food on the table. The female lions are the primary hunters and taking down the prey is a group effort.

All the females give birth around the same time which allows the cubs to be nursed by multiple females. Despite the lions being unsuccessful hunters, they consume about 9 kilos of meat a day. The mane of a male lion helps in intimidating other males and well, in impressing the females. One of the most formidable creatures on the planet, their impressive size and appetite, strong social cohesion and regal appearance make it clear as to why they are the kings of the Jungle.

Drop by Maasai Mara National Reserve in a safari in Kenya , Ngorongoro Conservation Area in a safari in Tanzania, Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana to get lucky!

The African Rhino : Black rhinos, the vegetarian giants, sport two horns on the bridge of the nose. On fanciful occasions, one can catch sight of rhinos with rudiments of a third horn on the forehead. Whilst the males valiantly battle attackers, the females use their horns to protect their young. The hefty creatures binge on vast amounts of leaves, shrubs, young acacia shoots and other plant foods on a daily basis reasonable to their 1.5 tonnes of ponderousness.

Well, rhinos are of two types black and white (they are thick skinned and would dust off your criticism) Although, they sport the same color gray, they differ in lip shape and the habitat they choose to thrive. Black rhinos live a solitary life with abounding aggression while the white often live in pairs. Rhinos are all ears to noise as they are acutely short-sighted and short tempered when meddled with. It is on the verge of extinction, thanks to poaching.

Find these endangered species in Etosha National Park, Namibia, Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park, South Africa; Lewa Widlife Conservancy in a Kenyan Safari; Mkomazi National Park in a Tanzanian safari.

Now, what are you waiting for? Before it’s too late, grab those lenses, get set to be captivated beyond senses with a Safari in Tanzania or a Safari in Kenya or a safari in any of the following countries like Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi and click with nature.

Capture photos, Shoot videos, not animals!

With all that, take a shot at the Tanzanian safari or Kenyan safari to shoot up your chances at spotting the big five.

 

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