We are so lucky in East Africa to have such BIG animals! Traditionally on ‘safari’ visitors hope to see the ‘BIG FIVE’. This means buffalo, lion, leopard, elephant and the rhino. The BIG FIVE originated from the days when safaris involved hunting – these were the most difficult animals to hunt on foot.
Sometimes reported to kill more hunters in Africa than any other animal. These beasts look rather heavy footed and clumsy but they are surprisingly nimble and extremely aggressive and rather belligerent. Wounded animals or even just buffalo who have been disturbed are reported to hunt down and attack and kill pursuers – definitely not to be trifled with and very much more aggressive than their cousin the water buffalo.
Once you have been amongst these magnificent animals you cannot fail to appreciate their innate intelligence and their strong sense of community. Hunted and poached for their beautiful ivory, elephants have been under threat for many years.
Lions are prized by hunters due to the very real danger of hunting them on foot. They are majestic beasts and certainly leave the onlooker with a sense of awe. They are well camouflaged and extremely hard to pick out against the yellows of the grasses of their habitat, the savanna lands.
The most difficult of the BIG FIVE for visitors to spot and indeed to hunt due to their nocturnal lifestyle and secretive ways. Leopards can be found in all manner of African habitat and adapt easily to each location. They are solitary cats and very much keep themselves to themselves. However, they do like eating dogs particularly small dogs and many stories abound as to loved pets that have disappeared in the night never to be seen again.
On the edge of extinction the rhino is naturally shy and retiring. Black rhinos hide in deep bush and although they have good hearing and a fine tuned sense of smell they are slightly handicapped since they cannot see very well. Prized for their horn the rhino, more than any other of the BIG FIVE, is battling for survival.
IDEAS & THOUGHTS
On behalf of