Many people come for safaris in Africa to take a look at and take pictures of “The Big Five” – a term that you’ve probably heard before.
But do you know what “The Big Five” means? And why is “The Big Five” so special to watch on a safari ride?
Who are “The Big Five”?
“The Big Five” is a collective name for lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros and buffalo.
It’s an old hunting design that the big game hunter used. It is not about the physical size of the five animals, but about the difficulty of dropping them and the danger that you suffered during the hunt.
Today, the term is also used in conjunction with safari.
What characterizes the Big Five animals?
“The Big Five” are very different animals but all are very popular to see in Africa. Here below you can read more about each animal.
The lion is often synonymous with safari and is therefore perhaps the most popular of the five big animals.
Today, there are about 20,000 lions in Africa and you can meet them in, inter alia, Tanzania and South Africa.
Lions live in flock of up to 25. A flock usually consists of 2-4 adult males, 10-15 females and their kids.
The females live in the flock all the while the males are forced to abandon the flock as they start competing with the alfahan.
The lions prey consists of medium mammals like gnomes, zebras and larger antelopes. However, a large part of the lion’s food consists of cadaver as they steal from other predators.
Did you know that it’s unusual for lions to grow old because they often die in battle before they reach a tall age? In the wild, lions often become 12-14 years old while those in captivity can live up to 20 years.
Lions can often be seen on the savannah and on open grasslands. In the middle of the day, when it’s warmest, they often stay in the shade.
The Leopard lies under the cat family and it is known for its spots.
The leopard is found almost everywhere in Africa, but it is shady for people so it can be difficult to detect.
Unlike the lion, the leopard lives alone, except when it has kids.
Leopards live on the ground and in the trees. It is most active at night and therefore sleeps most during the day in a tree or shrub cake.
The leopard’s food consists of everything from beetles to antelopes, but it prefers the variety of its own size. Often, the leopard draws on a tree in order to prevent other predators from stealing it.
The Leopard is a master of hiding but you can be lucky enough to see one in the desert, on the savannah or in the woods.
The African Elephant is the largest (and heaviest) terrestrial animal in the world and can weigh up to 7,000 kg. In addition to its size, the elephant is famous for its well-developed pastries.
Today, there are about 415,000 African elephants in Africa.
The elephants live in family groups with their young ones. It is not uncommon to see a flock of more than 20 elephants.
The elephant is pregnant for 22 months and females in the flock can breastfeed each other’s kids.
The elephant has sixteen teeth in the upper and lower jaws. When the last teeth are worn down, the elephant cannot chew food and therefore dies due to starvation.
The African elephant can live for up to 70 years in the wild.
Did you know that the African elephant can eat up to 300 kg of food a day? And that an elephant ear can weigh up to 20 kg?
Elephants are found in many places in Africa and you have really good chances of seeing one on the savannah or in dense forests.
In Africa there are two types of rhinos – the black rhinoceros and the white ones.
Despite their names, both rhinos are gray and the difference lies in the shape of their lips. The black rhino has forward lips while the white has wide, square lips. The lips are crucial for their choice of food.
Rhino is the most endangered animal in “The Big Five”. The horns are sought after in Asia and the Middle East because it is said to have healing powers, which means they are worth a lot of money.
The black rhino
The black rhino is found in the southern and eastern parts of Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
It is the smallest of the two African species with a weight of 1350 and highly endangered with about 5,000 animals left in Africa.
Rhinoceros are “browsers”, meaning they only eat food that is on the ground, for example from trees and shrubs.
Rhino’s front horn is about 50cm long but can be up to 130cm.
Did you know that the black rhino can move really fast and its top speed is 55 km / h?
The black rhinoceros are found in places where there are lots of bushes and other foods, for example in woodland, wetlands and savannas.
The white rhino
The white rhino lives mainly in South Africa but is also found in Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
It is not as endangered as the black and there are about 20,000 animals left in Africa.
The white rhino can weigh up to 2 500kg, which makes it the second largest alien animal in the world after the African elephant. Despite its enormous weight, it can reach a top speed of 40 km/hr.
The white rhino’s wide square lips make it a good grass setter.
It uses the horns to fight and protect itself. Rhino’s front horn is about 60cm long but can be up to 150cm.
Did you know that the white rhino got its name from Africa, where its lips were described as wide, which was later misrepresented to white?
Because the black rhino is more endangered than the white, it is less likely to see it in Africa. The white rhino is usually found on grasslands and the savannah.
There are a lot of buffaloes in Africa, and the buffalo is possibly the animal of “The Big Five” which is most dangerous to humans.
The horn of the buffalo can be up to 160cm long. The big horns are used to keep predators away – lions and hyenas never attack a buffalo alone.
The buffalo is a social animal that lives in large flocks of up to 1,500 animals.
The buffalo is usually attacked if it is lonely or injured because it feels threatened. This attacking strategy has made it its reputation as an aggressive animal.
Did you know that a buffalo is not a territorial animal? However, they struggle to get better rank in the flock as well as the favor of the dog buffalo.
The force behind the horn in a collision is equivalent to whether a car would drive into a wall at 50 km / h.
If you want to see the buffalo, look in the woods and on the savannah.
Do you want to see “The Big Five”?
If you want to see “The Big Five” you can travel to popular safari destinations like Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa. You can see one or more of the big five animals on all our destinations to Africa.
Here are many beautiful and famous national parks where you can be lucky to see one or more of the animals.
During the trip, your safari guide will work hard to endeavor that you see all five animals. Some of the animals can be hard to see, so make sure your eyes and ears are wide open!
If you have any questions, please contact our travel consultants. They are happy to help you find the destination that suits you best.
Get close to “The Big Five” in Uganda with High Town Safaris! Where we let you be a part of the story and the story teller. Contact us for more information.(Uganda, The Pearl of Africa)