The African Big Five

If you are planning a safari to Africa, you probably would’ve heard of the African Big Five. This term refers to the five most dangerous and difficult animals to hunt on foot by game hunters.

These animals include – Lion, African Elephant, African Leopard, Cape Buffalo, Rhinos. They can be found in, but not limited to – Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Congo, Rwanda, Malawi.

The Lion

The Lion - The African Big Five
Image – Unsplash

Head of the Big Five and the king of the jungle. Lions sometimes hunt during the day, they are typically more active at night which is why most daytime safari sightings are of cats sleeping in the shade. Lions can sleep for up to 20 hours a day.

The African Leopard

Most elusive of the Big Five. Leopards are naturally shy and exclusively nocturnal, leopards spend the daylight hours hidden from view. They are excellent climbers, using trees to scan for prey and to store fresh kills away from the other animals. If you’re looking for a leopard, remember to look up at the trees.

The Leopard - The African Big Five
Image – Unspalsh

The African Elephant

This is the largest animal in the world. The two distinct species of the African elephant are the African Forest Elephant and the African Bush Elephant. Elephants are difficult to hunt because, despite their large size, they are able to hide in tall grass and are more likely to charge than the other species.

They have become an endangered specie, due to the the global demand for ivory which can be found in their tusk. A worldwide ban on ivory trade has helped stabilize their population in recent times.

The Cape Buffalo

Most dangerous of the Big Five, as they are very aggressive. The Cape Buffalo is mostly found in groups and large herds. They spend most of their time grazing the savanna and floodplains.

The Rhino

There are two types of Rhinoceros – the black Rhino, and the white Rhino. All are huge, with a top weight of 5,000 pounds and horns that can grow up to five feet long. Just like the Elephants, they are an endangered specie due to the demand for ivory in their horns.

Due largely to poaching for their horns, the western black rhino was declared extinct in 2011. The last male northern white rhino died in 2018, with only two females remaining – making that subspecies functionally extinct. 

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Ibukunoluwa Salau is the Co-Founder of Afriktrip and Editor-in-chief of The Tour Guide Africa Series.

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