Africa safari are often highlighted with sighs of several African game, both five and small. To some people if you are describing an African wildlife Safari, they will loosely translate it into Big Five Safaris or hunting of the big five animals
What are the big five animals?
Thinking…the big five game found in the African wild are probably the hardest animals one can hunt on foot or follow on animal spoors for several miles. The big five animals are dangerous too and should be tracked cautiously.
The big five animals consist of Lion, the African elephant, leopard, Cape buffalo and the rhinoceros. Meeting all big 5 in one parks is not easy but you will meet them all in Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
The African elephant is almost seen in every wildlife park in Africa, except in the Sahara. The large elephant, some called forest elephant and others bush elephants are almost hairless, with long trunks, with long curved Ivory tusks and have fan shaped ears.
The rhinos are steadily growing to be an endangered species especially with the black and white rhinos. The Cape buffalo or called African buffalo are also a regular sighting in the savannah grasslands. The leopard is a large spotted predator often found in the savannah and forested areas. Within sight is the Lion, a popular animal on Africa wildlife safaris.
Lion safaris are often a favorite for tourists to Serengeti Park in Tanzania, Kruger park in South Africa, some tree climbing species found in Lake Manyara Park in Tanzania and from Queen Elizabeth National park in Uganda. The males have black mane on their heads living in prides of up to 20 members.
The best time to visit Africa on Big Five safari and enjoy game viewing, is all year around. Each time you decide to visit, you will see these animals. The dry season are a plus for predators form the big 5 (leopard and lion) as they stalk on the various prey that visit the different water points. Night Game drives are good for the predator hunt often finding them feeding on an unfortunate prey animal like antelopes
Big 5 safari tips
As you prepare your Big five African safari, pack the right safari clothes. Clothes that will give all the comfort you need as you explore the park. Examples of safari clothes include jeans, vests, Khaki, shirts, jackets, hats, shoes and boots. Avoid bright colors; you may be easily identified by the animals. Take natural colors such as khaki and other colors that blend well with the environment. A safari jacket with many side packets will help you carry small items such as cameras, binoculars and many others.
To get the most adventure of safari, plan for a game drive, this will give the opportunity to see large concentrations of hippos, crocodiles and other animals. Early morning is the best time for seeing the animals and because of the heat; they are usually resting in the afternoon or are only discovered at the shores of the lake.
When planning a safari to Africa, many visitors will often want to include the famous “Big Five” among the list of wildlife animals to watch. Regarded by most trackers as the most difficult and dangerous African mammals to hunt on foot, they include the Lion, Leopard, African elephant, Cape buffalo and the rhinoceros. Travelers can track the Big five in Uganda, Namibia, South Africa, Kenya , DR Congo , Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Before embarking on a big five safari to any of the above mentioned destinations, its vital to know some info about these species, where they are located, feeding habits and ways of living plus so much more in order for you to enjoy your trip with prior knowledge about what animal your tracking .
The African Lion
Ranked second largest cat after the tiger, a male lion weighs between 150- 225 kg and female weighs between 120 – 150 kg. lionLions normally inhabit the savannah grasslands and forests living up to 20 years in the wild but less than 10 years for the males who continuously fight reducing their longevity . Female lions hunt in packs during day and sometimes in the night mainly killing mainly hoofed mammals like buffaloes, antelopes, wildebeests & plain zebras. The rare tree climbing lions found in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth park, Uganda’s largest national park attract hundreds of wildlife enthusiasts and the huge populations of lions in Serengeti and Ngorongoro parks make Tanzania a wildlife haven in East Africa .
The largest living animal regarded as the “king of the beasts” , Elephants can be found in Eastern, Western and South Africa inhabiting dense forests , woodlands and deserts. elephant-ugandaFemale elephants weigh about 2200- 3500 kg and males weighing up to 6300 kg female eating up to 400 kg of vegetation moving in group including ten females, off-springs led by an older female called a matriarch. Tracking an African elephant is relatively easier in East Africa due to increased populations of the huge beasts due to reduced levels of poaching in most parks.
Weighing between 250- 850 kg and measuring up to 420 cm in length , the African buffalo is slightly related to the domesticated wild Asian buffalo. They are quite some intriguing species that can be tracked in Kidepo and along the Kazinga channel plus in the Serengeti plains of Tanzania due the large herds recorded in these destinations.
The smallest of the four “big cats” with a male weighing up to 90 Kg and female weighing between 30 – 60 kg with a long body measuring up to 300cm. leopard-Tanzania leopards are agile animals climbing trees often with their kills to eat in peace. They have been listed on the IUCN Red list among the near threatened species of the world mainly because of poachers who kill them for their beautiful skins which are sold highly on the market. Tracking a leopard is not easy as they are always hiding in trees and camouflaging in the bushes to stay hidden during day…Kidepo and Lake Mburo park offer the best views of these rare cats but you also find them in Serengeti plains and Kenya’s Amboseli park .
One of the largest mega fauna species , herbivorous, hoofed with a thick strong skin and an adult rhino cna way up to 1400 kg growing to a length of between 350 – 450 cm . However bad news is that rhino horns are highly demand on the black market for their market value and healing properties hence they have been poached on for many years leading to Rhinos extinction in some parts of Africa, they are highly endangered species which are highly protected in sanctuaries and reserves before introducing them to the wild. Zziwa Rhino sanctuary is the only place a tourist to Uganda will have chance to watch the black and white rhinoceros while one can track the black ones in Kenya and Tanzania’s Serengeti park .