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Lion Cape Buffalo Leopard African Elephant White Rhino

What are the Big 5?

Photo © Steven Herbert

SOUTH AFRICA IS HOME TO THE LEGENDARY BIG 5

Virtually every tourist visiting South Africa would love to see the “Big 5”. The term originated amongst big game hunters who thought that these 5 animals were the most desirable and dangerous to hunt.

The Big 5 consists of the African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, Lion and Rhino. Whether the “Rhino” should be a Black or White Rhino, or either, is not always clear but either way seeing any Rhino should be regarded as a special moment, especially with the ever increasing threat of Rhino horn poaching.

A number of private and government run game reserves are stocked with varying populations of the Big 5. Kruger National Park has good populations of these mammals.

On a weekend trip to Kruger National Park one should see Elephant and Buffalo and quite possibly Lion. Depending on the area of the park you could see White Rhino. Black Rhino is always more difficult to find than White. The real challenge to seeing the Big 5 is often the Leopard. My feeling is the harder you look for one of these the less chance you have of finding one!

Nowadays, with more hunting being done with a camera than a rifle (fortunately), one wonders why other species of mammal aren’t regarded with the same reverence as the ones mentioned above. To me it is just as special, or even more so, to see Cheetah, Wild Dog or the magnificent Sable Antelope.

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