Can you name the “Big Five”? This term originally referred to Africa’s mammal species that were most dangerous and difficult to hunt including: the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo. Today however, the expression takes on a much gentler form as we use it to describe safari guests’ wildlife bucket list. Here’s some fascinating wildlife fun facts about about each of these majestic animals that are sure to impress your fellow safari mates.
1 / Leopard: Anyone who’s had luck spotting leopards while on safari knows to look up in the trees. That’s because leopards are known for their agility, strength and ability to climb while carrying heavy prey. Up high they can safeguard their kill from other predators like lions and hyenas. And the reason why we usually only see one at a time? Adult leopards tend to be solitary animals who carve out their own territory to avoid one another.
2 / Elephant: Do you know how elephants communicate with each other? They use low frequency sounds across long distances that are inaudible to humans. They also communicate in a low rumbles that travel as far as 6 miles. What’s wild is that the elephants receiving these types of calls can do so by picking up the call through their feet! Communication between mother and baby is often by touching via their trunks.
3 / Lion: This may surprise some, but lionesses are considered better hunters than male lions. It’s true! Although they are smaller than their male counterparts, female lions do indeed do the majority of the hunting. They’re faster, expert stalkers , and can blend in better with their surroundings. Male lions are better adapted for fighting, but when it comes to hunting, lionesses are King, (or shall we say Queen).
4 / Rhino: Sad to say the rhino is the most vulnerable of the Big Five Species. Very few of these incredible animals now survive outside of national parks and reserves due to worldwide poaching. Organizations like savetherhino.org and helpingrhinos.org are leading conservation efforts to decrease the illegal trade that has been escalating in recent years.
5 / Buffalo: Lastly, the African buffalo spends most of the year in herds as large as 50 to 500 others. In the Serengeti, that number can be as high as thousands during the rainy season. The reason for gathering in such large groups is to help discourage predators like hyenas, lions, and African wild dogs.
For awe-inspiring safari stories and wildlife photos from our guests, view these photo safaris that are sure to impress even the most seasoned traveler.