Big Five Safaris in Africa – Big Five was traditionally used as a hunting term to describe the five most dangerous animals to hunt on foot in Africa. Their reputation has spread to the tourism industry, and elephants, buffalo, lions, leopards, and rhinos are now the most sought-after species to see on the continent.
The black rhino is by far the most difficult of the Big Five to locate, with the leopard coming in second. The elusive leopards are difficult to distinguish from the cheetah if spotted at a distance. African Big Five Safaris with Acacia Safaris will guarantee more than exceptional adventure experiences. In Africa, spotting the Big Five animals is possible on Game drives, Hot Air Balloon rides, and also by tracking them.
African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)
An African Buffalo is a versatile and widespread ox that lives in large herds on the savanna as well as in smaller herds in forested areas. An African buffalo is said to be the most dangerous of all African game species, especially when wounded or alone, and this reputation has led to it being recognized as one of the Big Five worldwide. The African Buffalo is easy to spot while on Big Five safaris in Africa, usually in their large herds as they graze. The massive buffalos are spectacular to watch in the wild especially when they are being hunted by the top predators.
An African Buffalo can easily be distinguished from other animals.
The African Buffalo has horns that are smaller and lighter in color and curve outwards, backward, and upwards. Buffalos are large and have toed ungulates. African Buffalo occupy Africa’s woodlands, riverine valleys, marshlands sub-Tropical savanna, and ecotones of broadleaf montane forests, which are usually associated with abundant tall, sweet grasses, ample surface water, mud bath, and sufficient shrub and trees for refuge. African Buffalos, however, try to avoid areas of open plain grasslands without woody shelter. They are remarkably social and congregate in herds that range from a few individuals to over a thousand buffalos, and basically form two types of mixed herds, one with mixed sex and the other having mixed age.
African Buffalos can be spotted in top safari destination parks in Africa and Uganda in particular. Buffalos live in the majority of the National Parks, but in Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls, you will have a chance to see a hybrid of the East African savanna buffalo and the West African red buffalo.
African Elephant (Loxodonta Africana)
African Elephant is the world’s largest land mammal and perhaps the most enduring symbol of nature’s grace and fragility. An African elephant is also one of the most intelligent and entertaining to watch of the Big Five African animals. A fully grown male African elephant has an average weight of 6300 kilos, however, the smallest adult male rarely dips 4000 kilos twice more than the average family SUV. The female elephants however on normal conditions weigh just over half of the weight of the male.
The height however varies slightly more than the weights with the tallest male being 4 meters tall and the tallest female being 3.4 meters. Aside from size, the female has an angular forehead, whereas the male has a more rounded forehead. An elephant is famous for having the largest brain of any living mammal, weighing up to six kilograms.
The tusks of an African elephant are used as both tools and weapons. The giant mammals can be spotted in most safari parks in Africa as they browse and graze. In Uganda, African elephants can be spotted on Big Five safaris in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, but for better sightings, a boat safari to the Nile in Murchison and Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park offers excellent opportunities.
Leopard (Panthera pardus)
The leopard is the most common large feline in Africa and often lives in close proximity to humans, but they are rarely seen due to their secretive, solitary nature. The leopard is an exceptionally adaptable predator, according to ecological and ethological characteristics.
Leopards, with the exception of the most arid areas, can be found in every part of Africa south of the Sahara. Leopards prefer woodlands, thorn bush areas, and lowlands, but they also live in Africa’s montane forests.
Leopards, more than any other large wild animal, have a remarkable ability to adapt to changes in prey species, hunting conditions, carnivore competition, vegetation patterns, and human activities. These abilities have manifested their existence in developing Africa more successfully than any other large wild animal. Spotting these elusive cats on Big Five sightseeing safaris is guaranteed in top safari parks in Africa. In Uganda, leopards differ from any other type of carnivore since sightings of their species are more often outside the protected areas.
Leopards hunt using their stealth and power, often winning 5 meters of their intended prey before they pounce, and habitually store their kill onto a tree, keeping it away from other predators.
African Lion (Panthera leo)
The African lion is the largest and most imposing carnivore in Africa. The lion is surprisingly the most sociable of the large cats, living in a loosely structured pride of five to fifteen animals. Lions have different cultural significance, and in Uganda, they have the reputation of being the kings of the beasts and are popular symbols of royalty, strength, and bravery. The lion societies in which they live are more similar to those of chimps; they have different home ranges that overlap so that they meet and come together on a regular basis.
The males are usually thrown out of the group at the age of about 3-4 years by the dominant male at that time, however, after several years that range between 7 and 10, these grown-up lions will try to fight to take on a group. The females however live in one area and their mothers usually move to the adjacent prides.
The rhinoceros is also known as the rhino. Rhinos are large herbivorous mammals distinguished by their horned snouts. Rhinoceros have massive bodies that are easily identified by stumpy legs and one or two dermal horns.
Rhinoceros differ in species, and the horns of some may be short or not visible. Africa’s white rhino and Asia’s greater one-horned rhino are the largest and most common species. Rhinos are well known for having poor eyesight, but they have a highly developed sense of smell and hearing.