Photo Blog: Classic South African Big 5 SafariMarch 29, 2019
The ultimate Big 5 safari experience awaits in South Africa!
Safari enthusiasts the world over travel to South Africa with a wildlife bucket-list of five specific animal species they are inspired to tick off. These are the leopard, rhino, lion, elephant and buffalo, the so-called Big 5, given this collective title because of how dangerous and difficult they are to successfully hunt down on foot.
South Africa attracts more than its fair share of repeat visitors, largely due to its variety of game reserves and national parks that offer safari experiences that seldom disappoint. Consistently excellent game-viewing opportunities are met with world-class luxury lodges, such as Jock Safari Lodge and those at Kariega Game Reserve, found in some of the most breath-taking locations on the continent.
Whether you are first time safari visitor wanting to learn more about this iconic group of animals or a safari aficionado eager to relive your favourite safari moments, here is your chance to delve into the wildly wonderful world of the Big 5:
Naturally shy and secretive animals, leopards are considered the most elusive member of the Big 5. They are geographically widespread throughout South Africa and found in all of the country’s major parks, like Sabi Sands, Timbavati, Kruger and Kariega. Tracking a leopard is always an adventure! You may find one lying lazily over a tree branch, tucking into a kill or, if you are really lucky, you may have one cross right in front of your path whilst on a game drive.
The highly endangered rhino still has a home in South Africa. In fact, this is best country in Africa to view rhinos as it supports over 80% of the continent’s population of these endangered creatures. Both black and white rhinos can be seen in some of South Africa’s parks and reserves. Spotting this mighty member of the Big 5 in South Africa is a great honour considering their tragic conservation status and is truly one of the greatest sights a wildlife lover can experience.
For many, lions are the prize sighting on any safari. With their muscular bodies and beautiful manes, these big cats always draw a gasp from impressed onlookers, one that seems to undoubtedly support the lion’s title as king of the animal kingdom. As Africa’s top predator, watching them hunt and take down a large kill, like a buffalo, giraffe or hippo, is an unforgettable safari moment. If wild lions in large numbers is what you want to see, Kruger has the most dense population of these large felines.
Seeking out African elephants in South Africa’s parks and reserves is relatively easy year-round. This is helped along both because of their size making them hard to miss and the country’s healthy populations of these giants. Along with traditional game drives, some of the country’s private game reserves allow walking safaris; journeying through the stomping grounds of these magnificent beasts and encountering them on foot is a truly exceptional experience.
With their helmet-like horned heads and challenging stares, buffalo are steely looking herbivores that are not scared to take on a predator to defend their own. Buffalo are relatively prevalent throughout South Africa’s main wildlife areas and easy to spot whilst on safari. When they come under attack by a pride of lions, these sturdy animals respond aggressively, forming a circle and fending off the big cats with their large horns.
While there are never any guarantees of particular wildlife sightings when going on safari, by chatting to us we can recommended destinations that deliver better and more certain sightings of the Big 5 than others.
Feature image courtesy of Kariega Game Reserve
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