Having traveled to over 40 countries, South Africa is definitely in my top five all-time favorite places to visit. One of the main reasons is the Big Five. Searching for the Big Five in South Africa has been on my bucket list for a really long time and I was super excited when I got the opportunity to go.
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Ok, maybe not tigers and bears, but definitely lions crossed my path when I visited South Africa. The “big five is a term that was created by the top-game hunters who refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. They consist of the lion, leopard, rhinoceros elephant, and Cape buffalo. Today, the Big 5 are the most sought-after animals for tourist to see when visiting South Africa, and I was no exception.
Searching For The Big Five In South Africa:
I set off for Pilanesberg Game Reserve, a provincial park in South Africa, northwest of Johannesburg, and it’s where hundreds of mammals make their home. As I approached the park the sun rose, I hopped into the designated safari jeep, anxious and ready, for the big adventure. Before I go any further I must be upfront and say that I didn’t get to see all five of the Big five, but four out of five isn’t bad.
Riding in the safari jeep was so much fun! Jeeps are mainly used as they are familiar with the animals, and therefore allows visitors to come real close to the animals without them attacking.
“In the jungle the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight”~The Lion King. I found myself humming that tune as I rode along the spotted my first lion. Lions are social creatures and usually live together in groups called a pride. My heart raced and adrenaline pumped when I saw the pride of lions, six in total walk right in front of the truck. The second largest cat in the world walked right in front of me – priceless moment!
Lions are such pretty creatures and my favorite animals period. They walk with such grace, yet are the “king of the beasts”. Seeing these big cats in the wild was exhilarating.
The African leopard is the most elusive of the big cats and the only one of the Big five I didn’t get to see. Trust me I’m not happy about this. They’re difficult at times to spot because they hunt at night and spend their days resting in the safety of tree branches. Maybe we drove right by one and I didn’t even notice, nonetheless, I must go back to Africa just to see the leopard in the wild. Until then, thank you Elelur for the great picture of this gorgeous creature.
The rhino is the largest land mammal after the elephant, and seeing this big strong animal in the wild is so much better than the zoo. Rhinos have been hunted nearly to extinction because of the animals’ horns – super sad. I can’t imagine a world without the rhino in it, we need to do a better job of protecting them.
Is there a cuter picture than a mother elephant and her child drinking. I could watch elephants all day, as long as they stayed at a decent distance. The African elephant is the largest of the Big five, as well as, the largest land animal on earth. Sadly, it’s also the most highly threatened by poachers who kill them for their ivory trunks for business. We need to do a better job of protecting these big guys as well.
This dangerous beauty has huge horns that make him/her look like they’re having a bad hair day. I occasionally have bad hair days myself, so I can’t talk. Nonetheless, I was in awe of the size of this beast and how calm he was, especially since the nicknames for the cape buffalo is “Black Death” and the “Widowmaker”
South Africa is filled with so many beautiful creatures, and I’m so lucky to have seen so many up close in the wild. Below are a few of the non-Big five animals I spotted when I sent searching for the big five in South Africa. Enjoy.
My Big five experience was incredible! Amazing to see wildlife in its natural habitat and I can’t wait to get up close and personal with them in South Africa again.
Have you seen the Big Five? Comment below and let me know.
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