Almost everyone who is interested in wildlife in Africa has heard of the Big Five, and it is the life’s dream of many people to encounter these in their natural habitats in Africa. Sure, you can go to your local zoo and probably see all of these, but going into their environment and surroundings, spotting them in the wild, and learning more about how they live will make an indelible impression on your life.
The Kruger National Park is one of the most prominent game reserves in South Africa where you can encounter all of these. Even though the Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, it is still quite possible to encounter the Big Five in the Kruger National Park within the span of only a few days. Some are luckier than others, but even if you only spend a few days in the reserve, you will probably encounter at least some of the Big Five during your visit.
What is the Big Five?
These are the most mentioned and most relentlessly sought-after animals in just about any game reserve or wildlife park in Africa. The name, Big Five, was coined by the hunters of old who found these animals to be the most elusive, difficult, and dangerous to hunt. Nowadays, of course, people are more likely to shoot them with cameras than elephant rifles, which is a great testimony to the hard work done by people in the reserve to ensure that the Big Five in the Kruger National Park remain there, that they are guaranteed a good environment in which to flourish, and that they do not become endangered. The sad truth is that despite their best efforts, rhinos and elephants are still hunted almost to the point of extinction, and educating children is one of the biggest weapons we have to help us to protect these magnificent animals.
- African Lion: As the second biggest cat on the planet, these are fearsome creatures and magnificent hunters. Contrary to the belief of a lot of people, they do not live in forests, but they prefer grassy plains and flat hunting territories. The roar of a lion can be heard up to ten kilometres away, and this is one of the sounds you will never forget when you visit the Kruger National Park.
- African Leopard: Usually very shy creatures, they are the best climbers of the entire Panthera family and can haul heavy prey high up into trees where other predators cannot reach. They mostly hunt at night and have superb vision. Spotting one of these during the day is indeed a feat, and one that many people who yearn to see.
- African Elephant: These big vegetarians are the largest land mammals on earth. Even though their skins are hard and tough, they tend to bathe in mud and cover themselves with sand to avoid sunburn. They also love to swim and use their trunks as snorkels, and the highly sensitive pads under their feet can feel vibrations from a good distance away.
- White Rhino and Black Rhino: One of the biggest problems of conservation is to keep these highly endangered animals safe from poachers because their horns are believed to have special powers. They have been hunted to near extinction and massive conservation efforts are made to ensure that these very special animals are still able to roam in their natural environments in the future. At the moment, their future looks dire.
- Cape Buffalo: Despite their docile appearance, these are highly fierce creatures. They are known for their aggression and have killed more hunters than any other species in Africa. They have a big thirst for water and tend to never wander too far away from their watering holes, which means that they are one of the easiest Big Five in the Kruger Park to spot.
If you are keen to learn more about the Big Five in the Kruger National Park, come and stay at Lukimbi Safari Lodge. Give our team a call today to find out more about how we can accommodate your African safari.