The highlights of any African safari, the most sort after, the most often mentioned, relentlessly searched for and much-loved African mammals. THE BIG 5 ANIMALS.
THE BIG 5 GAME / ANIMALS
You have probably heard about them on various occasions but am sure you keep wondering and asking yourselves:
“Why are they called the big 5? Are they the biggest animals on earth? What are the big 5? Why are they important? Where can I see the big 5?”
And those who know the members of the big 5 squad will ask:
“Why is that part of the big 5 yet it’s actually small?”
WHO ARE THE BIG 5?
In no particular order of size or importance, these are the Big 5 animals of Africa:
WHY ARE THEY CALLED THE BIG 5?
Well according to the list above, you definitely rule outsize as a reason behind the famous name Big 5.
The game hunters of Africa tagged these animals the Big 5 because of the difficulty they faced in hunting down these particular animals on foot.
Bringing any of the members of the Big 5 home was considered an achievement that required great courage, strength, and skill.
HOW THEY MADE IT TO THE BIG 5 LIST?
Let us look at why these animals gave the game hunters a run for their money.
THE AFRICAN BIG 5
WHY THEY WERE HARD TO HUNT.
|African Elephants||Weight: 5,000-6,000 kg
Lifespan: 60 years
Gestation period: 22 months
Off spring: 1 calf (twins on rare occasions)
|Largest land mammal on earth.
Despite their size, they can easily hide in tall grasses.
They are more likely to charge when they perceive danger.
Height: 171-186 cm
Lifespan: 40-45 years
Gestation period: 16 months
Offspring: 1 calf
|They are aggressive animals.
They will definitely charge when threatened.
They have a very thick skin, making it hard to puncture.
Acute sense of smell and hearing.
|African Buffalo / Cape Buffalo||Weight: 425-870 kg
Lifespan: 15 years
Gestation Period: 330-346 days
Offspring: 1 calf
|Like Rhinos, Buffalos are also aggressive animals.
They are quite large and are known to have a tad bit of temper.
They ambush and attack hunters, especially when wounded.
They have 2 large and thick horns.
Considered most dangerous among the Big 5.
|African Lion||Weight: 189 kg
Lifespan: 11 years
Gestation period: 110 days
Offspring: 1-4 cubs (usually 6)
|They have huge powerful jaws.
They are quite stealthy.
Their yellowish-brown coats serve as excellent camouflage in the tall African savanna grass.
|African leopard||Weight: 35-65kg
Height: 60-70 cm
Lifespan: 10 years
Gestation: 100 days
Offspring: usually 2 cubs
|Nocturnal (stays hidden during the day) and Secretive in nature.
Very good tree climbers.
They are wary of humans and will take flight in the face of danger. Very smart animals.
Most difficult to hunt among the Big 5.
The Big Five are exciting, impressive and magnificent animals to view on any African safari. You can see all the 5 on a wildlife safari in Uganda particularly to Murchison Falls National Park.
Today, the Big Five remain essential African animal encounters on safari to capture through your camera lens, and not through sports hunting.
For that once in a lifetime experience, encounter one or all of the Big 5 in their natural habitat.