The term “Big Five” originated from past hunters, who considered lions, elephants, buffalos, rhinos and leopards the most dangerous animals to hunt. These “top five” animals are found in many national parks in South Africa and have become a popular tourist attraction. These animals, however, can be difficult to spot but often a skilled hunter or ranger will be able to find prints and clues that could guide one to places where the probability of meeting these animals is bigger.
The lion is one of the four big cats in the Panthera gene. It is the second-largest living cat after the tiger and some males can weigh over 250 kg. Wild lions live in average 10-14 years and typically live on the savannah and grasslands, while they often find shade under trees. Lions are unusually social animals and a lion flock mostly consists of related females, whelps and a small group of young males.
The leopard lives alone within its territory, except for a brief time period during the mating season and when the females raise the cubs. If too many leopards hunt within the same area, their prey would either be scared away or the pressure of hunting would be too large. Therefore the leopard marks its territory with urine and claw marks on specially selected trees. Leopards are known for the beautiful fur but are often difficult to find as they hide away in trees during the day and mostly hunt at night.
These mammals exist in two different species: the African elephant and the Asian elephant. The African, being the biggest one, can way up to 16.000 pounds and grow to become 70 years old. Elephants generally eat leaves, twigs, bark, fruits, grass, herbs and roots. The female elephants live together with the calves in groups of up to 40. The male elephants usually live alone and usually only meet with the female elephants to mate.
Buffaloes can live in most places, however, they are dependent on having a water hole in the near. They use the water hole to drink from and bath in but it is also important for them to be able to roll in the mud. The buffaloes live in large herds of about 30-50 and can weigh up to 1770 pounds.
In Africa there are two kinds of rhinos: the white rhino and the black rhino. With only a few facts, it is very easy to distinguish between the two. The white rhino has short legs and a broad neck. In the forehead it has to wide horns and the front horn is longer than the back horn. The black rhino, which is the most rare out of the two, has longer and slimmer horns. The two names might confuse some to believe that the one type of rhino is darker than the other. However, the name white rhino originates from the Afrikaans Boers, who named the white rhino “Wijde”. This almost sounds like white in English, but actually means wide/broad and refers to the fact that the white rhino has a broad mouth. You can find rhinos on the open savannah and in bush areas, where it eats grass and herbs.
These impressive animals live wild in for example the Kruger National Park not too far from Johannesburg, where you can go experience the wild life and the great African nature.