Quest for the Big Five

While there are many magnificent animals to be found on safari, there are five in particular which may be singled out and grouped into a special category:  The Big Five.  These are the cape buffalo, the elephant, the lion, the leopard, and the rhinoceros, and it’s always a fun safari activity to search for them and tick them off your list.

All five are found in Tanzania, and some are easier to spot than others.  Considered the most difficult and dangerous of the big five, cape buffalo are quite easy to find, as they are not threatened and typically live in herds.  Perhaps you will spot a leopard, lounging in a tree with her prey, feeding her young.  The guides are especially helpful in tracking them down.  Classified as Vulnerable, elephants live in matriarchal herds while the bulls are solitary, approaching only to mate.  You will see elephants in every size, from enormous bulls on down to the smallest of calves.

Lions can be found in the grass, on rock outcroppings, and in trees.  If a male lion should fix his gaze on you, you will be mesmerized and perhaps unsettled by his amber eyes, and it’s an experience you will not soon forget.

Both the black and white rhinoceros populations are on the decline, so they are considered Critically Endangered.  You will enjoy the challenge of spotting one during your safari, an accomplishment which would certainly give extra impetus to your nightly sunset celebration.

“Big Five” was a phrase coined by professional game hunters to describe both the difficulty in hunting one of these animals on foot as well as the degree of danger involved.  The name endures and the hunt continues on safari, if only to capture them by camera.

While you are at it, have a look also for The Little Five: the buffalo weaver, the elephant shrew, the ant lion, the leopard tortoise, and the rhinoceros beetle.  Happy hunting!

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