The term big five was first coined by big-game hunters more than a century ago. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, everyone from European royalty to American presidents wanted to bag an African hunting trophy. The larger and more unpredictable the beast, the better and this later led to the popularity of the term ‘Big Five.’
Today, the phrase is used to market safaris that include: African elephant, lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, and rhino.
With that being said, here’s more information on these animals and where to spot them in Kenya!
1. African Elephants.
The African elephant is the largest terrestrial animal on the planet. These gentle giants can grow to be 13 feet tall and weigh up to 12 tons. Males are typically larger than females, and both have curved tusks protruding from their mouths that they use for fighting, gathering food, and protecting themselves from predators. It is estimated that there are fewer than 500,000 elephants left in Africa today with some of the best places to spot them in Kenya including Amboseli, Tsavo, Lewa, and Samburu National Reserve.
Lions are Africa’s most recognizable symbol. These majestic cats are the only social cats that live in pride of up to 12 individuals. Males are the pride’s leader, and they can be distinguished from females by their shaggy manes and larger size. The females, on the other hand, do the majority of the hunting. They can be easily spotted within the Mara Conservancies as well as Nairobi National Park.
3. African Cape Buffalo.
The African Cape Buffalo is the most aggressive of the ”Big Five” animals. These animals are mostly found in herds and groups and when provoked, they are known to charge with incredible speed. The dominant bulls will typically take an aggressive vigilant stance, while the other adults will gather around the calves to protect them. They also spend the majority of their time grazing on the savanna and floodplains.
The black rhinoceros are the most endangered of the Big Five, due to ongoing poaching as a result of the incorrect belief that their horns have medicinal properties. They can be extremely difficult to spot while on safari due to their low population and natural shyness.
The white rhinoceros, which is not traditionally classified as a member of the Big Five, is the biggest of the two species of rhinos and it is sometimes considered a part of the Big Five for game-viewing purposes.
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