Dangerous game hunting in Africa is one of the greatest experiences on earth. The thrill of hunting something with such awesome power and ferocious attitudes can be quite intimidating.
Each one of these animals pose their own unique challenges while hunting but they are the ultimate safari!
The Big 5 Includes:
- Buffalo; Rhino; Elephant
- Lion; Leopard
The Buffalo is considered by some to be the most dangerous of all of the Big Five. While he seems docile enough when viewed undisturbed in the herd, when agitated or wounded this bovine can be extremely aggressive, vindictive, and cunning.
Found all over southern Africa in herds of various sizes, the buffalo can weigh up to 1800 pounds. He is primarily a grazer but an occasional browser who must drink every day. They favour the thick bushveld during the day, leisurely moving and grazing as they go. At night they tend to herd up to protect the young from their archenemy, the lion.
The white rhino is an exclusive grazer, social in nature and relatively docile, except when mating or protecting their young. The rhino can live as long as 40 years. The smaller black rhino can be identified by his smaller, shorter head and rounder ears; he has a distinct prehensile or hooked upper lip. He is an exclusive browser. The black rhino weighs in at just about a ton and can be much more aggressive than his cousin the white rhino. He has been known to charge without provocation.
The black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is a large, thick-skinned herbivore having one or two upright horns on the nasal bridge. Rhinoceros may refer to either black or white rhinoceros. Among big five game hunters, the black rhinoceros is preferred, although it is now critically endangered.
The African elephant is the world's largest land mammal. He stands more than eleven feet at the shoulder and can weigh in at over seven tons. His dark grey skin provides excellent camouflage in the dense brush of the bushveld. He moves through the bush with amazing speed for his size and can be extremely quiet. While his eyesight is relatively poor, his hearing is very good and his sense of smell is without equal. Over his lifetime, he receives 6 sets of molars, which move forward in his jaw as previous sets wear down.
His last set of teeth comes in at about 47 years of age and once these wear out he can only look forward to slow starvation. Thus, depending on his diet, his lifespan is somewhere between 50 and 70 years.
The leopard is the smallest of the Big Five, but do not underestimate this cat! He can be most dangerous when wounded and is probably the animal most likely to charge. This feline is a shy, solitary, nocturnal animal, widely distributed across the African continent. The leopard can live without water by extracting it from his prey, however, he will drink regularly if water is available.
The mature 'Tom' weighs between 120 and 180 pounds with individuals sometimes pushing the 200 mark. Females range from 70 to 130 pounds and generally appear more slender in stature. Mature animals can consume about 20 percent of their body weight in a single feeding. They carry their prey up into the trees to protect it from the larger predators. It is amazing to watch them carry prey weighing easily as much as their own weight into the tree tops.
The African lion may not live up to his erroneous reputation as 'King of the Jungle', but he is without question the King of all African predators! While in many circles, the buffalo is considered the most dangerous of African game, the ion is probably the best known, most respected, and feared member of the Big Five. He is the largest of the African cats, weighing in at between 400 and 500 pounds. He stands nearly 4 feet at the shoulder and measures about 10 feet from muzzle to tail.
The Lioness is somewhat smaller in stature, but what she lacks in size she makes up for in 'mean'. The lioness is often much more aggressive than the male of the specie, and she does most of the hunting.
A lioness with cubs can be extremely dangerous. Mature lions exhibit little fear of man, and can be especially bold during the hours of darkness. They have exceptional night vision and possess very large talon-like retractable claws, which they use to hold prey while biting down on the throat to suffocate their quarry. These large felines prey on virtually all of Africa's species.
Both the lion and lioness can make for extremely exciting hunts. This member of the Big Five deserves your utmost respect. He is extremely nimble and fast, able to cover 100 yards in 3 to 4 seconds. Unpredictable as a house cat and extremely vindictive, he will finish what he starts and is well-equipped to make short work of a man. An ambush predator, if he is hurt and he knows what has hurt him, he will be intent on doing something about it!