These fun facts about the Big Five – Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion and Rhinoceros (Black & White – are an excellent way to spark your children’s interest in some of the animals they’re likely to see on an African safari.
The Big Five are found widely throughout southern and eastern Africa but not all of them occur in the same location, dependant on a number of features but principally driven by the availability of food and water. Some though have adapted to living in much harsher environments and can be found in the desert regions of Namibia and Botswana.
Cape Buffalo – which often gather in large herds, prefer a mixed of habitat of woodland and open savannah. Chiefs Island in Botswana’s Okavango Delta is perfect for them.
Elephant – tend to split between the matriarchal herds, groups of young males and lone adult males but being browsers with seemingly insatiable appetites, are generally found in wooded habitats such as the Chobe National Park.
Leopard – these solitary carnivores are ambush hunters who protect their kill by taking the carcass up a tree and away from lions and hyeanas and are thus found in wooded environments such as the South Luangwa Valley in Zambia.
Lion – prides of lion hunt as a group and prey very largely on plains game such as impala, springbok, wildebeest and zebra which are grazers found in open grasslands such as the Serengeti and Katavi National Parks in Tanzania.
Rhinoceros – now becoming a highly endangered species, the two main types of rhino have different needs – black rhinos are browsers and thus need shrub-land for their food, whilst white rhino are grazers and are found in open grasslands. You will be lucky to catch a sighting of a rhino in Botswana, although they are being reintroduced), Malawi or Zambia. The desert adapted rhino can be experienced close up at Desert Rhino Camp in Namibia.
So where is the best place to give you a chance to see them all and perhaps in one day – well you could do a lot worse than visiting the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area in northern Tanzania.
But a safari is so much more than just ticking off a list of animals…