Whether you’re going on safari for your honeymoon or about to embark on a family safari adventure, it’s always good to know a bit about the animals you’re trying to spot. Kids especially will find these facts extremely interesting so here are some cool or surprising facts about the Big Five that you may not know…
The African Lion
* Lions have a complex social structure
The African lion has a very complex social structure and hierarchy system, and a typical pride will have around 15 members (although there have been prides as large as 40). Within each pride, there are multiple female relatives and their offspring plus a few unrelated males to mate with. Female lions are also the better hunters and they do most of the hunting for the pride.
* There’s a correlation between age and the colour of their mane
This is great way of trying to tell the age of lions when you’re out on safari. Typically, the darker a lion’s mane, the older the lion is.
The African Elephant
* Elephants are sociable creatures
This particular trait really helps to humanise the African elephant. They love to socialise with their herd and they can sometimes be heard making grumbling noises. These noises are low frequency sounds that can actually be heard up to 6 miles away by their friends and family members.
* Elephants are peaceful animals….most of the time!
Kids love elephants. In fact so do adults. They’re a universally adored animal and that’s mostly down to what people hear about the elephant’s gentle and friendly nature. The elephant is generally a very peaceful animal but if they ever feel threatened or they are provoked, they also have the ability to lose their temper. And watch out because elephants can charge when they’re angry!
*Elephants are vegetarians
Elephants are vegetarians and feed on grass, leaves, tree bark and twigs, fruit and seed pods and one single elephant can eat up to 170kg of vegetation per day. Because of their high veg consumption, you’ll always be able to spot where an elephant herd has been
The African Leopard
* Leopards are natural loners
The African leopard is a solitary creature, meaning that it likes to live and hunt alone – unlike lions who move around in prides.
* Leopards can swim and climb
Leopards are land mammals but they’re also extremely good at swimming and they can also climb very well. When they are not hunting, they can often be seen resting high up in the trees and when hunting, they like to drag their kill up a tree to feed in complete privacy.
The White / Black Rhino
* Rhinos can be very clumsy by nature
Due to their poor vision, it’s not unlikely to see rhinos sometimes accidentally attacking still nature such as rocks, bushes or tree stumps because they think it’s another animal! Because they can’t rely on their vision, rhinos have a very good sense of hearing and they have a heightened sense of smell too.
* Rhinos are temperamental animals
You definitely do not want to get on the wrong side of a rhino. Whilst they are happy to keep themselves to themselves, they are known to have mood swings just like a human being and be tempted to charge if they are provoked in any way.
* They are extremely heavy!
Rhinos can weight 1000kg, which is around the same weight as a small city car (such as a Mini Cooper) and they are generally considered the second largest land mammal after the elephant.
The Cape Buffalo
* The Cape buffalo is considered to be very dangerous!
Whilst you might think the big predators such as lions and leopards are the ones to fear out of the Big Five, it’s actually the Cape buffalo that might terrify you the most. These animals are said to kill around 200 humans every single year – these being hunters though, so if you travel with a wise guide, you should be extremely safe.
For more information on seeing the Big 5 on safari get in touch and we’d be happy to help!