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Lovers of theAfrican Bush

The Big Five

The term "Big Five" originates from the early hunters who came to Africa and plundered the thousands of antelope, predators and other large mammals that roamed our open plains, forests and watercourses. Obviously on foot, these explorers and adventurers faced up to many a dangerous wounded animal, mostly shot with underpowered weapons, and this is how Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard and Rhino got classified together as the most dangerous to hunt.


By 1896 White Rhino were extinct in the Lowveld, while elsewhere a relic 50 or so animals survived between the White and Black Umfolozi rivers in Zululand. Successful conservation measures made it possible to re-introduce 337 Rhino from 1961 onwards, and the Kruger Park now safeguards the world's largest population. White Rhino require a reliable supply of water, both for drinking and for the protective layer of mud that helps shield their hides from biting insects.


A large male Leopard can weigh up to 70-90kgs, but females are much lighter at about 40-50kgs. Impala comprise over 75% of the Leopard's diet. An adult male requires prey equivalent to about 20 impala a year. As Leopards are primarily nocturnal and active when Lion and Hyaena are hunting, these powerful, beautiful cats have to face strong competition. Essentially ground dwelling, Leopards readily climb trees to escape from danger and to store their kills safely out of reach of other predators.