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The "Big 5" Of Africa

Updated on May 20, 2016

Well, no doubt Africa is known for its natural beauty and wild life. And the thing that elevates its beauty is the “big 5” of Africa. The big five?? I mean-

1. Lion

2. Elephant

3. Rhinoceros

4. Giant buffalo

5. Leopard

These five altogether are called the “big five” of Africa.


The Lion Pride
The Lion Pride | Source
The king on walk
The king on walk | Source

Funny: Lion cubs Vs Baboon!

Scientific name- Panthera leo

If you ask anybody who is out for a safari that –“which creature you wish to see??”- majority of them will say a “lion” (well at-least I will say so along with a leopard!). They are the king of the battleground of Africa. People love to see one of the most known predators of the wild; the beauty and the beast of Africa.

Lions are the second largest of the Big Cats, after the Tiger. But they are tallest of all the Big Cats. Tiger, jaguar and leopard are the most closest relatives of lion.

Male lions have a very distinctive growth of hair around the face, known as the mane. The mane represents the strength of the lion. The denser and darker the mane, more attractive to the females i.e. higher chances to pass the genes to next generation.

Lions are more social than any other big cat, and they prefer to live in groups, known as Pride. A pride contains one to two related adult male lions and 2-5 related female lions (sisters and daughters). The female lions participate equally in raising each others cubs. Lions are lazy creatures, though. They rest for 20 hours and remain active only for 4 hours out of the total of 24 hours!

Male lions are called the king of the jungle, and maybe that's why they never even hunt! All the hunting tasks are performed by the female lions. However, male lions equally participate in clearing up the food! How mean. But that's the "king attitude".

So, if you go for a safari and get to see a pride of a lion, consider yourself lucky!

A lion pride - introducing daddy to the cubs. This lion is rude!


We have a little problem here!
We have a little problem here! | Source
The wise guy of the jungle
The wise guy of the jungle | Source

Scientific name- Loxodonta africana

The African elephant is the largest land mammal, very intelligent and even helps in maintaining the greenery of Savannah! They keep moving, spreading their faecal matter everywhere. Thus spreading the different useful plants everywhere they pass by and help in the new generation of the plants to grow. They are so huge that even lions find it very difficult to hunt on them. Personally, I would call them the wisest creature of the wild.

They are very social in nature and usually live in a very large group. The thing that I like about their group is that a female elephant leads the group and she remains the leader of the group till her death.

The most sad thing about them is that they're been killed for their precious teeth!

In my opinion, of course people would love to see the cute, decent and the largest land mammal with a long tusk, long teeth and big ears in their trip to Africa. Although, they are cute, decent and social, appropriate distance should be maintained from them. They sometimes get aggressive when they feel that the person in front is a danger.

Elephants vs lions - Run away or die !!

Black rhino (up) and white rhino (below)
Black rhino (up) and white rhino (below) | Source


Scientific name- Diceros bicornis

Rhinos, especially the white rhinos, are the most aggressive grass grazer of the wild Africa. It is advised to stay away from them as far as possible if you want to go home in one piece! They are more aggressive when they have their babies (calf) with them, just like any other animal. They are the solitary creatures unlike the above two.

There are two types of rhinoceros found in Africa: black and white. The white rhinoceros are the “grazers” and the black rhinos are the “browsers” of small tree or shrubs. Both are similar in height but black rhinos are lighter in weight than the white ones. It is hard to distinguish between the two until you analyze it from the nearest point. But sometimes it is proved a wrong decision to go near them. You go near them considering it as the less violent black rhino and find that it’s the white rhino that immediately gets angry on you for disturbing their privacy.

Cute: Baby rhino and his best friend!

African buffalo

The real giant buffalo!
The real giant buffalo! | Source

Scientific name- Syncerus caffer

One of the beautiful and calm scenes of the wild Africa- a herd of African buffaloes drinking water. Amazing sight it might be. But don't get lulled by this cow-like creature. African buffloes are considered one of the most dangerous animals. Although it is one of the major source of nutrition for the lion but it too can cause fatal injuries to the lion. This prey of the king of the jungle is as strong as the king. What makes them dangerous is their horn, longer than a human hand.

They live in large herd, and being a herbivore lives in grasslands where they can find enough food and water.

They are also known as “the Black Death” or “widow maker” or "cape buffalo". Although a bovine, it is believed that they are very distantly related to the domestic bovines. They have never been domesticated and they are very dangerous for the humans as well. An estimate of 200 people are killed every year by their attacks. It has also been found that they follow and attack the hunters, who have tried to kill them in the past or if they've seen people hunting other buffaloes! They know that a tall creature, walking on two legs with a strange, black, noise creating thing on their forelimbs is a danger.

Meet the killer cape buffalo


The pose
The pose | Source

Scientific name- Panthera pardus

One of my favorite with amazing print is the last of the “big 5” but not the least, of course. I think these are the most shy by nature among the big 5.. And therefore, you can find them very hardly. Most probably because most of the time during the day they rest on the trees and it is very hard to find a leopard whose amazing print helps it to camouflage in the surrounding. They totally get invisible.

They usually hunt at night, they are the silent hunters and this might be the other reason that why they are not usually visible. This one is a solitary big cat.

But the sad thing about them is that they have been killed for there spectacular print from many decades.

But what makes them so attractive??

What people find so interesting in them? Probably their beauty, size and of course it is something that you can’t find on the highway while driving to your office or market.

I believe they are the gems of Africa. But everybody knows that gems are hard to find. In a similar way, it’s hard to find them in a safari. If you see any of them then you should consider yourself as the lucky one. Everyone loves to see these well adapted beauties. They are the rulers of the wild. And that is the reason that they are called the “Big 5”.

Now, tell me which is your favorite???

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    • Sneha Sunny profile imageAUTHOR

      Sneha Sunny 

      3 years ago from India

      @IvoryTusk.. aww... Thanks a lot! That's so sweet of you! It's okay, I'll check out if I could find out some place where I can volunteer maybe.

    • IvoryTusk profile image


      3 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Depending on where you live, there are a number of wildlife rehab/research organizations itching for volunteers to help out with some of their projects. I'll see if I can find some resources for you.

    • Sneha Sunny profile imageAUTHOR

      Sneha Sunny 

      3 years ago from India

      IvoryTusk.. I'm glad to find another animal lover! I'm happy that you liked this hub. I don't have any kind of experience working with the wild animals, but I'd love to have some! Let's see, maybe in future. Fingers crossed!

    • IvoryTusk profile image


      3 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      I really love this article, and not just because I love animals. The way you wrote this piece really shows a love for the subject, and your willingness to find out more about something we tend to think of as so common. Have you ever done any kind of wildlife rehabilitation work? I have a feeling you'd really be amazed at what you can get out of working alongside wild animals. Thank you for such a joyous read!

    • Sneha Sunny profile imageAUTHOR

      Sneha Sunny 

      6 years ago from India

      Paddyboy60... yes I agree that elephants are one of the most intelligent species in the wild.

      Thanks for visiting.. :)

    • PADDYBOY60 profile image


      7 years ago from Centreville Michigan

      I have always admired the elephants, not just because of their size but also their intellect. Very interesting hub. thanks.

    • pacojr profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      your welcome thank you for sharing that information

    • Sneha Sunny profile imageAUTHOR

      Sneha Sunny 

      8 years ago from India

      pacojr..........thanks for reading....

    • pacojr profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      i like it because i could use it for information


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