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Africa Safari with The Big Five (and the Little Five)

Big game hunters in Southern Africa first used the term "The Big Five" to designate the most difficult, and therefore most desirable, kills. Lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo are also the most dangerous of the big game and the risk only adds to the excitement of the hunt except now we hunt them for photographs and films with the latest digital cameras and DVD recorders!

Brothers in the African bush.

Both lion and leopard are among the Great Cats, so called both because of their large size and their ability to roar. On safari in Africa you are often able to get quite close to lions in the vehicles and it a breathtaking experience to be so close to the King of Beasts. Leopards are a much more elusive cat, with a nocturnal habits and a shy demeanor that make a sighting of this beautiful predator very exciting.

The herbivores of the Big Five earned their places on the list for a combination of size and aggressive behavior. Lone old male buffalos, often referred to as Dagga Boys for their fondness for a mudbath (dagga means mud in Shona), are infamous for their short tempers and wicked horns. Two of the five rhinoceros species are endemic to Africa the Black, or Hook-Lipped, and the White, or Wide-Mouthed. Black rhinos in particular are critically endangered, although foundations such as Save the Rhino Trust are working hard to save this remarkable beast.

The Rhinoceros Stag Beetle is aptly named for the 'horn' on it's head.

Elephants are intelligent and resourceful, and it is true that an elephant never forgets! They spend most of their days eating and will happily break a tree in half in get at the most delectable leaves on the very top most branches. Look for tree trunks snapped in half in the bush and you can bet that elephants have been in the area recently, munching away.

The Big Five has spawned another list - The Little Five! Much tinier than their mammalian counterparts, the Little Five are the antlion insect, leopard tortoise, elephant shrew, rhinoceros beetle, buffalo weaver bird. Keep a sharp eye for these little beasts!