Finding The Big Five of Africa on a horseback safari

Matias Carrillat

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For those horse riders that crave for adventure, lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffaloes are the main attractions in Africa. In this note, you will learn everything about them and the best alternatives to get to know them.

The Big Five of Africa

Africa is home to the greatest biodiversity in the world. Its multiple ecosystems and its pure natural environment make this continent ideal to nurture the most exotic and varied fauna. We always say that it should be illegal to talk about safaris in Africa without mentioning the Big Five, since they are the ultimate goal in every expedition. Contrary to what it may be believed, they receive their name not because of their size but for how difficult and dangerous was for hunters to search them in the 19th century. Fortunately, today these animals are protected by different reserves and conservation areas safe from poaching that attempts to extinguish them. But, who are these Big Five?

 

If you want to venture into the search of the Big Five, you should not miss the note The ancient Botswana: Why do we need to ride on the most ancient area of Africa.

The Big Five of Africa: The Lion

This is the most popular and wanted species in every safari. Its huge and massive build and its seductive mane make this animal magnificent and dangerous. Its fame as king of the jungle comes as no surprise. Kenya and Tanzania are home to most of the lions’ population across the continent, making it impossible to go on a safari without coming across them. The best horseback safari to come across the most extraordinary lions in the world is Laikipia: Private journey through the Laikipia plains and plateaus.

 

In the Maasai Mara we can find a unique and splendid species of these animals: the black mane lion. They tend to wander around the plains that stretch between the Mara River and the Soit Ololol escarpment, either by running through the field searching for a prey or resting under the shadows of an acacia tree.

The Big Five of Africa: The Leopard

Another of the great African hunters is the leopard. These are solitary and independent cats. Although they are smaller than other carnivores, their speed, sight, and hearing allow them to beat all of their opponents when catching prey.

 

These predators also abound in the Mara. Still, they are very difficult to spot. Their capacity to climb and their night trends make them a complex and challenging goal -not to mention their exotic colour scheme and designs on their fur that allow them to camouflage themselves among the tall branches of the trees. However, to spot one of them is an unbeatable trophy.

The Big Five of Africa: The Elephant

This giant pachyderm is the greatest and heaviest animal on the planet. Elephants are marvellous creatures that can be seen from a great distance and felt by their powerful steps on the ground. Being near one of them, or even better, next to a herd, is an amazing and startling experience.

 

In the Amboseli National Park and surroundings of the legendary Kilimanjaro, we find a unique and almost extinct species of these animals: the legendary big-tusked elephants. The greatness and age of these species help us understand how small we are in nature’s vast diversity.

The Big Five of Africa: The Buffalo.

Despite being docile and quiet, buffaloes are very dangerous animals since they are distrustful and territorial in nature. These enormous bovines can provoke a great impact with the onslaught of its imposing and curved horns. They tend to gather in large herds, therefore, if we come across them, it will not be strange to feel a kind of adrenaline as we face their solemn and threatening presence. Once again, the surroundings of the Kilimanjaro are good sites to come across them.

The Big Five of Africa: The Rhino

It is the second biggest mammal in the world. Around the continent we can find two species: the white and the black rhino. We should not fall into the false belief that they are two opposing genres, they are difficult to distinguish. The difference between them is not their colour -both possess a greyish aspect-, but the shape of their lips: squared in the white rhino and in a pointy shape in the black one.  Besides, the latter is a rather smaller species. We can find both of them in the parks of Kenya and Tanzania, but mostly in the Kruger National Park, in South Africa -a country that offers big joy to those who identify themselves as horse riders. To learn more about it, you can read the following note: Why South Africa.

It should be mentioned that the joy Africa offers to the horse riders who are willing to embark on an adventure goes beyond these five extraordinary species. There is so much more. And it is this diversity in constant movement that makes Africa irresistible. If you want to know what other animals enhance the experience and makes it unforgettable, you should read this: Wild animals beyond the big five.

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