For most people going on a trip to the bush (safari as the non South Africans would say), there’s often an obsession with the “Big Five”. It’s quite strange that an antiquated hunting term (They were the five most dangerous animals to hunt: namely Lion, Rhino, Leopard, Elephant and Buffalo) is still the definitive must see list on a modern day trip into the African bush. Yes those five animals should definitely be on the list of things to see but there’s just so many more!
Unfortunately when the “Big Five” mentality sets in people seem to be rushing around looking exclusively for them, often completely overlooking some of the other magnificent animals to be found in Africa’s wild places. In fact, I think a lot of people are just hoping to catch a glimpse of a lion, as if that would somehow make their safari. Trouble is, during the day, a glimpse is often all you will get! It really doesn’t make sense to overlook all the active, albeit more common, but equally unique and majestic wildlife just in the hopes of seeing a lion! A safari doesn’t come with a guarantee, so make sure you enjoy what you do see in case you don’t see what you had hoped for. I know quite a few people who have been to the bush several times before seeing lions and some who’ve never ever seen a leopard, cheetah or wild dog!
Now don’t get me wrong, lions are awesome (they just sleep a lot!!), and so are the rest of the “Big Five”, they just aren’t the only things worth traveling to Africa for! If you really want to enjoy your time in the African bush, slow down, stop often and really absorb everything that you are witnessing. There’s no better way to relax than by spending time in nature and really breaking the habits of our usual fast paced world!
Personally as someone armed with a camera, not a gun, there are rarer, more beautiful and more interesting/active animals that make it to the top of my safari wish list (there’s only so many sleeping lions you can photograph).
Have a look at my gallery of “Not The Big 5” to see what other animals you might find on an African safari, I’d bet there’s some things you didn’t even know existed, so take your time and keep your eyes open for the unexpected.
What’s at the top of your safari wish list?