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Eco Travel Guide to South Africa and Southern Africa
Mammals of Southern Africa

Large Mammals   Smaller Mammals 

The "Big 5": Lion LeopardElephant Buffalo Rhino

The Big 5 of Southern Africa

The Big 5 of Southern Africa

The Big 5:  • Lion LeopardElephant Buffalo Rhino

The "Big 5" of the African savanna are LION, LEOPARD, ELEPHANT, RHINOCEROS and BUFFALO. They originally earned their special reputation by their great size, as well as the danger they represented as trophy animals, as all five of these animals can be extremely dangerous when cornered.

Sighting the Big 5 is usually high on the priority list for many a visitor to game reserves, as these animals have a special kind of majesty, and capture the imagination by their power, size and beauty. They also possess an allure that is only fully appreciated once you have seen them in their own habitat: sighting a leopard in a tree, coming across a pride of lion at a kill, or seeing a herd of elephant roaming across the plains: these experiences cannot be shared with or explained to someone who was not there.

The Big 5 were once widely distributed throughout Africa, but are now largely restricted to game reserves. They are usually found in the larger of the southern african game reserves, as these animals require large tracts of land in which to roam.


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