In Africa, the big five game animals are the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and White/Black rhinoceros. The term big five game (sometimes capitalized or quoted as “Big Five”) was coined by big-game hunters and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. Subsequently the term was adopted by safari tour operators for marketing purposes.
Masai Mara National Reserve is The greatest slice of wildlife real estate in Africa and renowned for its lion prides. If you are in search of a big pride of lions in their natural habitat then the Masai Mara is the place to visit except during the long rains of April and May.
The leopard isn’t confined to any one part of Kenya, and can be found in many wildlife parks or reserves. The Masai Mara National Reserve and the Samburu National Reserve are two parks particularly known for their leopards.
A leopard will usually drag its kill into a tree to defend against bold scavengers like the hyena. This habit can make the leopard easier to spot and photograph, because its much more noticeable above the tall grasses. An ideal situation for the safari photographer.
The number of Kenyan leopards also increases dramatically during the annual wildebeest migration between July and September. With more than a million wildebeest on the move, there are also huge numbers of leopards, lions and cheetahs in pursuit.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy is East Africa’s largest black rhino sanctuary, and the animals are not hard to find on an early morning game drive. Introduced white rhino are also conspicuous. If you somehow manage to miss the free-roaming black rhino, you can visit and help feed Baraka, a blind rhino kept in an enclosure as an ‘ambassador’. Ol Pejeta also has four of only seven northern white rhinos known to survive in the world, and is hopeful that the animals, relocated from a Czech zoo, may resume breeding.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is decidely up-market (Lewa is a favourite of Prince William), but well worth a once-in-a-lifetime splurge, and not only for the excellent black and white rhino viewin but also all the Big Five.
Lake Nakuru National Park is close enough to Nairobi for a day trip (taking in some spectacular views of the Rift Valley) but that would hardly do it justice. Better known for its flamingoes, now sadly much reduced in number, the park has a good population of easily spotted white rhino, and harder to see blacks. White rhino can be spotted at any time of day, but for black rhino you’re best to stay at a lodge in the reserve and go out early.
Tsavo East & West National Park is the largest protected area in Kenya host the highest number of Kenya’s estimated 35 000 elephants the combined Tsavo-Mkomazi ecosystem of 46 000 km² hosts over 12 570 elephants.
Amboseli NationalPark on the other hand is known as the best place in Africa to get up close to free-ranging elephants around 1 500 elephants in just 392 km² excellent photographic opportunities of big bull elephants with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background.
In Samburu National Park over 900 individual elephants resident in or visiting the Samburu Reserve throughout the year and about 5 400 elephants in the combined Samburu-Laikipia ecosystem of around 28 490 km² (11 000 square miles)
Famed for its boiling temper, the buffalo is one of the most feared animals. It is not only feared by humans but also by some of the most daring predators in the wild.
The mighty lion rarely ever hunts a buffalo. Most lions that try end up dead or badly injured. Lions and hyenas are only known to hunt solitary aging buffalos that are either too weak to fight or greatly outnumbered.
The buffalo resembles the typical cow but has a distinct grayish black color. It also has up-curving horns with bases that meet across the forehead. This gives it a very dangerous look. The male horns are usually thicker and more profound than the female horns.
Buffalo live in herds of several hundred led by one dominant bull. Old, defeated buffalo bulls are the most dangerous. They either live alone or with other bulls. They often lie in wait to ambush people.
To enjoy a view of the buffalo and other Kenya animals, go on an African safari tour to the Masai Mara. The Masai Mara is home to the largest buffalo herds.
Contact Kifaru Tours and Safaris for a well organized Safari to all the Major Parks and game reserves in Kenya and outside Kenya for an unforgettable experience.