The Big Five Animals in South Africa

For the past few days and I nights I have been staying at the And Beyond Safaris Luxury Ngala Game Reserve thanks to the South Africa Tourism board and I have been going on multiple Safaris. Six in total to be exact. As cliché as it sounds I have been DYING to go on an African Safari since I was a little kid and now thanks to these awesome guys those dreams have come true!

What I’ve experienced these past few days was more than I ever could of expected in my wildest dreams. From the awesome accommodations to the food, the amazing Rangers, Trekkers and hotel staff to the pure experience of seeing some magnificent animals in the wild. If “Going on a Safari in South Africa” sits anywhere on your bucket list you should immediately move it to the very top and plan a trip here as soon as possible. No matter your age, an experience like this is one that is out of this world and everyone should have at least once in their life if possible.

I’ll go into detail about the Safari’s when I have more time to write but first I wanted to share with all of you something new that I was excited to learn about. In Africa there are five animals which are known as “the Big Five”. Said to be the five most dangerous animals to hunt on foot these five are now also the “must see” animals when on Safari. Through out our 6 safaris we searched and searched for them and I almost gave up hope on a couple of them… and then we checked them all off the list and so many more!!

Here are some of my favourite photos of the Big Five as seen in the Ngala Game Reserve, part of Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Of all the elephants we saw, this guy had to be the cutest. About a year old he was not happy with our presence. He was constantly trumpeting (or trying too) and fake charging at us. He was so adorable. (Video to come.)

 

Not the most exciting animal this is a Cape Buffalo not to be confused with its bovine relative the water buffalo. This is an older Cape Buffalo separated from the big herd as he can no longer keep up. These guys are said to possibly be the most dangerous of the Big Five as they will give chase and are often surprisingly reported as being the biggest cause of death each year over any other animal in the country. Watch out for those horns!

The elusive leopard. We were giving up hope of seeing any Leopards, but by the time we left Ngala we had seen not one, not two but three leopards! This photo is of a young male about a year old sitting in a tree with an Impala his mother killed and carried up there. He surprisingly didn’t seem to have a care in the world about us or anything else. Gorgeous animal. I love the color of their eyes.

The lioness. We came across her just as the sun was setting so my photos didnt come up that great but it was an awesome experience. As the sun set she let out low moans, that we learned was a call to other lions and then we followed her down the road as she went in search of them and some food. We had hoped to see a male lion but no cigar.

 

This guy was the last of the big five to be founded and he was very cool.For safety reasons I’m not calling it by its real name but it was the coolest thing in the world! So agile and light on their feet too.

Thanks to South Africa Tourism for having me to South Africa. All views and opinions are my own.

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35 Comments

  • Reply
    Linda Tatu
    July 7, 2018 at 11:26 am

    I leave for my South African safari on August 14th. It has also been a dream of mine since I was young. I will be in the air traveling home on my 69th birthday. My top 5 that I hope to see include giraffes

  • Reply
    Mae
    November 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Why is saying “r***” a safety issue? Never heard of that before..
    (Edited by Editor)

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      Funny how you then go and say it’s name… Sorry I had to edit your comment. The are an animal that needs to be protected and I’d rather not say where it was I saw them and let the poachers know exactly where to go :)

  • Reply
    Ally
    November 19, 2012 at 2:24 am

    lovely photos!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      January 8, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      thanks Ally! :)

  • Reply
    LandLopers Picks of the Week
    November 17, 2012 at 12:53 am

    […] The Big Five Animals in South Africa […]

  • Reply
    Gary Bembridge
    November 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Great images and love your stories about your trip. Came across you from the Hostel Booker Award you won. Congrats, I look forward to following more of your adventures. I love South Africa!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      Thanks Gary! Glad you came to check it out :)

  • Reply
    Laura
    November 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Those photos are amazing! Can I ask why you couldn’t mention the fifth animal by name?

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks Laura! Its because they are so endangered that people will go to many lengths to find them, by me not mentioning it they can’t figure out if I even saw one, say if they were to google it. haha seems silly but every bit helps in keeping them safe :)

  • Reply
    Top 5 Packing Tips for an African Safari | The Looptail, The Travel Blog Powered By G Adventures
    November 13, 2012 at 10:15 am

    […] I didn’t have a pair with me on my safari. Often the animals are far away and if they aren’t a Big Five animal your guide most likely won’t be able to go off-roading to get closer. Also surprisingly there are […]

  • Reply
    Molly Nurse
    November 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Amazing photographs! I’m so jealous, I would love to go on Safari!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      You should definitely try to do one some day Molly! It was such an awesome experience :)

  • Reply
    Marie
    November 11, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    AWWW! So jealous! I would love to get to do that in my life. If you weren’t such a nice person I would hate you out of jealousy ;)

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 15, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      hahaha Glad I’m nice then! ;)

  • Reply
    Neil
    November 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Terrific photos! And you saw leopards!! Very jealous, they’re incredible animals

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 15, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      Thanks Neil! You should also check out my new video that I posted of the Cheetah we saw! :)

  • Reply
    Izy Berry - The Wrong Way Home
    November 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Your post brought to me some nostalgia. As a child, I was watching once a week wildlife documentaries, and one of my dreams then was to go to Africa and see them in their natural habitat :) Who knows? I might do it one day…

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      Izy it was such an awesome trip! You should definitely move it to the top of your travel list! I bet you will make it there one day :)

  • Reply
    Rease
    November 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    OMG that elephant is totally adorable. This whole safari thing sounds wonderful! One of the songs I use to teach little kids Spanish is called “jungle safari” and it teaches them animal names. It’s a kid favorite, and it always makes me want to go on a real safari!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      hahaha Maybe one day we will go on a Safari together and you can teach me that song! While we were there we visited a day care and these little 5 year olds sang us a song about the animals that taught them about each one, it was so cute. I wonder if they are similar songs? haha

  • Reply
    Michael @ Changes In Longitude
    November 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    That r***o shot is truly incredible. We saw one in Namibia but he was hidden by bushes.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      Thanks Michael! (Had to edit the animal name there for protection) It was amazing to see them in the wild. It took us until our fifth safari to find them but it was so awesome when we did! So elusive! :)

  • Reply
    Vik@Sydney tours
    November 5, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    It would be nice to see animals like that. I like wildlife, its a good travel adventure. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      It was such an amazing experience! thanks for the comment! :)

  • Reply
    Anthony
    November 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    It all sound awesome! Can’t wait to get over there soon!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Ant you will have an amazing time! :)

  • Reply
    Toursdesport
    November 5, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Big and wild animals! I wanna see them too.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Check out the & Beyond Ngala Game Reserve if you ever get to South Africa! :)

  • Reply
    Jessica
    November 4, 2012 at 4:28 am

    This looks like an amazing experience. I love the photo of the leopard – there’s such intensity in his eyes.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      Its funny you see that because he was actually so lazy! haha He laid down in the tree right after that photo and was just hanging out :)

  • Reply
    Melissa - The Mellyboo Project
    November 3, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    That is a PHENOMENAL photo of the leopard. I am incredibly jealous that you saw not one but three leopards! Thats insane! I hope that when I go back to Africa next year I finally see a leopard so I can tick off the last of my big five ;)

    Isn’t Africa magical?

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      Africa was very magical!!

      We were thrilled with just one Leopard and then on our last safari we saw two together! It was so cool! :)
      You will be back there before you know it!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    November 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    SO JEALOUS!! And you got some awesome shots of the Big 5!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      Thanks Amanda! I’m sure you will visit there too soon enough :) Just wait for more pics! I’ve got waaaay too many! haha

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