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  • David Bough

The “Big Five”

Ahhhh “The Big 5”, probably top of every visitors wish list when they come to Africa for the first time.

The term “big five game” was first coined by game hunters and refers to the five most dangerous animals to hunt on foot: leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo and rhino.

Originally the rhino element of the 5 was limited to the Black Rhino, (one of the grumpiest, cantankerous and intransigent animals to ever grace gods green earth), but now includes the White Rhino. Probably quite a smart marketing move as the “Blackie” in very hard to find. A browser, unlike it’s white cousin which grazes, it spends a lot of its time thick bush.

In our sector of the park we are blessed with a high density of the 5 but it’s still a challenge to see then all in two or three days in the Park. The most elusive of the 5, now that the white rhino is included in the club, is the “Ingwe” or Leopard. A shy and mostly solitary animal these stunning animals are probably top of everyone’s “Big 5” and boy can they be hard to find.

Living hard against the Kruger fence and spending most of our down time in the park sometimes we don’t see them for weeks…but there is always that chance that around the next corner..🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾.

As far as lions are concerned we are very lucky at Crocodile Bridge Gate. Our local pride, the Vurhami, are regular visitors to our little piece of heaven; in fact I can see them from the lapa as I’m writing this. We are lucky enough to see them several times a week and they regularly hunt in front of the lodge with varying degrees of success. Always a joy to see these beautiful animal and to see them in action hunting is a treat indeed.

Along with the lion we regularly get visited by our wonderful elephant. For my money one of the most intelligent and sentient animals on the planet. Wether playing, fighting, digging for water or feeding I never tire of watching these magnificent animals. A “close encounter” with an elephant in the park is one of the things that our guests say they have enjoyed most about their visit to the Kruger.

Then we come to the Cape Buffalo. The poor things probably come in at number 5 of the big five that people want to see but don’t underestimate these outwardly gentle and slow moving animals. When riled they are a force to be reckoned with. Built like tanks, with skin like Kevlar they pack a punch to put it mildly. Woe betide the lion who tries to take one of these beasts on their own, or with a friend: buffalo defend themselves with force and power and gather the full power of the herd to defend individuals when attacked.

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