While a large population of the world have been flocking to cinemas to watch ‘The Lion King’, we’ve been in the bush looking for the real-life thing. This is not to say we will not be going to see the film (it’s The Lion King for goodness sake) but fortunately for us our work involves being among one of South Africa’s most valuable assets; our wildlife.
Synonymous with the term ‘Big Five Safari’, South Africa is a country teaming with wildlife and this is what magnetizes visitors from all over the world; a chance to be in one of nature's most wild and natural environments.
The Big Five was a name originally given by hunters to five of the most difficult animals to hunt in Africa; namely the lion; leopard; elephant; buffalo and rhino. Since then, this has become a widely-used and recognized term among locals and visitors alike.
For some people, going on a Big Five safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and many end up returning year after year. The beauty of the bush, you see, is that nothing is guaranteed and coming across the Big Five in their natural surroundings is truly a privilege. In fact, you may have heard people remark after returning from their trip, “we saw everything except the leopard!”.
In private game reserves and concessions, tracking animals and radio communication between guides offers visitors a better chance of viewing the Big Five. Those who are able to go on a safari for a number of days also raise their chances of more sightings. But nature doesn’t have favourites so don’t consider yourself unlucky if you find yourself in a national park on a self-drive for a day!
It must be mentioned that a common whoopsie-daisy among safari-goers is getting too wrapped up in spotting the Big Five that you miss out on all of the other extraordinary creatures that are hanging about! It is always a fun moment when young children, sometimes adults too, point to warthogs running by while murmuring in excitement, “Pumba!” And while our baboons or Vervet monkeys aren’t quite the match for Rafiki they still manage to put on their own show and can keep you captivated for hours.
The African Bush is a wonder – a bit like watching a Disney film minus the soundtrack – and a sure way to reconnect you with the magic and miracle of life.