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The term Big Five was originally coined by big game hunters but is now used by  those wanting to see and photograph the following in South Africa: Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Rhinoceros and Cape Buffalo.

I went on safari without expectations of “must see” animals. But our guides were invaluable in finding us the Big Five within the first two days of our nine day safari. Michael from Wildeye, SA not only told us about animal behavior but could predict when they would get up, yawn, walk by us, etc. It helped a lot in capturing the animal’s behaviors. Always good to have a few seconds warning to get the camera ready when there might be only one chance to snap a photo.

A male leopard was the first of the Big Five we saw on our first drive out in the bush. Back at camp, before we started on the drive, some of the guests mentioned they had been waiting days for a leopard sighting. Guests on different vehicles would compare notes as to which animals had been spotted ~ reminded me of Apres Ski talk around the fire when skiers would brag about double-black diamonds & vertical feet. Except at Umlani. talk around the firepit is all about the animals!

We are all so excited when Shadrack pointed and said “leopard” ~

leopard at night ii

The rest of the Big Five were spotted numerous times over our nine day stay.

I’ve had some people question why I would spend the money traveling to a far-away country to see animals I can view at the zoo. Those are people who don’t know me well. I cry at zoos so I don’t go. The chance to view animals in their natural environment was priceless for me. The multiple sightings were fascinating because the behaviors changed each time. My idea of heaven on earth.

Here are some of our sightings of other Big Five:

Rhino large male

Lion eyes

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