During my stay in Uganda I joined a safari tour, and on that tour we have seen the complete big five. I was beyond excited about that, so happy that I decided te tell something about the big five. And to show some of the pictures I took from them 🙂
So, the big five obviously contains five different animal species:
- The Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
- The Rhino (Rhinocerotidae)
- The Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)
- The Lion (Panthera leo)
- The Leopard ( Panthera pardus)
But this five animal species are not a member of the big five just because they are big. Otherwise the Giraffe or the Hippo should be there instead of the Lion and Leopard. The real reason for this top five might come as a shock. The term the big five has been made up by hunters. They use the term the big five to indicate with which animals the risk of getting injured by them while hunting is the biggest. So basically the most dangerous animals to hunt. When I found out that this was the real reason it made be a bit sad.
Shooting the big five or shooting pictures
Lucky for me I am not a hunter. The only thing I shoot is pictures, but I do shoot a lot of them. From 4 out of 5 big five animals I shoot a lot of great pictures, who I proudly show everybody. But the last one is a different story. We found a Leopard high up in the tree in Murchison Fall National Park, but unfortunately he jumped out of the tree as soon as we found it. So I did see it, I could clearly see that it was a Leopard. And I was able to shoot 1 single picture, unfortunately not a beautiful one. It was from his butt.. But at least I saw and photographed it, other members of the safari did not even see the Leopard!
The other members of the big five where better models. With the elephants we were incredible lucky. After just driving in Queen Elizabeth National Park we found a group of 28 males, which is highly unusual. Normally males life a mostly solitary life. It is really amazing to see so many of these big and intelligent animals together and so close to your car. And also in Murchison falls National Park we have seen several of them, including a few little ones, as you can see on the picture. This was an approximately 2 year old male elephant.
Not to mention the rhinos, unfortunately the do not live in the wild anymore in Uganda. They have been hunted till extinction inside Uganda. But by the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary they are trying to bring them back in to the wild. They have their own park where they are breeding the white rhinos with the big hope to release them in to the wild at one day. And we had the possibility to go and look for them inside the park. We did not get disappointed, we saw a lot of them. 2 little baby’s, one from 5 months and the other from just over a year. Also a few big males, who maybe where a bit to close to us. But it was really amazing to see this animals from close by and supporting the company, so that one day they will be back in the wild in Uganda.
A small fact about the rhino. We do not call them a white rhino because of their colour. As you can see in the picture they are grey (just like the black rhino). But it was a translating mistake. They were called the wide rhino, referring to their mouth/lips. Which is significantly wider than the black rhino. And with translating this it went from wide to white, and afterwards, the black rhino was called black as the opposite for white.
And the buffalos, they can look so arrogant that it becomes funny. We have not seen them up close a lot. Most of the herds we saw where far away. But that were herds of 100/200 buffalos! A few times we were lucky to catch a few male buffalos who are living solitary or in a small group standing closer to the road. Looking at us what we thinking we are doing while there was a Heron on his back. Makes my smile while thinking about it all over again.
And than the mighty lion, the king of the jungle. Not really the best name, as it is living on the savannas. But it does not matter, they are really stunning. We where in the Ishasha part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. And that region is famous for his tree-climbing lions. Can you imagine a lion relaxing in a tree? And we found them. It took a lot of effort and some good networking from our guide, but it was all worth it. Because we where driving in a big truck, and he stopped when I was right in front of the lion. We met on eye level and it was scary. Really scary. The lion was not particularly happy that we interrupted his beauty sleep and looked to us as he was about to jump inside the truck. But the only thing I could to.. shoot pictures.
All of this pictures are or will come available for ordering in my portfolio, come have a look!