There are so many reasons to travel to Africa, it’s hard to pin it down to merely safaris and wildlife; even though viewing the animals in the game reserves while on safari is probably the foremost reason of all. The Big 5 is certainly a drawcard the world over, but there’s also the African bush and the spectacular, if less notable, creatures that are an intrinsic part of it. In this blog we cover some alternatives to the mainstream reasons for your consideration. Seeing ‘The Big 5’ Most of our Australian travellers say they’d like to see ‘The Big 5’. Seldom do these same people tell us they’d like to “truly experience” Africa and its wildlife. Let’s discuss this for a moment. What is the Big Five? In Africa, the Big Five game animals are the lion, leopard, elephant, Cape buffalo and rhinoceros. Certainly, it’s easy to understand people’s desire to view these thrilling animals. After all, these are the animals that are most prevalent in the countless documentaries shown on TV and other media. And yes, they are BIG, they are dramatic — and they can be either extraordinarily exciting — or as boring as watch the wild grasses grow! Lions, in particular, spend a huge amount of time sleeping in the shade during daylight so this is the most common sighting!! Leopards are much more secretive but always offer great sightings whether on the move or in a tree. The cubs are just wonderful to watch playing (as are Lion cubs I hasten to add). Leopards are also nocturnal and do much of their hunting at night so they can be seen during both day and night. Elephants, on the other hand, are always entertaining to watch. They are on the move most of the time as they need to feed and eat prodigious amounts of food each day. The babies, too, are SO entertaining to watch. There’s truly never a dull moment with them. We can watch a herd of elephant all day and not be bored for a nano second! Buffalo are either seen in big herds or one might sight the solitary “dagga boy”. This is a buffalo who has been ejected from the herd and lives a life on his own or with a couple of elderly mates. They are impressive animals but are not nearly as interesting as, say, elephants to watch. Finally, we come to Rhino! This prehistoric-looking creature is being poached to extinction – and some species have now disappeared altogether. They are amazing creatures but the young calves are the entertainers amongst these guys. So ugly that they are adorable!! Experiencing the Magic of the African Bush So what is my point? Well, there is just so much more to be “experienced” in the African bush! Some examples: A pack of hunting African Wild Dog (Painted Dog, Cape Hunting Dog are some other names) hunting or bringing food back to their den and regurgitating for the mother and cubs left behind is an amazing sight. I have been fortunate enough to witness a number of hunts and watch the tactics employed and the speed at which they move and then devour their prey. Quite fascinating! Hyena. Much maligned but a very clever animal with defined social behaviour. The Pups are really cute even if mum and dad are not exactly winners of the bush beauty competition. Beautiful antelope. Impala leaping when on the run. The majestic Kudu with it spiral horns and simply huge ears. The magnificent horns of a Sable. The cuteness of Steenbok, Duiker and Klipspringer. The magnificence of a big herd of Eland or Oryx in the desert. Then for hours of amusement watch a large group of Baboons and their babies feeding or at play. On this subject the tiny “Bush Baby” or Night Ape (Nagapie in Afrikaans) is capable of jumping massive distances – up to 3 metres – from branch to branch at night. Birds. Large and small are always a pleasure to see and experience even if you are not an avid “birder”. The many raptors, the regal Secretary Bird or the tiny Bee-eaters are all wonderful. A Mongoose family scampering around and chattering away are always good for a few minutes of careful study. And then, of course, Africa has superb scenery from desert to delta to rain forest to plains and the savannah, to magnificent mountains and spectacular water falls. For everyone who chooses to travel with us, we make it our aim to provide different “experiences”. These are authentic experiences that combine the various wildlife with the many bush and scenic areas that we know so well. Don’t Rush Your Trip! Most importantly don’t rush your itinerary! Spend time at each place and really take it easy on game drives. There is no need to rush back to camp. After all, breakfast will still be there! Ideally, we like you to spend at least three nights at any lodge – four is even better. Otherwise your trip is more travel than relaxing and fun! We invite you to learn more about our experienced team. Don’t just take another overseas holiday: treat yourself to the “Experience of a Lifetime!” Fill in our itinerary request form to start the process.