Sawari Game Lodge

The Big Five

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Leopards are the most common of the big cats in Africa, although they are difficult to find due to their secretive nature. They become aggressive when surprised or cornered, especially with cubs in attendance. They range in size from one to almost two metres long, and weigh between 30 and 70 kg, with females being typically around two-thirds the size of males. Most leopards are light tan or fawn with black spots, but their coat colour is highly variable. The spots tend to be smaller on the head, and larger with pale centres on the body. Originally, it was thought that a leopard was a hybrid between a lion and a panther, and the leopard's common name derives from this belief; leo is the Latin for lion, and pard is an old term meaning panther.

The Big Five - Leopard


The largest land mammal standing on average thirteen feet (4 meters) at the shoulder and weighing approximately 15,400 pounds (7,000 kilograms). They have a lifespan of 60 years and grow 6 sets of teeth during their lifetime. African elephants are distinguished from Asians in several ways. The most noticeable difference is the ears. Africans' ears are much larger and are shaped like the continent of their origin. The African elephant is typically larger than the Asian and has a concave back. Both males and females have external tusks and are usually less hairy than their Asian cousins.

The Big Five - Elephant



At first sight, a herd of African buffaloes look like a group of large cows, but unlike cows they have a fearsome reputation for aggression and strength. They are not to be confused with the bison of North America and Europe, which are also sometimes called 'buffaloes'. Large animals, like buffaloes, living in a hot climate spend a lot of time near water. The slow evaporation of wet mud helps cool them down. It also protects them from ticks and other parasites, aided by birds such as oxpeckers and egrets. These make a herd of buffaloes a mobile habitat in itself. Height at shoulder: 1.5 m. Length: 1.8-2.5 m. Tail: 60-70 cm. Cows smaller than bulls. Weight: males 500-800 kg, females 550 kg.


The Big Five - Buffalo



A rhinoceros (commonly called a rhino for short) is any of five surviving species of odd-toed ungulate in the family Rhinocerotidae. All five are native to Africa or Asia. Rhinoceros is also one of the genera in this family. A salient feature of this horned mammal is its protective skin formed from layers of collagen with optimal thickness of 4 in. positioned in a lattice structure. A group of rhinoceros is called a crash. The white is much bigger and heavier than the black rhino. The black rhino is a browser and the white rhino a grazer. Although they have poor vision their sense of smell is acute.


The Big Five - Rhino



The only African big cat to live in large groups called prides. Females are more dangerous than males especially when they have young cubs. The Lion (Panthera leo) is a mammal of the family Felidae. It is the largest and most powerful living felid with the exception of the tiger. The male lion, easily recognized by his mane, may weigh up to 250 kg (550 lb) Females are much smaller, weighing up to 150 kg (200 lb). In the wild lions live for around 1014 years, while in captivity they can live over 20. Lions are predatory carnivores who live in family groups, called prides. The family consists of related females, their cubs of both sexes, and one or more unrelated males who mate with the adult females. Although it was once thought that females did most of the hunting in the pride, it is now known that males contribute much more to hunting than the amount for which they had been previously given credit. Both males and females will defend the pride against outside intruders. Typically, males will not tolerate outside males, and females will not tolerate outside females. Males are expelled from the pride or leave on their own when they reach maturity. When or if a male coalition takes over a pride and ousts the previous coalition, the conquerors often kill any cubs even if they did father them.

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