The Kruger Park
As the home of the Big Five and the second largest reserve in Africa, this area of the wild, unspoiled by humans, has become a destination for travellers across the globe.
Located in one of the most ecologically heterogeneous regions of Southern Africa, the vastly shifting landscapes of the park connect expanses of grassy planes, traverse thorny woodland thickets that encircle rugged koppies, and culminate in the imposing Lebombo Mountains of the east.
International travelers looking for an authentic “African” experience often approach the safari with one firm and definite goal in mind: “Regardless of where I go, how long I’m there, and what else I see on this trip, it isn’t a real safari until I’ve seen the big five.” But what exactly does that mean? Even just the term is a little vague - what are we talking about when we call these animals the big five?
The term has its origins back with big game hunters in the area, confident in their ability to track and kill most wild creatures with little risk to themselves. Boasting stories of impressive kills in all sorts of bushveld scenarios, these hunters held a reverence for a select group of animals for their ferocity and dangerousness.
These animals were elusive, seasonally aggressive, and possessed physically dangerous qualities (large size, sharp teeth, speed, muscle strength), making them the most notably difficult to successfully hunt. Years later, these animals are still known by this term, the famous big five.
The big five includes the African Elephant, Rhinoceros, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, and the extremely popular Lion. In 2010, the headcount for each of these groups was flourishing within the Kruger National Park.