big five tanzania safari

What You Should Know About Big Five Safari Animals

When you get a chance to visit national parks in Tanzania you will be sure to see the great big five safari animals that are found in the various parks within a country. These big five safari animals which includes Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion and Rhino are found in popular parks including Tarangire national park, Ngorongoro crater, Lake Manyara and Serengeti national park. Visiting wildlife areas in Tanzania without seeing big five safari animals is an incomplete wildlife journey. It can be expensive to see all these animals on the same safari trip but it is worthy a time not only to see them but learn their habits and see their daily lives while receiving important lessons from your professional tour guide. Below are the big five safari animals and what you know about them.

Elephant a.k.a Tembo or Ndovu in Kiswahili

The elephant is, if you want not to count us, the most important being in this world," wrote Jean de La Fontaine, the French writer. An elephant, literary and vibrant has given a respect to be the largest terrestrial animal (An elephant can reach more than 3 m at the long and for a weight of 7 tons). Appeared almost 50 million years ago, this elegant pachyderm (Loxodonta africana) presents a unique appearance.

His Trunk is a true masterpiece of adaptation. Both nostril and lip, this mobile and important part of his body with a remarkable sense of touch and a very keen sense of smell - is used to draw, blow water, recognize each other, caress each other, pick fruits and herbs, cover oneself with dust , sniff the air and communicate by making sounds.

His Ears is large, in the shape of triangular fans, they are irrigated by a bundle of star muscular-walled tubes and when they beat, this vascularization has an effective temperature regulation effect.

Finally, there are his legendary Tusks (in fact, these are his enlarged upper incisors), real ivory sabers that can reach a record of 4 m in length ... and which brought him many tribulations. from humans (the elephant is simply threatened with being totally eradicated from the African continent).

With a strong appetite (it consumes 150 to 200 kg of fodder for 90 liters of water per day), this proboscidean (from proboscis, which means trunk in Greek) also likes bark (acacia, baobab), leaves, bulbs, roots and sometimes aquatic plants.

An animal of great intelligence, the elephant lives in distinct clans:

On one side are divided the females and baby elephants (organized and incredibly united) and on the other hand, the single, wandering and interchangeable males. Historically, in order to survive in the hostile lands of Africa, elephants have practiced nomadism and perpetual wandering.

To stay in touch despite the miles that separate them, dispersed groups and families have developed a sophisticated communication system.

This pachyderms they never change and communicate with each other continuously. They inform each other about water points, the care of young, females in heat or where to find food. But most of the frequencies they emit are inaudible to the human ear (these infrasounds are between 14 and 35 Hz).

Rhinoceros a.k.a Kifaru in Kiswahili

Straight out of old times, this animal resembling a tank is, unfortunately, far too rare in Tanzania. Implacably slaughtered for its horns with illegal hunters (poaching). The rhinoceros alarmingly desert the savannas and the bushy steppes where it once abounded.

In Africa, we distinguish two species of this imposing mammal: the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) and the black rhino (Diceros bicornis). Despite their chromatic denomination, know that these two rhinos are entirely gray and that it is in fact their diet and their size that distinguish them from one another.

The denomination which was gradually deformed into white blanc. This is because the white rhino has a broad and square upper lip. This large herbivore (4 m long for a weight of up to 5 tonnes) is an inveterate grazer and feeds mainly on short grass.

On the other hand, the black rhinoceros, of more modest size (3 m long for a weight of 1.5 tonnes), has a prominent upper lip, pointed and prehensile. Essentially phyllophagous, it feeds on leaves, buds, thorny twigs and shrubs which are sometimes very toxic to humans.

The two African species are completely free from tooth. The white rhino has completely disappeared from Tanzania. And if, recently, it has been possible to see it in Kenya, it is because it has been reintroduced there. Generally calm in nature, the white rhino likes covered and wooded places.

Short-sighted, he is mainly identified by his hearing and his sense of smell, which he has greatly developed.  Good thing the government propose to put them permanently safe from poachers.

Buffalo a.k.a Nyati or Mbogo in Kiswahili

Resemble with its imposing build as a wrestler, the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) immediately commands admiration and respect. For a long time, it was among the most coveted trophies of hunters. Even today, to hunt it you just have to pay.

Gigantic (some individuals reach a height of 1.70 m at the long and for a weight of 900 kg), It is easily recognizable by its enormous rounded horns which meet on his forehead, forming a helmet. They are both an offensive and a deterrent weapon that no one dares to measure up to.

When living in a group and under attack, it forms a tight circle, protecting the young and the weak at its center, presenting the assailant with a defence wall of threatening horns.

Generally calm in nature, they nevertheless the most feared animal of hunters, because his charges are unpredictable and often fatal. Especially isolated males or females accompanied by their calves are to be feared. Nevertheless, near or far, it is necessary to remain careful and not get closer.

The buffalo lives in herds (sometimes reaching up to 1,000 heads), not far from water points where it regularly goes to drink (it remains uncompromising on its ration of 30 to 40 liters of water daily, nocturnal, and during the day it can be seen, casually lying in the shade of a tree and ruminating or wallowing in the mud to cool off and get rid of its parasites. This herbivore is fond of grasses, herbaceous plants and foliage.

The Lion a.k.a Simba in Kiswahili

The largest of African felines was - from the dawn of time - without opposition from other animals and with high recognition from God, lion is the king of the jungle. Its size (from 2.50 m to 3.30 m in length), its warlike aggressiveness, its predatory supremacy, the violence of its cry (audible for more than 8 km around), took part in its fighting for the crown of the bush. But the ability of his power is coming from his monarch which is in fact quite relative.

Lion normally sleep almost 18 hours a day and often lives isolated or lonely, and has no real right to the chapter. It is essentially the lioness who leads the dance under the gaze of the male who retains supremacy (right to kill the young from previous litters). "She is a beautiful blonde ..." writes Colette a French writer.

Living in groups, these elongated felines give birth together, raise, protect and breastfeed all the young of the band, often indifferently, ensuring the continuity of the succession. Only this feminine structure remains stable. It is therefore the lionesses (150 kg athletes) Who hunt for the clan. However, when it comes time for the meal, they fade away, feeding the breeding males, who in exchange watch over the territory against other wandering males always in search of “coups d'etat”.

Leopard a.k.a Chui in Kiswahili

An extremely agile (able to move fast) and solitary predator, the leopard or panther is the largest and most secret of the spotted cat. Powerful, massive (and yet extremely graceful), it measures between 1.30 m and 1.90 m long for a weight of around 50 kg. An excellent hunter, fast and silent, this beast also has a major asset: its expensive look leather. This dress, enamelled with spots, black and bronze rosettes, serves as a hide from other animals.

Long hunted for this coat, the leopard today leads a mainly nocturnal lifestyle and is relatively difficult to observe. But we can sometimes see him, during the day, casually installed on the fork of a tree.

The leopard actually spends most of its time in the trees that serve as its shelter, observation tower and pantry. It only leaves wooded areas to hunt. Once its prey has been captured, it hoists it (sometimes more than 10 m in height) in the hollow of a strong branch, sheltered from other predators who could steal it from it.

He mostly hunts on the lookout, mainly zebras, antelopes, gazelles, baboons but does not kill birds, jackals, turtles, snakes, winged termites, a few lion cubs left unattended and sometimes the man. When leopard are black in color then they will be referred to as “black panthers”, are mostly found in Asia, but a few live in the Aberdares Park in Kenya.


It is clear that these animals have grown up in danger of being attacked by poachers who have been hunting them for a long time, especially in the 1990's but thanks to the government of Tanzania and national park authorities which invested time and money to protect these animals using a national park army and as well as install GPS technology especially for rhinos for easily identify them when they get out of the parks. Easy spotting of these animals has made Tanzania one of the most popular countries in the world to visit especially for safari (Best safari destination in the world). Contact us today so we can help you arrange the big 5 safari animals while visit Tanzania on your Holiday.

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