Searching for the Big Five on a Small Group Escorted Tour

An Antipodean travel company serving World Travellers since 1983

Searching for the Big Five on a Small Group Escorted Tour

Odyssey Traveller’s small group escorted South Africa tour remains a popular choice for couples and solo travellers seeking a South African Safari . This escorted small group tour of a game reserve includes at least an escorted tour and guided tour(s) of a wildlife safari in a national park or nature reserve where travellers will have time to see and learn about the variety of flora and fauna in Southern Africa. The choice of game reserve varies from a Kruger safari, or the chobe national park or the serengeti national park because we seek to offer a trip into a wildlife reserve to see the wildlifeand not other travellers on tour. So depending on when and who has been seen against the time of the year we focus on being able to enjoy a south Africa safari complete with wildlife.

All travellers to Southern Africa typically hope to see The Big Five

All travellers to Southern Africa typically hope to see The Big Five and so do our travellers on a escorted small group tour of a game reserve. The big five are the animals that game hunters from the 1800s on hunted and killed as they were considered the most difficult and dangerous animals to hunt on foot – lions, leopards, elephants, African buffalo and rhinoceroses. These were the trophies to take back after their tour often not only of South Africa but also kenya, NamibiaBotswana and Tanzania where favourite locations. Visitors today hope to ‘capture’ these megafauna on film as they are magnificent and awe-inspiring to see in the wild. When visitors travel to safari parks or game or the wildlife reserve, then there trip maybe rewarded with lions, elephants and African buffalo. However, on a small group tour visitors may also see rhinoceroses, but not as many, and sighting a leopard in a park is a treat and not easy because of their perfect camouflage. On a guided tour your Rangers and guides will have their secret spots to take visitors to see these trophy animals for the camera.

 

Sadly travellers on a escorted small group tour of a game reserve might have magnificent photographs of rhinoceroses from the wildlife reserve, but are requested not to share these on social media or the web as poachers can ascertain the GPS co-ordinates of when and where the photo was taken. These hunters are utterly ruthless. Since 2007 the poaching of the rhino has increased and poachers use increasingly sophisticated weapons. Nations in Southern Africa have agreed to Save the Rhino by improving security, training rangers and providing them with anti-poaching equipment including firearms. If their lives are being threatened during a confrontation with poachers, rangers have the right to shoot to kill. However, this raises all sorts of opposition in Africa and around the world. Tragically, at airports in Cape Town , Johannesburg and Kasane in Botswana, incoming visitors can be seen wearing camouflage gear and wheeling trolleys with long flat cases carrying sophisticated hunting equipment. That is why they are visiting!

The emphasis on The Big Five on a South Africa safari , however, is very limiting to travellers and their is so much more to see on a South Africa safari. Southern Africa Tourism, in an attempt to broaden the ambitions of visitors, has added The Little Five (the elephant shrew, ant lion, rhinoceros beetle, buffalo weaver and leopard tortoise) which match each of the Big Five; The Shy Five (porcupine, aardvark, bat-eared fox, meerkat and aardwolf) and even The Ugly Five (wart hog, wildebeest, vulture, Marabou stork, hyena) and emphasise the over 2,000 bird species to be seen. And certainly once we leave Cape Town, or the Garden route and venture into your park to stay in your safari lodge ready for a early morning or dusk drive in the wildlife reserve on a guided tour then all animals on safari look amazing in their natural habitiat.

Close-up shot of a male lion

To be on a South Africa tour and see a huge herd of elephant walking down to the river, highlighted against the sunset in the Chobe National Park , Botswana , is a truly wonderful sight, but so is sighting a cheetah or two hiding in the grass under an acacia tree. A pride of lions walking along a dusty track is iconic, but to sit just off the shore in a boat on the Chobe River and watch a family of baboons for an hour and appreciate their group’s roles is wonderful. The mothers fuss over the children who fight, provoke and tease each other. The young males try to lure young females away from the group and the patriarch remains remote, lying in the sun, until he has to come in to settle a major dispute. However, it is the matriarch who is the ultimate boss of the group. On a escorted small group tour of a game reserve it is these moments and memories that you have witnessed that make the trip in a private game reserve or the Serengeti national park part of a memorable tour in that national park.

The most dangerous animal on the African continent is the hippopotamus, responsible for over 3,000 deaths a year. Although vegetarian these animals are fiercely territorial and will defend their patch of the river. A bloat of hippopotamus with just eyes, nose and ears above the muddy water is an amazing sight. But the deadliest animal in Africa , and much of the world, is the mosquito.

As rewarding as it is to see The Big Five on a escorted tour in a park on a small group tour, it is just as rewarding to have risen early to leave the lodge to see this time a honey badger who is one of the fiercest carnivores in Africa and has been filmed taking on a family of lions or other larger animals to defend its catch; or other wildlife such as an elusive aardvark because they are nocturnal and live underground during the day but emerge when the day cools down to eat termites; or to sight a movement among the trees and to recognise a giraffe or three standing so tall and majestically. Watching a giraffe drink with legs splayed so it can reach the water is captivating for the traveller.

In Australia, we are accustomed to our magnificent and unique birds and used to their colour and customs, but the birds of Southern Africa are also varied, prolific, colourful and unique such as the stunning loerie birds – some grey, some purple and green. The Cape Glossy Starling looks like an Australian black opal. The striking helmeted and crested guinea fowl bustle around in groups then startled, rush in panic to another spot. The majestic African Fish Eagle with its loud and raucous call builds huge messy nests high in trees along river banks then swoops to catch a fish in its talons. In Southern Africa , the Ibis are red, and quite startling, from eating crustaceans. The beautifully elegant Blue Crane (South Africa ’s national bird), and grey Crested Crane are wonderful to observe in their natural habitat. 500 bird species of the 2,000 in Southern Africa have been spotted in Kruger National Park .

A small group escorted tour of Southern Africa will send visitors away from a safari with wonderful photographs and amazing experiences of wildlife, birds and truly magnificent scenery as the backdrop for stories on any of the South Africa modern “5” to see on a small group journey into the wildlife reserve.

 

 

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