Big Five Safaris
In Africa, the big five game animals are the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and White/Black rhinoceros.
The members of the Big Five were chosen for the difficulty in hunting them and the degree of danger involved, rather than their size. This element of danger makes them amongst the most popular species for big game hunters.
The African buffalo is one of the most successful grazers in Africa. It lives in swamps, floodplains, Mopani grasslands and the forests of the major mountains of Africa.
Buffalo prefer habitats with dense cover such as reeds and thickets. Herds have also been found in open woodland and grassland. While not particularly demanding with regards to habitat, they require water daily and therefore depend on perennial sources of water.
As most hunters know, the Cape buffalo is one of Africa’s most sought-after animals. We are lucky to have some great areas to hunt buffalo in South Africa such as the Timbavati National Park, bordering the fenceless Kruger National Park, allowing all animals to travel freely between the two areas. A certain number of buffalo are put on tender every year and we bid according to our client’s wishes. The quality of the hunt and trophy is outstanding and well worth the higher price tag it attracts. Getting a Buffalo in this area of 43”-44” is not uncommon. We also hunt Botswana and Tanzania (Sean is fully licensed in Tanzania) and there is a great abundance of really big buffalo.
The African elephant is the largest living land mammal. Of all its specialized features, the muscular trunk is perhaps the most extraordinary.
It serves as a nose, hand, extra foot, signaling device and tool for gathering food, siphoning water, dusting, and digging. The tusks are another notable feature of both males and females. Elephants are right or left-tusked, using the favored tusk more often, thus shortening it. Elephants can live in nearly any habitat that has adequate quantities of food and water.
Because of the closure of hunting in Botswana and the banning of the importation of ivory by USA fisher and wildlife from Zimbabwe into the USA. We are now looking at doing our Elephant hunting in Namibia and where possible in South Africa.
African leopard exhibit great variation in coat color, depending on location and habitat. This is one of Africa’s most beautiful animals. Its sly and cunning nature makes it a really difficult trophy to hunt.
Coat colors varies from pale yellow to deep gold or tawny, and is patterned with black rosettes; while the head, lower limbs and belly are spotted with solid black. Male leopards are larger, averaging 60kg (130lb) with 91kg (200lb) being the maximum weight attained by a male. Females weigh about 35 to 40kg (77 to 88lb) on average.
For Leopard hunting our first choice would be Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique as there are only a very limited amount of permits available in South Africa.
We are also fortunate to be able to hunt leopard in Tanzania and Sean has been very successful on some great hunts over the last few years, the traditional baiting method is used for these hunts.
Renowned for its majesty and nicknames “the king of the jungle,” the lion possesses both beauty and strength.
Lions vary in color but typically sport light yellow-brown coats. Mature male lions are unique among big cats due to the thick brown or black manes that encircle their necks. Lions consume a wide variety of prey, from wildebeest, impala, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and wild hogs to even rhinos and hippos. They will also feed on smaller animals such as hares, birds and reptiles. Lions are also known to attack elephants when food is scarce.
At Garry Kelly Safaris, we have some great areas in which to hunt free-range lions in South Africa. The hunt is done in the traditional walk and stalk method, picking up tracks and following them. This is normally a 16-21 day safari. There are not many of these free-range permits available in South Africa. If you are interested in one of the free-range lion hunts, please let us know as soon as possible so we can apply for the necessary permits. Garry Kelly Safaris is totally opposed to any form of canned lion hunting.
Our Tanzanian lion hunts are done on a 21day safari and you can view some photos of some of the outstanding lions that have been taken on our Tanzania page.
White Rhinoceros are found in grassland and savannah habitats. They are herbivorous grazers that eat grass, preferring the shortest grains.
They drink twice a day if water is available, but can live four or five days without water if conditions are dry. They spend about half of the day eating, one third resting, and the rest of the day doing various other things. White Rhinoceros love wallowing in mud holes to cool down.
The White Rhino is often mistaken for a docile and not too clever creature that is easy to hunt. Given a fair chance, a White Rhino uses all its senses on high alert and is vey clever in using the wind to its advantage, making it a very challenging hunt. There are large privately owned properties that we can hunt rhino. Due to the size of the properties, it is a very challenging hunt. The method of hunting rhino is by tracking and makes for an interesting and exciting hunt.
Garry Kelly was one of the first professional hunters to guide a White Rhino hunt back in 1971, and has continued to do so for the past 41 years. Garry and his sons, Sean and Cullen have collective 60 years of experience behind them and it shows in their success.