“Did you see the big five?”
Conversations about African wildlife often begin with the question, “Did you see “the big five?” We fear that an exaggerated focus on them has been driven by local Chamber of Commerce leaders. “The Big Five” label – borrowed from safari hunting tours, is a marketing tool used to balloon the number of tourists drawn to Africa’s nature reserves. We wonder if many people are aware of the unfathomable diversity of animals associated with lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffaloes.
Yes, we experienced all those wonderful mammals, and a whole lot more that deserved our focus. How could we ignore that sudden movement in the shadow of that hippo?
We couldn’t, so we photographed the croc, too.
That bird of prey was shadowing a movement in the dunes of the Kalahari. “Oh my gosh!” It was a cape cobra!
We photographed them together hunting, perhaps for gerbils grazing the sparse vegetation. There are hundreds of bird species, reptiles, amphibians and dozens of many other mammals large and small.
In the previous two blogs about photographing wildlife in Africa, we focused on the lions found in Kruger National Park (along South Africa’s eastern border) and Kagalagadi Transfrontier Park in the northwest (sharing a border with Botswana). Dramatic as that king of beasts can be, the sheer numbers of other species experienced in those two locations is positively numbing. So again, from Kruger and Kagalagadi, we are posting here a sampling of the diverse creatures of Southern Africa. In the coming weeks, we will launch a new gallery representing a broad selection of our best Africa images.
Enjoy this preview and stay tuned. We will have African species you aren’t likely to find in a digital library anywhere else. I can’t imagine that there are many photographers or wildlife viewing enthusiasts who have been as driven as we were to record the image of everything we saw. Reliving that two month journey through our photos has been enough to inspire us to return to Africa and do it all again – even if in a limited fashion. We’ve got to keep dreaming!