Tips from our rangers: this is how you spot the Big Five
If this is your first time in Africa, you’re probably wondering how the rangers spot all those animals so quickly. Even if you look around constantly, you’re not able to distinguish the animals from their surroundings. Most animals are well camouflaged so that they stand out as little as possible. However, there are a number of tricks for spotting the Big Five quicker. After all, rangers are able to do this! Please read further for a crash course on spotting wildlife!
Watch out for shape, colour and movement
If you are on safari, then shape, colour and movement are the things to watch out for. If you see a shape that you are not able to identify in the bushes, you may well have spotted something. Although animals have a fantastic camouflage colour, this will always differ slightly from the surroundings. If you see a unfamiliar shape with a suspicious colour, you may have hit the bullseye. If this unfamiliar shape with a suspicious colour is also moving, you can be certain that you’re in luck! You have spotted your first wildlife animal!
Fun fact: an impala is also referred to as the McDonalds of the bush, due to the black M that can be seen on its bum.
The Big Five
The elephant, the rhino, the buffalo, the leopard and the lion. You will be hoping that you’ve seen them all soon. The first three are relatively easy to spot. Unfortunately, the lion and leopard are slightly less easy to spot. A pride of lions like to lie down doing nothing in the shadow of a tree. You should therefore scan all shaded areas and if you see an unfamiliar shape, focus your attention on that. In the case of the leopard, you actually need to look upwards, because it is a phenomenal climber. This cat likes to look out over its territory somewhere high in a tree. So, an unfamiliar shape in a tree may well be a leopard!
Searching for tracks
You have special rangers, so-called ‘trackers’, who only concentrate on searching for tracks. They often sit at the front of the game drive vehicle on that little seat, the purpose of which you were already wondering about. They keep an eye out for animal tracks that show that certain animals are close by. This is very specialised work, because it’s not easy to distinguish between the various animal tracks! In addition, (fresh) faeces indicate which animals are still in the vicinity.