First I heard of those. Care to elaborate?
The “little five” are the Leopard Tortoise, the Elephant Shrew, the Rhinoceros Beetle, the Ant Lion, and the Buffalo Weaver. The “ugly five” are the Spotted Hyena (also much more interesting than lions IMO), Maribou Stork, Warthog, Blue Wildebeest, and Cape Vulture.
I find the “less interesting” animals in many ways far more fascinating than the “big 5”. When you do encounter the big 5 in a car, there also tends to be a traffic jam around them just so that you can see a twitching tail or something. In a private game reserve you also tend to have other vehicles around you, distracting you.
That said, when you do get those “in the clear” big 5 experiences, they do tend to stick with you. One of my favourites was when we saw a breeding herd of elephant with small babies. The matriarch trumpeted at us, because they wanted to cross the road we were on. We backed off a respectful distance, and switched off the engine. She then took the herd across the road, but right at our car. We had elephants front and back of us, all around us. The matriarch herself came right past my bonnet, leading an 8 week old baby which was so small it could almost fit right underneath her.
I’ve seen people try and force similar experiences, they push their car into or between a herd. There tends to be much squealing and anger, and the herd rushes off, or worse yet, destroys the car. If you just treat the animals with respect and consideration, you can get much better sightings than those who try to force it. It is possible to safely approach very close to lions on foot, but you need to know what you’re doing.
Bro, trust me I don’t need your stories for vicarious living. I spend at least 8 weeks a year in the bush with the wild animals, I’ve removed invasive plants with cheetahs watching nearby, I’ve looked a hippo directly in the eyes with just tiny little dam wall between us, a rhino with a calf from behind a small tree branch, I’ve been charged by a bull elephant in musth on foot, and I’ve approached predators while walking.
There’s a difference between bold and irresponsible, and whilst Fortune most definitely favours the bold, she also tends to give some nasty life lessons to those who do stupid things in dangerous situations and think of it as bold.
Anyway, don’t really want to get into a pissing contest, you’ve (with caveats about how cool and brave you are) admitted it was a silly thing to do. I guess my main purpose here is to try and make sure some other tourist doesn’t try the same thing and add a negative headline about my country. We get enough of those from our politicians, thanks.
hippos can be a heck of a lot more aggressive and dangerous then most people realize.
You’re absolutely right. Hippos kill more people than any of the big five, by quite a fair margin. A bull hippo, which this was, is even more dangerous. It’s one of the few times I’ve seen an otherwise unflappable game ranger go pale.
Of course, any animal can be dangerous in the right circumstances. One famous hunter in the 70s said the closest he ever came to death was by an impala, a small antelope called the McDonald’s of the bush due to its markings on its rear and how frequently they form part of the diet of the predators.
He was stalking some other animal, stepped on a twig, and the impala bull came charging out of the undergrowth. The hunter scrambled up the nearest tree, barely high enough to keep him safe from the horns, and dropped his rifle in his dash to escape. He spent quite some time up that tree thinking about how sharp those horns looked.
It may have been a dire lion. Those are substantially more dangerous.
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