Playing the Big Five Game in Zambia

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If you’re ever taken African safari, you’ve probably seen the “Big Five” game animals. They’re named after their size and are considered to be the most dangerous African game animals to hunt on foot.

During my safari in Zambia, it was a joy to see these animals with camera lenses that were bigger than me!

In Africa, “Big Five” are referred to as the five animals most likely to make your hunt into an experience that you never forget.

I was happy to shoot these animals, which included lions, leopards, rhinos, buffaloes and elephants on my safari in Zambia.

With my variable-zoom lens attached to my DSLR camera, it was difficult but rewarding!

I was able to see the Big Five in just two weeks, and I also had some amazing sightings of these animals while I did so.

In fact, I saw all five of them in two different parks within a month! This was because Zambia is full of wonderful places made for wildlife viewing, with ample camping and entry on a tourist visa.

In Kenya and Tanzania, I got to check off buffalo, lion, leopard, and elephant within 24 hours of arriving.

And it didn’t take long for me to visit South Luangwa National Park in Zambia for their own Big Five sightings: my close encounter with two lazy male lions and a close-up photo of the rhinoceros. And by the end of my weeks-long journey I had checked off my five animals from the Big Five list. Thanks Zambia!

A camera is a fantastic device for capturing moments in amazing detail. Within just a few seconds of taking this photo, my camera became unusable. I put down the camera and enjoyed the thrill of seeing an elephant so close that he walked right by!

I caught this fantastic image of an elephant in the Mosi-oa-Tunya national park while I was taking pictures with my telephoto lens. The moment I grabbed my camera, all of the focus was gone because it was too close, so I pulled back and captured the encounter on video instead.

See the rest of the Big Five photos after the jump.

After spending the night in an open tent, we were lucky enough to wake up early and wander around for game drives. One game drive led to a great moment when one of the leopards showed up for a few minutes before slinking off back into the bush.

When we went on a night game drive in South Luangwa National Park, we were lucky to find this leopard during our hunt. We spent a few minutes hunting for it in the dark and shining our spotlight near its face before it spooked away into the night.

On the drive from the landing strip in Jeti to our camp in Lower Zambezi National Park, our guide Elijah mentioned he might be able to find some lions he had seen earlier.

When Elijah zigged and zagged through a forest of winter thorn trees, a type of acacia, towards a watering hole covered with water lilies, I thought he was going to turn around. But when we got closer, he had spotted what I would have mistaken for a pile of dirt if I hadn’t been looking at it more closely.

Just then, we spotted two male lions panting under a tree on that very hot October afternoon. We joked with Elijah that maybe he had their cell phone number!

On the drive from Jeti to our camp in Zambezi National Park, one of our guides mentioned that he might be able to find some lions because he had seen some earlier. On further thought, that was a bad idea.

Our guide zigged and zagged through the forest of winter thorn trees, acacias, towards a watering hole covered in water lilies. We were about to turn around when he spotted what I would have mistaken for a pile of dirt from miles away. However just past that spot we saw two lions panting on their afternoon nap from the trees!

These rare white rhinos are found at the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and are protected 24 hours a day by armed guards.

The one in the foreground has a stubby horn, which is done (like a fingernail) to deter poachers from killing these endangered creatures for their horns.

These white rhinoceros, found in or near the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, are the only rhinos in Zambia. White rhinos are protected 24 hours a day by armed guards inside the park’s protective structure (you can see part of a lookout tower behind them). The individual rhino in the foreground has a stubby horn, which is done to deter poachers from killing these endangered creatures for their horns.

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