Scrap guns - use your camera!
A modern African Big Five Safari is commonly undertaken with camera and viewing vehicle. Trophies are usually in the form of photographs. Hunters in search of game hunting should refer to the SA Hunter magazine. Many visitors take a shortcut and purchase a stuffed trophy animal or skin from Oasis Tanning Company in Krugersdorp (www.oasistanning.co.za) or curio shops. An excellent example of one such shop on the R104 west of the Damdoryn complex displays fibre glass models of wild animals next to the road.
Wikipaedia explains that the term Big Five was coined by white hunters in Africa and encompasses the five African animals that are most difficult and dangerous to hunt, rather than the biggest African animals. The Big Five - lion, leopard, Cape Buffalo, African elephant and rhinoceros can be viewed and photographed at various venues along the Magalies Meander. Please be warned that some venues prohibit the commercial use of photographs taken there.
Where to find the Big Cats and Big 5 animals
Askari Game Lodge is the only venue within 20km of Magaliesburg to have introduced all five species of African Big Five animal. The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve has four of the Big Five (no elephants). Game drives are offered at these and many other reserves. Prices range from R150 to R250 per person for different lengths of drive at various times of day.
Leopard are nocturnal predators and seldom seen on daytime game drives, but Cape Buffalo breed well locally and feature on game drives at various farms and reserves in the area. Rhinos are currently being kept in pens at some reserves to protect them from poachers using helicopters to kill rhinos and steal their horns.
Lions at Askari are tagged for easy location during game drives. They are also easily spotted at the Krugersdorp Game Reserve,
Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve and Ukutula. Lion cubs are reared where tourists can interact with them at the SA National Lion Park, Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, Ukutula and Hartbeespoort Dam Zoo. It is possible to walk with lions at Ukutula near Hartbeespoort Dam and with cheetahs at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre north of Hartbeespoort Dam. The De Wildt Centre tour provides specialist information about the cheetah.
Elephant ravage the bush in search of food and are therefore commonly kept and fed in controlled environments. Interactive elephant experiences and accommodation are offered at Askari and The Elephant Sanctuary on the R104 west of Hartebeespoort Dam.