Usually plains game is the target on a hunters first safari, but it usually isn’t long before the dangerous game hunting enters the conversation. It’s almost inevitable. The notorious Big Five of Africa are the undisputed Kings of dangerous game.
The Big Five African Dangerous Game Hunts
The members of the Big Five were chosen for the difficulty in hunting them, and the degree of danger involved, rather than their size. They include lion; elephant; cape buffalo; leopard; and rhinoceros.
Some consider lion hunting the ultimate dangerous game hunt. It is probably the most challenging and rewarding hunting safari available in Africa today. Trophy lions are scarce. Choose a hunting concession and PH that has a proven track record.
Most African countries do still allow lion hunting. In fact, South Africa boasts the fastest growing wild lion population in Africa, estimated at approximately 2,800 and counting. Wild lion hunting quotas are extremely conservative and sound management principles dictate these quotas.
Elephant hunting is one of the most misunderstood activities in the world. Contrary to popular belief, elephant hunting is NOT easy. You might walk great distances behind expert trackers, for days on end, to secure a good tusker. Locals show up from miles around to battle over every scrap of meat once an elephant is killed. Protein is scarce in Africa.
“In a civilized and cultivated country wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen. The excellent people who protest against all hunting, and consider sportsmen as enemies of wild life, are ignorant of the fact that in reality the genuine sportsman is by all odds the most important factor in keeping the larger and more valuable wild creatures from total extermination.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Referred as the “Black Death”, cape buffalo have the ability… and the personality to stomp you into the ground and tear you apart with their horns. Truly, a cape buffalo hunt is dangerous. Buff don’t die easy, and can charge you at 35 mph. Sound fun?!
Cape Buffalo are responsible for more deaths than any of the other Big 5 dangerous game animals in Africa; the hippo however still holds the title for killing most humans in Africa. Trying to stop an 1,800 pound animal at point blank range requires a well placed shot into the brain, with a big caliber.
It is at this point, you are glad you have a trusted PH at your side, plugging the freight train with his .500 Nitro, and helping you stop this nightmare from turning into a real disaster. These animals have no sympathy, they play for keeps, and will stop at nothing to take you out if they are threatened. This is why it is so important to make you first shot count.
Leopard hunting is a specialized hunt. Be ready for some long nights in the blind, but you will be rewarded with the rush of adrenaline like you’ve never felt before…PLUS, they make a magnificent trophy that will remind you of those dark African nights. Hunting lore says that you hunt lion with your heart, and leopard with your brain!
If a professional hunter does five leopard hunts in a year and shoots four, that is only 80%. That by the way is an outstanding year. So your chance when hunting is only 80% at the very best. When you see at the conventions people advertising that they are 100% on cats, what they are really saying is 100% on quota, i.e. five cats, seven clients.
Most PH’s consider rhinos to be the most placid of the Big Five species to hunt. Rhinos are often more aggressive, and belligerent than ferocious. Expect to dish out some big dollars for a rhino hunt, as they are very expensive to keep alive for 15 years, which is how long it takes for a bull to develop trophy horns. Armed guards are employed to keep would be poachers at bay.
- White Rhino – Thanks to conservation efforts and hunter dollars, had increased in numbers sufficiently to once again be hunted in South Africa. However, poaching has ramped up recently and they are on the decline again. We feel that the legalization of the the sale of rhino horn is the only way to save them.
- Black Rhino – Black rhinos are in trouble, and are still highly protected. However, old non-breeding bull hunts are available to hunt. This is a great rhino conservation tool. Be sure to join our newsletter so we can let you know when these come available.
Other African Dangerous Game Hunts
Hippo hunting is not particularly difficult, but can be a fun add-on to South Africa safari hunts, or as bait for a crocodile hunt.
A giant crocodile is the only dangerous game animal that actually sees you as food.