Marine 5 – Great White Shark

When visiting Africa, the Big Five are on top of everyone’s bucket list. Seeing the Big 5 on safari is often the Number One reason to visit the African Continent- safari.   Richard has always maintained that Africa has more surprises and more wildlife than most people can possibly imagine. Seeking the lesser known but no less majestic  – the Marine Big 5 are becoming more and more popular on a visit to Africa.  So brace yourself for the magnificent Marine Big 5 and the “Serengeti of the Sea”. The Marine Big 5 includes whales, sharks, seals, penguins and dolphins, ocean creatures particularly popular at the southern tip of Africa. The bountiful waters of South Africa are home to all 5 of the Marine Big 5, and can be viewed when on a safari trip to South Africa.   Richard shares some of his favourite facts about each of these iconic species of the ocean, that he personally discovered whilst in Africa. In this post he shares  about the most well known of the marine Big 5 – the Great White Shark. The shark cage diving industry is thriving and one of the “must do” items on a trip to South Africa. Great white sharks are the ocean’s largest predatory fish. The can reach lengths of 20 feet and weigh up to 5,000 pounds. They are very well camouflaged as their slate grey upper bodies blend in with the rocky sea floor when looking down at them. Their underbellies are white and blend in with the sky when looking from below. A great white shark has 300 teeth and they are arranged in up to seven rows. When one tooth falls out the next one falls into place. They can reach speeds of 15 mph and are able to propel themselves completely out of the water when pursuing prey. Female great white’s usually give birth to between 2 and 12 babies per year. Unlike other sharks, great whites are born alive and can swim immediately. It is unknown where the great whites give birth to their young. Great whites can live to be 60 years old. These predators have a 6th sense called electromagnetism. This sense allows them to hone in on small electrical signals from the heartbeats of their prey. Despite the fear they produce in man, great whites are only responsible for about 5 -10 attacks a year, most of which are not fatal. The Great white shark is one of the hardest creatures to keep alive in captivity. Most die within a few days. Great whites also utilize a technique called “spy hopping” where they will stick their heads out of the water to view prey, such as seals, sitting on land. Richard has more than 12 years of personal travel in Africa, in addition to guiding and planning trips and itineraries for his clients. He has seen and experienced most of Southern and East Africa and is continuously staying up to date and researching the latest news, lodges, accommodation and travel logistics. If you need advice or a chat….. just ASK RICHARD! Check out this video of a 4 metre Great White Shark in “Shark Alley”, South Africa Southern Sky Adventures Specializing in guided and self-drive trips through Southern and East Africa & the Indian Ocean Islands 721 Woodward Way, NW, Atlanta, GA 30327 USA 404.300.9630 office – 770.324.0068 cell Website: www.southernskyadventures.com    

The Big 5: Lion

When you start researching your African Safari, the term “Big 5” often comes up. The term Big 5 was coined by big-game hunters and quickly became known as the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot, and the name stuck – although now ‘shooting’ is done through a camera lens. So the Big 5 are not called the Big 5 because of their size! The Big 5 are five of Africa’s greatest wild animals – lion, leopard, elephant, Cape buffalo and rhino. As during the bygone hunting era the term “Big Five” still conjures up the romance and excitement of Africa’s exotic destinations and experiences. Images will begin playing in your mind: lions roaring; elephants trumpeting; buffaloes lurking in long grass; rhinos standing stately under a thorn tree; leopards prowling in the gathering darkness. Many travellers regard a visit to Africa as incomplete without having spotted, and perhaps photographed, the Big Five – legends of the wilderness which have become synonymous with Africa. According to Wikipedia, Countries where all the members of the big five can be found include Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Malawi. Richard has compiled a list of facts about each of the Big 5 that he personally found fascinating whilst on safari in Africa.   In this post Richard shares his favorite fast facts about the lion, which is arguably the most sought-after of the Big Five because it is synonymous with an African safari. Charismatic, powerful and beautiful, everybody wants to see the appropriately named ‘King of the Beasts’. African lions are the most social of all cats. They live in family units called prides while most other cats in the wild are solitary unless the female is raising her cubs.  A lion’s roar can be heard as far away as 5 miles. A male lion weighs up to 500 pounds, can reach a speed of 50 mph and can leap up to 35 feet. A lion’s heels do not touch the ground when walking. The darker a male lion’s mane the older it is. Females do in fact do about 90% of the hunting and the male eats first. Male lions will leave the pride as adolescents and may travel with a few other males before making an attempt to take over a pride. Lionesses are caring mothers and will take over raising an orphaned cub. 2 lionesses in a pride will often give birth at the same time and raise all the cubs together. Lions can see 6x better than humans at night. Wild male lions will live up to 12 years and females up to 15 years. Richard has more than 12 years of personal travel in Africa, in addition to guiding and planning trips and itineraries for his clients. He has seen and experienced most of Southern and East Africa and is continuously staying up to date and researching the latest news, lodges, accommodation and travel logistics. If you need advice or a chat….. just ASK RICHARD! Look at this awesome video clip of  the tense moment when a father king lion meets his baby cubs for the first time and the mother lioness prepares to strike. Africa… In Your Wildest Dreams! Southern Sky Adventures Specializing in guided and self-drive trips through Southern and East Africa & the Indian Ocean Islands 721 Woodward Way, NW, Atlanta, GA 30327 USA 404.300.9630 office – 770.324.0068 cell Website: www.southernskyadventures.com         All images ©Richard Pace -taken personally in Africa on safari