Buffalo Weaver

Let's Get Small - A Look at Africa's Little Five

Zegrahm Contributor|July 20, 2016|Blog Post

While much attention is rightly paid to Africa’s Big Five, we believe the continent’s smaller wildlife deserve their due, as well. Enter Africa’s Little Five. These tiny fellas often get overlooked—and not simply because of their minuscule size. Yet they play a vital role in maintaining the diverse and delicate African eco-system. So, let’s take a closer look these half pints.

African Elephant Shrew

Elephant Shrew 

This cute little guy looks like a rat crossed with an elephant. Native to at least six African countries, the elephant shrew averages around 5.5 inches in length; some reach almost twice that size. Look for them hopping about on their long legs, using their large snouts to sniff out insects across Southern Africa’s dry forests and savannas.

Buffalo Weaver

Buffalo Weaver

The three species of buffalo weavers—black, red-billed, and white-billed—are among the largest weaver birds, measuring between 8 and 10 inches. They also are the messiest, building large, communal nests with multiple entrances and often more than one to a tree. Quite social in nature, they can be found in small flocks, loudly cackling as they scour Africa’s dry regions for insects, seeds, and fruits.

African Ant Lion

Ant Lion

This peewee may be the smallest of the Little Five, but he rules other ant species. Also known as pill bugs or doodlebugs, ant lions are found in sandy, arid areas, digging underground traps to catch even smaller brethren for food. Eventually the larva transforms into a winged insect, more diplomatically dining on nectar and pollen.

African Rhino Beetle

Rhino Beetle

Heavy body armor and a wicked horn make this insect one fierce-looking dude. The male actually sports a dual-tipped horn that can be used as pinchers to dig for food or do battle with rivals. (Don’t worry, they are harmless to humans.) Rhino beetles, which can reach up to 6 inches in length, are among some of the strongest creatures on the planet when compared to their body weight.

African Leopard Tortoise

Leopard Tortoise

The biggest of the Little Five is also one of the largest tortoises on land, measuring around two feet in length and weighing upwards of 70 pounds. Named for the distinctive markings on their shells, these handsome herbivores are found throughout southern and eastern African and can live up to 75 years in captivity.

 

Keep an eye out for these pint-size creatures on a number of upcoming expeditions across the African continent:

Signature Botswana | May 16, 2017 | May 15, 2018
Ultimate Namibia | July 24, 2017
Gorillas & the Great Migration: Rwanda & Tanzania | August 24, 2017 
Remote Tanzania
| August 9, 2017 | August 8, 2018
Wildlife Along the Zambezi: Zambia & Zimbabwe | September 18, 2017
Southern Africa's Diversity: Namibia, Botswana & Zambia | February 14, 2018
Kenya & Tanzania Under the Canvas | June 18, 2018
Plains to Primates: Zambia & Rwanda | September 6, 2018

 

Related Blog Posts

  • Milford Sound, New Zealand
    Blog Post

    20 Intriguing Christmas Traditions Around the World

    November 20, 2017 | Blog Post

    Christmas has become an almost ubiquitous celebration found all around the world. Nearly every country—even those not traditionally steeped in Christianity—acknowledges the holiday in some fashion.

    Read More

    Gorillas of the Congo
    Blog Post

    How to Plan a Trip: Tips from an Expert Travel Itinerary Planner

    November 15, 2017 | Blog Post

    Jon Nicholson, Zegrahm’s Director of Operations & Itinerary Planning, was becoming an expert on how to plan a trip before he was even old enough to drive.

    Read More

    Zebras at Sunset
    Blog Post

    Why Overland Adventures Rock

    November 13, 2017 | Blog Post

    The best travel adventures do not happen in a flash of instant gratification. Instead, they are the long, meandering journeys that give us more immersive, interactive experiences to savor. Sure, jumbo jets might get you to your destination faster; but once you arrive, I believe that overland adventures are the key to truly exploring the heart and soul of a place.

    Read More

  • Island Sky
    Blog Post

    What Are Expedition Cruises? Proof That Not All Cruises Are Created Equal

    November 10, 2017 | Blog Post

    Cruises have gotten a bad rap lately, and some would argue that’s justifiably so.

    Read More

    Grimsey Island
    Blog Post

    Tips for Surviving a Long Layover

    November 7, 2017 | Blog Post

    Ah, the dreaded long layover… We all love the convenience of direct flights to our destination. But there are times when long layovers are simply unavoidable, especially when you’re traveling internationally.

    Read More

    Berber Drummer, Morocco
    Blog Post

    The Importance of Cultural Geography: A Q&A with Zegrahm Expert Ron Wixman

    October 26, 2017 | Blog Post

    It’s tough to know where to start when you’re talking to a guy with a resumé like that of Zegrahm’s cultural geography expert, Ron Wixman.

    Read More

  • Mountain Gorilla, Rwanda
    Blog Post

    The 10 Best Places to See Animals in the Wild

    October 4, 2017 | Blog Post

    I’ve been a nature-lover my whole life, but I began traveling specifically to see animals in the wild back in the early ’90s. Still in my early 20s then, I was fascinated by watching wildlife. My passion grew exponentially as I took up photography and became more adept at spotting hidden animals.

    Read More

    Sahara Desert
    Infographics

    Sea to Sahara [Infographic]

    September 18, 2017 | Infographics

    Take a glimpse into our brand-new itinerary, Sea to Sahara, showcasing far-flung islands and exotic ports of call, including Cape Verde, Canary Islands, and Morocco.

    Read More

    La Gomera, Canary Islands
    Video

    Sea to Sahara: A Brand-New Small-Ship Cruise Expedition

    August 29, 2017 | Video

    Watch as Director of Operations Jon Nicholson and Cruise Director Kelsey Simmons, talk about our brand-new expedition, Sea to Sahara, that explores Cape Verde, the Sahara Desert, the Canary Islands, and Morocco.

     

    Read More

  • Kenya & Tanzania Under Canvas
    Blog Post

    Kenya's Bushland, Birthplace of the Safari

    July 24, 2017 | Blog Post

    The traveler who goes on safari in Kenya is a bit like a golfer hitting the links at St. Andrews. Beyond the sheer enjoyment of their experience, there is an ever-present awareness of the history and heritage surrounding them.

    Read More

    Berber Drummer, Morocco
    Blog Post

    Experience Berber Culture in Morocco

    June 19, 2017 | Blog Post

    Morocco is often lumped into the Middle East (rather than North Africa) and classified as an Arabic country. But the indigenous people of Morocco—the Berbers—are the area’s original inhabitants. The majority of the country’s population of around 34 million is Berber, not Arab.

    Read More

    Great Barrier Reef
    Infographics

    2018: 26 Countries, 52 UNESCO World Heritage Sites [Infographic]

    May 4, 2017 | Infographics

    In 2018, Zegrahm will be visiting 52 amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in over 25 countries! The United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the UN that maintains a list of important natural or historical sites, whose preservation and safe-keeping are deemed important for the world community.

    Read More