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The Big 5

By December 15, 2011 African Safari 2 Comments

Historically the use of “The Big 5” as a phrase came from the white hunters who classed these five species as the most difficult and dangerous animals to hunt on foot in Africa. The 5 are:





Cape Buffalo.

Nowadays of course most of us prefer to hunt The Big 5 to shoot with a camera rather than a gun and with the current disturbing reports that ivory selling is

still rife and hunting for Lions continues all these species apart from the Cape Buffalo are on the endangered or vulnerable list and we must be doing all we can to protect these animals.  For example in the Phinda National Park in South Africa, as part of your safari you can take part in Phinda’s rhino darting programme, where you can go out with experts to dart rhinos to plant microchips in their horns and ear marking for future identification; a more positive holiday experience than shooting to kill in my opinion.


Lion safari big 5

Lion relaxing in Africa


Both Lions and Elephants are social animals and live in groups and so create wonderful photographic opportunities.  Lion prides are often made up of 20-30 with maybe 2 or 3 male lions present and in the Masai Mara National Park you are guaranteed to see them.  It is here that is also home to the largest herds of the very bad tempered, man hating Cape Buffalo.

Interestingly the elephants in the Tsavao national park have a reddish colour to them rather than the traditional grey due to the red volcanic soil in this park.

Leopards are probably the most difficult to see and add to your photograph collection as they are very illusive, hunt at night and take their prey up into the trees to eat to avoid their kill being stolen by hyenas.

Many African National parks are catering more and more for children to visit and for the 3 – 12 year olds there is a new Africa 5, Africas’s little 5:

  • Ant lion
  • Elephant shrew
  • Buffalo weaver
  • Leopard tortoise
  • Rhino beetle

This group of animals have been chosen as the little 5 purely based on the fact that they share their names with the Big 5 but a great idea none the less.


White Rhino in Kenya big 5

White Rhino in Kenya

Explore Travel and Cruises have a very useful infograph showing some great things to do and see on an African safari and then links it to the countries that you need to visit to do them, including the Big 5.  You will find that most responsible companies providing safari’s use companies that have a strong environmental ethos and ensures that part of your money you spend to go on this holiday is used to help fund the protection and future of these animals.

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What our clients have to say

I just wanted to drop you a few lines to express just how much Charlie and I enjoyed our trip last week. We returned home yesterday with hundreds of photos and a lifetime of memories.
I cannot thank enough, the Dream Crew, Mahmood and our wonderful guide Ahmed, for their outstanding service; nothing was too much trouble for them and they all worked tirelessly (and seamlessly) to provide exceptional service. It was without fault. Ahmed particularly was incredible, with his extensive knowledge of all things Egyptian and we wish him well with his studies finishing his PhD in Egyptology!
When the boat was caught up in a sandstorm, the crew moved our dining location downstairs to the lounge without it seems, any great effort and ensured our safety at all times. We appreciated this very much. Again, an experience we are very unlikely to every have again. Who would have thought that we would have been caught up on a sandstorm, when on a boat, sailing down the Nile? Despite being forced to moor up for longer than expected, we did not feel that we had missed out on anything and efforts were made to ensure that we made up for lost time too. What a story to tell our Grandchildren! I have been told that this was an exceptionally rare experience which makes it all the more interesting.
We have seen sights which we are not likely to see again and the ‘piece de la resistance’ was being able to go to the valley of the Kings which somehow, I had missed on the itinerary! What an absolute bonus. To be able to get inside some of the tombs and see their magnificent artwork was mind blowing.
Finally, I also wanted to praise the wonderful cook who, despite the small kitchen, produced meal after meal of wonderful food and just how he managed to get 12 plates of food out for serving at the same time, was mind blowing. We’ve been to bigger restaurants who have failed to do that for just a handful of us. The food was wonderful and to be able to get a sample of local Egyptian food to eat, was brilliant. On one occasion, he produced battered fish which was possibly the best we have ever tasted.
All in all, it has been the best holiday we have every had, thanks in no small part, to the wonderful organisation and service provided by everyone on the Dream.
Kind regards,
Susan and Charlie (aka Queen Hatshepsut and Seti I)
Travel Date March 2020

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