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

Dan and I Just returned from a spectacular 7 day cruise on the Nile River on the Explore Egypt Dahabiya Dream.
We have enjoyed many previous Nile river cruises on board the large cruise boats, but a dahabiya is the ultimate way to sail the Nile!
A dahabiya is a two Masted sailing boat. By definition, it must not have an engine. It has a tender which is able to tow the boat when the wind is either non- existent or not conducive to travelling under sail. Dream has six large cabins with either twin or double beds. They are large and have their own individual en-suite shower rooms with the most up to date sanitary ware.
There is an onboard generator to provide electricity (240 volts) for lighting, air conditioning and power.
There are 12 crew for a maximum 12 passengers! Rest assured you will be treated royally!
The boat manager is Mahmoud; his English is excellent and he runs his boat with precision. Indeed, the crew are well established and need no direction to perform their individual tasks. Our chef has spoilt us by preparing a very delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea
Teeto our waiter was excellent and has provided us with lovely cocktails and fresh drinks on our return from each tour and he does anticipate your every need!
The house keeper is extremely efficient and everything was kept disinfected at all times. In fact the whole boat was spotless and everyone was very professional in their approach to the current covid situation making us feel very safe and at ease, it was very impressive.
Mahmoud, the boat manager is also adept at manning the rudder in order to steer the boat and clambering the masts whenever the boat is moving under sail!. He is also the King of dancers whenever the crew break out into impromptu entertainment.
Our Egyptologist Ahmed was extremely knowledgeable and very passionate about his field, he manged to bring the life back to all these amazing monuments we have visited. We were lucky to have most of the ancient sites to ourselves to enjoy as the number of tourists are small.
Another advantage of dahabiya Dream travel is that it is able to moor at sites inadmissible to larger cruise boats.
Needless to say, I cannot recommend this holiday highly enough and Thank you to all the Dream team who made us feel safe, healthy and most importantly gave us a break to forget what is going on the world right now
Would I do it again: certainly!
Kind regards,
Barbara and Dan
Travel Date February 2021

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