Safari is a year-round adventure and the planning process is exciting! Africa is a vast continent and the possibilities for exploring it are endless. From gorilla trekking in Rwanda to Big Five game drives in Tanzania, researching destinations and designing an itinerary with your safari planner occupies a tremendous amount of your free time. And, of course, deciding what to wear and which camera to bring are all part of the fun, too!
When planning your safari, conversations often center around Africa’s iconic wildlife. Whether you’re a full-fledged Africaphile or just beginning your research, you’ve likely heard the term ‘Big Five’. For most first-time safari-goers, the Big Five are on the list. But did you also know there’s the Small Five, the Shy Five, the Ugly Five, the Impossible Five and even the Marine Five? If this is your first time on safari, you may be asking yourself, “What’s it all about?” So, let’s break down a safari by the numbers, starting with — you guessed it! — the Big Five.
The Big Five. You may be surprised to learn that the Big Five has nothing at all to do with size. First coined by big game hunters, the ‘Big Five’ was a term used to describe the animals they viewed as the most difficult and ferocious to hunt on foot: The African Elephant, the African Lion, the African Leopard, the Rhinoceros (White or Black) and the African Buffalo. The Big Five can be seen in many reserves in Africa, but it is worth doing your research to ensure you are visiting the right places for what you want to see. For example, Lewa Conservancy in Kenya is a wonderful place to observe either the White or Black Rhino while Botswana’s Chobe National Park and Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park are outstanding places to observe the African Elephant and Serengeti National Park is home to some 3,000 lions.