top of page
Featured Posts

Africa's Big 5: What are they?

On every game drive or walk that nature/field guides conduct in South Africa, they will always refer to the "big 5". Inevitably people visiting South Africa for the first time want to know: What are the "big 5", and how did the name "big 5" come about?

The "Big 5" are the following mammals: Leopard; lion; elephant;rhino and buffalo.

How did these animals earn the name "Big 5"?

The "Big 5" are the most dangerous animals to hunt.

"White hunters" were predominantly white people from all over the world who came to hunt Africa's wildlife as earlier than the 1800's. There are also accounts of hunters coming from the middle and far East. Some of these men came for the thrill and adrenaline of the hunting adventure, then known as a safari. Some of the men came to seek a fortune hunting for the ivory trade. Hunting was also popular amongst the royalty of many countries and the presidents of the USA. By the early 1900's it was the "in thing" to do.

Anyway, these men classified the most dangerous animals to hunt into one group. These animals are especially dangerous when wounded. If the hunter needed to track the animal down, he would have to be ready to face a possible life or death situation. (the hunters life) This bygone era is known as the Golden Age of the White Hunters. Today we prefer to conserve our wildlife in South Africa.

Kalahari lion, Kgalagadi National Park, South Africa

African buffalo, Kruger National Park

In the next blog we will take a look at the "Big 5" animals and discuss all sorts of interesting facts about them. We will start with my favourite, the elephant.

Jonathan James Clements is a South African safari guide and travel writer. He currently resides in Switzerland from where he organises tours and safaris to Southern Africa, with a special focus on South Africa.

For inquiries email: or visit the website

Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Pinterest Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
bottom of page