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What you need to know about the Africa Big Five

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What you need to know about the Africa Big Five

story by: House of Travel Specialist

Who are The Big Five?
The term ‘Big Five’ refers to animals most sought after by game hunters due to the difficulty and danger in hunting them. If you are on a safari promising glimpses of this ferocious quintet, then you can hope to see the white or black rhinoceros, African lion, African leopard, Cape buffalo and African elephant.


Why are The Big Five are so revered?
Armed with your trusty camera and a spirit for adventure, your trophies are elusive photos of some of the most majestic beasts on the planet. Take in the sunset over the horizon while capturing a pride of lions stalking their prey. Observe a colossal buffalo ambling to a water hole with its perilous strength and size. Watch, but don't disturb the mighty rhino, almost extinct, with its incredible horns and bad temper. Admire the sleek beauty, astonishing speed and highly skilled hunting prowess of the leopard. Catching a glimpse of the Big Five ranks high on any adventure lover's bucket list and is essential on any trip to Africa.


What makes The Big Five so elusive?
Most of the Big Five are in varying stages of endangerment, particularly the black rhinoceros, so get out and see these magnificent beasts in their natural habitat while you still can.


Where can I see The Big Five?
There are a number of countries in Africa where you can still get the 'full house' of the Big Five, including Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The black rhinoceros and white rhinoceros, distinguishable by the shape of their lips, not their colour, are considered critically endangered. The Western black rhinoceros, a subspecies of the black rhinoceros, was declared extinct in 2011. There are only seven confirmed northern white rhinoceroses left, a subspecies of the white rhinoceros. The leopard is considered 'near threatened', while the African lion and the African bush elephant are classified as 'vulnerable' by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


What if I don't see The Big Five at all?
While you're in Africa, you can also keep an eye out for 'The Little Five'; they may not be as big and ferocious as their counterparts, but they make up for it in character. Each has a name corresponding to one of the Big Five, the rhinoceros beetle, buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise and the ant lion.


By House of Travel Specialist: Katie Searle


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