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Original Tanzania
The Original Tanzania Experience

Big Five

Introducing The "Big Five"

When you start researching an African safari, the term "Big Five" often crops up. The "Big Five" refers to the African: lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and cape buffalo. However, why not the hippo, gorilla, or giraffe you may ask? Are they not just as important? How about the cheetah, which is an animal you would probably like to see as much as a buffalo? Well, the term "Big Five" was actually coined by big game hunters (not safari tour operators). It refers to the difficulty in "bagging" these large animals, mostly due to their ferocity when cornered in order for the hunters to take their aim!

African Lion

Safari tour operators simply took the phrase "Big Five" and turned it into a marketing term. For us, it's sometimes a shame to see safari guides speed past a giraffe en route to a buffalo, simply because it was assumed people would like to see the "Big Five" over anything else. We are delighted that many of our clients demonstrated that, at Original Tanzania, we are not the only ones who feel other animal species are infinitely as exciting to spot than only focusing on the "Big Five".

African Elephants

Whatever the outward appearance, nothing seen in nature is an entirely random occurrence. Each blade of grass, each grazing gazelle, stalking lion and soaring vulture is obeying a natural law within the complex web of life. These relationships form pyramids or patterns repeated a thousand times over plains, lakes, rivers and forests, and, of course, form our amazing ecosystems.

African Leopard

What About the "Little Five"?

The "Little Five" is just a fun idea, not based on anything beyond the fact that there are five little animals found in Africa, with names corresponding to the "Big Five". The "Little Five" are: Rhinoceros Beetle, Buffalo Weaver (seen below), Elephant Shrew, Leopard Tortoise, and the Ant Lion.

Buffalo Weaver


Nature provides for so much variation within species and even between siblings. "Survival of the Fittest" is an incredibly adept term to try and describe the battle between strong and weak to survive. There is no perfect solution in nature. It is therefore meaningful and interesting to give animals your time in order to observe their secret life. You won't be disappointed!