Big 5

Big 5 safari

Although sadly hunting of the Big 5 continues to this day the phrase has been adopted by many wildlife safari organisers – particularly for Big 5 safaris in Africa – to sell and promote their wildlife holidays which focus on Lions, Leopards, Rhino, Elephants and African Buffalo. These five animals were the most highly prized by trophy hunters and maybe with the exception of the African Buffalo, they remain highly prized by wildlife photographers, ‘shooting’ with their large lenses. Some people would say that the concept of the Big 5 is outdated and ineffectual when considering the pressing need to both educate and conserve the very few remaining wilderness areas which are home to these magnificent animals. However, Apex Predators like Leopards and African Wild Dogs – which would be in most photographer’s new version of the Big 5 – will always capture people’s imagination and if they are doing well, then generally it means the entire ecosystem is in good health as they are on top of the wonderful pyramid of life.

Big 5 safari animals

As already touched on, these former trophy animals consisted of either Apex predators or enormous herbivores which dominated the plains of Africa and could be aggressive if challenged by man. We quite enjoy how the Big 5 ‘label’ has been hijacked by other countries to reflect their diverse and interesting wildlife and the fact it might not always be the charismatic predators which feature. So, for example for the Big 5 animals of India, we might see Sloth Bears and Indian Gaur (Bison) and the Big 5 of Brazil might include the elegant Maned Wolf or the weird and wonderful Giant Anteater. For the Big 5 of Sri Lanka, why not throw in some mammals in the sea, like Sperm or Blue Whales and off the shores of South Africa you could include Whale Sharks or Great White Sharks!

Big 5 African safaris

If we again focus on the ‘home’ of organised wildlife safaris then we can say that both certain countries and indeed certain National Parks in Africa have attracted visitors to them for the chance to see the Big 5 on safari. The countries in Africa which are the best places to see the Big 5 would be Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Within these amazing countries the best places to see the Big 5 would be the Mara in Kenya, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, Moremi Game Reserve & Chobe National Park in Botswana, Etosha in Namibia and of course the famous Kruger wildlife reserve in South Africa. Whatever Big 5 African safari you are interested in, Wildlife Trails can design a bespoke African wildlife holiday at the best time of year to see the Big 5.


Our Clients Say About Us


We went to Alaska, which Wildlife Trails sorted out for us. I chose Wildlife Trails because Allan was more knowledgeable than others I emailed, and more helpful. We went to Anchorage, Seward, er, Nikiski, Kodiak and Katmai. At Nikiski we stayed at Daniels Lake Lodge B&B in a log cabin by the lake. It was an amazing place and was the wildest and most remote of our journey. We saw a black bear and 3 coyote on the road. Had a great day out with Alaska West Air near there. We had bears right beside our boat at Big River Lakes near Wolverine Creek, saw bald eagles and plenty of salmon in the river. They gave us a scenic flight on the way back flying right over double glacier and its ice field - so close we almost landed on it. Really breath-taking. We booked up Juneau Mendenhall Glacier Ice Adventure Tour ourselves through Alaska Shore Excursions - local tour operator was Liquid Alaska Tours. This was excellent. We did canoeing, went in an ice cave under the glacier and used crampons to climb on top of it. A fantastic day out. Would recommend these. Also had a great day out at Brooks Falls watching the bears catching the salmon that were jumping up the waterfall. Well worth the trip. Wouldn't recommend Jayleen's Alaska whale watching trip. We didn't see anything but a lighthouse for most of the morning. Cost us a fortune for 6 hours when we saw more on the 2 hour cruise with Alaska Tales for a fraction of the cost. These are a new company. We didn't have many on the boat so didn't have to fight the crowds to see the whales and they took us straight to them so didn't waste any of our time. To see black bears close up we went to AnAn Bear observatory. A mother and cub came very close to where we were standing on a platform. At the other places we saw brown bears. A great trip all in all. As I stated above Wildlife Trails are very knowledgeable and helpful. They always replied quickly to any emails I sent asking them a lot of questions (some I should have been able to work out myself). When we had problems they were always contactable to help us sort them out. The ferry they booked for us went on strike but Wildlife Trails had sorted us out a flight in its place before we even knew there was a problem, so the holiday ran very smoothly. I would recommend Wildlife Trails to anyone and I have already booked another trip with them next year.

ByDawn and Steve
Fantastic Canadian Adventure

We had a two week holiday on Vancouver Island.. we went on a whale watching tour and saw Orcas, Humpbacks, Dahl porpoises, white striped Dolphins, seals and Sea lions. We then did a Grizzly bear r and saw lots of Grizzlies as well as loads of Black Bears. The highlight of the holiday was a three day kayaking trip which was fantastic. Kayaking with Orcas and Humpback whales was incredible Our holiday was completely organised by Wildlife Trails, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.. everything was planned to perfection and they made the entire holiday exactly what we asked for.

ByChris and John
Outstanding from planning, throughout the whole trip and home again

We had a 13 day tour to India, mostly wildlife as this was what we wanted and a little element of city & culture. Day in Delhi staying at the Imperial, apart from noisy traffic getting to the el it was an iconic place to be, so much hitory and staff who had been there 30yrs and proud of what they did. then onto 5 days at Ranthambor - 2 incredible Tiger sightings with so many other species, onto Agra and the Taj Mahal and then the Saptura National Park. Great time was taken in the planning, we were given lots of options as to how to make the trip up including time of year and how to maximize wildlife sighting.