Regional Focus

wild dogs playing at dumatau on a game drive in botswana's linyanti reserve

The Big Five, Big Seven and Beyond!

If you've ever heard the term "Big Five," then you've either been on safari or considered it. So what does it mean to visit a Big Five reserve?

The Big Five were once considered Africa's most dangerous and difficult large mammals to hunt on foot, making them some of the most prized for target hunters. These include the lion, leopard, elephant, Cape buffalo and black rhinoceros. Today, they are far more commonly sought by safari-goers shooting with cameras. The term "Big Five" has become a widely used marketing term by national parks and wildlife reserves seeking to promote their appeal and value. But remember that you can often see all the coveted animals by combining a few varied safari destinations in one adventure. A combination of the Okavango Delta and the Kruger or Sabi Sand reserves, or visiting both the Maasai Mara and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy are surefire ways to see all five, and much more!

The Big Seven is a phrase that encompasses the Big Five plus cheetah and African wild dog, which are more elusive creatures that are also prized by camera-wielding wildlife enthusiasts. Madikwe Game Reserve is a great place to spot the Big Seven.

The Marine Big Five includes the African penguin, Cape fur seal, bottlenose dolphin, great white shark and southern right whale, found off the coast of the Western Cape of South Africa. Make a stop in Cape Town and Gansbaai to look for these offshore wildlife attractions.

Call a Safari Specialist at 1-800-543-8917 or email to learn more about the best ways to see the most wildlife in one adventure!

Image of wild dogs by Russel Friedman in Botswana's Linyanti Reserve