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Did You Know? Number 14

Did you know how the term 'Big 5' originated?

For many visitors to South Africa, their holiday is incomplete without going on safari - in the Kruger National Park or at one of the many smaller private game reserves.

Many consider viewing of most or all of the 'Big 5' the highlight of their safari experience - even though South Africa boasts numerous other species of wildlife equally beautiful or fascinating.

But sometimes people ask - why isn't the giraffe on the list? What about the hippo? These are surely among the largest / tallest of Africa's wildlife species?

Well the term Big 5 is not a reference to the height, weight or girth of the lion, rhino, leopard, buffalo or elephant - the animals that fall into that category.

In fact the Big 5 is an old hunting term - according to Wikipedia:

"The phrase Big Five game was coined by white hunters and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. The members of the Big Five were chosen for the difficulty in hunting them and the degree of danger involved, rather than their size."

So now you know.

By the way - if you hear of the Big 7 this is a relatively new, tourism driven term which refers to the original Big 5 and adds the great white shark and the Southern Right whale to the list. More on the Big 7


Find luxury safari accommodation on private game reserves on the Portfolio website.