About the Author

James Tyrrell


James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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on What is the Big 5?

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Lovely blog James. It is so true what you wrote about Africa. It realy is the most amazing place to live and be part of. We are so privileged to experience all its wonders every day. It is not always about the Big 5 on safari. It is about the whole bush experience and it is often the smaller things that turn out to be the best.

Ian Hall
Master Tracker

Never believed those stories about buffalo until one day, in Tsavo when we met this solitary and very grump old male.
I have to say that I always thought it was Black Rhino which is very aggressive.

James Tyrrell

HI Ian,
Yip, most of the time they aren’t too much trouble, but get one on the wrong day and you’ll be scuttling for the closest tree in no time!

Hari Pandalai

Its true that its the experience that matters. I am originally from INDIA and we too have the big 5 albeit each species smaller in size with the exception of the buffalo. The Asiatic Elephant ~ 27,000 , the only population of Asiatic Lions ~ 500 found anywhere in Asia tucked in one state of Gujarat, the One Horned India Rhino population ~ 2400, the Indian Buffalo(Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo) ~ 100 along with the Gaur more abundant and ~ 7000 Common Leopards(same species as found in Africa). The other big one is the Bengal Tiger ~ 2200 around 60 % of the world population, The Snow Leopard ~ 500 found in the Himalayas. There is also the Asiatic Wild Dog(Dhole) found throughout India. But due to population pressure ~ 1.25 billion humans all wildlife and habitats are under pressure.


James Tyrrell

Hi Hari,
Fascinating to know about the Indian big 5!
Thanks for sharing!
Best regards,

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Great article to lend context to such iconic animals!!! Honestly, I probably end up looking for birds more on any trip to the bush, but the Big Five are always near the top of my list along with cheetahs, hippos and wild dogs! Though I fully agree that the Big Five are only a tiny part of the whole bushveld experience!! Still, I’m hoping to see them all in the Delta next week!!

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Your essay is right on target. The Big Five are sought after by first time guests to game preserves but there is so much more to hear and view. I’ll never forget my first trip to Africa in 1995/96, spending Xmas and New Yearsin Capetown before flying off to begin my safari experience. I wasn’t disappointed!! One highlight was watching a pod of hippos frolicking in the Zambezi River from the relative safety of our small motor boat and whilst staying in a tent in Hwange Game Reserve, waking to find a young kudu waiting for me on my stoop, anticipating a breakfast snack (had been orphaned). Not part of the big five but truly exciting!!

Thanks for sharing.

Iris Lane
Digital Ranger

What an interesting article to read when living on the outskirts of a city in the UK. We see dogs, cats & birds here. Our most dangerous beasts are human crooks & robbers etc!

Irene Henkes
Digital Tracker

Nice blog! I would also love to hear more on the little 5 and all the other 5s there are!

James Tyrrell

Thanks Irene,
There will be blogs coming out on these in the next while, don’t you worry!

Jeff Rodgers
Digital Tracker

Great blog, as always. No safari is complete without using all 5 senses. Maybe that is a topic for a future blog.

James Tyrrell

Thanks Jeff,
Great idea – watch this space…

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