This term Big Five was coined during the early to mid 1800s by hunters and explorers who came to Africa to colonise and settle and later to hunt for sport. These animals were given the title big five game not for their size or popularity but due to the difficulty and the danger of hunting these five animals on foot, which lead to them been named the Big Five.
One must remember that this term was coined during the time of muzzle loaders and black powders which lack the velocity and knockdown that modern rifles have, which were only developed in the very late 1800s.
It was common practise for hunters to be accompanied by a gun bearer who was not only skilful and efficient but who also possessed nerves of steel. It was the gun bearer who would carry the second rifle to hand to the hunter while he reloaded the first hoping to buy enough time to reload and destroy the animal.
The Big Five are as follows African elephant, lion, Cape buffalo, leopard and specifically the black rhino. These were known as the most dangerous animals to hunt in Africa. Due to low numbers of black rhino, the white rhino is now accepted to be one of the Big Five.
The area where Jock Safari Lodge is situated in the Southern Kruger still has a healthy population of the Big 5 including black rhino. Nowadays we “hunt” the Big 5 on safari with a camera!
Dave Olsen and Louis Strauss
Jock Safari Lodge