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Lion cub sleeping at waters edge

Safari Shenanigans: Unveiling the Big 5, Little 5, and Ugly 5 of Tanzania

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Welcome, intrepid adventurers and wildlife enthusiasts, to the wild and wonderful world of the African safari! Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an amateur with a camera itching for action, the African plains of Tanzania promise a photographic feast. Today, we’re diving into the delightful and sometimes quirky groups of animals that will make your safari snaps the envy of Instagram: the Big 5, the Little 5, and the Ugly 5. Grab your lenses, pack your sense of humor, and let’s go on a photographic adventure!

Rhino in the Serengeti
Rhino in the Serengeti

The Big 5: The Stars of the Savannah

First up, we have the Big 5. These are the A-listers of the animal kingdom, the ones that get all the paparazzi’s attention. Originally coined by big-game hunters for being the toughest to hunt, these majestic beasts now pose gracefully for your camera.

  1. Lion: The king of the jungle (though they live in the savannah, but let’s not nitpick). With their regal manes and confident swagger, lions are the ultimate models. Pro tip: catch them lounging around – they spend up to 20 hours a day napping.
  2. Leopard: These elusive beauties are the supermodels of the bush – elusive, mysterious, and always photogenic. They’re often spotted lounging in trees, looking down upon us mere mortals.
  3. Elephant: Gentle giants with hearts (and ears) as big as their footprints. Capturing an elephant in motion, with its ears flapping and trunk swinging, is a surefire way to wow your followers.
  4. Rhinoceros: These hefty herbivores might look like they belong in a prehistoric movie, but their presence is anything but ancient. Get a shot of a rhino’s impressive horn, and you’ve got yourself a conversation starter.
  5. Buffalo: Don’t let their bovine looks fool you; these bad boys have tempers to match their size. With their curved horns and sturdy frames, buffalo are the unsung heroes of the Big 5, offering rugged charm to your safari album.
Leopard Tortoise
Leopard or mountain tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis)

The Little 5: Small but Mighty

Next, we turn the spotlight on the Little 5. These mini marvels may not have the same star power as their larger counterparts, but they pack a punch in the personality department.

  1. Elephant Shrew: Tiny, adorable, and with a nose that’s always on the move, the elephant shrew is like the busybody of the animal kingdom. Good luck catching one in focus – they’re always in a hurry!
  2. Buffalo Weaver: These industrious birds build intricate nests and have a knack for photobombing. Their red beaks and black feathers make for striking contrasts against the savannah backdrop.
  3. Leopard Tortoise: Slow and steady wins the race – and the photo op. With a beautifully patterned shell, the leopard tortoise is the ultimate poser, always ready for a close-up.
  4. Antlion: Masters of disguise, antlions are the ninjas of the insect world. They create tiny sand traps to catch unsuspecting prey. Capturing their handiwork requires a keen eye and a lot of patience.
  5. Rhino Beetle: These armored insects look like they’ve stepped out of a sci-fi movie. With their impressive horns and shiny exoskeletons, they add a touch of the extraterrestrial to your safari shots.
Marabou Stork and Vultures on a Zebra carcass with a Wildebeest in the background.
Marabou Stork and Vultures on a Zebra carcass with a Wildebeest in the background.

The Ugly 5: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Finally, we arrive at the Ugly 5. These creatures might not win any beauty contests, but they’ve got character and charisma in spades.

  1. Warthog: With faces only a mother could love, warthogs are the comedians of the bush. Capture them mid-snort or with their tails raised high, and you’ve got yourself a comedy classic.
  2. Hyena: Often cast as the villains, hyenas have a rough-around-the-edges charm. Their laughter-like calls and scruffy appearance make for some truly unique photo ops.
  3. Marabou Stork: These birds look like they’ve had a rough night out, but their bald heads and dangling throat pouches give them a certain avant-garde appeal.
  4. Vulture: The clean-up crew of the savannah, vultures have a certain gothic allure. Snap them soaring high or perched ominously, and you’ll add a touch of drama to your portfolio.
  5. Wildebeest: Known for their awkward gait and less-than-glamorous looks, wildebeests are the underdogs of the animal kingdom. But during the Great Migration, their sheer numbers make for awe-inspiring images.

Why Should You Go on A Tanzania Safari?

Tanzania is the ultimate playground for wildlife photographers. Home to iconic landscapes like the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, it offers unparalleled opportunities to capture these fascinating animals in their natural habitat. The diversity of ecosystems means you can photograph everything from the sun-baked savannah to lush forests and shimmering lakes.

The Great Migration, one of the most spectacular wildlife events on Earth, takes place in Tanzania, offering once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities. And let’s not forget the friendly locals and knowledgeable guides who make every safari an adventure to remember.


So, whether you’re drawn to the majesty of the Big 5, the charm of the Little 5, or the quirky appeal of the Ugly 5, Our Tanzania safaris have it all. Pack your gear, charge those batteries, and get ready to create a safari photo album that will leave your friends and followers in awe. Remember, every animal has its moment – even the ones that are not quite cover model material.

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