This is wrong. I am also pleasantly surprised that I am not the only NSer to have gone on safari in Africa! Yes, the Big 5 can be legally hunted. The Big 5 is comprised of the elephant, rhino, leopard, lion, and cape buffalo. Of the five, the cape buffalo is by far the most affordable, with the rhino being the most expensive. There are White and Black rhinos. Yes, both are very rare and pricey. This year, a total of 5 black rhino tags were available, at a cost of $350,000 each. In these hunts, specific males are targeted that are outside the breeding spectrum. They are of no use to the perpetuation of the species, and the majority of the money is put right back into rhino conservation. Hunting is a very, very effective management tool, and often the only one that can work.
Safari is a rich man's sport, for sure. A lion hunt will run between 40K and 85K, Elephants are all over the place. One can do a PAC (Problem Animal Control) hunt for a non-importable elephant for relatively cheap, in the 10-20K range. Elephant hunts can also commonly go for 50-100K depending on ivory size and area hunted. Leopard is fairly cheap, under 10K. There are "green" hunts available for white rhinos as well, where the rhino is shot with a tranquilizer dart. Specific measurements are taken of the trophy, and a good taxidermist is able to craft a precise replica for the hunter.
I dream of returning to Africa. I would love to hunt several cape buffalo, preferably with a .470 NE double rifle. My hunting area of choice would be Tanzania, specifically the Selous region. Botswana is closing to all hunting next season, a terrible decision. This bodes well for Namibia and Zambia's prospects financially, but the experience will be different. Botswana was particularly good for elephant hunting, although the ivory tends to be short and fat, rather than long and thin.
Another excellent hunt would be for Bongo in the rainforests of Cameroon, with a side of Lord Derby Eland and Giant Forest Hog. What a hunt that would be!