Big Five Safari

The Big Five. Defined today as the 5 animals that you HAVE to see when you go on Safari: The elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, and cape buffalo. While today it’s the ultimate sight seer’s checklist, the Big Five were originally known for being the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot.

What do you think? Friend or foe?


The Big Five - Elephant

For being the largest and heaviest land mammal, the elephant is a surprisingly gentle and caring creature. Social animals, they travel in herds around the savannah or wetlands. You’ll often catch them around their favourite watering hole.


Map of Elephants in Africa


Botswana: Chobe National Park and Delta

The park has the largest concentrations of elephants in all of Africa. It’s not uncommon to see large herds here, some with over 100 elephants.

Tanzania: Selous Game Reserve

Explore and see where over 40,000 elephants roam the plains.

Zambia: South Luangwa National Park

See the gentle giants up close and personal on a thrilling safari walk.



 The Big Five - Lions

The King of the sub-Saharan desert, the lion is the second biggest cat in the world. Living in large groups called a pride, each lion has a role to play to help the pride. Lionesses are the hunters and the alpha male runs the pack. Typically hunting at night, lions can sleep up to 20 hours a day! (And we thought our house cat was sleepy.)


Map of Lions in Africa


Tanzania: Northern Safari Circuit

The Northern Safari Circuit is made up of three parks (Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lake Manyara) and is home to the largest lion population in Africa.

Kenya: Masai Mara National Reserve

Rivaling Tanzania with the highest concentration of lions in one area, the open savannahs are the ideal setting for spotting the ferocious lions.

Zambia: South Luangwa National Park

See lions on a walking safari, bush walk, or a night game drive. The South Luangwa National park is quite unexplored and less touristy, making your visit feel one of a kind.



The Big Five - Rhino

There are five types of rhinoceros species, with two of them found in Africa: the white and black rhino. While you would have to be face-to-face with the two to tell them apart, the white and black rhino are both at risk of extinction. Growing up to enormous sizes, the rhino can grow to over 6-feet (1.8 meters) tall and 11 feet (3.35 metres) in length! And while they’re big, they’re surprisingly light on their feet, running at speeds up to 64 kilometres per hour.


Map of Rhinos in Africa


Namibia: Etosha National Park

With 42% of the country under an environmental protection, the black rhino population has started to grow back in the past couple of years.

Kenya: Ol Peseta Conservancy

The Conservancy is home to the largest population of Black Rhinos in Africa.

Swaziland: Hlane Royal National Park

Here you’ll find the placid white rhinos roaming around the plains.



The Big Five - Leopards

While you think that leopards might be easy to spot (pun intended), they are the ultimate masters of disguise. When looking for these crafty cats, be sure to look up and check the trees. Leopards are strong climbers and can usually be found lazing around in the tree branches. Typically on their own, unless they’re looking for a date or raising some cubs, leopards are the rarest of the big five to be seen.


Map of Leopards in Africa


Botswana: Moremi Game Reserve

Part of the Okavango Delta, you’ll most likely catch the leopards prowling around the fringe of the reserve.

South Africa: Kruger National Park

Home to the densest leopard population in Africa.

Zambia: South Luangwa National Park

Here you’ll find an abundant leopard population. Be sure to look for them by the waterhole!


Cape Buffalo

The Big Five - Cape Buffalo

Last but certainly not least is the Cape Buffalo. Surprisingly, one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, the buffalo has killed more hunters in Africa than any other animal. This is probably due to their amazing memory span; they’re likely to ambush any hunters they might have met before. (Hunters be warned!) Drinking up to 40 litres of water a day, you’ll usually find the Cape Buffalo around swamplands or flooded plains.


Map of Buffalo in Africa


Botswana: Chobe National Park

Many of the lodges and camps in the Park overlook waterholes where you’ll likely see the buffalo coming to drink.

Zambia: Lower Zambezi

See the buffalo from a different perspective from the comfort of your room or floating out on the water.

South Africa: Greater Kruger Area

There are more than 10,000 individuals scattered around Kruger National Park and the surrounding reserves: Sabi Sand, Manyaleti, and Timbavati.



Ready to go on your own Safari to see the Big Five? Contact the Safari Expert today to help you plan this one-of-a-kind trip today!