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The Big Five Animals to See on Safari

Most people who go on a safari want to see the Big 5 – but which animals make up the Big 5?

In times gone by European hunters used to search out the most difficult to hunt animals in Africa which led safari clubs to create a list of five key animals that were a challenge to shoot. These were considered difficult for a number of reasons, including ferocity, visibility and elusiveness.

Nowadays most people simply want to get close enough to the Big 5 to be able to photograph them. Members of the Big 5 are as follows:

Lion.Lions really are the kings of the savannah and are at the top of the food chain. As such they need no introduction. Lions are widespread throughout southern and eastern Africa and you’ll have a good chance of seeing them in most safari locations.

Black Rhino.Now critically endangered, the black rhino is not actually black, but more off-white. Despite its huge bulk and dangerous reputation, rhinos are herbivores who would much rather graze on some grass than attack a person. There are few rhinos left in the wild due to a large increase in poachers hunting them for their horns.

Cape Buffalo.The African buffalo is a long-horned bovine, widespread throughout safari destinations. Despite being a bovine the buffalo is actually the most dangerous of the Big 5 and will attack anyone who tries to attack it.

Leopard.These felines are nocturnal and secretive, making them probably the most difficult member of the Big 5 to actually spot. When you do see one, though, chances are it will be lounging in a tree at sunset, having just eaten its dinner.

African Elephant. Elephants, as most people know, are large, thick skinned herbivores with long trunks and tusks. Elephants are numerous in Africa but nevertheless can be hard to spot in some areas due to their ability to hide in bushes and long grass. Despite being widespread, elephants face a growing threat from poachers, who hunt them for their ivory.

Where to see the Big 5

If you want to see the Big 5 all in one place, a few of the best places to do so are the following:

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Entabeni Game Reserve, South Africa

Kruger National Park, South Africa

Masai Mara, Kenya

Etosha National Park, Namibia

The Serengeti, Tanzania

And if you want to get really close to the Big 5 then consider taking part in our Big 5 Marathon, which takes place every June in South Africa. Click on the image below to see a video of the Big 5 Marathon

And most tour packages in Kenya will involve a stay in Nairobi, which is certainly one of the most animated and spirited African cities, and is home to numerous quality hotels.


Our Managers

Ben Hurst
Ben Hurst General Manager
Manages all Africa offices from the Denmark head office. Known for great travel packages like Mandela Africa Tours.
Annelise Bothma
Annelise Bothma General Manager
Manages the Southern Africa office including Namibia and Honeyguide Tented Safari Camps.
Julian Camm
Julian Camm Sales Manager
Julian manages all sales for Africa and the building of new relations with key tour operators internationally.
Jennie Camm
Jennie Camm General Manager
Manages the East Africa offices in Kenya and Tanzania. Safari holidays is their specialty!

Our Affiliations

Cape Town Tourism Member
Cape Town Tourism Member View More
Africa Travel Association Member
Africa Travel Association Member View More
African Travel & Tourism Association Member
African Travel & Tourism Association Member View More
SATSA Member
SATSA Member View More
TASA Member
Tours & Safari Association Member View More
KATO Member
KATO Member View More