See the Big Five

The ultimate safari experience

The Big Five of Africa is world famous. It is a prestigious list of the big wildlife that roams in Africa. The goal is to spot all of them in one trip, but you can do this over several days and in several countries, or even several trips.

Almost everyone on safari wants to see the Big Five. It is a term that dates back to colonial times, when hunters came here to hunt big game. And the Big Five was their favourite target. Fortunately, the term nowadays is now for tourists who capture the animals with their photo camera.


Lion is part of the Big Five. ©Corno van den Berg

A pride of lions can consist of thirty animals, the females are in charge. Female lions are also the ones that hunt. The males defend the pack against other male lions. Young lions have spots on their coats, but these fade away slowly.

These are the best places to see a lion


A leopard is also part of the Big Five. ©Corno van den Berg

A leopard eats just about anything. Usually its prey are antelopes, birds or rabbits. This carnivore can be recognised by the large black spots on its yellow coat. Its behaviour is also very different from that of a cheetah, which looks somewhat the same.

These are the best places to see a leopard

African Elephant

An African elephant. ©Corno van den Berg

The African elephant is probably Africa's most famous animal. Males in particular can grow up to 3.3 meters in height and sometimes carry tusks of more than a meter. The heaviest land animal in the world lives in groups of diverse animals, ranging from two to over ten.

These are the best places to see an African elephant

White Rhino

Two white rhinos. ©Corno van den Berg

The white rhino is the largest of the five rhino species on Earth. The name is a corruption of the wyd used by the colonial Afrikaners. It refers to the animal's broad upper lip, which is different from the pointed lip of the black rhinoceros. The English mistakenly translated this as white.

These are the best places to see a white rhino

Or: Black Rhino

Een zwarte neushoorn met jong.

The black rhino was once the most common rhinoceros, but now it is the most endangered of the two species in Africa. A black rhino can be recognised by its pointed upper lip. Its little brother, the white rhinoceros, has a broad lip. And no, it is not black.

These are the best places to see a black rhino

African buffalo

An African buffalo. ©Corno van den Berg

Their curved horns are formidable weapons, while their character is quite short-tempered. African buffalo often live in groups, although older males are often seen alone. Buffalo mainly eat grasses and leaves and can often be found near water.

These are the best places to see an African buffalo 

What is the chance that I will see the Big Five?

If this is your objective, inform the guide or driver, as they will do their utmost to spot these animals for you. And no, it is not a guarantee you will these animals during your safari. Especially the leopard, lion and rhino are not easy to find. But there are plenty of national parks that are home to all five of them.

Don’t forget the lesser-known animals, as these are often more extraordinary to see. You may also compose your own Big Five list, for example containing only predators like the African wild dog, the cheetah, the leopard, the spotted hyena and the lion.

Best parks in Africa to see the Big Five