May 4

Africa’s Big 5 and Where to See Them on Safari


By Savannah St Claire on May 4, 2023

While Africa's Big 5 is surely in need of no introduction, it makes sense for us to give credit where credit is due. As the most famous and celebrated collection of animals on the African continent, a Big 5 safari is on everyone's safari bucket list. What could be better than seeing a leopard in a tree, a rhino browsing through the bush, elephants on their stately trudge through grassland, buffalo and their oxpecker companions and lions – the King of them all? Here's a look at Africa's Big 5 and the best destinations to see them all.

Family of lions resting on a small hill

Seeing Africa's Big 5 is a safari-must for all travellers!

Africa's Big 5

Here are all the usual Big 5 suspects you'd want to see on safari.


Our Big 5 adventure begins with the African elephant, the largest land animal on Earth. These gentle giants roam the wild savannas, captivating all lucky to witness their sheer size and beauty. Observing them in their natural habitat, whether they're peacefully foraging or playfully splashing in watering holes, is not something you'll soon forget. Plus, the intricate social dynamics of these majestic creatures are sure to leave you in awe.

Uma representação clássica do Parque Nacional Amboseli

Africa's largest land mammal is small in comparison to Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro


Next on our journey is the King of "Jungle", the mighty lion. With their regal manes and thunderous roars, these apex predators embody pure strength and majesty. Picture yourself on an early morning game drive, witnessing a pride as they lazily bask in the sun or embark on a strategic hunt. The lion's presence is both exhilarating and humbling, reminding us why they're revered as the ultimate symbol of Africa's untamed wilderness.

Portrait of a beautifulmale lion

The King of the "Jungle" in all his regal glory, Image Credit: Seyms Brugger


Slipping silently through the bush, the most elusive member of the Big 5, the leopard, is a true master of stealth. These enigmatic big cats possess a unique beauty characterised by their distinctive rosette-patterned coats. Their exquisite camouflage and agile movements make them notoriously difficult to spot. However, when luck is on your side, witnessing a leopard gracefully perched in a tree or skillfully stalking its prey is a mesmerising experience. These nocturnal creatures are a testament to the captivating secrets hidden within Africa's vast landscapes.

Leopard in a Silvan summer landscape

The most elusive member of the Big 5 in all its spotted glory


As we venture deeper into the wild, we encounter the formidable buffalo, a member of Africa's Big 5 that exudes pure strength and resilience. With their massive horns and imposing presence, these bovines display an intimidating presence, making them one of the most fascinating and dangerous animals in Africa. Observing their social dynamics and display of guardianship towards one another is a humbling experience.

A large buffalo stares straight at the camera after he is snapped

Believe it or not, the buffalo is the most dangerous member of the Big 5


The Big 5 wouldn't be complete without these real-life unicorns. The rhino, our namesake, holds a special place in our hearts. Poised and powerful, these magnificent creatures symbolise Africa's conservation battles. Witnessing their armoured bodies' strength and their tender moments in family units evokes both adoration and a pang of sadness. Seeing a rhino in the wild is a testament to conservation efforts and a poignant reminder of the urgent need to protect these magnificent creatures.

Lone rhino standing in the tall savanna grass

We may be biased, but the rhino is probably our favourite member of the Big 5

Our Favourite Big 5 Safari Destinations

This illustrious and majestic menagerie of wildlife can be found in several African countries, but we know the very best places to see them. 

South Africa







Majestic elephant at a watering hole

The gentle giants of the African bush

Are You Ready for Your Big 5 Safari?

The Big 5 reign supreme as Africa's most iconic wildlife. While some may argue that giraffes and zebras possess greater beauty than buffaloes or that cheetahs may be easier to spot than leopards, there's no denying the unrivalled excitement of witnessing any member of the Big 5 roaming freely in their natural habitat.

Join us on an unforgettable safari adventure and witness the magic of the Big 5 for yourself.

X Rhino Africa Consultants

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About the author 

Savannah St Claire

Born in the picturesque City of Cape Town, Savannah is no stranger to the beauty and adventure Africa has to offer. With a bachelor's degree in Digital Marketing under her belt and a passion for travelling in her heart, she is taking to her new path in life like a moth to a flame. When not chasing sunsets, you'll find her enjoying the finer things in life and South African wines are no exception!

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