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Tsavo Lions, Safari Kenya

Big 5: Lions of Tsavo National Park, Kenya

Elephant of Chobe National Park

Big 5: Elephant on Kenya Safari

Leopard Mala Mala

Big 5: Leopard Mala Mala South Africa

Matopos National Park Zimbabwe

Big 5: Black Rhino on safari in Zimbabwe

Cape Buffalo Kruger National Park

Big 5: Cape Buffalo Kruger National Park

The "Big 5" (Big Five)

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The "Big 5" refers to the Lion, Leopard, Black Rhino, Elephant and Cape Buffalo.

But why not the hippo, zebra, or eland are they not large as well? What about the cheetah most people want to see these graceful cats as much as a leopard or buffalo?

The term "big five" was actually first introduced by big game hunters and not safari tour operators and it refers to the difficulty in hunting these large animals and how dangerous they are once shot at, surprised or cornered. This is still relevant today as a properly trained safari guide will identify these "Big 5" as potentially the most dangerous animals and will treat them with the due respect and caution that they deserve.

Where to see the Big 5

Thankfully there are still many places you can go that have all of the big five animals as well as many other species and below are a few places that I know of:

South Africa

South Africa has many National Parks and private game reserves which have all of the Big 5 as well as well trained guides and a vast array of accommodation and safari options.

South Africa Safari HolidaySouth Africa Safari Holidays

From inland savanah, to desert, forest and marine environments, South Africa has a huge selection of National Parks and private game reserves that are home to all the african wildlife you could hope to see, from Elephants to Whales. As well as the habitats, South Africa has a wide choice of accommodation options, well trained safari guides and a colourful and diverse culture.

View all >> South African Holidays on the Safari Holiday Shop

Probably the best known of all is the Kruger National Park, covering an area of 2 million hectares, it contains a huge array of wildlife, including 147 species of mammals, 500 types of bird and 33 types of amphibian. The flora is equally diverse with 300 difference types of trees. As well as the big five, all the big game can be found here including white rhino, cheetah, hippo, Spotted Hyena, giraffe and many many more. The Southern section of the Kruger National Park is the most popular as it has the richest diversity of habitats and animal life.

The birthplace of the famous Zulu king, Shaka is also the home of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park in the Natal province of South Africa and is another fantastic National Park that has Lion, Leopard, Cape Buffalo, Elephant and the Black Rhino as well as the White Rhino, Cheetah, Spotted Hyena, Hippopotamus and loads more.

The 'True' Big 5

A small point to note when planning your safari: Due to the decline in Black Rhino populations and the fact that they favour thicker bush over open planes, it has become very rare for people to spot these magnificent animals in the wild. Many safari operators will advertise that they have all the "Big 5" on their reserve when actually they have the White Rhinoceros and not the black, so if you want to see the true Big 5 make sure the reserve you are visiting includes the Black Rhino!


If you'd like to learn more about the Big Five: in association with WildlifeCampus are pleased to be able to bring you a FREE Big "5" course

Simply follow the steps:

1. Go along to and Register (it's free) selecting Safari-Guide as the referrer.

2. The Big "5" Course , will be automatically assigned to you.

3. The course is then immediately available from your " My Courses " page.

In addition Safari-Guide have secured a 25 % discount off any other courses you may wish to purchase. To take up this offer, simply e-mail WildlifeCampus with your login name and tell us that you're a Safari-Guide Referral.

Note: All WildlifeCampus Courses are delivered entirely online, but may be downloaded. They have no set semesters, you may begin any course at anytime.

WildlifeCampus also offers full courses in: Game Ranging (Field Guiding), Trails Guiding, Animal Tracks & Signs, Game Lodge Management, Game Ranch Economics, Wildlife Photography, Wildlife Management, Birding by Habitat, Marine Biology for Guides, Divers & Enthusiasts, Mammals of the South African Lowveld, FGASA Exam Preparation, Snakes & Reptiles of the Lowveld, The Behavior Guide to African Carnivores, The Behavior Guide to African Herbivores, The Behavior Guide to African Primates, Hunting Debate, Astronomy, Survival, Introduction to Photography, African Folklore and The Guides Guide to Guiding.

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Where to Go on Safari to See the Big 5
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park

White Rhino: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National ParkOnce the ancient Hunting Grounds of the mighty Zulu people and now with one of the largest populations of White Rhino in the world as well as Black Rhino and all the other of Africa's Bug 5 animals, the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park is one of the best National Parks in South Africa... more >>

Phinda Private Game Reserve

Cheetah: Phinda Private Game ReserveSituated in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and bordering the iSimangaliso/Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, not far from Hluhluwe National Park is the Phinda Private Game Reserve, It's 7 different habitats shelter a vast array of wildlife including all of Africa’s Big Five as well as cheetah, many species of antelope and over 380 species of birds... more >>

What to Take on Safari

This page is part of a series of posts on what to take on safari, for further reading try:

The Big 5

Steiner Safari BinocularsAfter your camera, a good pair of binoculars is crucial in getting the most out of your Safari Holiday. So what is a good pair of binoculars? Here is my binocular guide and recommendations >> Binocular Reviews



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