When early hunters encountered the African Elephant, Rhino, Cape Buffalo, Leopard and Lion, they were in so much awe of the absolute beauty and majesty of the animals that they called them the Big 5. These five large African mammal species were known to be dangerous and it was considered a feat by trophy hunters to bring them home. Today, however, the expression takes on a gentler form, referring to seeing the Big Five—not shooting them—during wildlife safaris on the African continent. These magnificent animals, along with a few others are the keystone species, drawing people from all around the globe to the African safari.
Where Can You See The Big 5?
You can find all five in Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Malawi.
In southern Africa especially these animals are safari royalty and conservationists have put extra care in protecting them. The Southern White Rhino is listed as ‘Near Threatened’ while the Black Rhino is ‘Critically Endangered’ – lion, leopard and elephant being classed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Cape Buffalo has the greatest numbers and is of ‘Least Concern’.
Victoria Falls – Your Portal to Seeing the Big 5
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe an especially important in your endeavour to encounter these beautiful. The town is surrounded by Game Parks and it is possible to see all of the Big Five, within a very small radius of the town.
Elephant and Buffalo are common in the Zambezi National Park, only 6 kms from the centre of town, but they are even seen around the town. Lions are also often spotted in Zambezi National Park. However, more certain sightings would be in either Chobe National Park or Hwange National Park, both within a short drive of Victoria Falls.
Rhino have been decimated from the National Parks but they do occur on a protected and Private Reserve just 20 minutes from the town centre. Leopards occur in all the wild areas around the town but are elusive and hard to find but not impossible. Both Chobe and Hwange National Parks have a good population of leopard and sightings are more likely in either of these parks.
If a Big Five Safari is on your bucket list, let’s plan and arrange your trip together. Remember we can tailor-make your safari, according to your budget and expectations, making sure you have the best possible chance to see all five of these magnificent animals.
You can also check out an Itinerary option here