The expectations of seeing the Big Five is a major reason for many people visiting game reserves within South Africa.

The Big Five, which includes the lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino, are an very important part of South Africa’s wildlife scenery.

Their names come from the days when the above-mentioned dangerous animals were regarded as the five most wanted or desirable animals for hunters. Today visitors prefer to hunt them with the lens of a camera. They are considered the biggest draw cards for game reserves.

They might say that the easiest way to spot a leopard is in the tree. However these responsive predators camouflage themselves so well, in their habitats that spotting them become more challenging. Nonetheless, spotting a leopard is definitely highlights of South African game reserves and with a trained ranger, spotting them are made easier.

Young leopard charging. Photo taken at Rhino a...
Young leopard charging. Photo taken at Rhino and Lion Park, Gauteng, South Africa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people confuse leopards with cheetah. Leopard’s furs are marked with a rosette, which looks like small flowers. Where a cheetahs marking are more like spots. Leopards are also much heavier and powerful than cheetahs.

Another member of the big five is the South Africa’s national heritage the rhinoceros. You get two types of species within South Africa. The white and the black rhino.

Their square shaped lips and black rhinos identify white rhinos by the hooked lips. Surprisingly for the size of a rhino they are quit fast and agile. They will role in the mud to cool down and it automatically acts as a sunscreen for them.

The Cape buffalo can be considered one of the most dangerous animals in the wild, especially the old buffalo. The buffalo is also featured on the South African R100 bank note.

Most loved Big Five animal
Africa’s most loved Big Five animal

The elephant is one of the favorites among the locals and visitors in Africa. Because one of the remarkable aspects of these animals’ behaviors is the way in which older elephants, in charge of protecting the herd, surround the calves.

Often referred to as the king of the jungle, the lion is Africa’s most exotic, beautiful, dangerous predator in the wild. They are incredible to watch and seemingly lazy, a lion’s paw can be the size of a human face. Lions
Are socialite animals, living in pride, consisting of few male lions and many females called lioness.

The big five are just a handful of wild animals found in the African bush. Come to South Africa to see these incredible animals and other animals in their natural habitats. Visit a game reserve near you.



  • The Origin of the Term – Big Five