Mention an African safari and it will no doubt conjure up images of some of the most impressive animals on earth. The ‘Big Five’ are mammals that are also regarded as the most dangerous animals on the planet. And, while they might not be as commonly hunted any more, they still top the list of must-sees for those embarking on a safari tour.
But what exactly are the ‘Big Five’?
This is perhaps the most well-known of the African safari animals and spotting a lion in the wild is an unforgettable experience. But what’s even more exhilarating is seeing a pack of lions in their natural habitat. Almost all of the wild lions on earth can be found in Africa so you’ll have a good chance of witnessing their breathtaking demeanor on a safari in this continent.
African, or Cape buffaloes can be seen in herds that dominate the safari landscape. You’ll see them crowded around water such as lakes or rivers and you definitely won’t miss their loud, thundering stomp as they travel the plains together.
Possibly the most challenging animal to spot on a safari, you’ll need patience and good night vision to see a leopard in the wild. But their beauty and ability to stealthily wander the plains will be captivating.
The sheer size and presence of an African elephant is sure to impress, and a safari just isn’t complete without seeing these wonderful creatures. If you’re lucky, you might even get the chance to spot a herd ushering their precious young along with them.
The white and black rhino with its iconic horns can be seen across Africa, though you’ll likely find it wandering the plains alone, rather than with a crash of fellow rhinos.
Where to spot the ‘Big Five’
Kenya offers some of the best opportunities to spot the most impressive animals while on a luxury safari vacation.
Masai Mara National Park
Located in the lowlands of the Rift Valley, the Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the most renowned locations for spotting the ‘Big Five. The extensive landscape offers panoramic views, making it easy to see over long distances.
As well as being home to the ‘Big Five’, Masai Mara is also a great location for witnessing hippos, cheetahs and hyenas in their home environment.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park features a huge soda lake, making it a hugely popular spot for flamingoes. It’s also one of the best places in Kenya to spot black and white rhinos and lions as well as an array of other impressive creatures such as giraffes, hippos and warthogs.
Mount Kenya National Park
With a variety of wildlife and a unique ecosystem Mount Kenya National Park offers a remarkable safari tour experience. Although it’s not as common to spot some of the ‘Big Five’ here as it is in other parks across Kenya, you can still find elephants, buffaloes and leopards. Its high altitude makes for some epic scenery and unusual landscapes.
Nairobi National Park
For those short on time, it’s easy to take a day trip to Nairobi National Park, located not far from the city itself. Here you’ll find four of the ‘Big Five’, including an impressive number of black rhinos, all within view of Nairobi’s skyline.
Kenya is, without a doubt, one of the most accessible and extensive locations to spot some of the world’s most awe-inspiring animals in the wild and offers a diverse mix of culture, wildlife and beauty to all who visit.