What are the Big 5 animals of Africa

Introduction of Big 5 animals of Africa

When it comes to a safari experience, there are certain animals that stand out above the rest. These animals are known as the “Big Five” and are often the main draw for tourists visiting Africa. But what exactly are these animals and why are they considered the must-see creatures on a safari? In this article, we will take a closer look at the “Big Five” game animals, their characteristics, and where you can find them.

The Lion

Big 5 animals of Africa

The first of the “Big Five” game animals is the king of the jungle – the lion. These majestic creatures can weigh up to 550 pounds and are easily recognizable by their golden fur and large, regal manes. Lions are known for their impressive strength and can be found mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest population residing in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Lions are the only truly social cat species, living in prides that consist of around 10-15 individuals. They are most active at night, making it the perfect time to catch a glimpse of these impressive predators on a safari drive.

The African Elephant

The largest land animal in the world, the African elephant is another member of the “Big Five” game animals. These gentle giants can weigh up to a staggering 13,000 pounds and can be found in 37 countries in Africa. Elephants are known for their long trunks, used for communication, breathing, and grasping food. They are also highly intelligent and have been observed exhibiting behaviors such as emotion and problem-solving. The best place to see these magnificent creatures is in Chobe National Park in Botswana.

The Cape Buffalo

One of the most dangerous animals in Africa, the Cape buffalo is a member of the “Big Five” and is often referred to as the “Black Death”. These massive creatures can weigh up to 1,500 pounds and are known for their unpredictable behavior, making them a challenge to spot on a safari. Cape buffalos are mostly solitary and can be found in grasslands and forests in sub-Saharan Africa. They are easily identified by their thick, curved horns and their dark, shaggy coats. For a chance to see these intimidating beasts, head to Kruger National Park in South Africa.

The Leopard

Known for their elusive nature and stunningly beautiful coats, the leopard is another member of the “Big Five” game animals. These solitary creatures can be found throughout sub-Saharan Africa and are known for their incredible climbing abilities. Leopards are skilled hunters, often preying on smaller antelope species. They are also known for their distinctive spots, which make them easily distinguishable from other big cats. To spot a leopard on safari, head to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, which boasts a high population of these elusive animals.

The Rhino

The final member of the “Big Five” game animals is the rhinoceros, an iconic and endangered species. These majestic creatures can weigh up to 5,000 pounds and can be found in southern and eastern Africa. Rhinos are known for their distinctive horns, which unfortunately make them targets for poaching. There are two species of rhinos in Africa – the black rhino and the white rhino. Despite their names, both species are actually gray in color. To catch a glimpse of these incredible creatures, visit Etosha National Park in Namibia or Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.


In conclusion, the “Big Five” game animals are a must-see for any safari enthusiast. From the regal lion to the elusive leopard, these animals represent the beauty and diversity of African wildlife. However, it’s important to remember that there is so much more to see and appreciate on a safari than just these five animals.

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