The African Big 5

For nearly every person that travels to Africa, one of the main items on their bucket list of to see the Big 5. So where does the name come from and who are they?

The Big Five consists of 5 large wild animals; lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo. The name originates from hunters who ranked their animals in how dangerous they are. The Big Five are the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot.


The majestic creatures remind us of domestic cats, but don’t be fooled, they are fierce hunters! On average, a male can weigh up to 200 kilos and a female about 130 kilos. They normally hunt at night and they are big eaters; an adult lion can eat up to 40 kg per meal!

Lion cubs have rosettes on their coat, which slowly disappear as they grow.


The leopard is the most elusive of all the big cats. They say you only see a leopard when it wants to be seen. They’re often found in and around empty riverbeds and they each have their own large territory. They are mostly solitary animals. Leopards are incredible hunters, they are fast and very agile and they have the ability to drag a kill up into a tree, even when it’s sometimes heavier than they are.


The white and black rhino are in fact both grey. The white rhino is a grazer and has a square mouth, whereas the black rhino has a pointy upper lip and is a browser. Their horns are made of keratin, the same as human fingernails. Their horns grow about 7 cm every year. The rhino’s eyesight isn’t great, they mainly rely on their strong sense of smell and hearing.


Elephants are the world’s largest land mammal. These huge giants are herbivores and eat between 12 and 18 hours per day. A large bull can weigh up to 7500 kilos and they can drink up to 200 litres of water. An elephant can grow to about 3,5 metres tall! Their large ears are flapping more in hot weather in order to help them cool down.


When you see a buffalo for the first time, you may not think this is a very dangerous animals, it looks a bit like a big cow. But don’t be fooled. These animals have a foul temper and are incredibly unpredictable! Their common name is water buffalo, they can live to about 30 years and they are one of the favourite foods for lions! Their main food source is grass and herbs, but when food is scarce they will also eat shrubs. A large buffalo can weigh up to 850 kilos.

Contact us for the best spots where to spot the Big 5 on your African Adventure! Not every African wildpark offers a chance on seeing the Big 5 animals, there is only a few.