A Safari is not complete without witnessing Africas Big 5. There is nothing more exhilarating than coming face to face with these legendary creatures. Hear the mighty ‘King of the Beasts’ roar, spot buffalos lurking in the long grass, wake up to elephants trumpeting, look out for leopards sleeping in the trees and witness one the most endangered animals of the world – the rhino grazing upon the vast open plains. If visiting Africa is high up on your bucket list but you don’t know where to begin, we have you covered. Here is everything you need to know about the famous Big 5, what time of the year to go and where the best reserves are for spotting Africa’s most famous animals.
Why are They Called the ‘Big Five?’
The term “Big Five” originally referred to the difficulty in hunting the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo. These five large African mammal species were known to be extremely dangerous to hunt by foot; consequently, it was considered a great achievement for trophy hunters to bring one home. Today, however, the expression takes on a much gentler form, rather than shooting the Africas Big Five with a gun, people shoot them with their camera lens during wildlife safaris on the African continent.
When is the Best Time to See the Big 5 in Africa?
The best time to spot the Big 5 in Africa is when the animals are out in dense numbers. Choosing your African safari destination depends on when you want to go and how flexible you are with destinations.
The best time to experience the Big 5 in Kenya is during the annual wildebeest migration from July to October, with such high levels of prey, it is common to see the predators of the Big 5 (lions and leopards) following close behind the wildebeest and zebras. Other excellent times to visit is during Kenya’s dry season from January to March. During this dry season, you can find these animals near waterholes, rivers and lakes.
Tanzania is another African destination that boasts its own magnificent Great Migration in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. The best time to witness this spectacle is during February and March. During this time, the wildebeest and zebra have their young and predators are at their highest numbers.
Going on safari in Botswana is best from June to September when huge herds congregate around the Okavango Delta in Botswana. This makes it the perfect time to visit and experience a Big 5 safari from a traditional canoe called a mokoro.
If you are planning a trip to South Africa, aim for June – September when the weather is cooler and dry. It’s the best time of year to visit Africas Big 5 safari destinations with a high chance of seeing all five by the time you leave.
Where Is The Best Place To See The Big 5?
South Africa is without a doubt the best destination for Africas Big 5 sightings. The country boasts some of the most reliable sightings in the Kruger National Park. Africas Big 5 sightings are common at The Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, Madiwke Game Reserve and Hluhluwe Game Reserve. Beyond South Africa’s borders, try Botswana’s Chobe National Park, Kenya’s Masai Mara and Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. All of these Safari destinations offer 5-star experiences all year around.