It was used to define the hardest and most dangerous animals to hunt. Thankfully however its meaning has evolved and now refers to the must-see animals while on safari.
We’ve compiled the best places to get up close with these incredible animals and see them face-to-face for yourself. An extraordinary experience that will stay with you forever!
The oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa, the Hluhluwe-iMfoloz Park is incredibly scenic and covers a huge 96,000 hectares. It is also layered with rippling hills, and contains immensely diverse flora and fauna. Thanks to rich conservation efforts, this park has the largest population of white rhino in the world after bringing it back from the brink of extinction. It is also the only state-run park in KwaZulu-Natal where each of the “Big Five” game animals can be found.
Moremi Game Reserve
Located in the heart of the stunning Okavango Delta region in Botswana, Moremi Game Reserve is up there as one of the most scenic game reserves in Africa. It is a haven for wildlife and the perfect place to capture amazing photographs of the like. Its landscape is amazingly varied with a wonderful contrast of scenery from dry woodlands to delta floodplains. Thanks to the reintroduction of rhinos, all the “Big Five” roam here once again. It is also home to many herds of animals for you to discover, including the endangered African wild dog.
Kruger National Park
South Africa’s world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience ranked as one of the best in Africa. Bordered by Mozambique and Zimbabwe, the park stretches for about 350 kilometres from north to south. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, the park is now unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and is also a world leader in advanced environmental management. Its two million hectares of territory teem with wildlife, which aside from the “Big Five”, includes other incredible mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and an abundance of flora.
Maasai Mara National Reserve
The landscape of the Maasai Mara is characterised as a vast savanna wilderness, with rolling grass plains. It’s name is in honour of the Maasai people, the traditional inhabitants of the area as well as the Mara River. The Maasai Mara flows into the Serengeti, therefore is one of the biggest reserves in the world. Due to its location in south-west Kenya, the park is world-famous for its wildlife and the annual migration of zebra, wildebeest and Thomson’s gazelle from the Serengeti every year from July to October. All members of the “Big Five” inhabit the Maasai Mara, making it the ideal place for that perfect safari photo.
Sibuya Game Reserve
Accessible by riverboat only, Sibuya Game Reserve is one of the more unique safari destinations in South Africa, offering game viewing of elephants to otters and everything in between, including of course, the “Big Five”. Many people also flock here to take delight in the nearly 400 species of birds on offer, giving quite the bird watching spectacle!
Serengeti National Park
Located in northern Tanzania, Serengeti’s landscape is characterised by treeless plains, where the eye can see for kilometres. It is famous for its annual migration where some 6 million hooves of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle pound the open plains. On safari, see lion prides lazing on the kopjes (rocky outcrops) doted around the park, when they’re not preying on the abundance of plain grazers. Make sure you also keep an eye out for solitary leopards in the acacia trees along the river, stalking unsuspecting victims as well as cheetahs prowling for their next meal.
The best times to go to follow the annual migration is from December to July but if predators are more to your liking, visit in June to October.