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Africa's Big 5 - The Safari Checklist

By Gap 360

Last updated: 21st July 2017

Originally a term used by hunters, the ‘Big 5’ refers to Africa’s most sought after wildlife: elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and buffalos.

Now, armed with only a camera and a beady eye, it’s your turn to track down the Big 5. Jet over to Africa, join a safari and tick off each of these incredible animals in turn. Can you find them all?

African Elephant

The largest living land mammal, these giants can grow up to 13 feet tall and weigh up to 7 tons! Their hugely muscular trunks are used to smell, grab and trumpet, while their tusks are used to dig and do battle. You may see herds of females with their young, or a solitary male on the prowl. These mighty creatures make for one epic photo!


These golden big cats live in groups called prides. Male lions are distinguished by their impressive manes, and their job is to defend their territory from other animals. The females, meanwhile, are the primary hunters, chasing down zebras and wildebeest to feed the rest of the pride.


Recognisable by their distinctive spots, leopards are the trickiest of the Big 5 to spot. As nocturnal hunters, they are most active at night, and spend their days lazing around and sleeping on tree branches. Double points if you spot one of these elusive creatures!

Black Rhino

Black rhinos are distinguished from white rhinos by their upper lips. Black rhinos have a pointed upper lip, while white rhinos have square upper lips. Most rhinos are solitary creatures, and so you’ll most likely see one on its own. A good bet is to find a watering hole, where rhinos love to wallow and roll around in the mud to cool off!


Buffalo can survive in all types of terrain, so long as it is within walking distance of water – they drink 40 litres of water a day! Buffalo have a comparatively healthy population in Africa and so your chances of spotting one are quite high. Nevertheless, the thrill of snapping one in the wild? Unbeatable!

Fancy tracking down the legendary Big 5? Check out our African Safari trips and get the ball rolling on a wildlife spotting adventure!

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