The Big 5 includes the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo - the most impressive mammals seen on safari in Africa. They are notorious as the most dangerous of Africa's large mammal species. Since 1998 African Sky has offered private overland safaris and luxury fly-in packages that will bring you close to these mighty animals.Need Advice?
These majestic animals have captured the imaginations of visitors to Africa for centuries. You would only need one encounter with a member of this imposing quintet to understand why. Luckily, your Big 5 safari will offer numerous opportunities for sightings. With threats to their habitat and poaching, the range of the Big 5 is not as extensive as it once was. However, through the dedicated efforts of conservationists, you can still enjoy an authentic Big Five safari in many pockets of Southern Africa.
Lions are distinctly social animals typically spotted in prides. Males boast beautiful manes in varying shades. Females are known for their athleticism and efficient hunting skills. They are Africa's largest and most feared predators. Lions occur in most of Southern Africa's popular wilderness areas, like the Okavango Delta, Chobe, Etosha, and South Africa's many national parks and private game reserves.
The world's largest mammal occurs in all of the primary safari areas of Southern Africa. Females and their young are typically spotted in herds led by a matriarch. Male elephants are usually found in small bachelor herds or solitary bulls once they mature. Visitors to the Okavango Delta or Chobe National Park are guaranteed to enjoy in-depth elephant encounters while on safari.
Although the black rhino is the original 'Big Five' member, somewhere along the line, the status unofficially extended to include the white rhino as well. Black and white rhinos can be distinguished by their shape, size, and diet.; black rhinos are browsers, as indicated by their pointier, hooked upper lips, while white rhinos graze comfortably with their broader, square-shaped upper lips.
Cape buffaloes are regularly observed in massive herds. Alternatively, young males are found in bachelor herds, and old bulls that have been kicked out are often seen grazing together at the back of the herd. They are known as 'dugga boys.' In rarer cases, they wander alone. Buffaloes are also the only members of the Big Five that aren't listed as 'threatened,' 'vulnerable,' or 'endangered' on the IUCN red list.
Leopards are elusive, solitary cats, which makes a sighting particularly special. Leopards are known to drag their kills up into trees to deter scavengers. They typically prey on smaller antelope but are opportunistic hunters and will not shy from taking down larger game. These handsome, spotted cats are commonly encountered alone or with their young.
The Safari Packages recommended by African Sky that are most likely to bring you in close contact with Africa's legendary Big Five.
Enjoy Big 5 safaris from a base in a private concession within the heart of the Kruger National Park. Accommodation is at 4-Star lodges.
The Greater Kruger & Safari is an exclusive 5-Star safari experience that combines the Sabi Sand and Phinda private game reserves - two prime Big 5 wilderness areas.
Explore South Africa's national parks on a comprehensive private overland safari, which includes Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant Park, Pilanesberg, and Hluhluwe.
The grandest and most exclusive of our safaris. Visit Big 5 wilderness areas in South Africa, Botswana, and other highlights like Victoria Falls and Cape Town.
The Southern African Adventure is a twelve-day safari that will bring you up close with the Big 5 in both South Africa and Botswana.
This package features two of South Africa's top destinations. It combines Cape Town with a Big Five safari in the Sabi Sand.
Big 5 encounters are all characterized by one thing: awe. Awe at the stealth and beauty of the leopard, awe at the gentility of the giant elephant, awe at the fierce majesty and hunting prowess of a pride of lions, awe at the almost casual yet commanding power of a herd of Cape buffalo, and awe at the almost prehistoric appearance of the endangered rhino.
Where you find the continent's supreme five animals, you will also find the continent's ultimate lodges. The safari areas need to be first-class to sustain such majesty, and the lodges they host are of equal stature. Here you can relish not only encounters with these amazing animals but also beautiful wilderness areas and lavish accommodations.
If the photographs of your safari involve the Big Five, they will automatically become all the more memorable. A leopard stalking through the bush or high up in a tree; a family of elephants crossing a river or gamboling in the current; a tender moment between a lioness and her cubs; an army of buffalo blocking out the landscape with their black bodies - photographic opportunities abound.
The private game reserves are known for their ultra-luxurious lodgings. With your plush accommodations, however, you will enjoy the company of an experienced ranger (and often a tracker) during your game drives, ensuring unforgettable sightings of the Big 5.
Southern Africa's Big Five-bearing national parks are timeless, authentically wild spaces where you can enjoy a guided overland safari that offers great value for money. The Big Five roam these breathtaking landscapes in significant numbers, augmenting your chances of sightings.
Botswana boasts inimitable, authentic wilderness areas. Currently, rhinos only occur on Chief's Island in the Okavango Delta's Moremi Game Reserve. You will likely encounter the remaining four members in healthy numbers in the Chobe National Park, Savute safari area, Linyanti swamp, and the Okavango Delta.
Etosha National Park is home to all but the Cape buffalo, and it remains one of the finest corners of the continent to encounter endangered black rhinos. Lions and elephants are also frequently sighted, while the leopard remains as elusive and shy (yet still as common) as elsewhere in Southern Africa.
Zambia's wilderness areas are dramatically remote and truly wild. Four of the Big 5 - leopard, lion, buffalo, and elephant - occur in generous populations in its stunning national parks, like South Luangwa, Kafue, and Lower Zambezi. Visitors can head to the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park near Livingstone to view rhinos.
In Zimbabwe, the Big 5 still reigns supreme in Hwange National Park, while four of the Big 5 (no rhinos, unfortunately) roam the breathtaking wilderness of Mana Pools. These are Zimbabwe's premier safari areas and the regions where you will most likely encounter these majestic mammals.