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A Big 5 safari is one of the most popular types of holidays to Africa. Seeing elephant, rhino, leopard, lion and buffalo in the wild – often within mere metres of the game-drive vehicle – is very different to seeing them in a nature documentary. There is nothing to compare watching a breeding herd of elephants pass by, the matriarch deciding the way, the little ones being protected in the middle, the teenage bulls practicing being protective. Buffalo may seem inscrutable at first but a herd on the move has awe-inspiring power that intimidates even lions. Lions are very social and the pride will groom each other, play and stretch out in the shade until it’s time to hunt again.

Although sightings of all of the Big 5 can never be guaranteed, our expert travel consultants can advise you about which animals are most commonly spotted in each destination and the best time of year for their sightings. We know how important it is for you to see Africa’s signature animals, which is why we will tailor-make a Big 5 safari for you depending on whether you are focused on travelling to a specific country or at a specific time of year.

Leopards, on the other hand, are solitary, quiet, watchful and elusive. Preferring thicket and tall trees, they can put you through your paces when trying to find them. The rarest of all the Big 5 are, sadly, rhino. Because they are found only in a few select places, the presence of rhino will determine where you go for your Big 5 safari. Their numbers are highest in South Africa and although they are found in other safari destinations, the chances of seeing them are much lower. In South Africa’s beautiful reserves, it is not unknown to see all of the Big 5 in a single trip. If this is your dream, chat to us so we can put you in the right place, at the right time.


  • A must-do for first-timers to Africa
  • Best chances of seeing the Big 5 overlap with Africa’s easiest safari destinations
  • Big 5 lodges are generally extremely comfortable
  • Seeing a rhino in the wild is rare privilege
  • A once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experience that can be had nowhere else
  • Exciting to see big cats in their natural habitat



Without a doubt, the greatest place on earth to see the Big 5 is the Kruger National Park and its surrounding private reserves in South Africa. The terrain here is varied enough to provide each member with their preferred habitat, from open grasslands for buffalo and lion to rocky outcrops and thicket for leopard. Rhino are very well protected and the Greater Kruger, fortunately, remains a stronghold for them. Because it is a fairly small area, guides share sightings and they don’t take long to reach, increasing your chances of spotting all of them in a single trip.



Also in South Africa, Madikwe Game Reserve is a major conservation success story. This private reserve is the fifth largest in the country and has, in just a few decades, gone from farmland back to a wide mix of habitats that support the Big 5. Sightings are carefully controlled to ensure a minimum of vehicles at all times and Madikwe is an easy drive from Johannesburg’s international airport. Accommodation is luxurious with many lodges offering private pools, upscale spas and air-conditioned suites. A bonus for cautious travellers is that Madikwe lies in a non-malaria zone.



A third option in South Africa is Phinda Private Game Reserve. Once a patchwork of pineapple plantations, Phinda is reverting to once again being a wildlife paradise with a strong presence of all the Big 5, especially rhino and leopard. More off the beaten track, it has just five lodges, each with a different design to echo its specific surroundings. Vlei Lodge looks out over a seasonal wetland, Mountain Lodge sits on the edge of a gorge and Forest Lodge is embraced by verdant semi-tropical coastal forest. This is a worthwhile consideration for those who want to be pampered.


Here are our favourite Big 5 Itineraries to inspire you. All of our itineraries can be tailored to meet your specific requirements.


  • We are passionate about what we sell

  • The most competitive and flexible rates

  • We offer personalised and customised experiences

  • Our consultants specialise in different safari-experiences
  • We have over 10 years’ experience in the travel industry

  • Our quick response and turnaround times

Let us create your ultimate Big 5 Safari

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