Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa: Best Destinations in Africa for a Big 5 Safari


Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa


Declared one of the top safari destinations in the world, Africa offers eager travelers, safari-loving tourists, globe-trotting adventurers, and head-over-heels nature & wildlife lovers from across the globe some of the most astonishing Big 5 safari & wildlife experiences, and unbelievable travel opportunities & adventures on the planet. With more luxury, privacy, exclusivity, world-class wildlife sightings, up-close encounters, and once-in-a-lifetime safari experiences than anywhere else on earth, you’re bound to fall head-over-heels in love with not only the sheer unapologetic natural beauty of Africa in her purest form, but every inch of her wild, vivid, and untamed African bushveld and everything it has to offer – and, OF COURSE, Africa’s undisputed wildlife super stars & claim to global wildlife fame – The iconic African Big 5!

It goes without saying that NO trip to Africa is complete without experiencing thrilling up-close encounters & sensational sightings of its most elite grouping of wildlife residents, the renowned African Big 5 – Lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino & elephant!

While Africa’s Big 5 is surely in need of no introduction, it makes sense for us to give credit where credit is due. As the most highly acclaimed, famous, and celebrated collection of animals on the African continent a Big 5 safari in Africa is an unbelievable experience that should be on everyone’s travel & safari bucket list! What could be better than seeing a leopard lazily lounging in a tree soaking up the African sun, the mighty rhino browsing through the grasslands, elephants trudging their way through the African bushveld with their young, buffalos grazing in the distance with their oxpecker companions, and lions, the all-mighty king of the bushveld, wondering the vast plains in search of their prey? There truly is nothing quite like it!

These remarkable wildlife species are not only the most recognized symbols of Africa, but its crowning glory too! Undoubtedly making a Big 5 safari one of the top and most popular requests from any and all travelers and wildlife enthusiasts visiting Africa.

Lucky for you, you can find these magnificent wildlife species in several countries across the African continent. To ensure you have the absolute best chance of spotting these African wildlife gems in their natural habitat, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 Big 5 safari destinations in Africa.

There are few things that can compare to embarking on a remarkable, riveting, and exhilarating Big 5 Safari adventure in the vast, wild, and untamed continent of Africa, so be sure to enjoy every single second of this unbelievable experience!


#1 Kruger National Park: Home of Africa’s Big 5 | South Africa

Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa - Kruger National Park

South African tourism has a secret weapon – the Kruger National Park! Deemed one of the greatest National Parks in the world, the Kruger National Park is not only the second largest park in Africa, but South Africa’s flagship National Park. The pristine wilderness within the Kruger Park is spread across an impressive 2 million hectares of unspoiled African bushveld that stretches for 352 kilometers across the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo in the far north-eastern corner of South Africa.

As the oldest, largest, and most established park, the Kruger National Park is home to the highest population density of Big 5 in South Africa. It is one of the very few places in the world where you are able to see every member of the African Big 5 in one place in their natural habitat.

The Kruger Park is believed to support the world’s largest population of white rhino (one of the mighty members of the Big 5), roughly estimated at 8,000, despite the rapid increase in poaching activity. Black rhino, on the other hand, are extremely rare and seldom seen. However, if you do happen to catch a glimpse of this remarkable animal (regardless of how brief it may be), you can count yourself incredibly lucky. In addition to being home to the largest population of white rhino, the Kruger National Park also boasts the largest wild concentration of leopards anywhere in the world.

The Kruger National Park’s superior Big 5 status has undoubtedly made it a staple destination on any safari-goer’s bucket-list, whether they’re a beginner or a seasoned traveler to Africa.

Besides the highly sought-after African Big 5, the Kruger National Park is also known for its vast diversity of wildlife and birdlife species as well as its spectacular sightings of several endangered or ‘rarely seen’ wildlife species, including the sable, roan antelope, cheetah, and African wild dog. In fact, the Kruger Park’s African wild dogs are one of the few populations of this endangered species left in the world. Its unfenced neighbor, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, shares the park’s prolific abundance of wildlife.

Lying in the heart of the Lowveld, the Kruger Park offers an unparalleled African safari and wildlife experience that’s unlike anything you’ve experienced before. It’s no surprise that wildlife and nature lovers travel from all around the world to witness the unspoiled natural beauty and untamed wilderness of the Kruger National Park first-hand. If going on an authentic African safari in the Kruger National Park is not on your bucket-list, you better add it right away – trust us, you won’t be disappointed in the slightest!

  • When is The Best Time to Visit The Kruger National Park: May to September (Dry Season in The Kruger Park)

**BONUS: Check out our ‘Kruger National Park’, ‘Why you should go on a Kruger Park Safari’, and ‘Best Time to go to the Kruger National Park’ blogs for absolutely everything you want, need, and absolutely must know about South Africa’s flagship National Park.

#2 Sabi Sand Game Reserve: Extraordinary in Leopard-Rich Lands | South Africa

Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa - Sabi Sand Game Reserve

A jewel within the Greater Kruger National Park! The spectacular Sabi Sand Game Reserve is one of the most sensational must-visit safari destinations and premier private game reserves in South Africa, as well as one of the oldest and most beloved wildernesses in the country. Considered the birthplace of sustainable wildlife tourism in Southern Africa, the notorious Sabi Sand Game Reserve boasts 65,000 hectares of vast untamed wilderness and shares a 50km/30mi unfenced border with the world-renowned Kruger National Park (South Africa’s flagship National Park). This allows wildlife to roam freely between the reserves, ensuring an unforgettable and unmatched African safari and wildlife experience.

Boasting one of the richest game populations in the country, Sabi Sand Game Reserve is home to some of the most diverse and unique wildlife species in Africa. While the remarkable Sabi Sands is regarded as one of the top reserves to witness up-close sightings of the renowned African Big 5 in their natural habitat, it isn’t deemed the most extraordinary ‘Leopard-Rich Lands’ in Africa for nothing. One could say its claim to Big 5 fame, drawing wildlife enthusiasts from all around the world, is the fact that the iconic Sabi Sands Game Reserve not only boasts the most magnificent leopard sightings and encounters in the country, but is home to the highest concentration of leopards in both South Africa and Africa as a whole. Famously known as the most elusive member of the African Big 5, lucky for you, in this revered Greater Kruger National Park reserve, you’ll find that they are not all that elusive at all – in fact, they are seemingly everywhere and are often seen in plain view and have even been known to hunt in the presence of safari vehicles – even jumping right on top of these vehicles from time to time. It truly has to be seen to be believed!

Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa - Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Besides its world-renowned leopard sightings as well as enjoying glorious up-close encounters of the iconic African Big 5, visitors can look forward to seeing a vast diversity of other game when exploring the varied landscapes of the Sabi Sands. Other popular wildlife species that freely roam the Sabi Sands’ terrain include, giraffe, hippos, zebras, wildebeest, cheetah, aardvark, African wild cats, hyenas, jackals, Cape porcupines, pangolins, and a wide array of antelope and plains game, to mention merely a few. In addition, several endangered species have slowly been reintroduced into the area over the last few decades, one of the most notable being the beloved African wild dog. The vast, varied, and vibrant vegetation of the Sabi Sands Reserve truly provides a pristine wilderness haven for an abundance of magnificent wildlife species – big and small – especially white rhino, reedbuck, cheetah, eland, sable antelope, nyala, and hyena.

Hold on! We’re not done yet! Beyond its top Big 5 safari status and wildly diverse and abundant wildlife species, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is one of the most highly sought-after birding destination for passionate bird watchers from around the world. Boasting over 300 bird species, this premium birding hotspot is home to several curiously named species, some of which include the widow finch, buntings, cisticolas, mannikins, wydahs, and eremomelas. Other notable bird species avid birders should look out for when visiting the Sabi Sands include the Red-billed oxpecker, the Comb duck, and the purple heron. In addition, The Southern Ground Hornbill Project has also been doing some very successful conservation work here.

One of the great things about the iconic Sabi Sand Game Reserve is the fact that it is regarded as one of the top year-round wildlife and safari destinations in Africa. What’s more, together with the highest leopard concentration in South Africa, Sabi Sand’s Big 5 territory boasts many award-winning luxury lodges, resorts, and camps – catering to all kinds of travelers. Whether you’re travelling solo, with your partner or a bunch of your nature and wildlife loving friends and family, or even as loved-up honeymooners (Africa is regarded as one of the top honeymoon destinations in the world after all), the incredible Sabi Sands Game Reserve has something for absolutely everyone to enjoy – making for a truly unbelievable and unforgettable African safari getaway.

  • When is The Best Time to Visit the Sabi Sands Game Reserve: We recommend you visit during the dry season from May to September.

**BONUS: Check out our ‘Sabi Sand Game Reserve’ blog for everything you need to know about this extraordinary wilderness region.

#3 The Maasai Mara National Reserve: A True Out to Africa Experience | Kenya


The Maasai Mara in Kenya is Nature’s magnificent masterpiece!


Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa - Masai Mara

The magnificent ‘nature’s masterpiece’ that is the Maasai Mara, is not only one of our favorite and most beloved African destinations, but one that will without a doubt make you fall head-over-heels in love with Africa.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve and its neighboring conservancies form Kenya’s flagship conservation area and is one of the finest wildlife and safari destinations in Africa. Located in south west Kenya, the Maasai Mara National Reserve is renowned for its vast scenic expanse of gently rolling African savannah plains, measuring approximately 1510 square kilometers in area, bordering the notorious Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the south. The Masai Mara’s sprawling wide-open plains provide a sanctuary for its abundant wildlife to freely roam the vast Maasai Mara wilderness and beyond.

Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa - Masai Mara

Witnessing the Annual Great Wildebeest Migration – regarded as the ‘Seventh New Wonder of the World’ – also known as the Gnu Migration, Serengeti Migration and Maasai Mara Migration, up-close, in action, and first-hand is by far one of the top reasons why so many travelers, tourists, globe trotters, eager adventurers, and avid nature and wildlife enthusiasts venture to Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. There are few things that can compare to witnessing and experiencing one of the greatest and grandest wildlife gatherings and spectacles in its full all-mighty force – It’s an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience to say the least!

Beyond being the site of the great Annual Wildebeest Migration – one of the last mass terrestrial wildlife movements left on the planet – the profound Maasai Mara National Reserve is widely known and celebrated for its amazing abundance and glorious diversity of wildlife species. Boasting the highest concentration of wild animals in the world, in fact, more than 40% of Africa’s larger mammals can be found roaming the endless Maasai Mara plains and landscapes, the renowned Maasai Mara truly is a not to be missed African safari destination for all head-over-heels nature and wildlife lovers. As an extra bonus, game viewing in the Maasai Mara is excellent all year round thanks to its varied landscapes, wide open spaces, temperate climate, and diverse population of resident game. Its champagne-colored savannahs are home to safari heavyweights like lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino – making up the globally acclaimed African Big5. While rhino sightings are scare, these enigmatic and endangered animals can well be spotted – if you’re super lucky – in the Mara Triangle.

Believe it or not, this is simply scratching the surface of the beyond remarkable array of amazing game and wildlife wonders and encounters you can expect to see and experience when visiting the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Trust us, the Maasai Mara has SO much more up its sleeve! Not to mention various wildlife highlights, two of which include spotting the elusive and endangered African Wild Dog, as well as the famous Maasai giraffe – the largest subspecies of giraffe which can only be found in Kenya and Tanzania – How incredible is that?

**Note: Though the Maasai Mara is one of Africa’s and the world’s foremost National Reserves and exceptional year-round wildlife and safari destinations, showcasing spectacular game viewing 365 days of the year, each Maasai Mara season and distinct time of the year offer visitors an entirely different, yet equally exciting and exhilarating, safari experience, wildlife sightings and encounters, range of attractions, and wilderness highlights to look forward to. This means you will NEVER be disappointed irrespective of when you choose / decide to visit the glorious Maasai Mara National Reserve – It will forever be one of Africa’s GREATEST safari destinations.

  • When is The Best Time to Visit the Maasai Mara National Reserve: Make your way to the Maasai Mara between June and October for the ultimate safari | It also depends on what you are most eager to see & experience (check out our blogs below)!!

**BONUS: Check out our ‘Top Reasons to visit the Masai Mara’ & ‘Best Time to go to the Masai Mara’ blogs to find out everything you need to know about this magnificent African wildlife and safari destination & why you will not only fall deeply in love with its unapologetic natural beauty and everything it has to offer, but why it deserves a top spot on your global travel bucket-list.

#4 Madikwe Game Reserve | South Africa

Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa - Madikwe Game Reserve

Deemed as somewhat of an African safari hidden gem, the expansive Madikwe Game Reserve is the fifth largest game reserve in the country and lies in South Africa’s Northwest Province, bordering Botswana and the Kalahari Desert. With diverse landscapes, including bushveld, grasslands, and rocky slopes, the area is a pristine location for Big 5 safaris. Boasting an extensive and gloriously diverse wildlife population, Madikwe Game Reserve is not only home to all the members of Africa’s highly sought-after Big 5, with encounters almost guaranteed on any visit, but also gives wildlife enthusiasts the incredible opportunity to witness several endangered animals, especially African wild dogs, as well as enjoy exceptional sightings of various wildlife species, including the elusive cheetah, brown hyena, aardwolf, elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions, and zebras (to mention merely a few), all of which are a common sight within the reserve. In total, the reserve is said to shelter approximately 10,000 mammals and 350 bird species.

In addition to its wild, untamed, and unapologetic natural beauty, and abundance of wildlife species, Madikwe Game Reserve is regarded as one of Africa’s most sought-after wildlife and Big 5 safari destinations as well as one of the continents best conservation areas.

Beyond preserving wildlife, one of the many things that sets this remarkable game reserve apart is its unwavering dedication to community upliftment. Madikwe is not only a massive champion of social investment and responsible tourism in the region, but plays a major role in economically uplifting the various communities within the area.

  • When is The Best Time to Visit Madikwe Game Reserve: Plan your visit around May to September for the best wildlife viewing.

#5 Hwange National Park | Zimbabwe

Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa

Time to venture to Zimbabwe! Home to a number of game-rich wilderness areas, northern Zimbabwe is regarded as the top region for wildlife safaris. Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park is arguably one of Africa’s very best Big 5 safari destinations and National Parks. Covering a vast expanse of around 5,655 square miles/14,650 square kilometers, it is both the largest and the oldest National Park in the country, not to mention one of Zimbabwe’s most sought-after safari destinations among avid wildlife enthusiasts from around the world.

Home to over 100 species of mammals, including the iconic African Big 5, Hwange National Park is considered to have the biggest diversity of mammals out of the world’s National Parks – Ensuring truly unparalleled game viewing and unbelievable once-in-a-lifetime wildlife sightings and encounters! If that’s not impressive enough, in addition to its extraordinary game viewing and exceptional diversity of wildlife species, this world-renowned National Park has yet another claim to wildlife fame – its profound population of elephants which is said to exceed over 50 000. The Hwange elephant population is thought to be one of the largest in both Africa and the world.

That’s not all! This magnificent wilderness and wildlife gem also boasts one of the largest populations of endangered African wild dogs in the continent. Furthermore, travelers and wildlife lovers can look forward to spectacular sightings of various other wildlife species, including masses of hippos, crocodiles, zebra, giraffe, impala, cheetah, several rare antelope species such as roan and sable antelope (a Hwange special), plenty of plains game, African wildcats, serval, honey badgers, civet, and spotted hyaenas, to mention merely a few. Not to mention hyenas, bat-eared foxes, and springhares, all of which are known to inhabit the Kalahari sands of the region. With such a vast and impeccable diversity of wildlife sightings and encounters to look forward to, Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park truly is any avid wildlife enthusiast’s dream safari destination and one that is not to be missed.

To top it off, Hwange National Park offers eager travelers, tourists, globe-trotting adventurers, families, and wildlife lovers various exciting and memorable ways to explore and enjoy their bucket-list worthy Big 5 safari adventure – from exhilarating 4×4 open-vehicle game drives, immersive walking safaris, horseback rides, and helicopter flights – there is something for absolutely everyone!

  • When is The Best Time to Visit Hwange National Park: The best time for Big 5 safaris is between July to October.

#6 Hluhluwe iMfolozi-Park: The Gateway to Natal’s wild Wonders | South Africa

The village of Hluhluwe (roughly pronounced shloo-shloo-wee) lies within the heart of Zululand on South Africa’s east coast. Surrounded by bright sugarcane fields and pineapple plantations, the village is located near the banks of the Hluhluwe River and acts as the gateway to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Covering approximately 96,000 hectares of forested, mountainous, and rippling savannah landscapes, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is renowned for being one of the top Big 5 safari destinations in Africa.

This National Park in the heart of Zululand not only boasts the largest population of white rhino on the globe, but it is also home to an incredible and diverse variety of birdlife and wildlife species. In addition to over 350 bird species, visitors to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park can expect excellent and exciting sightings of the highly acclaimed African Big 5, wildebeest, cheetah, hyena, and giraffe (to mention merely a few), as well as carefree crocodiles, hefty hippos, and an array of fish which can be found in the park’s lakes deeper inland.

Game aside, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is also renowned for its remarkable conservation efforts and initiatives. The Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation Project for example feeds and cares for threatened African cats, creating the perfect opportunity for visitors to interact with cheetah, serval, caracal, and various African wildcats.

While many know Hluhluwe to be a Big 5 reserve, few people are aware that Hluhluwe is, in fact, a small town located in the north of Durban in central Kwa-Zulu Natal.  Its prime location acts as a gateway to several great areas and destinations, such as Lake St. Lucia, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, various private game reserves, and of course Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

The unspoiled beaches of St Lucia, Cape Vidal, and Sodwana Bay are all easily accessed from Hluhluwe. The surf is popular for diving, snorkeling, canoeing, surfing, body boarding, and fishing. Dolphins are frequent visitors to the bays and can be seen frolicking in the waves while the humpback whales make their slow, annual migration to the warm Mozambique waters. It’s all this and so much more that makes the impeccable Hluhluwe a destination that should be at the top of every traveler and wildlife enthusiast’s bucket-list.

  • When is The Best Time to Visit Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park: May to September is a great time to visit Hluhluwe iMfolozi-Park.

#7 Chobe National Park: Africa’s Elephant Paradise | Botswana

Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa - Chobe National Park in Botswana

Are you eager to experience an authentic African Big 5 safari adventure that will quite literally stampede its way into your heart and leave echoes of trumpeting giants lingering in your wildlife-loving soul? Then look no further than Botswana’s breathtaking Chobe National Park, where elephants reign supreme, and the powerful pulse of the great Chobe River breathes life into the endless stretch of unspoiled wilderness that makes up one of Botswana’s most glorious wildlife and safari gems.

Nicknamed ‘The Land of the Gentle Giants’Chobe National Park’s elephants truly are celebrities in their own right with avid travelers, wildlife enthusiasts, and tourists flocking from all across the globe for the opportunity to see these mighty and magnificent mammals and largest member of the African Big 5 in action and to experience breathless face-to-face encounters with these never-ending herds of the largest living land animal on earth.

So, how many elephants do in fact reside in Africa’s elephant paradise? Chobe National Park boasts an impressive and exceptional population of African elephants, which is said to exceed 120,000 – Undoubtedly making it one of the top places, if not THE top place, on the planet to witness these remarkable gentle giants of the African bushveld in their natural environment. During Botswana’s dry season, from about May to October, an inconceivable number of these gentle giants can be seen crowding the banks of the Chobe River – A truly breathtaking sight!

Occupying a great woodland wilderness between the eponymous Chobe River and the fringes of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Chobe National Park is one of Africa’s heavyweight reserves and a sanctuary for some of the continent’s healthiest populations of elephant, buffalo, lion, giraffe, zebra, leopard, jackals, the widely beloved and endangered African wild dog, civet, massive herds of roaming plains game, and ample predators lurking around every corner (to mention merely a few). The Chobe River teems with crocodile and hippo, making a boat safari ever-so-exciting!

Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa - Chobe National Park in Botswana

Exploring this flourishing ecosystem, you’re likely to encounter lions, spotted hyenas, or even an ever-elusive leopard or two. And, if that’s not enough to get your heart racing, you’ll be pleased to know that rare and endangered species like the African wild dog and puku (Kobus vardonii) are thriving in the lush grasslands along the Chobe riverfront.

Chobe is also one of the best places in Africa to witness the most dramatic predator action – its Savuti region is where lions regularly clash with hyenas and powerful prides famously take down Africa’s biggest game like buffalo, giraffe and even elephants.

A Big 5 safari is an absolute MUST in Chobe as all animals roam freely, offering an unforgettable wildlife spectacle and safari experience.

  • When is The Best Time to Visit Chobe National Park: Plan your Chobe safari between August to October for the best time.

**EXTRA INSIGHT: If you really, REALLY want to see as many wild African elephants as you possibly can on your Chobe safari trip, it’s hard to think of a better destination than the iconic Chobe River at the end of Botswana’s enervating dry season. Botswana’s virtually rainless winter begins in May and by late August the rest of the park has practically dried out completely; The bone-dry surroundings, due to the extreme lack of rain, means that ponds, streams, puddles, and smaller water sources around the park dry up. This forces animals to essentially congregate around the remaining large water source / sources – AKA the Chobe River – resulting in enormous concentrations of wildlife, including Chobe’s huge herds of elephants, on the riverfront – It truly is a sensational sight that has to be seen to be believed.

In the heat of September and October, thousands of elephants arrive cheek-by-jowl with enormous buffalo herds, trailed by prides of sleek lions. Game drives and boat cruises take you right into the centre of the action, providing you with seriously spectacular up-close sightings and encounters that are bound to leave you gob-smacked and utterly amazed.

**BONUS: Check out our ‘Chobe National Park: Botswana’s Elephant Paradise’ blog for everything you need to know about this extraordinary wilderness region, as well as our ‘Top 5 Chobe National Park Safari Experiences’ blog to get you even more excited!

#8 Moremi Game Reserve | Botswana

Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa - Moremi Game Reserve

Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve, also known as the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, is situated in one of the largest inland deltas and premier wilderness areas in the world, the vast and virtually untouched freshwater wetland of the glorious Okavango Delta. Encompassing a quarter of the Delta within its borders, covering most of its eastern sector, Moremi Game Reserve spans across several thousand square kilometers, boasting vast floodplains, lagoons, grasslands, forests of acacia trees, remarkable open savannahs pains, islands, and dense mopane woodlands. Celebrated for its ecological diversity, Moremi Game Reserve is not only host to Botswana’s richest blend of habitats (which directly translates into awe-inspiring wildlife encounters and prolific birdwatching), but also one of Africa’s most renowned protected wilderness areas of incredible biodiversity.

Regarded as the beating heart of the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve is the only proclaimed wildlife reserve in the Okavango Delta – and is known to boast an exceptional and abundant diversity of wildlife species – including the highly sought-after African Big 5 – undoubtedly making it a prime destination for a Big 5 safari in Africa. While sightings of these sensational wildlife species are more rare than other large National Parks (making it all the more worthwhile when you do spot them) Africa’s critically endangered black rhino and near threatened southern white rhino have both been re-introduced into Moremi Game Reserve successfully.

Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa - Moremi Game Reserve

Extending into the immense Okavango Delta, the Moremi Game Reserve preserves the heart of Africa’s finest game viewing region. Well protected, the reserve provides refuge for an abundant and diverse population of African wildlife. Moremi, together with adjoining private land concessions in the Okavango, also provide the perfect environment in which to see endangered African wild dogs and other rare wildlife species in their natural habitat. Some of these rare species include, the Black-maned Kalahari Lion, Sitatunga, Puku and Red Lechwe antelope, Brown Hyena, the African Skimmer. and Aardvark.

To top it off, the local Basarwa Bushmen also reside in the area, offering visitors an intimate look into their traditional way of life – adding something entirely unique, authentic, and memorable to your Big 5 safari experience in Africa.

**Interesting fact: The reason why Moremi was elected as a game reserve instead of a National Park was to still allow the native Bushmen and people of Batswana (native to the land) to stay within the Moremi area in 1963, which made the Moremi the first protected reserve of the Okavango Delta.

  • When is The Best Time to Visit Moremi Game Reserve: You should aim to visit between July to October for the best safari experience.

**BONUS: Check out our ‘Moremi Game Reserve’ blog for everything you need to know about this extraordinary and must-visit game reserve.

#9 Serengeti National Park: Africa’s wildlife Wonder | Tanzania

Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa - The Serengeti National Park

If you’re looking for the classic safari as seen in the cinematic epics, there’s no better place to visit and fall head-over-heels in love with Africa than the renowned Serengeti National Park. The Serengeti National Park is arguably one of the most extraordinary National Parks in Africa, as well as one of the most celebrated wilderness areas in the world. It is also regarded as one of the most famous protected wilderness areas in all of Africa as well as Tanzania’s flagship conservation area, boasting one of the world’s greatest concentrations of wildlife species. It’s no surprise people travel from all over the world to experience all the wilderness magic, wildlife spectacles, and wild unapologetic beauty the Serengeti National Park has to offer. Whether you’re a first-time safari goer or a seasoned safari expert, the Serengeti National Park should undoubtedly be on every avid traveler, nature lover, and wildlife enthusiast’s African safari travel bucket list.

While the Serengeti is known for its magnificent and diverse wildlife as well as boasts some of the best year-round game viewing in Africa, including the iconic African Big 5 and various rare and endangered species, it is most renowned for being the site of the Annual Great Wildebeest Migration  One may call it the Serengeti National Park’s official claim to wilderness fame!

Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa - The Serengeti National Park

A wilderness spectacle like no other, the Serengeti Great Migration sees millions of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle traversing the open plains of the park in search of fresh grass from seasonal rains. One of the greatest spectacles in the natural world, the migration follows the seasonal rains, spending the wet season in the south eastern plains of Tanzania and the dry season in the woodlands of north western Kenya. Witnessing this spectacular wildlife phenomenon truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

However, as millions of wildebeest and zebra traverse these lands in search of sustenance, you better believe that Africa’s wild predators, such as lions, leopards, and hyenas, are not far behind and constantly on the hunt. The sheer volume of wildebeest and other wildlife crossing the river to make their way from the Serengeti National Park to the Maasai Mara in Kenya means facing approximately 3,000 crocodiles, patiently waiting for a kill, as well as the famous Serengeti lion population – by far the largest in Africa – right and ready to pounce whenever the opportunity strikes. These dramatic scenes of huge herds on the move, crossing rivers and vast plains, pursued by predators looking for their next kill, truly are the stuff nature documentaries are made of. This undoubtedly makes it the prime time to not only witness exceptional sightings of Africa’s most famous predators but see them in action.

Derived from the Maasai word “siringiti”, which means “endless plains,” this park rests on raised platens between the Ngorongoro highlands and the Tanzania/Kenya border, extending almost to Lake Victoria, making up 50% of the wider Serengeti–Mara ecosystem. Here, a diversity of grassy plains, Savanna and vegetation stretches endlessly, only to be broken up by acacias, wooded hills, and mountainous backdrops. The Serengeti is said to boast one of the oldest and most distinct ecosystems on earth, featuring a varied, vibrant, and thriving vegetation that has remained largely untouched for millions of years.

Did you know that The Serengeti National Park is made up of the Southern Serengeti, Western Serengeti, Central Serengeti, and the Northern Serengeti, each of which is characterised by its own unique landscape and vegetation?

Top 10 Big 5 Safaris in Africa - The Serengeti National Park

General Guideline: When to see the Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti National Park

(These guidelines are subject to change as per seasonal rainfall)

  Approximate time Region
Calving January to March Southern Serengeti
Intense Big Cat Action January to March Southern Serengeti
Rutting January to March Southern Serengeti
Grumeti River Crossings May to July Western Serengeti
Mara River Crossings July to September Northern Serengeti
On the Move October to December Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara

**Important Note: The above guidelines are approximate dates and places. The Wildebeest Migration is a year-round, circular journey and the river crossings cannot be predicted, although they generally occur between May and September.

 As this awe-inspiring event is one of the last mass terrestrial animal movements left on the planet, experiencing the wild wonder that is the annual Serengeti National Park Great Migration is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be at the very top of every avid traveller and eager nature and wildlife enthusiast’s bucket list.

  • When is The Best Time to Visit the Serengeti National Park: We recommend you visit during June to September | It also depends on what you are most eager to see & experience (check out our blogs below)!!

**BONUS: Check out our ‘Serengeti National Park’ and ‘Best Time to go to the Serengeti’ blogs for everything you need to know about this remarkable and thrilling African safari destination.

#10 Akagera National Park: Central Africa’s Largest Protected Wetland | Rwanda

Akagera National Park is renowned for being the ONLY Big 5 safari destination in Rwanda. This makes Akagera National Park a true gem in Rwanda’s wildlife crown as it holds a special place as the country’s exclusive / one & only destination for Big 5 safari experiences and adventures.

One of the many things that makes Akagera so remarkable is the fact that despite it well and truly being at the verge of vanishing entirely at one point in time – completely seizing to exist – this National Park in the heart of Rwanda experienced a miraculous revival as the last haven for savannah-adapted wildlife species in the area to the extent where Akagera National Park is now considered to be a true safari mecca! Now that’s a truly triumphant return!

At the heart of Central Africa, you’ll discover the vastness of its largest protected wetland – a story of redemption and resilience that warms the heart.

What was once teetering on the brink of disappearance has now transformed into a Big 5 safari paradise, beckoning travelers, tourists, wildlife enthusiasts, and adventurers from all corners of the world. Brace yourself for thrilling game drives that bring you face-to-face with magnificent Maasai giraffes and captivating Burchell’s zebras. But that’s not all – as you explore the lakeside, prepare to be amazed by the graceful presence of hippos, the ancient majesty of crocodiles, and the intriguing elegance of shoebills among a vibrant tapestry of waterbirds.

Go right ahead, step into Akagera National Park, a place where the magic of second chances comes to life. Here, you’ll find yourself immersed in unparalleled wildlife encounters & spectacular Big 5 sightings amidst the magnificent untouched wilderness of Rwanda itself. Let the spirit of Akagera awaken your sense of wonder and curiosity as you forge unforgettable connections with nature and the magic of the African bushveld.

  • When is The Best Time to Visit Akagera National Park: You can expect a great trip if you visit between June to September and mid-December to mid-February.