One of life's greatest thrills is seeing one of the Big 5 in one of the world's top safari locations. But what precisely are the Big 5 or the 5 best safari routes?
The phrase was first used by big game hunters in the 19th century, who identified the African rhinoceros, African elephant, African lion, Cape buffalo, and leopard as the five most dangerous animals to hunt in Africa while on foot. Fortunately, national parks and wildlife reserves now provide a significant amount of protection for these amazing species.
There are several places in Africa that are renowned for their Big 5 populations, yet there are no assurances that you will see animals while on safari (especially the extremely elusive leopard and critically endangered rhino).
1. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Explore the other half of the massive Mara-Serengeti ecosystem by crossing the Serengeti's border into Kenya's Maasai Mara National Park. The Maasai Mara, one of the top safari locations in the world, offers incredible animal viewing, including all five of the Big 5.
Along with the more than 2 million wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle that gather in a thunderous mass during the Great Migration, you may also see giraffes, hippos, and crocodiles hiding in the rivers.
2. Serengeti Nationa Park, Tanzania
One of the top safari locations in the world for viewing the Big 5 and so much more is Serengeti National Park, a symbol of Africa. This UNESCO-listed national park in northern Tanzania has one of the planet's oldest ecosystems. It's teeming with life that hasn't altered much in the last million years, both in terms of plants and animals.
The Great Migration, often known as "The Greatest Show on Earth," takes place in the Serengeti. Every year, in July, the migration begins its journey to Kenya's Masai Mara. Around October, the herd travels the 1,000 kilometers back to Tanzania.
3. Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kruger National Park is South Africa's oldest and most famous national park. It's also one of the continent's top bucket list adventures. You'll have a decent chance of seeing the famed Big 5, the unusual Little 5, and everything in between on an astounding two million hectares.
4. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, one of Africa's Seven Natural Wonders, is one of the top safari destinations on the continent. Ngorongoro Crater is a 260-square-kilometer old volcanic crater in northern Tanzania's Crater Highlands. The crater is ringed by a 600-metre-high wall and is the world's biggest entire and empty caldera.
5. Etosha National Park, Namibia
The largest national park in Namibia, Etosha is renowned for its stunning desert vistas and a variety of species. Since there are no buffalo in Etosha, but there are in the adjacent Waterberg Plateau and Caprivi Strip, you will have an opportunity to see four of the Big 5. In the meanwhile, the abundance of lions and elephants makes up for it.