What’s more authentically South African than SA’s Big 5? There isn’t much you could come up with, is there? But where can you take your kids to see elephants, rhino, lions, buffalo and leopards without viewing them in caged environments? Read on to learn more about destinations across South Africa that are home to these magnificent animals!
Some details on SA’s Big 5
South Africa is home to the white and black rhino, both of which are critically endangered. The species has a 50% chance of becoming extent within just three generation, which is shocking, to say the least. Although at the time of writing these locations housed rhino, there’s no telling what the realities of the future might look like.
Buffalo is the only wild cattle species found in Africa. These animals live in hers up to 1000 animals. Males that don’t form part of the herd form bachelor herds or live solitary lives, making them much more susceptible to attacks from predators.
Elephants are the largest land mammals on earth, and scientists believe they have the intelligence of a 4-year old kid. Just like humans, elephant grieve, show compassion, are self-aware and love playing. Angola was home to the world’s largest recorded elephant, which weighed in at 10,800kg and roughly 4m!
Leopards are arguably the hardest of SA’s big 5 to spot. These big cats are mostly nocturnal and live in the trees. They’re almost an endangered species due to the fact that they’re hunted or poisoned by farmers who see them as threats to their livestock. The leopard can reach speeds of up to 58 kilometres per hour, making them the second fastest cat in South Africa.
They call them the ‘kings of the jungle’, but in reality, they are the kings of the plains. Lions can weigh up to 225 kilograms and are the only big cats that have manes. They are, bar none, the most sociable of the cat species and live in prides of up to 15 individuals.
Where to see SA’s big 5
Although some private game reserves also house the big 5, you’re much more likely to encounter them in the following national parks:
- Kuzuko Lodge, Addo Elephant National Park, Port Elizabeth
- Karoo National Park, Beaufort West
- Marakele National Park, Waterberg, Limpopo
- Kruger National Park, Limpopo & Mpumalanga
- Mabula Game Lodge, Waterberg, Limpopo
- Pilanesberg National Park, Rustenburg
- Augrabies Falls National Park, Augrabies
- Mokala National Park, Plooysburg