Nature attractions of South Africa include diverse landscapes and rich biodiversity. The country has an impressive array of wildlife. Among the most iconic and popular species are the Big Five. It is a term created in colonial times by big-game hunters to signify the five most challenging animals to hunt on foot. Many of South Africa nature attractions are the home to these magnificent beasts.

Today, however, the Big Five are celebrated as symbols of South Africa’s natural heritage and help in escalating South Africa’s ecotourism industry.

The Big Five:

1. African Elephant (Loxodonta Africana):

The African Elephant is the largest majestic and intelligent land mammal that roams across the diverse landscapes of South Africa.

These giants are found in various national parks and reserves, including –

  • Kruger National Park
  • Addo Elephant National Park
  • Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve

These gentle giants in South Africa allure worldwide tourists and make it a prime safari destination.

2. African Lion (Panthera Leo):

African Lion is called the “king of the jungle.” It is a symbol of strength and magnificence.

South Africa is home to thriving lion populations, particularly in –

  • Kruger National Park
  • Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  • Phinda Private Game Reserve

3. African Leopard (Panthera pardus):

The African Leopard is sly and supple. It is one of the most elusive members of the Big Five. You will find these solitary and nocturnal creatures in a variety of habitats ranging from grasslands to dense forests.

The leopards can be seen in suitable environment, including-

  • Kruger National Park
  • Madikwe Game Reserve.

4. African Buffalo (Syncerus Caffer):

The tough and impulsive African Buffalo is popular as the Cape buffalo. These large herbivores are spotted in significant numbers in many of South Africa’s game reserves such as –

  • Kruger National Park
  • Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve
  • MalaMala Game Reserve

The buffalo is a social animal and moves around in huge herds, which adds a unique vivacity to the country’s wildlife landscapes.

5. Rhino (Black Rhino – Diceros bicornis, White Rhino – Ceratotherium Simum):

Both black and white rhino species complete the Big Five line-up. Unfortunately, these magnificent creatures are struggling with severe threats from poaching. So, South Africa has implemented rhino conservation program to ensure their existence.

This is the reason you can see significant populations residing in the –

  • Kruger National Park
  • Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve
  • Phinda Private Game Reserve

Observing these massive yet vulnerable creatures in their natural habitat reminds you of the urgency of implementing conservative measures.

Importance of the Big Five:

The Big 5 of Africa have survived the test of time because of South Africa’s commitment to wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism. The wildlife presence in the country’s national parks and reserves generate significant revenue through ecotourism.


South Africa’s Big Five represent the heritage of natural wealth. South Africa is dedicated and committed to preserve their natural legacy for future generations. Besides, the locals and the tourists must support and promote sustainable practices that ensure the continued existence of the Big Five and the diverse landscapes they dwell in.