Big Five safari holidays in South Africa

leopard are elusive big five animals to spot The most elusive of the Big Five; the leopard will drag its prey high up into the trees to escape scavengers

For many first time visitors to Africa, a top priority is ticking off the so-called Big Five: lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino. South Africa offers many excellent opportunities to do this, and it is the easiest place in Africa to see rhinos, since it supports more than 90% of the continental population of these endangered creatures. It is also the African country best suited to self-drive safaris.

South Africa’s top Big Five destination is the Kruger National Park, which extends over almost 20,000 km² to form one of Africa’s largest and most iconic safari destinations. Kruger is home around 40,000 buffalo, 13,000 elephant, 1,600 lion, 2,000 leopard, 7,000 white rhino and 400 black rhino. For those who can afford it, great alternatives to Kruger are the exclusive private reserves that border it, and ‘concession lodges’ that occupy enclaves within it.

cape buffalo one of the big five animals The Cape buffalo can weight up to 850 kilograms

South Africa boasts many other world-class safari destinations, among them the malaria-free Pilanesberg and Madikwe Game Reserves northwest of Johannesburg.

travel eexpert big five safari south africa


Our Recommended Itinerary

The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)

day 1 to 3

Welcome to your Big Five safari
  • The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)
  • The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)
  • The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)
  • The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)
  • The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)
  • The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)

day 4 to 6

Explore the Kruger National Park
  • The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)
  • The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)
  • The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)
  • The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)
  • The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)
  • The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)

day 7

See you on your next visit

View Full Itinerary

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Madikwe and Pilanesberg

Pride of lions in the Madikwe Game Reserve Situated in the blandly-named low-profile North West Province, these two relatively recently-created reserves have grown in popularity in recent years thanks to their family-friendly location in a malaria free-zone and excellent Big Five viewing. Pilanesberg and Madikwe are quite similar in ecological terms, both being situated on the…

Kruger National Park

Extending over a mind-boggling 19,485 km², the Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s largest and most iconic safari destinations, comparable in area to Wales or the state of New Jersey, and sharing open borders with several smaller private reserves as well as two transfrontier national parks in the form of Gonarezhou (Zimbabwe) and Limpopo (Mozambique). It vies with with Cape Town as…

South Africa in September

Spring marks the start of the annual wildflower takeover along the West Coast of South Africa Johannesburg and the highveld is warm by day, cold at night, and dry. Cape Town and the Western Cape is mild by day, cool at night and receives regular rainfall. The Kruger Park and surrounds is hot by day, mild at night, and dry. September is an ideal time for beach holidays on the Indian…

Shopping in South Africa

The Waterfront shopping mall in Cape Town is set against the backdrop of Table Mountain and is one of the most visited malls in the country Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and other large cities are liberally dotted with shopping malls that typically contain several supermarkets and a plethora of other retail outlets selling the sort of goods you’d expect in similar establishments in…

Why go to South Africa?

No other country in Africa, and few anywhere else in the world, offer a diversity of attractions to rival South Africa. South Africa is one of the continent’s finest Big Five destinations. The likes of the Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve have all the amenities and attractions one would come to expect from world-class wildlife destinations. While adjoining…

A South African holiday as a couple

There are plenty of romantic getaways in South Africa that are perfect for couples | Credit: Madikwe Safari Lodge Most parts of South Africa are suited to couples. However, it’s easier for couples travelling without children to self-drive (which also helps keep costs down) and ensures plenty of privacy and quality time together. Many couples opt to visit areas like the Garden Route,…

Popular South Africa Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Cape Town, the Winelands and Kruger Luxury Journey (9 days)

Cape Town, the Winelands and Kruger Luxury Journey (9 days)

Experience Cape Town, the lush Cape Winelands and a safari in the Kruger National Park and you'll fall under South Africa's spell...

 | South Africa and Mauritius Island Holiday (12 days)

South Africa and Mauritius Island Holiday (12 days)

South Africa has so much to offer, from spotting the elusive leopard, to exploring Johannesburg's historical sites. Include the tropical island of Mauritius for an even more unforgettable vacation....

 | Sabi Sands and Okavango Delta Big Five Tour (8 days)

Sabi Sands and Okavango Delta Big Five Tour (8 days)

Explore the famous reserve that offers exceptional game viewing and sight the elusive Sitatunga antelope in the Okavango ...

 | Exhillarating Garden Route Adventure on a Royal Enfield Motorcycle (7 days)

Exhillarating Garden Route Adventure on a Royal Enfield Motorcycle (7 days)

Experience the Cape and Garden Route in a thrilling motorcycle safari ...

Aerial View of Sun City | Sun City and Madikwe Family Safari (6 days)

Sun City and Madikwe Family Safari (6 days)

From Sun City's hedonistic pleasures to the majesty of nature at Madikwe Game Reserve, this journey combines the best of two very different worlds...

 | Cosmopolitan Cape Town and Kruger Tour (7 days)

Cosmopolitan Cape Town and Kruger Tour (7 days)

Discover the Big Cats in the Kruger National Park and enjoy the bustling harbour, world-class beaches and top-notch vineyards in Cape Town...

 | Bespoke Safari in South Africa (14 days)

Bespoke Safari in South Africa (14 days)

Experience the best that South Africa has to offer, with a holiday tailor-made for you ...

 | The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)

The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)

Get the best possible chance to see the Big Five wildlife in the iconic Kruger National Park and Manyeleti Game Reserve ...

 | Affordable Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls Luxury Safari (10 days)

Affordable Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls Luxury Safari (10 days)

Visit the most popular destinations in Southern Africa on this luxury tour for the budget-conscious...

 | Kruger’s Sabi Sands Discovery Safari (5 days)

Kruger's Sabi Sands Discovery Safari (5 days)

Enjoy an authentic African safari. Game viewing possibilities are unparalleled and include the Big Five in the Sabi Sands and white lions in the Timbavati Nature Reserve....

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