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.
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.