Serengeti big 5

Serengeti big 5 : The term Serengeti Big 5 comes from early hunters’ descriptions of the toughest and most dangerous African creatures, which presented a significant obstacle while hunting. Serengeti used to be a hunting field for the animals before it was officially gazetted and made a national park, and the Maasai warriors were displaced. The first Europeans to arrive in the park were hunters who came specifically for the purpose of hunting Lions, Elephants, and other large animals. They named the big five of Africa after their hunting experience identified the five creatures that were the most difficult to kill.

All of the big five can be found in large numbers in the Serengeti National Park, with the exception of rhinos, which are rarer and mostly found in the Northern part of  Serengeti National Park. The shy rare black Rhinos are found in the thickets of the park. To spot the Rhinos one has to use few of the greatest experienced driver guides and most from the Serengeti national park Rangers.

Historically Serengeti had no Elephants in early 19s century. The Elephants were found in the near by game reserves. Due to human conflicts with wildlife, the habitats of the Elephants were cleared hence forcing Elephants to migrate and seek refuge at the park hence introduction of the Elephants to the park. This made the list of the Serengeti big 5 complete with all the members available. Till date the population of the Elephants have grown dramatically at the park hence they are among the easily seen animals during your Serengeti safari.

Below are the great big five of Serengeti National park:


Not only in Tanzania, but also in Africa as a whole, the Serengeti national parks have the most lions. The lion, as the king of the jungle, is one of the most feared animals among the Serengeti Big 5. Lions can be observed in a variety of areas around the Serengeti, but the most prevalent is in Seronera, where there is a high concentration of small animals.

In the Serengeti National Park, tree climbing lions have become a routine occurrence. The Ambrella Acacia trees and the Sosage tree are situated in the central Serengeti, where tree climbing lions can be seen. Tourists recently witnessed a pride of 11 lions sleeping on the branches of an acacia tree and it has remained on documentaries of wildlife in Serengeti.

Lions can also be spotted in the kojpes, particularly early in the morning when they are sunbathing and later in the day when they are resting in the shade of the park’s numerous isolated rocks. They are also abundant in this area due to the ease with which they can hunt game, identify prey, and occasionally have rare incidences of mating.

Serengeti Big 5
Serengeti Big 5


Elephants had never been seen in the Serengeti National Park until about 30 years ago. Elephants are now one of the most common Serengeti Big 5 animals, and they can be found in groups of two to twenty, depending on the season and where you encounter them. The African Elephant is Africa’s pride, but poaching is wreaking havoc on the species. Its only Maasai Mara in Africa that has a record of tremendous increase of Elephant numbers every year.

African Elephants in Serengeti national park are very massive in size and spotted in swampy regions of the park surrounding the Seronera River, the large number is located on Turner 4 and turner 2 as you move to research side. Early morning game drives gives you great opportunity to meet the large herds of Elephants. This giants like being active during the cold hours of the day and in the afternoon they are found around the swampy areas where they go to cool themselves. The little ones like playing by sprinkling water on themselves as they move around the elders.

Serengeti Big 5
Serengeti Elephants


One of the Serengeti Big 5’s most difficult to spot, but also one of the most common.

It’s called “Chii” in Swahili, and every driver guide on the game drive keeps asking their colleagues if they see Chii. Leopards abound in the Serengeti, but spotting them requires a keen eye, a wealth of experience, and a high level of sensitivity. In fact, if you don’t have binoculars, it can be difficult or even impossible to spot these animals; if they’re in trees, they conceal well, and if they’re on the ground, they can move on the scale of grass, especially if they’re on a hunt.

Serengeti Big 5

Well experienced driver guides use other sighs from nature like birds especially the Guineafowl which always screen if they see any predator, Vultures which are always on wait for the left overs from predators and finally the Hyenas who like taking a way the killed prey by leopards.


The Maasai call it the wild bull, and it is the most common of all the Serengeti Big 5. It can be seen in large groups of up to 100 members, and it is the most common of all the Serengeti Big 5. Observed in any region of the park, wandering freely with other animals and accompanied by birds such as Little and Cattle Egrets, which feed on buffalo ticks.

Buffalos are the most calm of the big five, but when they charge, they are the most dangerous. The Serengeti National Park has over 30,000 buffalos, which are easily visible during the rainy season when the grass is green all over the park; during the dry season, they hide in swampy areas. Large herds of buffalo can be seen in the swamp near Osupuko camp and on the side of the Research center.

Serengeti Big 5
Serengeti Buffalos

The most dangerous buffalos are the solitary bulls that they have chased away from the rest of the team and left to stand alone as a window. Due to self-defense motivations, you’ll encounter such a bull fully charged throughout the day; most of them are defeated bulls from the crowd who are irritated by everything.


The rarest of the Serengeti Big 5, spotting them requires a bit of luck, which is why most visitors combine a visit to Serengeti National Park with a visit to Ngorongoro Crater to complete the Big 5 list. Rhinos in Serengeti can be observed in the Northern part of the park along the border with huge Maasai Mara national reserve.

Rhinos can be seen in groups of two to five or one at a time, and are more active at night and during cooler times of the day, resting for longer periods of time, especially during the dry season when the sun and the thorns are more intense.

Rhinos are frequently spotted during the rainy season, which is also the Serengeti’s low season, because the park is less busy, allowing them to wander freely. Rhinos are among the most frightened creatures, but they may be dangerous when they charge.

Due to a high rate of poaching, the number of Rhinos in Africa has rapidly decreased, affecting the number of Rhinos in most parts of Africa, including the Serengeti. The Serengeti national park ecosystem has provided guests with more opportunities to create their own Serengeti Big 5 list, with over 70 animal species and over 500 bird species.

The park features both large and small creatures, with the most well-known being the wildebeest, zebras, and giraffes, but it also boasts a variety of antelope species.


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