One of my favorite things to do when I need a little upliftment or inspiration is to take a mini trip down memory lane and look through my photos from past trips to Africa. I can relive my favorite moments, get up close to my favorite animals over and over again (even if it’s just from a 4X6 photograph), and even discover tiny details I never noticed before in the pictures.

So, while going through some recent photographs, I compiled some of my favorite pictures of the Big Five and would love to share them with you. See below for some of my most prized Big Five photographs: 

Let’s start with the Cape buffalo . . .

cape buffalo

Ah, yes. The Cape Buffalo. An interesting animal. They love to scratch their heads and behinds on anything they can. They also travel in large herds and it is so incredible to travel alongside them in a vehicle. You feel like you are one of them! Looking at a Cape buffalo for the first time, you might wonder why they are considered to be one of the Big Five (for those who are unaware, the Big Five got their name from hunters because they historically were the most difficult of the African animals to hunt). They kind of just sit there and chew grass (I noticed that they all seem to chew from the left side of their mouths – all of them!). But they are actually considered by hunters to be the most dangerous of the Big Five since they can charge with incredible strength and will run you right over if you agitate them or impede on their turf. I shot the picture above while on a trip to South Africa in Sabi Sands Game Reserve. The oxpecker bird you see here was just picking away at this buffalo’s eyes and ears.

cape buffalo

cape buffalo big five

big five

And then, of course, there is the elephant. One of the world’s most beloved animals. It is such a treat to witness these giants in person, especially when they are with their young! There are very few things on this earth that are just as cute as a baby elephant. While on an African safari vacation, you’ll notice elephants stripping trees to eat the bark and, you might even see them pushing down huge trees to try and get all the bark off.

big five elephant

save the elephants



Another favorite Big Five to witness in the wild is the rhino. You’ll feel like you are in the dinosaur age when you watch these ancient-looking animals graze in the plains. And you are in for a real treat if you see a baby rhino! One of my favorite rhino pics is the one below of a mother rhino and her baby at Entabeni Game Reserve in South Africa. The baby was so curious. He would come up to our vehicle, then run away and hide behind his mother when he got scared. Too cute.


big five

rhino and giraffe

The leopard is one of the most beautiful and elusive creatures to witness while on an African safari tour. Their eyes are absolutely stunning – you will not be able to turn away from them. They can typically be seen toward the end of the day and early evening, as well as at night. So if you are on an afternoon game drive, be on the lookout!


leopard big five


And then, last, but certainly not least, is the lion. Such an incredibly noble creature to witness in the wild. One of the most memorable lions I’ve seen on safari was in South Africa. He was lounging by some tall grass with the wind blowing through his flourishing mane. He looked so calm and peaceful. And then out of nowhere, he let out a huge grown and roar. He then got up and started tracking the female lions because he was hungry and they were the ones to catch dinner! We followed him until he found two lionesses who had caught an impala. Truly magnificent. See a picture of him below:


lion cub

lion cubs

lion big five

Which one of the Big Five is your favorite? Tell us in our comments section!

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    • Lisa, delighted you like the pictures! Hopefully it gets you dreaming of Africa! Such an incredible opportunity to witness these spectacular animals up-close on an exhilarating safari. Let us know when you want to start planning 😉


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