The Big Five: A guide to tracking down the wild animals

The Big Five: A guide to tracking down the wild animals

In Africa, the “Big Five” are known as the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and rhinoceros. This is what most adventurous travellers are trying to find when they visit the wildlife safari in.

Having patience in your search for the “Big Five” is the key to a great tour. Some misconceptions is that giving the animals food will help attract more animals but NEVER FEED THE WILD ANIMALS as they are wild animals, not domesticated pets.

Here are a couple quick tips for finding wildlife on your safari trip in South Africa.

Get Up Early

Get in your car and leave the camp at gate opening time. Some try to be first in line to catch whoever is sleeping on or next to the road. Many animals, like hyenas are only active in early morning or late evening and you may not get a chance to see them otherwise.


Get out there and drive. You’ve got to put in the hours. Try to stay out all day long, from when the gate opens to the gate closes, and stop at a picnic area mid-day for lunch. The more time you spend out looking the more you will find.

2017 find safari drive

Go Slow

You don’t have to cover a lot of distance to see animals. They are everywhere, and people who drive fast do not see them (unless the animals happen to be sitting in the road). Also, you are endangering both yourself and the animals’ safety if you are driving fast, so remember to slow down.

Talk to People

Don’t be shy about asking the folks around you what they’ve seen and where. If a person has pulled over and is looking at something, it’s OK to ask them politely what they have seen.

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Check the Sighting Boards

Each camp has a sighting board where visitors can put a small coloured magnet on the map to indicate where they’ve seen a certain species that day. If you come back to camp at midday, check out the mornings sightings and see if you can find them.

2017 find safari board

Watch for Traffic Jams

This is kind of the lazy way to do it but it is also a surefire way to see large predators. If there is a traffic jam with more than five cars, there is most likely a lion, or if you’re lucky, a leopard. But sitting at a traffic jam sighting can be annoying so take a look and move on. On the other hand, most people have short attention spans so if you stick around, you may end up being the last one there and have the sighting to yourself.

Sit and Wait

If you sit at a waterhole in the morning or evening, you have a greater chance of seeing interesting creatures coming and going. This technique requires patience, and when your have both patience and perseverance, you will well rewarded.

2017 find safari sit and wait

Scan Constantly

You can’t just watch the road. Yes it can get tiring scanning the trees and grasses all day, and your neck can get a bit sore, but the fact is, when you stop looking, you stop seeing.

Go On a Night Drive

Certain animal species are active during the night, so go on a night drive to find these wildlife creatures.

Want the best out of your wildlife safari experience? Find fun and knowledgeable locals on the mobile app The Nuflit app offers a selection of locals who know their way around South Africa.

Below are some locals who can bring you around South Africa. Tap the image below or to find out more!

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