Big 5

Serengeti National Park Big 5

Serengeti National Park Big 5

Serengeti National Park Big 5 is a term that is derived from the early hunters on the hard and most dangerous African animals which gave the hunters high challenge during hunting. Before Serengeti national park was fully gazetted  and declared a national park and the Maasai warriors were displaced, Serengeti used to be a hunting ground for the animals.

The first Europeans to settle in the park were also hunters with the main purpose of only hunting Lions, Elephants and other big animals. Their experience in the hunting described the five animals which were to challenging if one had to kill and hence named them the big five of Africa.

Serengeti national park has all the big five in large numbers except that Rhinos are rarer and are mostly found in the Northern part of Serengeti near the border with Maasai Mara national reserve. To spot the Rhinos one has to use few of the greatest experienced driver guides and most from the Serengeti national park Rangers.

Below are the great big five of Serengeti National park:


Serengeti national parks has the largest number of lions not only in Tanzania but Africa at large. Lion being the king of the jungle is one of the most feared animal among the Serengeti Big 5, lions are easily seen from different sectors of Serengeti though the most common Area is in Seronera area where there is high concentration of small animals in Serengeti.

Serengeti National Park Big 5
Lion in serengeti

Currently it has become common that tree climbing lions are becoming a common experience in Serengeti national park. Tree climbing lions are seen from the central Serengeti where the Umbrella Acacia trees and the Sosage tree are found. Most recently tourists saw a pride of 11 lions lying on the branches of the acacia tree all in one tree.

Lions can also be seen in the kojpes especially in the morning when they are sun bathing and in the day time when they are resting under the shades of these dotted isolated rocks in the park. They are also common in this area because of the easy hunt of the prey, spotting of the prey and sometimes isolated cases of mating.


Serengeti national park historically had no Elephants not until of recent like 30 years back that the Elephants were seen in the park. Elephants are one of the common Serengeti Big 5 now days and they are seen in a group of 2 to 20 depending on the season and where you meet them from. African Elephant is the pride of Africa though poaching is greatly affecting the growth of Elephants in Africa. It’s only Maasai Mara in Africa that has a record of great increase of Elephant numbers every year.

Serengeti National Park Big 5
Elephant in Serengeti

African Elephants in Serengeti national park are very huge in size and spotted in swampy areas of the park around the Seronera River, the large number is found on Turner 4 and turner 2 as you proceed to research side.


One of the not easy go among the Serengeti Big 5, very rare but also easily spotted in Serengeti national park. Its called “Chii” in Swahili where by every driver guide keeps on asking their colleagues any sight of Chii as they do the game drive.

Serengeti National Park Big 5
Leopard in Serengeti

Leopards are many in Serengeti but needs an eagle eye and great experience as long as sensitivity in order for one to see the leopards. In fact sometimes if one does not have binoculars its hard or even impossible to see these animals, if they are on trees they hide very much and if on ground the can move on the size of grass especially if it’s on a hunt.

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


The Maasai call it the wild bull, these can be seen in large group reaching even to 100 members, and they are the most common among all the Serengeti Big 5. Sighted in any part of the park moving freely with other animals, accompanied by the birds like Egret both little and Cattle Egrets which depend on ticks from the buffalos.

Serengeti National Park Big 5
Buffalo in Serengeti National Park

Buffalos are the most peaceful among the big five but are the most dangerous when they charge. Serengeti national park has over 30,000 buffalos and they are easily seen during rainy season when the grass all over the park are green, if its dry season they leave in swampy areas of the park. The large herds of buffalos can be seen near Osupuko camp in that swamp and in the side of Research center.

The most dangerous buffalos are the isolated bulls which they have chased from the team and leaves as a window on its own. You find such a bull fully charged throughout the day due to self-defense motives, most of them are defeated bulls from the crowd and they are annoyed of everything.


The rarest among all the Serengeti Big 5, spotting them is more of luck that is why most guests combine visiting Serengeti national park with Ngorongoro Crater in order to finish the list of the big 5. Rhinos in Serengeti can be seen in the Northern part of the park along the border with great Maasai Mara national reserve.

Rhinos in Serengeti
Rhinos in Serengeti

Rhinos can be spotted in groups of 2 to 5 or sometimes one at a time, more active at night and cool time of the day and taking longer hours resting especially during dry season when the sun and the temperatures are very high.

Rhinos are easily seen during rainy season which is also low season in Serengeti the park is less crowded and this makes them move freely, they are among the most fearful animals but dangerous when they charge. Rhinos has rapidly decreased in Africa due to high poaching rate and this has affected the number of Rhinos in most parts of Africa including Serengeti, Serengeti national park ecosystem has given guest more chances of creating their own Serengeti Big 5 list with over 70 animal species and over 500 bird species. Both big and small animals are easily seen in the park though the famous are the wildebeest, Zebras and giraffes but the park has more than that like different species of Antelopes.

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