Interesting Wild Facts To Know About “African Big Five”

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Lifetime Safaris

Tanzania is drawing the attention of the tourists worldwide due to its great natural wonder and untamed wilderness. The popularity of Tanzania Safari is increasing day by day worldwide. Due to its great biological and wildlife diversity nature lovers are going crazy about this country.

Interesting Wild Facts To Know About African Big Five

The rich biodiversity of the country is a homeland to many; including from the biggest animals on earth to the smallest insect. The national parks of the country offer a great view of birdlife, as well as some of the iconic butterflies including water animals, can be spotted during Tanzania Wildlife Safari in the country. However, from all the attractions of Tanzania Safari offers, an African Big Five Animal blows off the mind. Many travelers are planning their Tanzania Safari Tours only to meet the big five animals.

Here we have mentioned a few interesting Facts of African Big Five Animals;

Why They Are Called Big Five?

Are you listening to the big five for the first time? So is it creating the huge large animals in your imagination? Well, no they are not. The big five animals are not only Tanzania but the whole of Africa’s big five animals. The list includes; Cape buffalo, Lion, Leopard, Elephant, and Rhinoceros. They are however not the biggest but the most dangerous species to spot in the African bushes.

They are enlisted as the Big Five by the game hunters. A few years back there was a lot of hunting that was ongoing all around Africa. The lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant, and rhinos were the most difficult animals to hunt. They are the most aggressive and defending animals hence the game hunters named it as the “Big Five” of Africa. The big fives are not only on the top of the food chain but also the most deadly animals of the African bushes.

1 # African Lion

African Lion

African lions are the prime member of the African Big Five family. Residing in the bushes and savannah land of Tanzania it is considered as the king of the Beasts. Here are a few interesting facts about this big five-members;

  • African lions are the largest species of big cat’s family and the second largest in the Felidae family as the tiger is the largest.
  • Lions reach up to 1.2 meters height up to shoulders and weight around 150 – 225 kg and lioness can reach 1 meter in shoulder height and weight may touch 110-152kg.
  • Their habitat is the most diverse one, they can live almost everywhere. They can survive in open woodlands, thick bush, scrub, and grasslands.
  • The color of the lion’s coats varies according to its region and which group it follows. While you can spot black manned lions in some spots of Africa also there are white lions (pale yellow) that can be spotted in some region.


  • Lions have 5 claws on the front feet and 4 claws on the back feet; this helps them capture their prey.


  • Lion’s cubs are actually born with blue eyes which further turns to brown when they turn 2 to 3 months age.


  • Lions are the most social cats of the big cat family.


  • They live in social groups called pride. A pride holds up to 25 members. A pride consists of 2 to 4 adult lion, many lionesses and cubs.


  • Lions can hunt any animal from the ants to the big fat elephants. Mostly the hunting is done by the lioness.


  • Lionesses are the deadliest in the pride; they are nocturnal animals who do most of the hunting in the night time.


  • If a lot of food is available a lion can eat around 15% of his body weight.


  • A lioness goes through 110 days of gestation, and there are 1 to 4 cubs born at once.

Best Places to See the Lion in Tanzania

There are many national parks you will visit during your Tanzania Safari Tours that will showcase a huge amount of lions. Tanzania is the country that has the most lion population in the world. Serengeti National Park is one of the prime destinations of Tanzania to spot lions. There are 10% of the total population of lions in the world are residing. Apart from Serengeti Ruaha and Ngorongoro conservation area are some of the places where lions can be spotted.

2 # Leopard

African Leopard

Leopards are coming on the next number on the list of African Big Five animals. These adorable wild cats are the most deadly hunters of the African bush. Here are some of the interesting facts about this big five-member;


  • Leopards are one of the graceful cats in the big cat family; they reach up to 28 inches.


  • This deadly cat is a great hunter and very adjustable and can live in any type of environment.


  • Their coats and fur can vary depending on which region they are staying in. Leopards from colder places have larger dense fur.


  • Their diet also varies; they eat fish, reptiles, carcasses, warthogs, hares, antelopes and rodents.


  • They are very quick and opportunistic hunters.


  • They are quite elusive and tactical animals.


  • They are nocturnal animals and tend to hunt in the night.


  • Each leopard has its own territory within which he/she can hunt.


  • Female leopards have rubbed their bodies against tree trunks which allows them to create an unique scent to sent the sign that they are ready to mate.


  • A female leopard can give birth to 2 to 3 cubs at once. They can give birth to their cubs at any point of the year.


  • The cubs stay with their mother up to the age of 2.


  • Male leopards are almost 50 percent larger than the female leopards. Where the male leopards weigh around 80 – 150 pounds, female leopards weigh around 62 – 100 pounds.


  • Their tail is usually long, which allows them to balance their body during fast running and also it helps to make turns while running.


  • Leopards don’t roar like lions, they mostly found to purr.


  • They live up to 12 to 15 years in their natural habitat and in captivate, they can survive up to 23 years.

Best Places to See the Leopard in Tanzania

There are many national parks where you can spot Leopards during your Tanzania Safari, out of the few best are; Tarangire national park, Ruaha national park, Arusha national park, and Lake Manyara national park.

3 # African Elephant

African Elephant

African elephants are to believe to be the biggest land mammals on earth. They used to intake 50 tonnes of food a year. Here are a few interesting facts about African Elephants;

  • There are 2 species of elephants found in the world; African bush elephant and Asian elephant.


  • African Elephants are much different from Asians. They have big ears, long tusks, and more rounded heads.


  • African elephants has 2 longer lips and the back of the elephant is covered with concave.


  • An adult African elephant can weigh up to 6 tons.


  • They are the most intelligent animals on earth after the apes’ species.


  • They are one of the very aggressive species of the African bush, hence they have made their place in the big five families.


  • They are well-known for their social groups. Each group is led by the female.


  • When the male elephants produce musth they get very aggressive and mostly they fight with the female elephants. This time they are the most aggressive.


  • Elephants feast upon diverse habitats including grass, leaves, woody parts of trees and shrubs, flowers and fruits when available.


  • They tend to eat more than 100 species of plants.


  • The intake 150kg food per year.


  • A male elephant weight 6000kg and standing 3.2m tall at the shoulder.

Best Places to See the African Elephants in Tanzania

There are many places in Tanzania where you can spot a great concentration of African Elephants. The largest concentration of elephants can be spotted in Tarangire national park. Apart from Tarangire, you can spot them in Arusha national park, Ngorongoro conservation area, Ruaha, and Serengeti.


Must Read: Meet Africa’s Famous Big Five Animals In Their Natural Habitat Whilst On Tanzania Safari Tours

4 # Rhino

African Rhino

The rhinos in Africa are one of the critically endangered species. There are many people are planning their Tanzania Safari only to meet this endangered species. Here are a few interesting facts about them;

  • There are 5 species of rhinos available in the whole world out of which 2 species are available in Tanzania; Black rhinos and white rhinos.


  • Interestingly neither black rhinos are black nor the white rhinos white. They both are grey in color.


  • Rhinos usually eat leaves and mainly they are grazers.


  • Black and white rhinos have different lips construction.


  • Rhinos have between 24 to 34 teeth, depending on the species.


  • Rhinos horn is made out of keratin which helps the hair and nail to grow, hence at some of the east African traditional medicine makers use in medicine making.


  • Rhinos have a fantastic sense of hearing and smell but they have really weak eyesight.


  • Rhinos love to cover themselves with mud, as when it dries it helps their skin from getting damaged from sunburn.


  • Rhino gestation lasts between 15 and 16 months.


  • Rhinos mark their territories with their dung.

Best Places to See the African Rhino in Tanzania

Rhinos are very less seen in Tanzania. However, black rhinos are the critically endangered species now. You can spot a few of them in Ngorongoro and Serengeti national parks.

5 # Buffalos or Cape Buffalos

African Buffalo

African buffalos or well known as Cape buffalos are the most dangerous and aggressive members of the African big five families. They are one of the most spotted animals of the Tanzanian land out of the big five. Here are some of the interesting facts about African buffalo;

  • There is very rare when from a twin baby 2 babies survive.


  • White calves are also very rare.


  • Buffalos are recorded to be the furious killer and they have killed more hunters than the lion or other predators.


  • They are good swimmers.


  • Cape buffalos have a Smooth tongue.


  • Buffalos have an interesting character; they tend to attack people who have harmed them years ago.


  • They can kill lions.


  • They have exceptional memories.

Best Places to See the African Buffalos in Tanzania

They can be seen in almost all the national parks of Tanzania. You can spot them at Arusha national park, Serengeti, Ngorongoro conservation area, Tarangire, Ruaha, and other national parks.


Here we have described the Facts of African Big Five Animals which allows you to learn some of the iconic facts about them. Explore some of the spectacular national parks where you can meet the big five of Africa. Come and visit Lifetime Safaris for more information about Tanzania’s national parks and where can you spot them easily.

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