Make sure you're well-prepared for your encounters with Africa's most dangerous animals by reading through our Big 5 safari travel advice. Additional information and advice on specific destinations is available simply by clicking through to whichever country or regional destination you have in mind for your Big 5 safari.
The Big 5 may have gained notoriety as the most dangerous animals in Africa but the truth is that the malarial Anopheles mosquito is far more of a health risk. Many of our classic Big 5 destinations lie within Africa's malarial belt and although the risk is often minimal or seasonal, you are strongly advised to work with your safari expert as well as a medical practitioner or doctor to identify the severity of the risk plus what steps and what medication to take to avoid contracting the disease.
Alternatively, we have a wide range of excellent safaris and accommodation in malaria-free Big 5 destinations in South Africa's Eastern Cape as well as the country's Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Private Game Reserve. Ideal for families and safari first-timers, you'll get all the thrills of a Big 5 experience but without the risk of malaria.
Africa's seasons have a huge impact on the movement, behaviour and concentrations of animals - including the Big 5 - and it pays to know where to go and at what time of year. The most guaranteed game sightings are traditionally during the destination's dry season when the vegetation has thinned out and many animals are concentrated around permanent water sources. It's the most comfortable time to travel - dry weather, cool nights and warm days - but it's also the period that sees the highest visitor numbers and correspondingly high prices; out-of-season Big 5 safaris can be just as rewarding in terms of sightings not to mention the saving you'll make - and you may have the place much to yourself.
Talk to us about the best time to go on a Big 5 safari - we'll match a destination to your date range to ensure you get the maximum reward.
The Big 5 are traditionally regarded as most dangerous animals in Africa but that's from a hunter's perspective - as a visitor armed with nothing more dangerous than a camera and seated in a sturdy 4X4 with a professional guide and tracker as company, the risk posed by encounters with the Big 5 is absolutely minimal.
Nevertheless, remember that lodges and camps in Africa's national parks and game reserves, particularly outside South Africa, are rarely fenced and it's not unusual for animals such as elephants to wander through the grounds of a Botswana or Zambia safari lodge. You will receive a safety briefing on arrival at your accommodation as well as a set of instructions issued by your driver/guide when on game drives. Furthermore, while at your accommodation, you can make use of a lodge guard or indeed your guide to escort you safely to and from your room or tent, something you may want to consider at night.
If little beats the thrill of game drives in Big 5 country, imagine what a walking safari in such a destination is like. With the prospect of an encounter with any number of large and potentially dangerous animals literally around every corner, a Big 5 walking safari is undoubtedly one of the most exhilarating experiences you're likely to have. You'll be under the professional care of an armed guide who, backed up by rangers and trackers, will ensure your safety is paramount. Standards of accommodation, food and comfort are surprisingly high on our selected Big 5 walking safaris in the Kruger National Park and Zambia while the standard of guiding is perhaps the highest in Africa.
At a Glance
Talk to us about where best to view Africa's most iconic and sought-after animals. We'll recommend all the right places, and our malaria-free options make for safe family Big 5 safaris too.