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Going on a family safari holiday – The Big 5

Encounters with the Big 5 are among the greatest travel experiences – and for kids, these moments are even more memorable. Improve your chances of seeing your favourite animals with our guide to spotting the big 5.



Botswana’s Chobe National Park is home to the world’s largest elephant population, estimated to be more than 120,000. Our family Okavango Adventure combines game drives in Chobe with wildlife viewing from a boat on the Chobe River. One of the Zambezi’s main tributaries, the river is home to abundant wildlife including hippo and crocodile.

South Africa’s Addo Elephant Park is also renowned for its healthy elephant population. Spend an afternoon exploring this sanctuary on our family Discover South Africa trip, and stay in a forest cabin within the park where we’ll enjoy a traditional braai dinner prepared by the local leader.


Kruger National Park is a favourite with families. Malaria-free and easy to reach via Johannesburg, Kruger is one of South Africa’s most prolific wildlife reserves and home to all of the Big 5 so it’s a great introduction to safari holidays. Our 14-day Kruger, Kwazulu and Coast family holiday to South Africa and Swaziland spends two nights inside the Park. Game drives here visit various waterholes where buffalo, antelope and –if we’re lucky – lion come to drink.

Tanzania’s Serengeti is another iconic National Park of Africa, also known for its predator populations, including lion. Drive along the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater to the Serengeti on our Serengeti, Safari and Zanzibar family holiday. Visit between July and September and you may be lucky enough to witness the Great Migration, when huge numbers of herbivores – wildebeest, zebra and impala – move across the great plains towards Kenya’s Masai Mara.


Botswana’s Okavango Panhandle is a haven for Cape Buffalo. Stay two nights aboard a traditional houseboat on the Delta on our family Okavango Adventure. There’s a trip out to harder-to-reach areas by smaller boat, where we’ll cruise into areas that hippo and crocodile are often seen. In the evening, after a day’s wildlife watching, relax on the deck of the houseboat with a refreshing drink as the sun goes down. Magical.


In Botswana, your best chance of spotting a leopard is in the Moremi Game Reserve, where wetlands of the Okavango Delta meet dry lands. We spend three nights in the reserve here on our Okavango Adventure, with a number of game drives into the park’s floodplains. This area is also very popular with twitchers, with kingfisher, bee-eater, stork, egret and fish eagle all regularly spotted here.

The Serengeti is also a good place for spotting leopard, which is in fact Africa’s most prolific Big Cat. The tip is to follow the riverline and look among the trees, rather than on the ground.


South Africa is home to the largest concentration of the white rhino in the world. Head to the Kruger for your best chance to see this majestic creature. Meanwhile, the elusive and critically-endangered black rhino can be found in Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve. Visit during the dry season, when the waterholes here are crowded with wildlife coming to drink and wash.

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