The Big Five


Joanne Hedger / Getty Images 

Going to the zoo is nothing like seeing the animals in their natural environment. On a safari, you wake up before sunset, have a quick cup of coffee and you’re off. You never know what you will encounter. The “Big Five” are the cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino.

At Richard Branson's Ulusaba private game reserve in South Africa, game drives go out just before sunrise and again before sunset. All of the animals in these pictures were seen in the wild during a three-day visit.

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Cape Buffalo

© Susan Breslow Sardone.

The cape buffalo is considered one of the "Big Five" animals to see on a safari.

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© Carol Cuddy.

The leopard pauses in the wild; did she hear a sound?

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Young Female Leopard

© Carol Cuddy.
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© Susan Breslow Sardone.

See more pictures of lions, including a lion kill elsewhere on this site.

With one facing right and the other facing left, there's little chance another creature will surprise this watchful pair.

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© Susan Breslow Sardone.

Springbok graze in the bush. Unfortunate springbok will become a meal for larger animals.

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© Susan Breslow Sardone.

Crocodile suns itself on a rock beside a hippo pond.

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© Susan Breslow Sardone.

To see where you can experience tame elephants up close in South Africa, go to Elephant Whispers.

Mother and young feed on grasses in the bush.

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© Carol Cuddy.

Reaching treetops is no challenge for the giraffe.

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© Susan Breslow Sardone.

The zebra travels with a small pack.

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© Carol Cuddy.

Another member of the prestigious "big five" every safari-goer hopes to spot, the rhinoceros in this picture is a white rhinoceros, not as rare as the black.

Small brain, big horn.

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© Susan Breslow Sardone.

Despite its size, the hippopotamus is not considered one of the "Big Five" animals that visitors seek in the wild. Yet they are a natural phenomenon to behold.

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Two Hippos

© Susan Breslow Sardone.

Despite their impressive girth, hippos can outrun humans.

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