The “Big Five” Animals in Kenya
The term “Big Five” was coined by big-game hunters.
“Big Five” originally referred to the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot in Africa, as they were considered to be the most dangerous and challenging to take down.
Today, the term “Big Five” is commonly used in the tourism industry to describe these iconic African animals, which are now protected and conserved in national parks and wildlife reserves across the continent.
The big question for everyone planning to visit or go for a wildlife safari in Kenya is always, which are the big five animals? They are;
- The African Elephant.
- The African Lion.
- The African Leopard.
- The Cape Buffalo.
- The Black Rhinoceros.
The African Elephant
The African Elephants are a common sight in many of Kenya’s National parks and reserves. Kenya is home to an estimated 34,000 Elephants, making it one of the best places in Africa to see this majestic animal in the wild.
Some of the best parks and reserves to visit in Kenya for elephant viewing include:
- Amboseli National Park: This park is known for its large elephant herds, and visitors can often see them roaming against the backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Maasai Mara National Reserve: In addition to the famous wildebeest migration, Maasai Mara is also home to a large population of elephants, which can be seen throughout the year.
- Tsavo National Park: Tsavo is one of the largest national parks in Kenya and is home to a large population of elephants, including some of the country’s largest tuskers.
- Samburu National Reserve: This reserve is home to several unique species, including the endangered Grevy’s Zebra, and is also known for its large elephant herds.
- Meru National Park: This park is less well-known than some of the others on this list, but it is home to a healthy population of Elephants and offers a more off-the-beaten-path experience for visitors.
The African Lion.
African Lions are one of the most iconic and popular animals to see in Kenya. They are the second largest cat species in the world and are known for their golden brown fur and impressive manes in males. Lions are apex predators and are the only social cat species, living in prides consisting of females, their young, and a few males. The estimated population of African lions in Kenya is around 2,000 individual.
Some of the best parks and reserves to visit in Kenya for Lion viewing include:
- Maasai Mara National Reserve: This reserve is famous for its large lion populations, and visitors are almost guaranteed to see them during their visit.
- Amboseli National Park: Amboseli is known for its large elephant herds, but it is also home to a healthy population of lions that can be seen hunting and lounging around the park.
- Tsavo National Park: Tsavo is one of the largest national parks in Kenya and is home to several prides of lions.
- Samburu National Reserve: This reserve is home to several predators, including lions, cheetahs, and leopards, and visitors have a good chance of seeing them during a visit.
- Lake Nakuru National Park: This park is known for its large population of pink flamingos, but it also has a healthy population of lions that can be seen around the park.
The African Leopard
The African Leopard is a large and elusive big cat that is found in Kenya. They are solitary and nocturnal animals, which makes them more difficult to spot than other large cats like lions.
The population of the African Leopards in Kenya is difficult to estimate accurately, as these elusive and solitary animals are challenging to count. However, it is estimated that Kenya’s African Leopard population is likely between 2,000 and 2,500 individuals.
Some of the best parks and reserves to visit in Kenya for Leopard viewing include:
- Masai Mara National Reserve: Although leopards are harder to spot than lions, they are still present in large numbers in the Masai Mara and can be seen in the early morning or late afternoon when they are most active.
- Samburu National Reserve: This reserve is home to several leopards, and visitors have a good chance of spotting them on a game drive.
- Laikipia Plateau: This area is known for its high concentration of leopards, and visitors can see them in the trees or stalking prey in the grasslands.
- Aberdare National Park: This park is home to a large population of leopards, and visitors can sometimes see them around the park’s watering holes.
The Cape Buffalo
The African Cape Buffalo, also known as the African Buffalo, is a large, robust bovine found in Kenya. They are popular game animals. The population of the African Buffalo in Kenya is approximately 40,000 Individuals.
Some of the best parks and reserves to visit in Kenya for Cape Buffalo viewing include:
- Masai Mara National Reserve – This is one of the most famous wildlife reserves in Africa, and is home to large herds of Cape Buffalo.
- Amboseli National Park – Located at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli is known for its large elephant herds, but also has plenty of Cape Buffalo.
- Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks – These two parks are located in southeastern Kenya and offer some of the best opportunities to view Cape Buffalo in their natural habitat.
- Lake Nakuru National Park – Located in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Nakuru National Park is known for its large populations of flamingos, but also has plenty of Cape Buffalo.
- Samburu National Reserve – This reserve is located in northern Kenya and is known for its unique wildlife, including the Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, and Somali ostrich. Cape Buffalo can also be seen here, often grazing alongside other herbivores.
The Black Rhinoceros
The Black Rhinoceros is a critically endangered species that is native to Kenya. It is one of two subspecies of the African rhinoceros, the other being the White Rhinoceros. The population of the black Rhinoceros in Kenya is approximately 700 Individuals, down from an estimated 20,000 in the 1970s. The decline in the population is largely due to poaching for their horns, which are highly valued in traditional Asian medicine and as a status symbol
Some of the best parks and reserves to visit in Kenya for Black Rhinoceros viewing include:
- Ol Pejeta Conservancy: This private conservancy is home to the largest population of Black Rhinoceros in East Africa, with over 100 individuals.
- Maasai Mara National Reserve: Known for its annual wildebeest migration, Maasai Mara is also home to a healthy population of Black Rhinoceros.
- Lake Nakuru National Park: This park is famous for its large flocks of flamingos, but it also has a thriving population of Black Rhinoceros.
- Lewa Wildlife Conservancy: This conservancy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its high success rate in rhino conservation, with both Black and White Rhinoceros populations thriving here.
- Tsavo East and West National Parks: These two parks together form one of the largest protected areas in the world and are home to a variety of wildlife, including the Black Rhinoceros.
At Ahambi Tours we tailor-make your wildlife safari based on your preferences and availability to ensure you have a lifetime experience at our parks, reserves and conservancy.