The Big Five


Fun fact
A male lion’s roar can be heard from as far as five miles away. It’s used to mark out territory.

What they eat
Most kinds of antelope will do, as well as zebra, giraffe and wild pigs. Buffalo really hit the spot.

Where to find them
The open savannah and river banks of the Greater Kruger National Park are favoured haunts.

Social life
Lions are all about family life. They often live together in large groups called ‘prides’.


Fun fact
Leopards don’t roar like lions, but tend to purr — somewhat louder than house cats, though.

What they eat
Antelope, rodents and birds, but will have the occasional dung beetle when needing a snack.

Where to find them
Mala Mala Game Reserve has a remarkably high probability of sightings.

Social life
Notorious loners, adult leopards only hang out together during the mating season.


Fun fact
Despite looking like big cows, buffalo are very dangerous due to their hefty build and deadly horns.

What they eat
Voracious grazers, herds can mow down entire fields of grass as they move through.

Where to find them
They love wide savannahs where they can stick together and watch out for predators.

Social life
Buffalo are incredibly social animals, with herds ranging from a few dozen to many thousands.


Fun fact
Elephants love to swim and even use their trunks as snorkels when they dive underwater.

What they eat
An elephant can eat about 300 pounds (the weight of 20 bowling balls) in vegetation daily.

Where to find them
Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape is home to over 600 African elephants.

Social life
Females form entrenched matriarchal herds, while males wander solo.


Fun fact
Rhinos can reach speeds of up to 40mph at full pelt, but prefer to just wallow in mud pools.

What they eat
Rhinos will spend most of the day grazing on whatever shrubbery they can find.

Where to find them
Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal is home to both black and white rhino.

Social life
The rhino’s best friend is the oxpecker bird, which rides on its back, picking off ticks and parasites.

The Little Five


The speed in miles per hour that the elephant shrew can reach


The number of years a leopard tortoise can live


The number of times its own weight in dung a dung beetle can move — making it, relatively, the strongest animal in the world


The amount of days an antlion can live in its adult form


The average number of rooms the buffalo weaver is capable of making in its nests

The Marine Five


1. They can stay underwater for up to 27 minutes
2. Jackass penguins are named for their braying, donkey-like call
3. The penguin can reach speeds of 22mph underwater
4. Couples mate for life and divide parental duties


1. Indo-Pacific bottlenose, common and humpbacked dolphins are the species most commonly seen in South Africa
2. Each dolphin has a unique whistle for identification
3. Dolphin communities can reach 1,000 members


1. Gansbaai has the densest population of great white sharks in the world, and is a major centre for the conservation of these animals
2. Great white sharks have around 300 teeth
3. Sharks can only swim forward due to their fin shape


1. A seal’s whiskers help it to detect prey in murky waters
2. Cape fur seals nibble on rocks to aid digestion
3. They’re curious and often play ‘tag’ with scuba divers
4. Adult males will gather a harem of up to 50 females


1. Humpback whales’ heads are covered in knobs called tubercles, which are actually vestigial hair follicles
2. Hermanus near Cape Town is a great spot for whale-watching
3. The closest living relative to whales and dolphins are hippos

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