The Big 5 Safari Uganda : Uganda is one of the great destinations of the African continent to enjoy a Big 5 safari, the Big 5 safaris in Uganda are perfect for wildlife enthusiasts offering a grand opportunity to encounter The African Big Five animals which are the most sought after animals in Africa on a wildlife safari.

 Big Five safaris in Uganda cannot be done in one Uganda safari destination and this is because the southern white rhinos got extinct in Uganda in 1980s, however they were reintroduced and are bred in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary where they are seen during the fascinating rhino tracking experience.

Four of the Big Five in Uganda can be seen in three savannah National Parks including Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park found in the far north eastern region of Uganda and Ziwa Rhino Santcuary.

What are the Big Five African Animals?

The African Big Five animals is an old hunting terms used to highlight the 5 animals that were most prized by trophy hunters back in the 1800s, the big 5 animals are the African Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Rhinoceros and Cape buffalo.

In the 21st century, travelers still love to see the big Five, however not for trophy hunting as it was back in the 1800s but more of seeing and photographing.   The only weapon to shoot the Big Five during a Uganda safari is now by camera.

The African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

The African Buffalo is an ox species that is adaptable and a widespread creature that lives in large herds in the savannah plains and also in smaller herds in the forest areas. The African Buffalo are reportedly the most dangerous of all African game species most especially when wounded or in solitary thus gaining its reputation and being recognized as one of the African Five in world.

The Big 5 Safari Uganda
The Big 5 Safari Uganda

African Buffalo in Uganda can be seen in Murchison Falls National park, Lake Mburo national park, Queen Elizabeth national park and Kidepo Valley national park.

An African Buffalo is easily distinguished from other animals, it is generally dark black colored and has horns that are smaller and lighter curving outwards, backwards and upwards, the buffaloes are large and have even toed ungulates.

African Buffalo inhabit the Africa’s woodlands, riverine valleys, marshlands, sub- Tropical savanna and montane forests which are usually associated with abundant tall, sweet grasses, ample surface water, mud bath and sufficient shrub and trees for refuge.

Africa buffaloes normally try to avoid areas of open plain grasslands without woody shelter, African buffaloes are social animals and normally congregate in herds ranging from a few individuals to over a thousand individuals. They basically form 2 types of mixed herds, the one with mixed-sex and other having mixed – age.

African Elephant (Loxodonta Africana)

The African Elephant is the world’s largest land mammal and is the most enduring symbol of nature’ grace and fragility, African elephants are also one of the most intelligent and entertaining animals to watch.

A fully grown male African elephant has an average weight of 6300 kilos, the smallest adult rarely dips 4000 kilos. The Female elephants normally weigh half of the weight of the males, other obvious difference between the female and males is that females have angular forehead while the males have a more rounded forehead.

An elephant is remarkably known for having the largest brain of all other live mammals weighing up to 6 kilos, the elephant use its tusks as both tools and weapons.

In Uganda, African elephants can be spotted in Murchison Falls national park, Queen Elizabeth national park and Kidepo Valley national Park. Uganda safaris such as a boat safaris on the Nile in Murchison Falls national park and Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth national park offer greater sightings of the African Elephants during Big 5 Safari Uganda.

Leopard (Panthera pardus

Leopards are the most common Africa’s large felines and often live in close proximity to humans, however they are rare seen because of their secretive, solitary nature. According to the ecological and ethological attributes, leopards are exceptional adaptable predator.

Leopards inhabit in undisturbed conditions of Africa apart from the most arid areas, they commonly inhabit in the woodlands, thorn bush areas, lowlands and in the montane forests.

Leopards remarkably have high capacity of adapting to changes in the prey species, hunting conditions, carnivore competition, the vegetation patterns and human activities. These abilities have been manifested in their existence in developing countries of Africa more than any other large wildlife animal on the continent.

Leopards in Uganda differ from any other type of carnivore since sightings of them are more often outside the protected areas, leopards hunt using their stealth and power, often waiting 5 meters of their intended prey before they pounce, they habitually store their kill onto a tree, keeping it away from large predators.

In Uganda, leopards are sighted in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and rare sightings in Lake Mburo national park and Toro- Semliki Wildlife Reserve.

African Lion (Panthera leo)

African Lion “The King of the Jungle” is the largest and most imposing African carnivore, lions are remarkably most of the social of the large cats living in structured prides consisting of about 5 to 15 individuals. In Uganda’s cultures, lions have different significant importance and they are reputable kings of the beasts. Lions are popular symbols of royalty, strength and bravery.

 Lions live in societies which are more common to those of chimpanzees, they have different overlapping home ranges so that they regularly meet and come together. In lion prides/groups, males are normally thrown out of the group at the age of about 3-4 years by the dominant male at that time, however after several years ranging between 7 and 10. These lions are now considered grown – up lions and they normally try to fight to take on leadership on the group. However, females live in one area and their mothers usually move to the adjacent prides/.

In Uganda, lions can be seen in Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park famous for the tree climbing lions in Ishasha sector.


Rhinoceros commonly known as rhinos are large herbivorous mammals commonly identified by their horned snouts, the rhinos have massive bodies and are internationally recognized from their stumpy legs and either one or two dermal horns.

Rhinoceros are in varying species, in some species the horns may be short or not obvious, the biggest and most common rhinoceros  species include the Africa’s white rhino and Asia’s greater one – horned rhino. Rhinos are known to have poor eyesight, however they have got a well – developed sense of smelling and hearing.

Due to their high demand for the rhino’s horns that are sold on black market as trophies or decorations and in most cases they used in Chinese medicine, rhinos became extinct in Uganda due to hunting. The rhino horns are believed to heal aphrodisiac, cure hangover and fever.

  The common species of rhinoceros in Uganda are the Black rhinoceros and the white rhinoceros found in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary which is located in Nakasongola district along the Gulu highway a few kilometers from Murchison Falls national park. They are also found at Zoo (Uganda Wildlife Education Center “UWEC”).

Big 5 Safari in Uganda offer visitor an opportunity to explore and spot all the members of the Big Five (Lions, African elephants. Africa buffalo, rhinos and leopards). Checkout out our Big Five safaris.

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