Masai Mara or Serengeti National Park

Best Places to See the Big five in Kenya


Best Places to See the Big five in Kenya : The big five are one of the most sought for wildlife species in the wilderness of Kenya and Africa at large, the big Five species got their maiden name for the hunters who considered to them as the most difficult of Africa’s big game to shoot while on foot. The big Five that is rhinos, elephants, lions, cape buffaloes and leopards where always at the top of the hunter’s list.

Today hunting of the big Five is forbidden, the only shooting allowed is using cameras. However, the effects of hunting/poaching are still visible in Kenya as it resulted into a reduction in the population of the big Five.

Kenya is one of the best destinations on the African continent for big five safaris, the famous Big 5 is usually the highlight of safaris in the wilds of Africa and it is a thrilling experience to have sights of hardest mammals to hunt that is the elusive leopards, black rhinos, the grumpy cape buffaloes, the huge elephants and prides of lions.

A safari in Kenya offers the best opportunities to spot members of the Big Five, big five safaris in Kenya can be conducted in several wildlife national parks, reserves and conservancies.

For a life time big Five safari experience in Kenya, the following destination are the best places in Kenya to see the big Five.


Maasai Mara national reserve is a classic Kenya tour destination and the most popular safari destination in the country, Maasai Mara national reserve is famed for its abundant wildlife including the Big Five, iconic endless savannah plains and the Great Migration. The Great Migration is an annual migration in which over 2 million wildebeests, hundred thousands of Thomson and Grant’s gazelles and zebras enter the plains of Maasai Mara national reserve in what is termed as Mara River crossing on their way from Serengeti national park.

Maasai Mara national reserve is located in the Rift Valley in South West Kenya and lies in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, the reserve is situated about 255 kilometers from Nairobi City where most safaris to Maasai Mara national reserve and other Kenya safari destinations starts from.

Maasai Mara national reserve is a must visit wildlife safari destination for Kenya wildlife tours and Kenya big five safaris, the reserve is a home to all the 5 members of the big Five family that is Lion, leopards, cape buffaloes, rhinos and elephants which are easily sighted during game viewing experiences, guided nature walks and hot air balloon safaris. Maasai Mara national reserve is also a home to other wildlife species including the

  • The big 9 – cheetahs, giraffe, zebra, hippos plus the big five members (lions, elephants, rhinos, cape buffaloes and leopards).
  • Others include Aardvark, Aardwolf, African Hare, Antelopes, Banded Mongoose, Vat Eared Fox, Bushbaby, Bushbuck, Coke’s Hartebeest, Warthogs, Waterbucks, Wildebeests, Common Eland, Copper Tailed Monkey/red tailed monkey, Dwarf Mongoose, Grant’s gazelle, Honey Badger, Impalas, Kirk’s dik dik, Klipspringer, Olive Baboons among others.
  • There is about over 500 bird species recorded in the reserve including raptor species.
Best Places to See the Big five in Kenya
big 5

During game drives in Maasai Mara national reserve you will have an opportunity to spot big cats in the open savannah plains, you will also have a chance to spot other wildlife species and witness the annual wildebeest migration arriving between July and October.


Amboseli national park is another popular safari destination/park to see the big Five in Kenya, the park is famously known for hosting large population of elephants with impressive tusks. Amboseli national park offers magnificent views of elephants, lions, leopards, cape buffaloes and rhinos seen trundling across the savannah plains of the park with the magnificent back drop of a snow-capped Mountain Kilimanjaro perfect photography.

Amboseli national park formerly known as the Masai Amboseli Game Reserve is a premier Kenya wildlife safari destination and a national park located in Kajiado South Constituency in Kajiado County about 240 kilometers from Nairobi. The park covers an area of approximately 392 square kilometers spreading across the Kenya – Tanzania border.

Amboseli national park is a home to all the Big Five members that are Lions, Leopards, Cape Buffaloes, rhinos and elephants. Additionally, Amboseli national park is a home to other several wildlife species including impalas, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, Maasai giraffes, Grant’s gazelles, blue wildebeests and over 420 bird species.


Tsavo national parks are the largest national park in Kenya, iconic Kenya safari destinations and one of the best destinations to see the big five in Kenya, Tsavo national parks are two parks that are Tsavo East national park and Tsavo West national park situated in South – West region of Kenya. These two nationals are one of the world’s largest game sanctuaries covering an area of 22,000 square kilometers combined and they are separated by the main road Nairobi – Mombasa route.

Tsavo East national park is famously known for man-eating lions of 1898 which feasted on the Indian coolies during the constructed of Uganda-Kenya railway, in this park lions are in abundance and they can easily be sighted in the savannah plains.

Tsavo West national park is famously known for red elephants which are easily seen sand bathing in the red dust, rolling about creating quite a spectacle to watch.

Tsavo East and Tsavo West national park host all the members of the big Five that is lions, elephants, cape buffaloes, rhinos and leopards thus Best Places to See the Big five in Kenya.


Lake Nakuru national park is another premium park in Kenya and another perfect wildlife destination to see members of the big 5, the park is famously know for offering great sightings of the black and white rhinos.

Lake Nakuru national park is situated on the floor of the Great Rift Valley surrounded by wooded and bushy grasslands, the park is located in southern region of Nakuru district of the Rift Valley province in Central Kenya and about 140 kilometers northwest of Nairobi.

Lake Nakuru national park protects Lake Nakuru a shallow alkaline lake hosting millions of flamingoes and other bird species such as pelicans, cormorants among others.

Lake Nakuru national park hosts 4 of the members of the big Five (lions, rhinos, buffaloes and leopards), the park is also a home to giraffes, hippos, warthogs, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, colobus monkeys and over  500 bird species including flamingoes, Abyssinian thrush, Arrow-marked babbler, Bateleur, Black-tailed godwit, Black-winged lapwing, Brimstone canary, Brown-backed scrub robin, Crab-plover and Eastern imperial eagle among others.


Lewa Conservancy is a private wildlife reserve also known as Lewa Downs located in Northern Kenya, the conservancy was established in 1995 to protect the critically endangered black rhinos and the rare Grevy’s zebras and the sitatungas. Lewa Conservancy is a home to over 60 mammal species including over 12% of Kenya;s eastern black rhinoceros population and the largest single population of Grevy’s zebras in the world with about 350 individuals.

Among the population of mammal species, Lewa Conservancy is a home to all members of the big Five that is lions, leopards, buffaloes, elephants and zebras. Other animals found in the conservancy include gazelles, reticulated giraffes, Beisa Oryx, elands among others.

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