The South African
Big 5
The contents of these pages are geared towards pre-K5 (elementary) primary
school children (what you call it depends on where you are in the world).  There
are puzzles and activities on the individual pages that range from those for the
very young to those who are quite a bit older and possibly engaged in
projects.  I hope you find this information helpful.  In some of the units there will
be concepts for little ones, for example number and letter tracing and
alphabet books... These will be uploaded as and when they are completed...
For more individual pages on each animal please visit our section on
Animals. Thanks for calling by, please come back soon!

Although "THE BIG 5" of South Africa are
Lion, Rhino, Leopard, Buffalo and
, we have so many beautiful animals in South Africa (in Africa) that it
should be called the "SA Big 15" - anyway I decided to feature quite a selection
of them
here.  Enjoy!

When you start researching an African safari, the term "Big Five"
often crops up. The "Big 5" refers to the
Lion, Leopard, Rhino,
Elephant and Cape Buffalo.   Why not the hippo, gorilla or giraffe
you may ask?   Are they not large as well?   How about the
cheetah? -- that would be an animal you would probably like to
see as much as a buffalo.  Well, the term "big five" was actually
coined by big game hunters (not safari tour operators). It refers to
the difficulty in bagging these large animals, mostly due to their
ferocity when cornered and shot at.
*Please note that I do not in
any manner whatsoever endorse, condone or approve of
hunting.  Information contained in these pages is just that -

(Dave Hutchinson)

Most people will hope to see a lion or three while on safari in
Africa. Luckily they are not quite as difficult to spot as the rhino
or leopard. You have a good chance of seeing lion at most of
the major game parks in southern and eastern Africa. Unlike
most felines, lions are actually quite social and live in prides of
up to 15 members. So, you can get the chance to watch the
little ones play and interact with their bored looking mothers.
There is nothing quite so chilling as hearing a
lion roar in the
night while you are camping but they are actually not prone to
attacking humans unless you're unlucky and come across a
man-eating lion.

For further information about the lion, its behaviour, habitat and
characteristics see the
African Wildlife Foundation.


While leopards are more numerous than rhino in the Big 5
pantheon, they are sometimes just as difficult to spot while on
safari in Africa. Leopards use trees as observation platforms and
for protection, so you have to remember to look up to see this
solitary, beautiful cat. Leopards are shy and nocturnal, quite
modest for a cat that can climb, swim and live in a wider range
of habitats than most other wild cats.


The largest land mammal in the world is remarkably adaptable;
you can see elephants in rain forests, deserts and savannahs
while on safari in Africa. Elephants are usually quite peaceful if
left alone, but if they feel threatened, watch out. There's nothing
quite like being charged at by 12,000 pounds of animal,
flapping its ears and trumpeting loudly.

Did you know that an elephant's trunk has more than 40,000
muscles? To find out more about the African Elephant, its
behaviour, habitat and characteristics see
Elephants of Africa.


When you spot the Cape Buffalo while on safari in Africa, you
usually don't spot them alone. They tend to appear in very large
(and intimidating) herds. Even when looking at them through
binoculars from a distance, the males always seem to be staring
right at you with intense dislike. Weighing in at over 700 kg's
(1540 lb's) even lions don't dare take a chunk out of this beast.
Cape Buffalo are said to have killed more big game hunters
than any other animal in Africa.  Hence they have earned their
place in the Big 5


Rhinos are large mammals (only second in size to the elephant),
shortsighted, bad tempered but magnificent to look at.
Unfortunately there aren't too many to look at these days due
to poaching. Rhino horn, used for medicinal purposes, is much
prized in the Middle East and the Far East where it is more
valuable than gold.

There are two species of rhino in Africa, the Black rhino and the
White rhino, both of which you can see while on safari. Black
rhinos have suffered the most drastic reduction in population in
the last 20 years. There are now only about 3500 left in the wild
although valiant conservation efforts are increasing those
numbers. The white rhino is more numerous numbering at over
11,000 but they are heavily concentrated in Southern Africa.
Rhinos are actually neither black nor white in colour, they are all

For more information on conservation efforts and general
information about rhinos see the International Rhino Foundation

Much of the information used on this website and in the printables
was obtained from
Artist John Banovich is passionate about lion conservation and has partnered with
the African Wildlife Foundation to promote conservation of Africa's "Kig of Beasts."

The Lion P.R.I.D.E. initiative mission is focused on conserving lions for future
generations through supporting important scientific research, preserving large
conservation landscapes and benefiting rural community development.

Visit to get involved.
For an African Animal A to Z listing with accompanying
information, resources, printables and videos please
click this link.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Please familiarise yourself with our Terms of Use and Disclaimer prior to downloading resources.  Contents of this website (c) Donnette E Davis and/or St Aiden's
Homeschool unless otherwise stipulated.
Join us on Twitter for Homeschool Updates, freebies, Specials and promotions