If you’re planning a safari holiday, you’ll no doubt have heard about the “Big Five”. These five fabulous game animals of Africa seem to be the main event for so many safari goers. Whether it’s the challenge of spotting them or just the hype surrounding their existence, these mammals seem to take all the glory whether you’re on a drive or on a guided foot safari.

So what exactly is the Big Five and what makes them so special to be included in this elite list? The Big Five refers to the African lionthe African leopardthe African elephant, the White or Black rhino and Cape buffalo. You may be wondering what the cheetah did wrong to miss out on such stardom, or why the hippos should shy away from the fame and the limelight. In this comprehensive Big Five guide, we reveal everything there is to know from their history to interesting facts to the best places to spot them.

Read on for everything you need to know about the Big Five for your next African safari