African safaris can be pricey, so you want to ensure that you get a lot of bang (or rather photo opportunities) for your bucks. When you start to do your research and try to narrow down which country to go to and then which national parks, you will likely keep seeing the term The Big 5 mentioned in all the promotions. But what IS the Big Five, and why is it so special?
We are here to answer this question and more as we explain why Livingstone is the ideal African launching pad for seeing the infamous Big 5 on safari.
What is the Big Five?
The Big Five refers to the five most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. The Big Five animals are:
- Cape Buffalo
- Rhinoceros (including both the Southern White and South-Central black species)
Although today it is more common for travellers to want to hunt these animals with a camera than a rifle; nevertheless, the Cape Buffalo is sadly the only animal in the Big Five that is not on the endangered or threatened species list. It is also considered by most hunters to be the most dangerous animal of all stalk on foot.
Are the Big Five in Zambia?
All of the Big Five animals, including lion, leopard, Cape Buffalo, elephant and the Southern White Rhinoceros can be found in Zambia. Altogether, Zambia has twenty national parks, which account for almost 30% of the landmass with the surrounding game management areas.
Does Livingstone have the Big Five?
Livingstone town has the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, on its outskirts which is home to Zambia’s only Southern White Rhinos. In addition, this park also has elephant and Cape Buffalo and a myriad of other species. Safari goers can access this park via a sedate cruise on the Zambezi River, in a game drive vehicle or on foot with an armed scout and qualified guide on a walking safari. Zambia is one of the few African safari destinations where you can take a walk on the wild side.
From Livingstone, it is only a short 70km to the Botswana border post across the Kazangula bridge. Here you can visit Chobe National Park, which is home to lion, leopard, Cape Buffalo and the highest density of African elephants in the world. Day safaris, multi-day camping safaris and luxury accommodated safaris to Chobe National Park can be arranged by your Zambian operator.
Can children go on safari in Livingstone?
Children are welcome on safari in the Mosi-oa-tunya National Park, which is located only a few minutes from Livingstone. There is no age restriction for the various cruises on offer, and we highly recommend the sedate morning river cruise for families. The cruise will include snacks and drinks, and restroom facilities are available onboard most boats.
There is no official age restriction for game drives in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. However, it is likely not advisable to bring babies or toddlers who may struggle to keep still for the duration of the drive or be potentially frightened. Private game drives are best for families as then the guide can better accommodate your needs and tailor the trip to looking for your favourite species.
Walking safaris in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park are available for children twelve years of age and older and accompanied by a parent or guardian.
An African safari is on almost everyone’s travel bucket list. We are here to warn you that once you do one safari, it can be addictive, and you’ll find yourself continuing to daydream about your next adventure. In addition to the infamous Big Five, there are so many other thrilling and awe-inspiring safari encounters. Ensure that you take the time to discover and gaze at the tiny creatures, birdlife and flora that can be equally enchanting.