The term “Big Five” was traditionally used by big-game hunters to refer to the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot in Africa. Now, the term is widely used by safari operators and wildlife enthusiasts to describe the five most iconic and impressive animals of African wildlife. A safari in Maasai Mara offers the greatest opportunity to see all the ‘Big Five’

African Lion (Panthera leo)

lion mara

As the most social of all big cats, the African Lion is a true symbol of Kenyan wildlife. They live in prides, which usually include up to three males, a dozen or so females, and their young. Lions are predators, feeding mostly on large ungulates. In the Maasai Mara, they are often seen lounging during the day or hunting at dusk.

Visiting Maasai Mara offers a fantastic opportunity to witness these majestic creatures in their natural environment. You might observe them resting under a tree, socializing, caring for their cubs, and if you’re fortunate, hunting. These are sights that can leave you with a deep appreciation for the complex social structure and behaviors of lions.

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

elephant mara

The African Elephant is the largest land mammal. They have distinct features, such as long tusks, large ears that they use to radiate excess heat, and a trunk with over 40,000 muscles for smelling, breathing, trumpeting, drinking, and grabbing. They are generally peaceful herbivores, but can be dangerous when they feel threatened.

Seeing elephants in the Maasai Mara, whether they’re gently grazing, bathing in a waterhole, or moving in a line led by the matriarch, is an unforgettable experience that highlights the importance of conservation efforts.

Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

Buffalo in Mara

Cape Buffaloes are large, ox-like animals that have a reputation for being dangerous to humans, more so than any other African animal. They are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. They are very social and live in large herds, usually around water sources where they can drink daily. Despite their reputation, they are herbivores, feeding primarily on grass.

Viewing these impressive creatures in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, you may get a sense of their strong social bonds and the important role they play in the ecosystem.

African Leopard (Panthera pardus)

leopard2 mara

Leopards are renowned for their agility and strength. They are solitary, nocturnal creatures that prefer to live and hunt in dense bush where their camouflaged coat helps them to blend in. They are known for their ability to climb trees, where they often hoist their kills. In Maasai Mara, you might see them during the early morning or at dusk when they’re most active.

Seeing a leopard in the wild, especially in Maasai Mara, can be an extraordinary experience due to their elusive nature. The opportunity to watch a leopard moving stealthily, or lounging on a tree branch, offers a glimpse into the life of one of Africa’s most magnificent and graceful big cats.


rhino2 mara

Specifically, the Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) can be found in Kenya. They are smaller than the White Rhinoceros but are actually more aggressive. They have two horns and are known for their pointed, prehensile upper lip, which they use for feeding on leaves from trees and shrubs. Black rhinos are critically endangered due to poaching for their horns, and seeing them can be a rare and unforgettable experience.

Spotting a Black Rhino in the Maasai Mara is a privileged experience. Their presence in this protected area is a testament to the ongoing conservation efforts aimed at saving this unique and irreplaceable creature from extinction.