The Big Five animals in Uganda: When you think of African safaris or if you have watched most of the Nat Geo documentaries, there are higher chances that you have heard or seen the big 5 game. On safaris in Uganda’s National Park, they are the most looked-for, and getting up close with them is every traveler’s dream. The Big Five animals in Uganda include Lions, Rhinos, Buffaloes, Leopards and Elephants.

Most of the National Parks in Uganda inhabit 4 of the big 5 game- elephants, buffaloes, lions, and leopards. Rhinos are inhabited at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and they haven’t been introduced into the parks or wildlife reserves.


Rhinos in Uganda

Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch is where rhinos in Uganda live. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary lies in Northwestern Uganda in the Nakasongola district. Access to Ziwa is easier on the Kampala-Gulu highway 176km away. The Southern white rhinos were reintroduced into the Ziwa and they don’t exist in any park or reserve yet. Tourists on Uganda safari tours to Murchison Falls National Park stand a chance to enjoy a close view of rhinos at Ziwa while on an en-route trip.

Lions – Panthera Leo

The African lion is one of the biggest cats in the wild. In Uganda, these imposing African carnivores are among the most looked for big five animals. They are the most sociable among the big cats and they are often spotted in prides comprising of about 5-15 members. They can walk 4 kms per hour and run 60 kms per hr.

On big game safaris in Uganda, lions can be spotted while on a game drive in Kidepo Valley National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Murchison Falls National Park. If you are visiting Queen Elizabeth Park, there is also an opportunity to get up close with the tree-climbing lions at Ishasha sector.

Leopard -Panthera Pardus

The African leopard is a renowned champion of athlete in the cat family. Leopards are elusive and often sighted on night game drives. They are among the nocturnal animals that tourists come to see on Uganda tour. The best places to find leopards on Uganda safari include Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth Park and Murchison Falls N/Parks.


Elephants (Loxodonta Africana) are the biggest of the big 5 animals in Uganda. The elephants are huge and they can eat up to 450kgs of vegetation a day. An adult male elephant can weigh about 6300kg and the smallest make weighs slightly below 4000kg. Elephants are commonly viewed on a game drive in Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Kidepo Valley Park and other game reserves.


The African buffalo -Syncerus caffer is a sub-Saharan African bovine. The Cape buffaloes are large and notably the most dangerous species, especially the solitary/wounded ones in the wild. These large mammals reside in most parts of Uganda and they can be watched during a game drive in Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo, Lake Mburo NP and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Other must-see wildlife/animals on Uganda safaris include the endangered mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, the Rothschild giraffes, zebras, impalas, topis, Uganda kobs, Crocodiles, golden monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, plus a variety of bird species including shoebill storks, pittas, turacos and more.