The Little Five: Small Animals to Look for on your African Safari

spiders on african safari

For anyone planning a potential Roho Ya Chui African safari, there are no doubt a handful of animals that you’re most looking forward to seeing. Collectively known as the Big Five, these popular big name animals are: the Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Rhino and Elephant. What most people don’t know, however, is that Africa is host to an aptly named Little Five as well. These much smaller animals are not the same kinds of tourist draws or moneymakers as their larger mammalian counterparts, but for African safari enthusiasts, adding these little creatures to your photo album is just as worth it.


These odd little insects found in the bushvelds of Africa are imposing to look at, but they’re rather harmless to humans. By digging small conical depressions in the sand, they’re able to trap their prey—usually ants. In its adult form, the antlion can even sprout wings, though for a creature ill-adapted for flight, the wings are practically useless.

Leopard Tortoise

Rather than normal tortoises, the leopard tortoise is a pretty distinctive animal known for its black and yellow spotted shell. The leopard tortoise is also one of the largest tortoise species in the world, with an adult shell circumference sometimes topping over three feet! You will typically find these creatures close to a water source.

Buffalo Weaver Bird

While you’re out enjoying your Roho Ya Chui African safari, you’ll be sure to hear these very social birds. Buffalo weavers tend to make their nests in the forked branches of very tall trees, and they almost always can be found in expansive (and noisy) open colonies. You can usually spot a Buffalo weaver nest based on the state of the untidy grasses and twigs that support it.

Rhino Beetle

Appropriately enough, these are some of the largest beetles you will find in Africa, and they are known for their very distinctive horns. These horns are in turn used to do quite a lot of different things, from fighting rivals for female attention to digging and climbing.

Elephant Shrew

Without a doubt, the elephant shrew is the cutest animal of the Little Five. They’re also the hardest to spot. Found mostly on rocky outcrops and grasslands, these animals get their name from their elephant-like snout, though they tend to weigh only about a fraction of a pound. They typically feed on small insects, fruits, seeds and nuts, but because of their small size, they make easy prey for snakes and large birds. As a result, these can be among the shiest of animals, and spotting one during your African safari is a sign of good luck.

Schedule Your Roho Ya Chui African Safari Today!

Whether you want to see the Big Five or the Little Five, there is sure to be something for you on your next Roho Ya Chui African safari. Rather than keep reading about it, however, why not make a little effort and see for yourself if this is an experience you might want to undertake. If you’re interested, please feel free to get in touch with a Roho Ya Chui representative today, and let’s see how soon we can get you to Africa.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

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