Why Are They Called the Big 5?

If you are visiting Nambiti Hills you might be lucky enough to see all of the Big 5.
Lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino.

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There are only 11 countries in the world that have the Big 5, and all of them are in Africa.

But have you ever wondered why these specific animals are called the big five?

These animals were named the “Big 5” because they are not only among the most poached animals, but also the most difficult and dangerous to hunt on foot.

These five large African mammal species were known to be treacherous and it was considered a feat by trophy hunters to bring them home.

Today, however, the expression takes on a gentler form, referring to seeing the Big 5, as opposed to hunting them, during safaris on the African continent.

The word then spread about the Big 5, this name sticking in people’s minds and later becoming a great tourist attraction for foreigners.

Elephant and Game Viewer
A lot of people ask why these animals were chosen, as mentioned above they were extremely dangerous to pursue on foot and many hunters lost their lives while trying to get that prestigious trophy – primarily because they hunt back!

Let us know if you manage to see all of them on your next Open Vehicle Safari – and send us your pictures, if you wish to have them featured to marketing@nambitihills.com

The Nambiti Elephant Herd

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On the Nambiti Hills Reserve, we have an incredibly special elephant herd – this herd consists of roughly 27 members, growing all the time.

The matriarch, Stumpie, is named after her short tail, while the dominant bull BFE (Big Friendly Elephant) is named after his size. Many Guests on the Reserve recognise him because of this, as well as his one slightly smaller tusk.

Although they have been growing over the past few years, nobody quite knows the story behind the broken tusk. If you understand elephant behaviour, this was most likely due to a serious fight with another bull elephant or dominance display of pushing over a tree in order to break such strong ivory.

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In the wild, the life expectancy of an African elephant is roughly 60 years old. BFE is roughly that age now. As he has aged, we have noticed a difference in the way he interacts with the breeding herd.

Bull elephants will usually trail away for 2 to 3 weeks at a time, wandering wherever they please, returning to a breeding herd to mate or establish dominance.
In his old age, BFE has been spending most of his time with the females and calves.

This could be because he feels the need to protect them from the two younger bulls on the Reserve, or because he is too tired to trail away.

Either way, this new behaviour of his means that Game Drives are that much more special, with the unusual opportunity of Guests to see not only a breeding herd, filled with calves, but also the epitome of a dominant bull elephant in his ripe old age.

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If you have any photos you’d like to share with us of BFE, Stumpie and the rest of the elephants on the Reserve, send them to us at marketing@nambitihills.com

Our male cubs: grown up

In March 2015, there was much excitement when two male lion cubs were born on the reserve. Born to a lioness relocated from Phinda Private Game Reserve, and one of the dominant Black Mane Lions from the Kalahari – we knew from their conception, that they would be ones to watch. From the day they were born, they have held a special place in the hearts of everyone on the Nambiti Reserve.

These lion cubs have made regular appearances throughout the years, always ensuring that our Game Drives are that much more exciting. It’s always such a pleasure to watch the dynamics of the lioness, while she interacts with her cubs – even showing annoyance with their boisterous antics, the same way human mothers can.

Although only three years and five months old, we can hardly call these lions “cubs” anymore. In fact, they are looking more like the dominant male brothers on the Reserve each day – ready to challenge them for dominance and territory any day now.

Here’s a look back on how they have grown.

Female Lioness reaction to cubs
[Pictured above] Born to their Phinda Lioness mother, she gives them a warning about their boisterous behaviour.

Black Mane Lions
[Pictured above] The Black Mane Lions that fathered our youngsters.

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[Pictured above] Our young male lions as cubs.

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[Pictured above] Growing up and causing mischief.

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[Pictured above] Learning to play.

Baby Lion
[Pictured above] Manes are growing and they are looking more like their father each day.

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[Pictured above] Truly becoming young adults.

Young Male Lion
[Pictured above] Magnificent.

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Spots, Stripes and other Wild Art

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PhotCred: Kelwan Kaiser

Camouflage is a wild and wonderful thing!

When you’re smaller, slower or less aggressive than a predator or prey, being able to hide yourself amongst the flora and fauna can potentially save your life. Not only that, but a wild animals’ ability to blend so effortlessly, and cunningly, into their surroundings creates a wonderful tapestry of shapes, colours and tones that we as humans can only marvel at. It’s just one of mother nature’s many ways of proving that she is both smart, and beautiful.

Here at Nambiti Hills, we try our hand at a bit of camouflage every now and then. Dressed in our khaki gear, us rangers like to think we are pretty good at disguising ourselves from the wide-eyed gazes of the wild animals while on our daily game drives. But when it comes to camouflage, no one does it better than the animals themselves.

Take for example, the expert of slow-motion, precision hunting: The Cheetah. His spotted pelt is a combination of dark and light patches that help to break up his slender outline, ensuring he doesn’t stand out so glaringly against his background. His spots are also said to resemble the shaded areas where he is known to hide, such as dappled grassy floors and tall fields. It’s safe to say, his prey don’t see him until it’s too late.

As a zig and zag of black and white stripes, the Zebra may stick out like a sore thumb to the human eye. But to a colour blind lion, their primary predator, this striped pattern can be seen as a confusing blur. A great deterrent when grazing vulnerably out in the open veld and your predators can’t tell where one zebra starts and another one ends.

From multi-coloured chameleons to stick-like insects and leaf-look-a-like spots on the tall giraffe, there is no doubt that wild animals have adapted to their wild surroundings with “fitting in” as a key feature. It’s a strategy that plays a vital role in their daily struggle for survival. So much so, that game drives are filled with hours of game-spotting, searching for animals that don’t want to be found. But when we do find them, it’s a proud and accomplished moment for us rangers, being able to spoil our guests with great sightings and putting our trained eyes to the test.

Watching prey outsmart its predator, or a predator put its camouflage skills into action is all part of the thrill here at Nambiti Hills Private Game Reserve. And we can’t wait to find all your favourite wild animals with you on your next adventure with us.

Until next time.
Ranger Kelwan.

Celebrating our Wildlife: on World Animal Day and always!

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Annually every 4th of October World Animal Day is celebrated. The message to everyone, on this day is simple, yet vital: to help make this world a sustainable and fertile place for all animals. Each and every one of us can make a difference! We at Nambiti Hills, urge you all to get involved and show your care and concern for the future of all animals.

At Nambiti Hills, we think every day should be about animal awareness. It’s no secret that the lives of animals, both domestic and wild, are hugely affected by our simple, and sometimes selfish human actions. Whether it be the development of towns and cities, agriculture and farming or even hunting; we need to be conscious of the fact that what we do can affect the helpless lives of others. Hence the reason for a day dedicated solely to the well-being of animals.

There are other days linked to animals, such as World Wildlife Day on the 3rd of March – but World Animal Day gives us an opportunity to embrace ALL animals and their unique concerns, in every corner of the world. So whether you’re hosting a rally or a fundraiser to create awareness or raise money, or simply paying extra attention to your pets; the 4th of October is the day to do it on. But then again, we should be doing that every day!

With 20 Elephants, over 300 Zebra, more than 1000 Wildebeest, 7 Leopard, over 800 Kudu and Eland and numerous birds and smaller animals… our wildlife are our daily priority, our pride and glory. Everything we do is with them in mind. Their health, their well-being, their peaceful existence on this beautiful landscape. It’s what makes our “jobs” so rewarding. And that we get to share it with like-minded guests on a daily basis… well, that’s first prize!

So in honour of World Animal Day, we will continue to do as we do every day; love, appreciate and respect not only the beautiful wildlife that graces our reserve but all the animals out there that have a special place in the world. We hope that you will do the same.

Here’s to all the animals, big and small!
Ranger Iris.

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Photographer: Iris Thiriaux