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How to spot the big 5 at Camp Jabulani

How to spot the big 5 at Camp Jabulani

Written by: Jason Botes

Visiting Africa in all its glory more often than not, entails the big 5. Whether you are set on finding “the full house” or even just a few of them, you are bound to be amazed. Driving amongst dirt paths and finding latent prints, awakens a childlike excitement that you only find on safari. The quest to find the ever-elusive elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard becomes the driving force behind every venture and you are left with a million questions, one of which is “Where are they hiding?”

Any ranger will tell you that finding one or more of these animals, is a true treasure in the bush. Except at Camp Jabulani, you are ensured of meeting at least one…

The Elephant:
Based on the Kapama Private Game Reserve, a range of elephants can be seen including wild elephants and the Camp Jabulani Elephant Herd. The Camp Jabulani Elephant Herd consists of 15 elephants, most of which were rescued from a culling operation in Zimbabwe and have found a safe haven at Camp Jabulani.

 

Read more about the herd here.

Staying at Camp Jabulani, you will be treated to an Elephant Experience.

What does this entail? Read more here.

While in the reserve, one would think the largest and heaviest land mammals on the planet are certainly the easiest to spot. You would be surprised, as the giants can sometimes be difficult to spot.
Tips on making it easier to find elephants would be to look out for debris, broken branches and green leaves lying in the road is a great indicator as to whether or not elephants are in the area. Remember to listen for cracking trees as this is another indicator. Be sure to head to a watering hole at midday as this is a sure way to spot an elephant.

Other animals to look out for include the Rhino. This horned creature is said to be a mysterious giant but leaves tell-tale signs that narrows the search. In the early morning hours, it is advised to check around open plain areas or places that have lush greens. Remember that white rhino prefers shorter grass. At midday, visit watering holes or mud pans as rhino love spending time wallowing and relaxing in the heat of the day.

The Buffalo: Buffalo tend to move around in large herds that can vary in size. This makes it easier in finding them as large herds need good grazing grounds. Check open areas with lush green grass in early mornings and afternoons when they are active. Watering holes and mud holes will be best around midday. Another way would be to listen for ox-pecker calls as they are the main bird to hang around the buffalo.

Jason-Big-5
Photo credit: Jason Botes

Lions: The lion is the easier of the big cats to find. They are not shy in letting their presence known in any area. Lions are most active in the late afternoon after the sun has set, continuing through the night until early morning after the sun has risen. They love to be active on or around roads as well as water holes in the midday heat or lazing about in the shade of a tree. Plains game are great indicators: if you see them staring and alarm calling in one direction, odds are it could possibly be a lion walking through.

Last but not at all least, we have the Leopard which contrary to the lion, is the most difficult of the bunch to find. A reputation like that proceeds the animal but fortunately there are certain signs one can use to help narrow the search.

Look for plains game staring and calling alarm in one direct area. Check thick bush, or dry river beds where anything seems out of place either in the bush or in a tree. If anything looks odd, stop and double check and you might find the leopard you are looking for.

Book your stay at Camp Jabulani to experience the herd and all the other animals in a way you have never experienced them before.
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