Special: The Big Five

Who is not fascinated by South African divers landscape and the pure magic of its sunsets? Not to forget about the unique wildlife which cannot be found anywhere else. Giraffes, elephants, lions – usually just to be admired in a zoo. However, when we traveled to South Africa this August, we had an amazing time at Shambala Game Reserve. Step by step, we were lucky enough to fulfil a big wish: seeing four of the big five!

African Elephant

Elephants are very special animals in many regards. Did you know that elephants are the biggest living land mammals?

South African Elephant

Thus, males can reach a shoulder height up to 4 meters! The bull we rode, Micky, was very tall.

Zulu Camp South Africa

Females are slightly smaller, getting up to 2.8 meters. Additionally, elephants can get very old, 60-65 years to be precise. Unfortunately, African elephants are threatened with extinction. What fascinates me is that elephants are the biggest animals on land and still vegetarians!

Black rhinoceros

Rhinos are distinguished between black and white rhinos. But when being very precise, only the black rhino is one of the big five.

Ceratotherium simum

Ceratotherium simum

When we are not that precise, we pretend to have seen a rhino and her baby (psst, it’s a white one, but that still counts!) I was surprised that rhinos don’t actually have a high shoulder height with up to 1.5 meters. However, they’re very heavy. 800-1.200 kg are nothing unusual.

African Leopard

Even though the status is lower risk on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, we were not lucky enough to spot one. In the game reserve, there were only two of them who knew well to hide…

Cape Buffalo

Contrary to our expectations, Cape Buffalos gave us the most exciting moment with the big five. As Shambala Private Game Reserve has a breeding program, many young buffalos were in the herd.

Cape Buffalo

As they are also used to the vehicle, it was possible to make a stop right in the middle of the herd. Very exciting to be that close!


I feel like there are lions in every zoo of this world. So even though we did not see a lion for the first time in our life, it was still something utterly amazing to see lions in their natural environment.

Big Five Lion South Africa

Pretty unexpectedly, we were able to spot them during our river cruise. What we also saw earlier were pawprints.

Pawprint Lion

The Big Five definitely were animals which left spurs in our memory. Moments in South Africa we will never forget!


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