THE BIG FIVE
Mkuze Falls Private
Game Reserve is filled with wonderful and interesting things in nature
and evidence of the animals, insects and birds that live here. The fauna
and flora of the area covers a multitude of species. On a guided walk many
smaller things will be pointed out to you by our expert rangers who have
the knowledge and expertise to recognise tracks and signs and a host of
other things in the fragile eco-system that is all connected and there for
We invite you as a guest or previous visitor to our paradise to
submit any interesting photos you have taken, whether it be a nest, insect,
plant, track, animal behaviour or whatever else caught your interest and would
you perhaps like to
know more about from our rangers, we will add it to our Special Interest page
for others to see.
The African elephant is
the world's largest land mammal. They are are generally placid but can be
extremely dangerous if threatened. An elephant will "mock charge"
trumpeting loudly, flapping its ears with its trunk extended in order to
frighten off intruders. If an elephant is intent on attack, the charge
assumes a decidedly different approach. The elephant is completely silent,
its trunk is rolled up or held down out of harm's way and the tusks are
extended. Elephant live for about 65 years. Gestation is about 22 months.
A female weighs about 3.8 metric tons and the male 5.8 metric tons. Males
have the larger tusks weighing in at about 90kg, on average. A record pair from an elephant in Central Africa weighed 200kg.
African Lion :
Lion is one of the most exciting animals to see for most tourists. This
'King of the Jungle' has earned its reputation for being the most fearsome
and powerful predator in Africa. Prides are territorial and intruders are
warned off by roaring. Most hunting is done by the females, while the
males appropriate kills generally and the cubs get leftovers. The prey
includes large and small mammals, birds and even reptiles. The females
leave the pride to give birth of up to six cubs. The cubs are introduced
carefully to the rest of the pride at about six weeks old. The female cubs
generally stay in the pride while the males will leave after two to three
Cape Buffalo :
Cape buffalo has a well-deserved reputation of savagery, ferocity and cunning.
They travel in large herds for protection from predators and will not hesitate
to use their impressive horns to defend themselves from any perceived threat.
Buffalo need to wallow in order to regulate their temperature and require good
grazing, shade and plentiful water. They normally graze at night and will retire
to a shady spot during the heat of the day to ruminate (chew the cud). Buffalo
live for about 22 years. Males weigh about 700kg and females are about 100kg
lighter. Horns are about 1.2m and they give birth to one, or more rarely two,
Two species in Africa, white
and black. The white rhino's name
was derived from its original name, 'Wydt Rhino'. Wydt (wide) referred to
the width of the rhino's mouth. The white rhino uses its square shaped
lips and crops grass very close to the ground producing a natural lawn.
Their habitat is grassy woodland and they prefer shorter grass. The white
rhino is considerably larger than the black and is lighter in colour. The
white rhino lives for about 40 years and their gestation period is about
453 days. The black, or hooked-lipped
rhino, along with the white, is an odd-toed ungulate. Both the black and white
rhino have two horns, the longer of which sits at the front of the nose.
The leopard is a solitary and secretive animal and the largest of the spotted cats. They enjoy surveying their surroundings from
points to watch for prey. They are efficient hunters and
prefer forested areas with rocky outcrops. Their prey is small
to medium sized antelope, baboons, bushpigs, warthogs and jackals,
also a wide variety of other animals. The leopard
usually drags its prey up into a tree in order to
protect the kill from scavengers. Adult male is approximately
60kg and the female, 30kg. Their litters may number as many as six but
normally the female gives birth to two or three cubs after a gestation
period of about 100 days. The life expectancy of the leopard is 21 years.