Learn about our wildlife

Safari info

Lion

  • Size: Male: 1.2 m or 3.93 ft (at shoulder), Female: 1.1 m or 3.6 ft (at shoulder).
  • Weight: Male: 190 kg or 418 lbs (up to 260 kg or 573 lbs), Female: 130 kg or 286 lbs. Male attains maximum weight at 7 years, females at 5-6 years.
  • Lifespan: 10-14 years (Maximum 18), females live longer, males killed or die at about 10 years old.
  • Gestation: 110 days (3,5 months).
  • Number of young: 1-6 (average 3).
  • Prey: Mammals from mice to buffalo (even elephants), birds up to the size of ostrich, reptiles, insects, and fish.
  • Predators: Hyenas and man; other carnivores and pythons take cubs.

Lions, the largest African carnivores, exhibit unique social behaviors in the wild, forming prides comprised of both male and female members to increase their hunting success.

Typically, a pride consists of a dominant male and his females, although variations exist among prides. Dominant males assert their strength by defending their territory against intruding prides. While males primarily focus on territorial protection, females undertake the majority of hunting tasks, with males enjoying the first share of the prey due to their larger size and strength. Despite this hierarchy, females tolerate this arrangement as males provide crucial protection for them and their offspring.

The distinctive roar of lions serves multiple purposes, including marking territory boundaries and communicating with other pride members. Their roars resonate predominantly during the night when they are most active, traveling distances exceeding 7 kilometers or approximately 4.34 miles, depending on environmental conditions and seasonal variations.




Elephant

  • Size: Bull: 3 m or 10 ft (at shoulder), Cow: 2.5 m or 8 ft  (at shoulder).
  • Weight: Male: 6 tons , Female: 4 tons. 
  • Lifespan: 55-60 years.
  • Gestation: 22 months.
  • Number of young: 1.
  • Food: Elephants are herbivores and eat 90% of the local plant species including grass, herbs, sedges, bulbs, roots, flowers, bark, wood, seeds, leaves and entire branches.
  • Predators: Lions and hyenas prey on the young. Death can also occur by parasites, disease and starvation.

Elephants stand as the largest and most massive terrestrial mammals on Earth, boasting remarkable intelligence and strength that significantly shape their environment and contribute to the ecosystem’s balance.

Their tusks, which are modified upper incisor teeth, exhibit continuous growth throughout their lifetime. These tusks serve multiple purposes, acting as defensive weapons against predators and rival elephants, as well as assisting in the excavation of vegetation during grazing.

Distinguishing between male and female elephants can be challenging, but size remains the most conspicuous difference, with bulls towering over cows at maturity. Additionally, males typically possess a more rounded forehead, whereas females exhibit a more angular profile. Furthermore, females feature mammary glands situated between their front legs.

Elephants communicate through a variety of means, including body postures, trumpeting, and low-frequency rumbles. While some of these rumbles are audible to humans, others occur at infrasonic frequencies, undetectable to human ears. These infrasonic messages, capable of traveling distances of up to 12 kilometers or 7.5 miles, facilitate coordination and communication within elephant herds.



Rhino

  • Size: 1.8m or 5.9 ft (at shoulder).
  • Weight: Male: up to 2400 kg or 5300 lbs, Female: averages to 1600 kg or 3500 lbs.
  • Lifespan: About 40 years.
  • Gestation: 16 months.
  • Number of young: 1.
  • Food: Rhinos are selective grazers and prefer short, fresh growth.
  • Predators: Humans, calves preyed on by lions and hyenas.
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White rhinos rank as the second largest mammals on the planet, securing their position among the Big Five. Their distinctive wide muzzle comprises a sensitive upper lip for grasping clumps of grass and a sturdier lower lip for severing vegetation.

Despite having relatively poor eyesight, white rhinos compensate with acute senses of hearing and smell, crucial for communication and detecting potential threats from afar.

A group of rhinos is aptly termed a “crash,” reflecting their powerful presence. Their most notable feature is their horn, utilized primarily as a defensive weapon. Composed of keratin, the same material found in human fingernails, rhino horns grow at a rate of 2-6 centimeters (0.7-2.4 inches) per year. Additionally, rhinos engage in geophagia, or the chewing of soil, to supplement minerals lacking in their grass-based diet.

Leopard

  • Size: Male: 70-80 cm or 28-32 inches (at shoulder), Female: 60-70 cm or 24 -28 inches (at shoulder).
  • Weight: Male: 60-90 kg or 132-198 lbs, Female: 30-60 kg or 66-132 lbs. 
  • Lifespan: 11-15 years (Maximum 20).
  • Gestation: 100 days.
  • Number of young: 2 or 3.
  • Prey: Wide variety of mice, reptiles and fish to large antelope and small carnivores, mainly medium-sized antelope like impala..
  • Predators: Cubs killed by lions and spotted hyena.

Leopards are renowned for their adept stalking abilities, utilizing the element of surprise to pounce on their prey with remarkable agility. Employing their powerful bodies, they seize their target with their fore-claws and deliver a decisive bite to the back of the head or throat.

While primarily solitary creatures, leopards exhibit temporary social bonds when rearing their young. Both male and female leopards fiercely defend territories, which are exclusively same-sex domains. Though predominantly nocturnal, they remain opportunistic hunters, seizing chances for a catch even during daylight hours.

With discerning tastes, leopards display meticulous eating habits, often removing fur or feathers from their prey before consumption. Enhanced by their exceptional vision and acute hearing, they remain vigilant against potential threats from other predators.

Buffalo

  • Size: 1.4 m or 4.6 ft (at shoulder).
  • Weight: Male: 800 kg or 176 0lbs, Female: 750 kg or 1650 lbs. 
  • Lifespan: 23 years.
  • Gestation: 11 months.
  • Number of young: 1.
  • Food: Buffalo are bilk grazers and prefer long grass.
  • Predators: Lions and humans.

Cape Buffaloes are renowned for their volatile temperament, characterized by sudden and determined charges, earning them a place among the Big Five due to their size, strength, and unpredictable behavior.

Despite having limited sight and hearing, these buffaloes possess exceptional senses, particularly a keen sense of smell, which aids in foraging for food and detecting nearby predators. Their survival relies heavily on access to water, with summer months seeing them drink up to twice a day.

Sporting massive horns that converge to form an imposing “helmet,” Cape Buffaloes engage in fierce combat to establish dominance within their ranks. Their head-on clashes are comparable to the force of a car colliding with a brick wall at speeds of 50 kilometers per hour or 30 miles per hour.

Impala

  • Size: Male: 0.9m or 2.9 ft (at shoulder).
  • Weight: Male: about  50 kg or 110 lbs, Female: about 40 kg or 88 lbs.
  • Lifespan: Maximum 12 years.
  • Gestation: 6.5 months.
  • Number of young: 1 lamb.
  • Food: Impala are mixed feeders which browse leaves, graze grass, and also eat fruit and flowers.
  • Predators: Large and medium carnivores, pythons, baboons, large birds or prey.

Impalas exhibit remarkable adaptability to various environments, although they rely heavily on access to water, typically staying within a 5-kilometer (3-mile) radius of a water source and drinking daily.

These creatures are meticulous groomers, devoting significant time to maintaining personal hygiene. Their modified teeth, with slightly loose incisors that splay open, act as a comb, effectively removing dirt and parasites from their coats during grooming.

Often seen foraging alongside other species such as warthogs, zebras, and buffalo, impalas share mutual feeding grounds. This behavior not only satisfies their dietary needs but also enhances their safety by providing additional vigilance against potential predators.

Warthog

  • Size: 65-84 cm or 25-33 inches (at shoulder).
  • Weight: Male: average 80 kg or 176 lbs, Female: averages 65 kg or 143 lbs. 
  • Lifespan: 18 years.
  • Gestation: 160-170 days.
  • Number of young: 2-3.
  • Food: Warthogs will graze lawn-like grass and eat bulls, roots, herbs, shrubs and fruit.
  • Predators: Lion, leopard, hyena, pythons, cheetah, jackal and raptors.

The name ‘warthog’ originates from the conspicuous facial warts composed of thick skin and cartilage. Despite being predominantly hairless, warthogs possess essential hair that serves critical functions. Notably, the mane of long, coarse hair along their backs stands erect when they experience stress.

Their tusks serve as defensive weapons, being modified canine teeth that protrude sideways from the warthog’s mouth. Although the lower tusks are smaller, they inflict the most damage upon adversaries.

During escape from danger, warthogs raise their tails, which amusingly resemble navigational antennas. This reflexive action stems from involuntary muscle responses triggered when the pigs flee in fear. Nonetheless, the tail functions as a ‘follow me’ signal for piglets, particularly valuable in dense vegetation.

Zebra

  • Size: 1.35 m or 4.4 ft  (at shoulder).
  • Weight: 320 kg or 507 lbs. 
  • Lifespan: 20 years.
  • Gestation: 1 year.
  • Number of young: 1 foal.
  • Food: Zebras are grazers but occasionally browse herbs and burnt twigs.
  • Predators: Lion and hyena prey on adults, foals are taken by lion, hyena, leopard and cheetah.

Zebras are instantly recognizable by their distinctive stripe patterns, akin to barcodes or fingerprints. Among them, the Burchell’s zebra boasts unique “shadow stripes” nestled between the black and white markings on its rump.

Their tails serve a dual purpose, functioning not only as fly-swatters to deter insects but also as a means to continually whisk black hairs over their rear ends. Zebras maintain a daily routine of drinking water and typically stay within a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) radius of a water source. Known for their discerning tastes, they show a preference for clean water, often taking the initiative to filter it by scraping holes near water holes before drinking.

The condition of a zebra’s mane can serve as an indicator of its health, with erect short hairs signaling vitality, while flopped-over manes may indicate stress. Equipped with black muzzles and strong, movable upper lips, zebras adeptly use this feature to manipulate grass, pushing it between their incisors and snipping it off for consumption.

Hippo

(Only in Schotia Game Reserve):

  • Size: 140 cm or 55 inches (at shoulder).
  • Weight: Male: 2000-3000 kg or 4409-6613 lbs, Female: 1400 kg or 3086 lbs. 
  • Lifespan: About 35-40 years.
  • Gestation: 8 months.
  • Number of young: 1.
  • Food: Hippos are unselective grazers.
  • Predators: Hippos are mostly immune to predators because of their size but are occasionally attacked by lions or hyenas when on land at night.
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Hippos efficiently conserve energy by spending a significant amount of time in water. Their large, barrel-like bodies experience buoyancy in water, reducing the need for excessive food intake. Despite their size, adults typically consume only 15-40 kilograms (33-88 pounds) of grass during the night, which amounts to a mere 1.5% of their body weight.

Unique among mammals, hippos possess a skin with an exceptionally fine epidermis, making it highly susceptible to dehydration—up to seven times more than other animals. To mitigate this risk, they retreat to water during the hottest hours of the day, shielding themselves from overheating.

With enormous and powerful muzzles capable of wide openings, hippos wield lower canines that transform into formidable tusks, continuously growing throughout their lives. This defensive weaponry serves to protect them from threats, with the capability of inflicting significant harm, even to formidable predators like crocodiles.

Giraffe

(Only in Schotia Game Reserve):

  • Size: Male: average 4-5.5 m or 13-18  ft (at shoulder), Female: 3.5-4.5 m or 11.5-14.7 ft.
  • Weight: Male: 970-1400 kg or 2138-3086 lbs, Female: 700-950 kg or 1534-2094 lbs. 
  • Lifespan: About 25 years.
  • Gestation: 15 months.
  • Number of young: 1.
  • Food: Feed om deciduous foliage in the rainy season and rely on evergreen species at other times.
  • Predators: Lions and hyena.

The giraffe holds the title of being the tallest land mammal, yet they rarely lie down to rest, opting instead for brief five-minute intervals of curled-up sleep to minimize vulnerability to predators.

Their elongated necks provide giraffes with a significant height advantage, granting access to vegetation beyond the reach of other herbivores. The largest bulls can tower to nearly 6 meters (19.68 feet) in height. Due to their stature and keen eyesight, many other animals seek the company of giraffes and heed their early warning signals of danger.

Both male and female giraffes sport horns, though males possess stouter, hairless horns, while females exhibit more graceful, tufted ones. The distinct patches adorning a giraffe’s body aid in camouflage when stationary and darken with age, further enhancing their ability to blend into their surroundings.