“Not even Tanzania’s famed Serengeti Game Reserve or the awesome Ngorongoro Crater fills your camera viewfinder faster with Africa’s legendary Big Five – at MalaMala, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros and elephant appear magically, as if on cue,” says acclaimed wildlife photojournalist Geoff Dalglish in his Sunday Times review. “Nor could Hollywood script the wide-screen wildlife encounters any more dramatically or frequently than nature does routinely in the private game reserve that is arguably South Africa’s most famous internationally.”
Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhinoceros – the most sought after and dangerous of the world’s big game. In previous centuries it was these five species which gripped the imagination of hunters and sportsmen, drawing them to Africa to experience the blood pounding thrill of hunting and shooting “The Big Five”. It is in reserves like MalaMala where this hunting and shooting still takes place, only the hunting is done by experienced rangers, and the shooting is done with cameras. But it does not mean that the thrill and exhilaration of encountering these animals in an open Land Rover is any less gripping.
Folk lore and legend are rich with regards to the Big Five. Encompassing beliefs such as: “The Great One put the animals here for us to use wisely and respect, even as we hunted them, but he knew that without fear we might lose our respect for these creatures. So he put the five here to help us remember. The lion and leopard taught us fear of the night, that only the daytime was ours. The buffalo, the elephant and the rhino taught us to fear their strength, that we might respect the strength of nature.”
* Due to the vulnerability of Rhinos as a result of rampant poaching in southern Africa, MalaMala Game Reserve will not publish statistics of Rhino sightings on the reserve. We are committed to doing what we can to see an end to this abominable practice.