Tembe is a Big Five reserve with abundant elephant and buffalo sightings. If you’re lucky, your guide will also be able to show you white rhino and the smaller, rarer black rhino, possibly lion and maybe even an elusive leopard. Of course, Tembe’s abundant wildlife extends far beyond the Big Five.
THE BIG TUSKERS
Tembe offers encounters with some of the largest elephants in Africa. The largest of these elephants is called ‘A “Tusker”, an Elephant whose tusks exceed 100lbs or 45.45k. You will often see elephants at the waterhole enjoying a swim or playing in the mud. Isilo was the largest Elephant Tusker in Southern Africa.
Eight of Africa’s remaining 30 “big tuskers” live in South Africa’s Tembe Elephant Park.
CATS OF THE WATERHOLE
Tembe is home to a number of lions, who frequent the Tembe waterhole. From the Mahlasela hide you can see a male lion M179, as well as F70 or mum, is mother to Greedy, Rollo and Astarte. Leopards often visit under the cover of darkness to scent-mark and drink water.
Tembe is home to the Southern Pride, Central Pride and Northern Pride.
When the water dries up prey is forced to remain near the water sources and the Tembe predators become concentrated around these areas.
Tembe is home to many antelope species, including the shy Suni, Africa’s smallest antelope at only 35 centimetres high. Nyala also frequent the waterhole where they display their territorial dance. The red duiker, a sand forest special, is also common but shy.
You will also see bushbuck,common reedbuck, grey duiker, impala, kudu, steenbuck, waterbuck, and wildebeest.
A BIRDER'S PARADISE
Tembe’s location and diverse habitat of scrub, sand forest and thornveld makes it one of southern Africa’s premier birding destinations. Of the more than 340 species to be found in the Park many are localised residents, others are endemic to South Africa and there are others that are tropical species at the southern limit of their range.
The guides are knowledgeable, and most birders will walk away with several lifers under their belt.