Over the past five years, Babanango Game Reserve has undertaken a monumental game translocation project, successfully introducing over 3000 large mammal species to reclaim the territory where their ancestors once roamed freely. In June 2023, our reserve reached a momentous milestone by officially becoming home to the renowned “Big Five,” marking a significant achievement in our ongoing commitment to the ecological restoration of the region.
While the spotlight often shines brightly on these magnificent creatures, our latest blog aims to shift your focus to the opposite end of the size spectrum—the Babanango “Little Five.” Though smaller in stature, these captivating creatures play a crucial role in the evolving ecosystem of the reserve, making them fascinating discoveries for those fortunate enough to spot them.
The elusive aardwolf boasts a stunning yellow-brown coat adorned with black stripes on its legs and back. With bushy tails featuring black tips and legs black from the knee down, they employ a unique defence mechanism—raising a coarse black stripe along their back when threatened, creating the illusion of a larger, more intimidating creature. Feeding exclusively on termites, these creatures use their snouts and long sticky tongues to extract them from mounds, resulting in underdeveloped teeth that often fall out with age.
Resembling a meerkat-raccoon hybrid, the African civet dons short, dense greyish fur adorned with rows of black spots. Sporting deep black legs and most of their tail, they exhibit a distinctive white muzzle and black eye markings on their solid grey face. Nocturnal and generally solitary, civets are docile by nature, only coming together for mating. As omnivores, they enjoy meals consisting of eggs, reptiles, birds, or rodents and are often found near permanent water sources.
Cape Leaf-nosed Bat
The Cape leaf-nosed bat, a medium-sized species, stands out with leaf-like structures on its nose, crucial for echolocation in complete darkness. With brown fur and large, rounded ears, these bats are vital contributors to pest control in the reserve, feeding on various insects during their nightly flights.
A small, robust antelope native to eastern and southern Africa, the klipspringer exhibits a coat ranging from yellowish grey to reddish brown, aiding in camouflage within rocky habitats. Notable adaptations include a thick, coarse coat made of hollow, brittle hairs for protection and insulation and a specialised hood structure enabling precise navigation on rocky surfaces. Active mainly at night, klipspringers form lifelong pair bonds, staying within close proximity throughout their lives.
Rock Elephant Shrew
Measuring around 260 mm in total, the Rock Elephant Shrew possesses unique sensory adaptations, from a trunk-like nose to sharp hearing, allowing efficient navigation in rocky environments. Despite their small size, these shrews communicate through loud foot-drumming and high-pitched squeaks when alarmed. Usually solitary, they may be found in pairs during mating season.
During your visit to Babanango Game Reserve, keep a keen eye out for our unofficial “Little Five.” Their diminutive stature poses the ultimate challenge for any game-spotting enthusiast, offering a unique and rewarding safari experience.
- Klipspringer – marlin-clark-LTYtLZPSnUw-unsplash.jpg
- African Civet – hereinuganda.com
- Rock Elephant Shrew – ispotnature.org
- Bald Ibis – ebird.org