Find out who BFE is and how he has become such a legend


Find out who BFE is and how he has become such a legend

A little elephant calf named BFE, opens his eyes to a rush of sensory stimulation. Grass, soil, mucous and confusion. Life in hues of blues and yellows. He stumbles as he moves, rocking on stumpy legs as he tries to gain control of gangly limbs that have never walked before. Shaking his head to clear the confusion, he realises that the large shape before him is the one that sustains and protects him, and he moves toward it to discover more about it.

Where is BFE?

54 years later, Big Friendly Elephant, affectionately known as BFE on Nambiti Private Game Reserve, is legendary to all who visit the Reserve and one of the largest elephants on the 23,000 acres of land. He arrived in 2002 from Sabi-Sands at the age of about 35 years with another bull elephant by the name of Dingong. These two bulls were the first to be introduced to Nambiti.

Elephants are social but are just as happy to spend time alone. The bulls are solitary but have a complex form of social organisation which will mean they form temporary bachelor groups of 2 – 14 animals.  Bulls will wander more widely than cows, especially when mating season is underway and they are in musth.

Why is BFE well known?

In 2012, BFE lost a portion of his one tusk. This launched his name into many conversations about whether this was from a possible calcium shortage, or fighting with another bull, but no one is certain. The imposing BFE became a bit of a legend through this happening. The broken piece of the tusk was found by field guides during a walk in 2014, and it was mounted and now is moved between the Lodges to display to guests.

BFE is a grandfather of about 54 now and has fathered many elephant calves, and is even great-grandfather to some. He spends much of his time moving around with the breeding herd, but occasionally will be seen spending time with an older bull.

He is much loved by visitors and even those who are yet to visit, with the question of “Is that BFE?” being asked by most when an elephant is seen on social media or in the reserve.

Have you seen BFE on the Reserve? Have you seen the old tusker’s broken tooth at one of the Lodges? If you haven’t yet, come and visit and meet a living legend at Nambiti Private Game Reserve.