The African continent is home to a variety of magnificent wild cats that are sought-after on wildlife safaris. While most visitors prefer to catch a glimpse of the “big three” cats that include: lions, leopards, and cheetahs, There are other equally fascinating felines to look out for during your safari. Here is an overview of both the big and small cats that you might encounter on your African adventure.
The lion is perhaps the most iconic of all African wildlife species and a must-see for most safari-goers. These majestic cats can weigh up to 600 pounds and are known for their playful nature. Despite their threatened status, lions can be found in abundance throughout most national parks and conservancies in Kenya. You might even be lucky enough to spot several pride of lions engaging in various activities such as hunting, eating, and snoozing in the sun during your game-viewing adventure.
Solitary and elusive, leopards are often considered the most dazzling of African cats due to their dapple-patterned coats that enable them to camouflage in almost any environment. These magnificent cats prefer to rest in tree branches during the day and can be spotted in most of Kenya’s top game reserves with the help of your safari guide.
The cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal and a thrilling sight to behold. With bursts of speed exceeding 60 miles per hour, cheetahs typically hunt during the day, thus making them easier to spot when compared to the other big cats. Observing a cheetah stalk and chase its prey is a remarkable experience, and you might even witness multiple cheetahs gathering around a fresh carcass to share the feast.
4. Serval Cat.
The Serval is a shyer, relatively diminutive cat that shares a habitat and a similar coat with the cheetah. These long-legged cats weigh up to 40 pounds and are fascinating to encounter, particularly when hunting. Servals use their large ears to detect the movements of small ground-dwelling prey animals, and then suddenly leap high into the air to pounce from above.
The Caracal is a lesser-known but intriguing desert feline found throughout the drier parts of Kenya. About the same size as a serval, Caracals have distinctive pointed ear tufts and a deep golden coat. They are proficient hunters, using their speed and agility to take down prey, including small antelopes and birds in flight. Since Caracals are typically nocturnal, you’ll need to go on a night game drive to increase your chances of spotting one.
Overall, Africa’s wild cats are a spectacular sight to behold, and encountering them during your safari is an experience you won’t forget. Whether you’re on the lookout for the big three or the smaller but equally magnificent cats, be sure to have your camera ready and enjoy the adventure.
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