Spotting the Serval cat in Ngorongoro
During my game drive inside the crater in Ngorongoro I got the opportunity to see so many varieties of animals, from the common wildebeests and zebras, to lions, warthogs, hippos, exotic species of birds, need I go on?
But one of the most unique sights that really stood out for me was spotting the serval cat, now I have seen this cat in numerous wildlife documentaries in the past but I barely knew anything about it, I couldn’t even recall its name when my boss asked me what cat it was when he saw my pictures.
A little briefing about this exotic feline. The serval cat is a wild cat native to Africa, its more rare in Northern Africa but is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. You can spot it from its instantly recognizable slender body, small head and big ears and its unique golden yellow coat spotted and striped with black and a short tipped tail. The cat’s structure is almost similar to a cheetah but the obvious size variation will make it easier for you to tell them apart.
According to my tour guide, It is quite rare to spot a serval cat in an open field due to their reserved and anti-social nature (sounds familiar), and here comes the funny part, apparently most safari guides and drivers do not like to show the tourists if they spot the cat because they believe that the cats are a bad luck or a taboo. They believe that if they spot the cat and let the tourists take pictures of it, at the end of the day they will not get a good tip. Where that theory came from no one is quite certain, but I guess people are entitled to believe whatever they want to believe. Im glad that my guide wasn’t one of them, because I would’ve probably missed the chance to get a closer look at this magnificent fur ball.
The next time you’re on a safari try to spot the serval cat, it can be a bit harder since the grass especially during the dry season camouflages the cat due to the yellow golden grass color that matches the cats coat, but you can still get lucky if you keep your eyes open and those binoculars handy. Also make sure your driver isn’t superstitious haha!
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