The Amazing Cheetah

The Amazing Cheetah

The Amazing Cheetah

Cheetahs are amazing animals but are very difficult to see, but you can try to spot one while on a safari with us.

The body of a cheetah is designed for speed. It has long legs in comparison to its greyhound-like body; it has a large heart and lungs, as well as wide nasal passages. It is the fastest land mammal, capable of reaching speeds of up to 114 kilometers per hour.

The cheetah’s pace gives it an advantage in the more open savanna, where the lion and leopard rely on getting close to their intended prey before breaking cover. Cheetahs are marginally larger than leopards, but they are not as bulky, weighing between 40 and 60 kilograms.

Cheetahs have non-retractable claws like dogs, despite being part of the cat family. This reduces their ability to climb trees but gives them a speed boost while charging.

A cheetah will usually charge an antelope from 60 to 100 meters away and will be running at full speed within seconds. If the buck is alerted in time, it will zigzag and dodging through trees and shrubs to

throw the cheetah off its tracks. The cheetah will chase its prey with zeal, using its long, heavy tail as a stabiliser and attempting to predict which way it will turn.

It will drive the antelope off balance at just the right moment and catch it by the throat as it falls. Cheetahs do not kill their prey as easily as lions or leopards do because of their small jaws and teeth, and it can take anywhere from five to 25 minutes for their prey to die.

Cheetahs, like other large predators, benefit from the element of surprise in hunting. While its pace gives it an advantage, the cheetah’s stamina is its weak spot. It will only be able to run at full speed for around 250 meters before needing to take a breather. And before it eats its prey, the cheetah has to rest for about half an hour after a high-speed chase. Cheetahs are most vulnerable during this period. During this period of healing, they are often robbed of their kill by lions or hyaenas. If the cheetah is left alone, it will typically eat its prey at the kill site.

A cheetah’s food preferences are narrower than those of a leopard, and it prefers small and medium antelope. Cheetahs eat the young of larger mammals, as well as warthogs, ground birds, porcupines, hares, and smaller antelope.

The kill rate of a cheetah is difficult to estimate, but experts estimate that each cheetah kills between 30 and 150 animals per year, depending on its size, hunting frequency, and the state of the environment. Experts estimate that a single cheetah needs between one and three kilograms of meat per day to maintain its health.

Because of their non-retractable paws, there has been some scientific debate about whether they should be known as dogs, but they have far too many cat-like characteristics, such as the ability to purr loudly. Cheetahs cannot scream, but they can growl and spit like cats, and they sometimes make a strange chirping noise.

Cheetahs, unlike lions and leopards, do not provide a territorial defence zone. They have a home range that they label with urine, but they do not actively defend against other cheetahs. Cheetahs are a hybrid of lions and leopards in terms of social behaviour.

They do not form prides like lions do, but small groups of four to six cheetahs, especially brother groups, are popular. Cheetahs in the wild are thought to live for 12 to 15 years. They hunt throughout the day, unlike most other large carnivores.

Cheetahs rely heavily on surprise, despite their pace. A cheetah has a one-in-ten chance of capturing an animal that is not surprised, and a one-in-two chance if the quarry is caught off guard, according to experts. Cheetahs are the most fearful of all the big cats, and no cheetah has ever attacked a human in Southern Africa.

5 Spiders you can see in the Kruger

5 Spiders you can see in the Kruger

5 Spiders you can see in the Kruger

Spiders can be found everywhere, but these spiders are commonly seen while on a safari with us.

Baboon spider:

Baboon Spiders appear to be huge and frightening, but they are actually very docile when left alone. Even when we are in lockdown at KwaMbili, we have to keep an eye out for big and small creatures! We came across a spider floating upside down in the pool and, just to be safe, touched it with a stick to see if it was still alive – which it was, thankfully! We used a stick to lift it out until we saw the legs roll. The little fellow simply stood in the same place for a few minutes, drying off, before slowly walking away. Despite the fact that these spiders do not have venom, their large fangs can deliver a painful bite.

Golden orb-web spider:

Because of the colour of its silk, the golden orb spider gets its name.

This colour is thought to serve two purposes: in the daylight, it attracts bees attracted to the bright yellow, while in the shade, it blends in with the vegetation, luring other insects in. The spider can change the colour intensity of the thread by adjusting the amount of pigment in the silk.

Because of its size and intimidating appearance, this spider is one of the most easily recognized and identified spider species. This spider is non-aggressive and relatively harmless, despite its terrifying appearance. If provoked seriously, it can deliver a painful bite, but the venom is not deadly, causing only redness and blistering.

Common bark spider:

These tiny spiders can be found in gardens and around human settlements, as well as on hiking trails. Between periods of vegetation, these spiders spin tangled webs, which they frequently dismantle in the early morning and reassemble at night.

They have a hairy appearance and are typically grey or brown in colour. They fit in well with tree bark. A red marking under the abdomen of certain field spiders is possible.

Both humans and pets are unaffected.

Jumping spider:

These spiders are popular in gardens and have been known to enter homes on occasion. Usually, they are larger than an R5 coin. The Nursery-web Spider’s colour ranges from grey to orange, with a pale stripe or two running down the thorax and abdomen. They can be seen moving about, but their webs in plants are often messy. Humans and pets are not harmed by them, and they rarely bite.

They like to hang out in gardens and can be seen in large groups at night while they are looking for insect prey. Some species have been seen capturing small fish and tadpoles in and around water.

Crab spider:

A tiny spider that can be found in a variety of colours, such as blue, white, and yellow. They have a short profile, with their four pairs of legs clumped together to help them blend in. They are excellent ambush hunters. They are usually found in the garden or out in the veld, sitting on flowers.

They usually match the flower’s colour, but you could come across a yellow spider on a white flower or the other way around. These spiders eat small pollinating flies, bees, and wasps and are harmless to humans and pets.

The outcast of the Savannah

The outcast of the Savannah

The outcast of the Savannah

Hyena’s are assumed to be the lowest ranking animal in the animal kingdom, therefor we see them as outcasts of the savannah.

Every animal in nature has a specific place to which it belongs. They may associate with vultures and serve as part of nature’s clean up team, but they are not cowardly carnivores. Hyenas have some of the toughest jaws in the animal kingdom, with an adult’s bite strength reaching up to 1000 pounds per square inch, making them ideal for destroying bones and removing carcasses. With several other predators, they have the ideal love-hate relationships. They will force other competitors such as lions apart from their prey if they have a number advantage, but the roles can be reversed, and lions can easily drive hyenas off from one of their effective kills.

Hyenas are excellent hunters who rely on agility, stamina, and coordination to capture their target, which ranges from wildebeest to small antelope. They are thought to kill approximately 50 and 75 percent of their own food, which is impressive for an animal that is thought to survive off rotting carcasses and scraps. They have incredible patience, as they will sit calmly for two days underneath a tree while a leopard eats above, ready for the tiniest scrap of meat to drop. This confirms the adage that “good things come to those who wait.” Spotted hyenas are amazing carnivores with social arrangements that are like those of primates like baboons.

There are 4 different subspecies of hyenas:

  • Spotted hyena
  • Striped hyena
  • Brown hyena
  • Aardwolf

Hyenas normally have 2 to 4 cubs per litter. Cubs start eating meat from kills around the den when they are around five months old, but they are nursed for up to 18 months, which is exceptionally long for predators. Since most kills are achieved far from the den, however unlike jackals and hunting dogs, hyenas would not carry food back to regurgitate for their offspring, this is possibly a requirement.

The territorial clans are made up of associated individuals. The den, in which the offspring are born and raised and are met by individuals, is the hub of clan interaction. They mark and protect their areas by smearing a pungent substance formed by the anal glands on vegetation stalks along its edges.

People often assume that the Aardwolf is not apart of the hyena family because it looks like a mixture of the Striped hyena and the Brown hyena. They simply think that the Aardwolf is not natural apart of the hyena family, but it is.

The Aardwolf has quite a yellowish-brown jacket with many longitudinal black lines, a frizzy, black-tipped tail, and a long, rough, dark-haired line on its back that rises whenever it is threatened or afraid. The Aardwolf is 40-50 cm tall at the shoulder, the tail is 20-25 cm long, 65-80 cm in length across nose to tail, and weighs from 8 and 12 kg.

You can add this exceptional creature to your bucket list for your next Kruger National Park Safari.

The Majestic Leopard

The Majestic Leopard

The Majestic Leopard

Leopards are a part of the big cats with their golden, spotted bodies and elegant, however they have vicious hunting techniques. Leopards are commonly considered to be an African species, but they can be found all over the world. Despite their broad spectrum, their population is declining.

Leopards are bigger than domestic cats, but they are the smallest of its big cat species. They only reach a length of 0.92 to 1.90 meters. Their tail lengthens them by another 0.64 to 0.99 cm). The weight of females and males differs. Females are generally 21 to 60 kilograms, while males are typically weight 36 to 75 kg.

Leopards are predators who are not picky about what they eat. Gazelles, cheetah offspring, baboons, rats, primates, reptiles, large birds, fish, antelopes, warthogs, and porcupines are among the animals they would feed on. Leopards are ambush hunters, meaning they crouch down to approach and pounce on their victim before it had the chance to respond. A leopard can kill its prey by snapping its neck with a single swift bite.

Leopards have a three-month pregnancy and generally give birth to a litter of 2 to 3 cubs inside a den. Each cub is born blind and just about hairless, weighing just 500 to 600 grams. They eat exclusively from their mom and will not exit the den before they are three months old. The offspring can live on their own between 12 to 18 months, and at two to three years old, they will have their own cubs. Leopards survive in the wild for 12 to 15 years.

Leopard habitats are diverse. Leopards can be found in tropical forests, vegetation plains, deserts, and alpine regions, but they can also be found close to major cities like Mumbai and Johannesburg. Leopards ignore grassland and prefer riparian forest and koppies. Prey distribution is most likely behind the preference for riparian woodland.

Leopards use several communication mechanisms, including vocalizations, body postures, and chemical communication, identical to most cat species. When guiding her cubs elsewhere, the mother uses her tail as a visual guide, and when she returns to them, she greets them with a chuffing sound made up of three or more short, sharp puffs. Leopards often have a distinctive hoarse, rasping cough that they use to announce their presence as they move across their array or territory. Leopards can be heard purring loudly during or just after eating. Range limits, like those of lions, are clearly defined by scent or announced by making specific sounds.

Leopards face major threats across Africa, including habitat conversion and extreme persecution, especially in retaliation for real or perceived livestock losses. In 91 percent of their current range, lions and leopards are sympatric. According to a recent study, the amount of available prey of appropriate size allows for resource partitioning among lions and leopards, enabling their coexistence. Leopards’ ability to climb a tree might have been an especially valuable adaptation that allows them to live side by side with lions without actually segregating them.

All about the Warthog

All about the Warthog

All about the Warthog

Warthogs are, like their cousins, plump, hooved beasts with wide nostrils at the end of the snout. According to the Animal Diversity Web, they have no hair, except for a mane that runs down the spine to the middle of the back. Their tails finish in a tuft of hair as well.


Warthogs dwell in aardvark-made dens. However, they do not fight for the holes. In general, warthogs are passive and opt for dens already abandoned to make their nests. They usually favour grasslands and savannah woodlands in Africa, these are usually open areas.


Female warthogs, or sows, are highly social and live in groups called sounders, which can include up to 40 members. Females clean each other and huddle for comfort together at night. Adult males may be territorial and are not as social. They sometimes live alone. Around dawn and the sunset hours, warthogs forage in general. They forage at night if they live in a dangerous place.


Sometimes, warthogs are seen as aggressive creatures who attack and eat prey. Currently, warthogs are herbivores, which, means they consume vegetation. Roots, fruit, bark, seeds, grass and plants are included  in the diet of a warthog. Warthogs can consume meat during periods of scarcity, but they do not hunt. They munch on dead animals as they forage, larvae or bugs that they encounter.


Female warthogs can have up to eight babies at a time, although they are typically just two or three years old, following a gestation period of around six months. Piglets are baby warthogs. They weigh between 450 and 900 grams at birth.

Young piglets live with the tone of their mum. Around 4 months old, piglets are weaned to become mature at 20 months. Females prefer to live as adults with their mother, while males tend to go out on their own. Warthogs live between 12 and 18 years.

More facts

Warthogs are able to sprint up to 48 km/h. They are helped by their speed to outrun predators. They zoom right to their dens and first enter the rear, with their tusks sticking out for extra protection from the entry.

It can stab the attacker with its tusks and strike with its sharp teeth during the occasional instances a warthog chooses to face an attacker instead of hiding in their den. Oxpeckers and other birds consume insects from their bodies and travel on warthogs. To get rid of mosquitoes and to cool off on a hot day, Warthogs will even wallow in mud. Warthogs do not have sweat glands to cool themselves, as do pigs.

Warthogs have protection on their knees. They kneel down to eat the lower grass or gobble up bugs.

Predators they fear

As an adult warthog they have to fear lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, crocodiles and African wild dogs. Piglets have to fear and watch out for birds of prey.

All about the Honey Badger

All about the Honey Badger

All about the Honey Badger


Honey badgers are land, quadrupedal creatures that can be about 60-70 cm long with a cylindrical body. Their forefeet are long and wide, with sharp claws used for digging and scaling. In comparison, there are smaller, restricted claws on the hind legs. They are at a height of around 25-30 cm on the shoulders.

Fur with a course, dorsal grey mantle band that stretches from the top of the head to the tip of the tail characterizes the exterior. A white horizontal line distinguishes the gritty white mantle from the black ventral fur on either side of the body. At the base of the head, the white margins form a concave pattern around the bottom of the badger that stretches from the forehead, which is around 12-15 mm above the eye corner and runs to the ears’ upper edges. Honey badgers have small, long-sighted, deep-set eyes that are black and typically reflects light at night.

Having two anal glands on the posterior end, the tail is small and bushy. The two glands are diagonally from the anus and are covered by tissue near the scrotum in male badgers. These glands are used when the honey badger is agitated, for the release of a yellow fluid emitted or used as a defensive mechanism when attacked and for terrestrial marking.

Their skin is thick, tough, and loose, making it easier for the honey badger to twist to break their attacker’s grasp. It also allows the honey badger to navigate in small spaces and gives protection from predator bites.

Honey badgers are mostly a nocturnal species, but they transition to being diurnal during cool, dry months. Compared to females seen foraging with their cubs in their early months, males are often solitary. They are seen hunting in pairs during the breeding season.



The sound created by honey badgers is guttural, defined as a high-pitched screaming bark. The males produce a noisy muttering sound during the breeding season to lure their female counterparts. Vocalization is a distinct sound and frequency during contact with larger carnivores, which comes out like a rattling scream. Juveniles produce a moan of slightly low pitch and make hiccup noises while in pain. Interestingly, they use scent marks for open contact with other badgers, as the male home range can stretch to 500 km2.


The species occurs in a wide range of habitat types, but they are normally absent from the grassland and Nama Karoo biomes in more open and central areas. Their preferred habitat is mostly in desert areas, but they can also be found in grasslands and forests, as mentioned above.

They use their long fore claws to dig tunnels that can be 3 meters long and about 1.5 meters deep. As a place of rest for the honey badgers, these passages or chambers are used. Honey badgers are habitat generalists because they can build homes from something readily accessible, such as uncovered tree roots, rock cracks/gaps, and old uninhabited termite mounds. They also take over tunnels dug out by yellow mongooses, spring hares, Cape foxes and bat-eared foxes because they are courageous animals.


Rooted in their ‘honey’ badger name, many people falsely claim that honey badgers consume honey, while simply attacking beehives in search of bee larvae, creating conflict with bee farmers. As it has been found to feed on the scraps from the beehives left behind by honey badgers, the Greater Honey guide birds have an opportunistic partnership with honey badgers.

Information from the field guide shows that the honey badger is a generalist species and an opportunistic hunter. The diet consists of a wide variety of prey. Therefore, their diet is likely to be affected by seasonal change as it has been found that the honey badger moves between species of prey, highly reliant on the availability of prey.

Easily usable resources for food. Tiny mammals form the basis of the diet for honey badgers and the diet of a honey badger shifts to less lucrative small reptiles and scorpions as smaller animals are less available and there is a rise in the search period for small mammal prey due to the decline in availability.