In Search of the Sabie Sands Secret Seven
The Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve is home to a variety of magnificent wildlife including the Big 5 of the African Kingdom; Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino. Many visitors travel to the wilderness park specifically to go in search of the Big 5 and highly skilled game rangers will always endeavour to seek them out for you when you visit.
But the Sabi Sands area has many more interesting game animals in it that are not as easy to find as the Big 5. A few of these animals have been nicknamed the ‘Secret 7’ as they are considered the most difficult game animals to find while on safari.
All extremely rare nocturnal animals, the mysterious secret 7 are known to live extremely private lives and have adapted specific coping mechanisms or characteristics to ensure their survival in the dangerous wilderness that surrounds them. Here is a quick look at these 7 crafty creatures; namely Serval, African Wild Cat, Aardvark, Pangolin, Civet, Porcupine and Large Spotted Genet.
Hunting mostly at night, the Serval hides itself away and sleep during the day in thick deep bush. A medium sized tawny coloured cat with black spots and stripes, the Serval is identified by its relatively short tail and strong slender body. Known to have the longest legs relative to their body size, the Serval’s toes are elongated and very movable, which help it to capture small and partially hidden prey.
African Wild Cat
Looking very similar to a domestic cat in appearance, an African Wild Cat is a shy nocturnal animal that hides itself away during the day and hunts at night mainly in dense bush and long grass making it difficult to spot. Feeding mostly on small rodents, hares, lizards and insects, an African Wild Cat is even known to occasionally kill a small antelope.
Capable of walking long distances at night in search of food, the Aardvark is usually found in open savannah landscape near to termite mounds. Using its long 30cm tongue, the Aarvark survives off a diet of mainly termites and ants. Seldom seen during the day, this mysterious creature hides itself away, sleeping in burrows and then waking at night to go in search of food.
A fascinating, rare and unique animal, the Pangolin is easily identified by their tough scaly bodies and small eye. Seldom seen during the day, these skittish animals are easily spooked and will roll up into a ball if they feel threatened. Nocturnal by nature, Pangolin have long sticky tongues which they use to delve into ant and termite mounds when foraging for food.
Also known as the Cape Genet, the Large-spotted Genet is a small cat-like creature that belongs to the Mongoose family. A small agile creature, Large-spotted Genets are nocturnal in nature, hunting for birds, lizards, rodents, snakes and insects. Good tree-climbers, the Large-spotted Genet is usually found in mixed woodland areas where they can scramble long tree branches.
A solitary nocturnal animal, the Civet is a small, agile mammal found mostly in forested woodland areas within the nature reserve. The African Civet is well-known as the animal from which the musky smell used in perfumed is obtained. Civets survive on a diet of rodents, reptiles, insects, eggs, fruit, berries and birds.
The largest rodent found in Africa, the Porcupine is well-known for its beautiful black and white quills which they use for protection against predators. Spending most of the day sleeping hidden away in communal burrows, Porcupines are herbivores and eat the bulbs and roots of plants as well as berries, fruit and tree bark.