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Not all the animals are easy to watch. Besides the fact that many species are night-active, season, place, weather and, of course, luck play a part as well. To observe and photograph predators, it always requires a lot of patience.

Predators in the Kruger

The number of predatory cats is considerable in the Kruger: 1,500 lions, 900 leopards and 300 cheetahs are part of the ecosystem.

Leopard in the Kruger

Leopards are shy nocturnal animals and hence not easy to observe. That might be a reason why the leopard is the most prevalent wild cat. It can survive in the most diverse environments, in the jungle as well as in the desert. Its senses of sight, smell and hearing are extraordinarily well developed, and they are good climbers and swimmers. The leopard of the bushveld weighs on average not more than 70 kilos. Nevertheless, leopards are able to prey on big animals like impalas and pull them up into trees to save them from other predators.

Leopards are loners. Males and females live in separate territories. The district of a male partially joins those of a couple of females and during mating season, the leopard mates with each female on heat within his territory.

Hyena in the Kruger

Leopards are primarily nocturnal, usually resting during the daytime in trees or thick bush. The spotted coat provides almost perfect camouflage. Both lions and hyenas will take away a leopard's kill if they can. To prevent this, leopards store their larger kills in trees where they can feed on them in relative safety.

Leopards growl and spit with a screaming roar of fury when angry and they purr when content. They announce their presence to other leopards with a rasping or sawing cough.

African Wild Dog in the Kruger

The African wild dog is long-legged, with massive jaws and very large, erect bat like ears. Although it resembles some domestic dogs, it differs in that it has four toes on each foot instead of five.

Wild dogs live in packs of six to 20. They can run long distances, at speeds up to about 35 miles per hour. Of the large carnivores, wild dogs are the most efficient hunters - targeted prey rarely escapes.

Predators - Lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena, wild dog in the Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lions almost exclusively prey on plant-eating hoofed mammals. Hunting is done primarily by the female, but the males, nevertheless, get the "lion's share" of the prey. Lions weigh up to 200 kg. While attacking, they can reach a speed of 50 km/h and jump up to 12 metres.

Lion in the Kruger

The average pride consists of about 15 individuals, including five to 10 females with their young and two or three territorial males that are usually brothers or pride mates.

Lions may hunt at any hour, but they typically go after large prey at night.

Cooperative hunting enables lions to take prey as large as wildebeests, zebras, buffaloes, young elephants, rhinos, hippos and giraffes, any of which can provide several meals for the pride. Mice, lizards, tortoises, warthogs, antelopes and even crocodiles also form part of a lion's diet. Because they often take over kills made by hyenas, cheetahs and leopards, scavenged food provides usually more than 50 percent of their diets in some areas.


One of the world's most famous wildlife sanctuaries