Secret 7

Many visitors travel to the famous Kruger National Park specifically to search for the “Big 5” mammals (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo). Of course, these animals are incredible to look for and see on any African safari, but don’t forget about the “Secret 7”…All members of this exclusive club are extremely rare and solitary nocturnal animals, and are known to live extremely private lives. They are far, far more difficult to see than the “Big 5”.

Hunting mostly at night, the elegant Serval hides away and sleeps during the day in the thick deep bush, almost always close to water. A medium sized cat with a yellowish-fawn coat, black spots and stripes, the Serval is identified by its shortish tail, strong slender body and the longest legs relative to their body size. It adopts a characteristic pouncing technique when hunting small mammals, birds and other prey.
Secret 7 - Serval.jpg

Looking very much like a domestic cat, only bigger and much meaner, the Southern African Wildcat is a shy nocturnal animal that hunts mainly in dense bush and long grass, making it even more difficult to spot. It feeds mostly on small rodents, birds, hares, lizards and insects. Wildcats unfortunately readily interbreed with domestic cats where their respective habitats overlap.

Secret 7 - Southern African Wildcat.JPG

The strange looking and almost mythical Aardvark is usually found in open savannah landscape near to termite mounds where it uses its 30cm long tongue to find termites and ants. Normally an Aardvark will be of a colour similar to the soil in the area in which it lives. This one-of-a-kind pig-like creature is active only at night and can walk very far in search of food.

Secret 7 - Aardvark.jpg

A fascinating, rare and unique animal, the ant-eating Temminck’s Ground Pangolin is easily identified by their bronze coloured tough scaly bodies and small head. These skittish animals are easily spooked and will roll up into a Lion-proof ball if they feel threatened. They are unfortunately being hunted in alarming numbers for their scales and other body parts; in fact, pangolins are the most trafficked animal on the planet!

Secret 7 - Temminck's Ground Pangolin.jpg

Also known as the Cape Genet, the South African Large-spotted Genet is a small cat-like creature that actually belongs to the Mongoose family. They are nocturnal in nature, hunting for birds, lizards, rodents, snakes and insects. Being good tree climbers (using the black-tipped tail for counterbalance), they are usually found in mixed woodland areas where they can scramble along tree branches.

Secret 7 - South African Large-spotted Genet.jpg

A solitary nocturnal animal, the raccoon-resembling African Civet is found mostly in forested woodland areas. Its unique feature is its secretions, which are used for the musky smell in perfume. Civets survive on a varied diet of rodents, reptiles, insects, eggs, fruit, berries and birds. Interestingly, although mostly terrestrial, the African Civet is a very good swimmer!

Secret 7 - African Civet.jpg

The largest rodent found in southern Africa, the Cape Porcupine is well-known for its beautiful but super sharp 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.

Secret 7 - Cape Porcupine.jpg

For a chance to see one (or even a few if you are extremely lucky!) of these “Secret 7” animals, join us on a Nature Travel Kruger safari. For more information, enquire directly at or visit

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