Recently, I had a group of guests who witnessed a very special animal on safari. These guests are seasoned safari goers and thus on their game drives, were more interested in seeing the smaller creatures.
Out one afternoon, I heard a group of guinea fowl alarming. I slowed the vehicle to look for them and, hopefully, locate what they were alarming for. We found the guinea fowl cackling up in a tree. As we were looking at them, a crested francolin shot out of the bush on our opposite side. It had clearly been spooked by something in the bush…
I thought it might have been because of the vehicle, but when I looked over, to my surprise, it was a caracal! It had tried to hunt the francolin. Caracals are agile cats and good jumpers, making them experts in hunting birds. He remained by the side of the road, looked at us for about 10 seconds, and then turned around and walked away.
This was very exciting to see, not only for the guests, but also me. The caracal is a seldom-seen species here. Surprisingly enough, this individual stayed in the area and sightings of it on the same road were reported three times that week.
Words and photos by: Adriaan Mulder