Leopard Catches African Wildcat in the Kgalagadi

Today we present you Karen Dresch she will be our guest blogger as she recalls a Leopard catching a African Wildcat on her recent trip to the Kgalagadi.

“We are a couple in our mid 40’s from Holland and Germany, we travel as much as we can to different places around the world.
After years of diving we found a new interest: wildlife above the sea level.

We met new friends on a trip to Zambia, and one of them told us about Kgalagadi, after some research, a new holiday destination was born.

After a whole year of patience we traveled last September and had the privilege to spend 8 nights in Kgalagadi. We rented a Toyota Hilux with a rooftop tent in Upington and off we went to Twee Rivieren for our first night.
We put up a rooftop tent for the very first time, then tried to deflate our tires to the lower air pressure in complete darkness, not knowing how to use the tool. We still were a bit stressed from work and travelling and it did not work out as well as we had hoped. Our neighbors at the campsite calmed us down, gave us a bottle of wine, and told us to sit back, relax and simply enjoy the beauty and calm of the place because we just had arrived. They were so right! We took that advice the next few days.

The next morning we started our trip to Nossob. We always leave as soon as the gate open, afraid to miss something. Just inside the park we came to the first waterhole, Samevloeiing, where a lioness was sitting on top of the dunes. We decided to wait at the waterhole, and after a while she came down to drink. We were so happy! We enjoyed the sighting for a while and then continued our way north.

It was around 8 when we saw several cars driving slowly. Being used to the Kruger National Park madness we knew there had be something special. We checked and wow! A beautiful male leopard was walking, it looked like it was on a mission. We followed him for a while as he was coming closer and closer to the road. First I thought he was going after an Ostrich, but he passed without even having a look at them. Leeuwdril waterhole was the place he was after. We positioned our car so we could see him coming and spent some lovely minutes there.

Then something changed, the leopard crossed the road and disappeared, most people left the sighting or stayed to look at the Gemsbok at the waterhole.

My boyfriend then saw the leopard again so we turned the car to the other side of the road, just 2 other cars followed us.

What happened next  was something I’ve only witnessed on TV so I decide to start filming.

The leopard had spotted an African wildcat, the smaller cat was snoozing in the sun or maybe staring at something small to eat, It did not see the leopard who was approaching slowly.

Then everything happened so quick, we saw the leopard move and knew the cat would soon be history, in awe I continued filming while the leopard jumped on the cat,  the African wildcat surrendered immediately.

About a minute later the cat was dead, we were thrilled by the sighting but also felt sad for the cat. It was the first time we had witnessed a kill.


Watch the video of the sighting here.

We left the area to continue our trip, not much later we saw a lot of dust, a big male lion was on the move, we realized he was probably going to the Leeuwdril waterhole that we had just left behind. So we turned the car around once again and went back to see him drink. It was amazing to see other animals reactions, it looked like they feared and respected him at the same time.

Full of adrenaline from the mornings sightings we arrived at Nossob, later on we talked about how our beginners luck had spoiled us and the next few days probably won’t be as good as this first one, and yes, we had a day or two where we did not see very much, but on those days we enjoyed the beautiful landscapes of the Kgalagadi.

On all of the other days we had lovely sightings including cheetahs on two occasions, brown hyena’s a few times very early at a waterhole, we saw a family of meerkats, and very often we saw lions, some of them we spotted by ourselves by watching other animals behavior.

Beside the wildlife we loved the environment and the total relaxation that the Kgalagadi provided for us. The day we had to leave we felt sad and decided that very moment that we needed to return the following next year!

My advice to other travelers: get up early and be patient.
Sometimes you wait for nothing, like when we saw 4 cheetah’s on the move and waited two hours at the next waterhole for them to show up in which they didn’t but other times you are rewarded by the sighting of a lifetime!

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