The Big Cats of Africa are high on any first time traveller’s ‘must see’ list on safari. The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is one of the best destinations to see Africa’s largest feline predators – lion, leopard and cheetah on Big 5 Safaris. While most of our guests imagine them ‘National Geographic’-style, stalking the nearest impala – they are usually found in a less-exhilarating setting, snoozing the heat of the day away. Here are some recent highlights of the ‘cat naps’ captured by our resident guides.
Lions (Panthera leo) are the largest and most impressive of Africa’s big cats. They are gregarious animals that are most likely seen sleeping in groups called prides during the day. Kruger National Park, neighbouring the Timbavati holds one of the largest lion populations left in the world.
Lions are lethargic creatures, spending about 20 hours of the day resting. To us, this may seem like laziness, but in terms of surviving in the wild, it makes perfect sense! Lions must hunt and protect their territory to survive – tasks which require a lot of energy. A male lion can cover up to 20km in a night on patrol and moving during the day would waste unnecessary energy.
Unlike lions, leopards are solitary creatures, who are only seen in pairs when mating or with their cubs. Like lions, they are nocturnal and most nights are spent out hunting. This means, that a lot of the time they can be seen dozing in the branches of trees during the day.
Leopards are notoriously difficult to spot on safari and their daytime sleeping habits make it even more difficult. At Kings Camp, we are very fortunate to have a team of seasoned guides, who over the years, have come to learn the habits of our resident leopards. For our guests, this means a better likelihood of spotting leopard during a stay at Kings Camp.
When we go to sleep, our muscles relax, our heartbeat and breathing rate slows down and our body temperature drops a few degrees. Our minds can finally switch off from stress which may be consuming us. So maybe next time, when someone asks if you need a ‘cat nap’ you can say that if it’s good for lions, then it’s good for you too!
For more stories and stunning images from our guides and guests in the Timbavati, stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram channels. If you are interested in a big cat safari of your own, why not give our friendly reservations team a call by filling in our contact form here.