Advice about some cats in Namibia/Botswana

Hi guys,


In July I will be going to Namibia and Botswana for about three weeks. I will be a camping trip with people that are not all hardcore mammal/birdwatchers, so compromises will probably have to be made. However since I will be able to influence the trip schedule a bit I hoped you could help me with something.


I am currently busy reading trip reports on these countries and I have already found a lot of usefull information, however I still had some questions.

Since this will be my first visit ever to Africa, I will be happy with whatever I will see over there, of course species as lion giraffe and the rhinos are very cool species to see in Africa but I don’t think seeing them will be too much trouble (Etosha will definitely be included in the trip). Since cats have my special interest I hoped you could help me with them.

Does anyone know of any places in Botswana, Namibia or the north of South Africa (we will be flying back from Johannesburg, but will probably to spent very much time in this country, one or two days maybe), that give a better chance of succes of seeing black-footed cat, caracal and cheetah? I know cheetah is possible about everywhere in Etosha, but perhaps there are also some spots in this park that are particulary good for it.


In the trip planning these spots will certainly be visited:


Fishriver Canyons





In between a lot of things are open to discussion. I have already found some (probably) good spots.

Walvisbay, Spitzkoppe, Erindi private game reserve, Etosha (Okaukuejo, Halai, Namutoni), Waterberg Plateau National Park, Runu sewage ponds, Divundu, Mahango Game Reserve, Okavango Panhandle, Camp Kwando.

These are the places that looked interesting from the trip reports that I have been reading, I haven’t read them all however, so feel free to suggest other places that you think might be good! I am especially interested in places that have nice stuff and still alow spotlighting on your own. We will be bringing tents, so we don’t depend on lodges.


All information is appreciated!


Lennart Verheuvel



  1. Michael Kessler 3 years ago

    Dear all,

    since we are already with questions about Namibia, may I add a question of my own? Does anybody know a good site for suricate along the route Windhoek-Sesriem-Walvishbay-Erindi-Toko-Etosha? We’ll be going there this summer…

    As for the cats, although it is not a very natural setting and I don’t know what it looks like today, in 1994 my wife and I went to Okonjima, where in addition to tame cheetahs we saw wild leopards at a hide where they are fed as well as caracal, brown hyena, honey badger, porcupines, etc. at a little hide close to the lodge. Perfect for non-hardcore people…


    • jo dale 3 years ago

      Wow! That sounds amazing! Was the brown hyena wild as well?

      • Michael Kessler 3 years ago

        Yes. They had (I assume still have) a little hide a hunbdred meters from the lodge where one could sit and watch a waterhole during the day (lots of birds and some mongooses) and at night, when they threw out kitchen scraps and tield a meaty bone to a stump. We had up to 8 badgers and a dozen porcupines simultanously just a few meters away. The caracal came every night and we also once saw it briefly during the day. The brown hyena kept a bit in the background, but we saw it well for several minutes and took some bad photos (too far for the flash).

  2. Manul 3 years ago

    Hi Lennart

    The region of Namutoni in Etosha was particularly good for Cheetahs when we were there.
    If I remember correctly we saw around 25 lions in 24 hours and one leopard in the parc. Therefore Etosha is certainly good for cats but you will have to go on organised night tours and be back at camp at sundown and only allowed to go out at sunset. But there are waterholes at the camps to which you can go at night.
    Kalahari is even better for Cheetahs I heard and also for Suricate Michael 🙂

  3. Ian Thompson 3 years ago

    I saw caracal and multiple African wildcats in Kalahari-Gemsbok park in northern South Africa on the border with Botswana. Cheetah were easily seen here, as well as in Nxai Pan in Botswana.

  4. Antee 3 years ago

    Black footed cats you don´t find in your area. Although they are present I have never heard of anyone seeing them in those places.
    South Africa – Northern cape is the place to go if you want them.

    Caracal you can find everywhere and nowhere.
    Pilanesberg is good for them.
    I saw myself in Khwai concession – Okavangodelta.
    Etosha they are also common but hard to see.

    As you said Cheetahs are a good chance in Etosha but also Okavango depending och where you are going. If you selfdriving and camping you probably end up in Khwai right?
    Khwai is not that good for Cheetah though. Although present they are not common here.
    Other parts of Okavango is way better for Cheetah.

    In Etosha the plains around Namutoni have been a hotspot. I have seen myself here.

    I also saw Cheetah in Pilanesberg. They are only a few but the park is quite small.

    Leopard is good in Khwai and other parts of Okavango as in nighttime in Etosha at a camp waterhole or an organized nightsafari from camp.

    Lions you find everywhere

    Don´t forget to keep an eye open for African Wildcat. Like the Caracal they are everywhere and nowhere in these areas. You can bump into them anytime but it´s only a matter of luck.

    Serval is hard to see here. Way harder than further north in Kenya and Tanzania for example. Your best chance is Okavango.

  5. Miles Foster 3 years ago

    Okavango for cheetah. I agree with Antee about serval – further north.

    Good luck!


  6. Matt Pep 3 years ago

    Serval are pretty easy to find in Kruger national park however? It’s out of the direction, but not really further north. They are easily seen around Satara on most of the nightdrives. No guarantee, but when I was there (july 2014) they were seen every night. Hasn’t changed either as far as I know.

  7. Author
    Lennartv 3 years ago

    Thanks for all the reactions! Very usefull information, I must say that I didn’t really think about Serval because I indeed thought they would be further north. I will keep an eye out for them though. African wildcat is of course another species that I did think about, judging from all the reports I’ve read that one should be possible in a lot of places. I had one question though about the Kalahari Game Reserve. It seems like an interesting area, does any one know however if it is possible to drive through it from the north, to the south? It would be nice if we could finish our trip that way, going ‘up’ in Namibia and going ‘down’ in Botswana so we will make a full round.

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