RFI: Servals in Secunda South Africa

Has anyone had any experience of, or have any information about looking for Serval in the Secunda area of South Africa?

I read with interest reports in 2015 of research being undertaken by The Wildlife Resources Association WRA) and the University of Pretoria.

This research was a population study around SASOL’s fuel plant in Secunda. There seems to be a very high density of Serval (and other small carnivores), probably due to the area providing shelter and food resources for the prey that Serval’s feed upon, and the absence of larger cat species that would kill Serval.

The study area appears to be fenced in and owned by SASOL, although the study area may have extended outside the fenced area.

I could combine a trip to this area with yet another visit to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, a great Park, but one that has stubbornly refused to give up leopard to me (and does have Caracal sightings as well).

So any information on seeing or trying to see and failing to see Serval in this area would be welcome.





  • SteveFirth

    Hi Chris,
    That’s very interesting, thank you.

  • Mike

    Any hints on where & how to actually see the Servals? Is it prohibited entry? ATB Mike

    • Chris Roche

      hi Mike – I can’t help there I’m afraid. My sightings of serval in the highveld grassland of SA have been generally long distance and pretty obscured within grass. In places like Nyika Plateau in Malawi, the Gaysay Grasslands in Bale (Ethiopia), and the higher non-forested altitudes of the Aberdares in Kenya sightings are far easier, with even melanistic individuals in the last of those locations. Another fairly reliable location for serval viewing is the Busanga Plains in Zambia’s Kafue National Park.

      • Mike Robinson

        Thanks for this Chris. I have also seen it the Aberdares & in Ethiopian highlands. However I wondered how possible it was at this place near Joburg having seen the tv film. I might be there next year. Mike

  • Stuart Chapman

    Hi Steve, If you are planning a trip back to South Africa, I would add Pilanesberg National Park to your trip for a couple of nights. I was there in October, and although I blanked on both caracal and serval, they had both been seen on consecutive days. I narrowly missed out when our over-enthusiastic guide slammed on the brakes, pointed and screamed “serval” at the space that had previously been occupied by a serval.

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