African Cats

This African Cats gallery includes big cat photos we’ve made during our one-week-stay in the Lower Sabie and Biyamiti bushveld camps in the Kruger National Park. We’ve also added a few photos, both of big and small African cats made by our guide and other photographers.

Note that the term “big cats” does not refer to the size of the felid, but to its ability to roar. Big cats can roar, but not purr, while small cats can purr, but not roar. The only exception to that is the cheetah, which can purr, but not roar. The cheetah is also significantly different from any of the big or small cats. In fact, the cheetach’s morphology is intermediate between that of other felids and that of the wolf. Its diminished ability to retract its claws has been described as somewhat dog-like, too. In the field, this means that one of the ways to differentiate cheetah tracks from other felids is the fact that cheetach tracks always show clearly visible claws.

Lepard. Photo © Alessandro de Luca for






Cheetah, Kruger National Park
Cheetah close up.


Brant, Harold N. “Claw retraction and protraction in the Carnivora: the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) as an atypical felid” Journal of Zoology. 04/2001; 254(01):67 – 76.

Photo credits (top to bottom): Leopard (1, 5) and Lion (2) by Alessandro de Luca; leopard (3) and lions (4, 6) by Neil Heron; cheetach by Frik Erasmus, cheetah head by Arno Meintjes.

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