Enigmas of the bushveld, the Secret Seven are a group of animals that are not easy to spot, making it all that more exciting to try and find them.

Civets are nocturnal creatures that are seldom seen during the day. Safari-goers who are lucky enough to see a civet will usually spot it at night, when it is active and searching for food. The rest of the Secret Seven gang are: Serval, Large Spotted Genet, Pangolin, African Wildcat, Aardvark and Porcupine.

Meercat’s cousin

Civets are small to medium-sized mammals that are found in Africa, Asia and the tropical forests of South America. They are members of the Viverridae family, which includes mongooses, meerkats and genets. The Civet like the rest of the Secret Seven are not easy to spot. They are nocturnal, shy animals that live solitary lives.

They are notoriously good climbers that spend most of their time in trees. They are omnivorous creatures that eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, insects and small mammals. Remember to look up when you go on safari at Madikwe.

Spot the ‘cat-raccoon-bear’ at Madikwe

Civets are endearing animals because they resemble a cross between a cat, a raccoon, and a bear. They have a long, slender body and a tail that is as long as their body. They are brown or grey in colour, with spots or stripes on their fur. They have long tails and small, rounded ears.

A young civet cat with a furry ail.

Civet’s brew from South Africa

One of the most interesting facts about civets is that they are the main source of the world’s supply of coffee beans. The coffee beans that we drink come from a fruit that is eaten by civets, coffee cherries. The civet digests the fruit but not the bean, which is then excreted. These coffee beans are then collected and used to make our coffee.

If you’re ever on a safari in South Africa, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the elusive civet. You may just get lucky and spot one of these fascinating creatures! Book your safari with Madikwe and see if you can spot any of the ‘Secret Seven ‘.