We’ve seen two species : the black-backed jackal and the side-striped jackal. There is another species too, being the golden jackal, that exclusively lives in the north east of Africa, but we’ve never seen this one. Possibly the golden jackal is more related to the coyote or the grey wolf and less with to two species that we’ve seen.
One of the few times that we’ve spotted the side-striped jackal, was in Sabi Sands, close to Kruger NP. The black-backed jackal, recognizable by its black back with white hair sections is much more common and we’ve seen it in numerous parks. The black-backed jackal lives outside parks too, and can be a problem to farmers, because it catches flock sometimes. . The jackal is a real family animal. Pairs stay together for a very long time, usually all their lives. They defend their territory together. A territory of which the size can vary quite a lot depending on the food available. This way of life goes for both species, although the side-striped jackal can be seen alone more often. They eat small prey, like rats, small antelopes, birds and insects. Regularly jackals can be spotted close to prey of other animals too, trying to get hold of some leftovers.
In Pilanesberg we were looking at two lions that had caught a zebra the day before. They were eating from their prey, but were looking around attentively. Initially, it wasn´t clear to us why they got distracted all the time, until we saw what kept them busy : a black/backed jackal was continuously walking circles around the lions and their prey. Just its ears and head occasionally showed up over the vegetation. Very funny to look at. Unfortunately for the jackal the lions didn´t leave their prey alone.