Tourism Update’s Pic of the Week goes to photographer George Turner. It was taken at Asilia’s Namiri Plains in the Serengeti, Tanzania.

Description:  High on the bucket list of many avid safari-goers is a ‘normal’ serval but spotting them is tough. They’re shy, secretive cats that tend to live in tall grasses — the perfect combination for staying unnoticed. But now an even rarer melanistic serval has made its home in the Namiri Plains area of the eastern Serengeti, Tanzania.

Melanism (increased development of the dark-coloured pigment melanin in skin/hair) in servals primarily occurs in East Africa, particularly in the highland regions over 2 000m, which is what makes this sighting particularly special.

At around 1 000m, the Namiri Plains, Tanzania, are considerably ‘lower’ than the normal altitude where melanism is more prevalent. It's likely that this particular serval travelled from the nearby – and much higher – Ngorongoro Crater and established a new territory.

There’s no guarantee that ‘Manja’ (named after the guide at @asiliaafrica who first spotted him), should he find a mate, will produce melanistic kittens. As melanism is carried by a recessive gene, it could be years before any begin appearing in the area. The hope, for now, is that he continues to flourish in the grasslands and build on his territory. Also, what serval could resist those charming good looks!


More great photos can be found here.


Criteria for Pic of the Week submissions are as follows:

Photos must have been taken in Southern or East Africa

Photo must be taken in the last month

Photos must be between 1 and 5 megabytes

Photos must be submitted with the following information: when and where it was taken, the name of the photographer, and a short description of the context around the photo

Tourism Update is a B2B digital news and marketing platform, which reaches international tour operators, DMCs, and wholesalers. The winning photos will be featured on the Tourism Update website, and/or its social media platforms.

For more information, or to make your submission, email