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Leopards have incredible strength. They are the most powerful of the large cats, pound for pound. Leopards are elusive, and their behavior makes them more difficult to spot than most other large carnivores in Africa. It is a common misconception that leopards spend the majority of their time up in a tree resting across a branch; however, this is not entirely correct; leopards primarily use a height advantage once they have made a kill and to keep this out of the way of other predators. It is critical to look for leopards under suitable bushes, at the base of termite mounds, and anywhere that provides the animals with cover while also providing a good vantage point for safety.


  • Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

All of the big cats may be seen in abundance at the Masai Mara National Reserve. The vast savannah is best for cheetah and lions, but leopards can also be seen here. Females frequently hide their cubs in kopjes (rocky outcrops). While waiting for their mother to return from a hunting trip, the curious children may be seen playing about the rocks.


  • Kruger National Park, South Africa

Londolozi has had a close relationship with leopards for many years. Set around the Sand River, the reserve is bursting at the seams with leopard-sized prey (impalas, warthog piglets, bushbuck, and inattentive monkeys) and a habitat so ideal for leopards that it’s almost as if the cats designed it themselves. The tangled riverside vegetation facilitates ambushes, while thick-limbed trees provide a safe place to rest. Londolozi’s guides are permitted to take their 4X4s off-road and use spotlights at night to ensure that every opportunity to catch a sighting is taken advantage of. When the cats are seen, their casual nonchalance towards excitable, camera-waving humans is legendary – they simply ignore us.


  • South Luangwa, Zambia

The park’s animals range from aardvark to zebra and it has long been known for its dense concentrations of predators, particularly lions and leopards, on a wide and fertile alluvial plain nourished by the Luangwa River. What it is not well known for is its accessibility, but in recent years it has become as simple to visit as Africa’s more popular safari destinations. Seasoned safari hands rave about the place, and if you visit during the late dry season (August to October), you will see wildlife in astounding numbers and diversity.


  • Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Tanzania safaris are well-known for their wildebeest migration, but the Serengeti National Park is also one of Southern Africa’s big cat hotspots. You will have a good chance of seeing one of the resident leopards whether you are in the north, surrounded by rocky outcrops and woodlands, or in the Seronera Valley, surrounded by acacias and sausage trees.

With so many other carnivores in the Serengeti, such as lions and hyenas, leopards tend to keep a low profile. Finding leopards can be difficult because they are relatively elusive animals in the first place, but persistence usually pays off. When it comes to the seasons, it’s always a good idea to try to follow the migration; where there are prey animals, big cats tend to follow. It is also often easier to stop leopards during dry periods when grasses are lower and vegetation is less dense.


  • Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

In Botswana, there are numerous excellent places to see leopards, the best of which are located on the outskirts of the Okavango Delta. They include the Savuti and Linyati reserves (between the Okavango and Chobe National Parks), but Moremi Game Reserve is considered the best by many experts. It is home to the Khwai River Region in the Delta’s eastern section, where permanent water pools attract a variety of game and dense woodland allows leopards to sneak up on their prey undetected.

Leopards are so common in this area that sightings during the day are almost unheard of. If you want to go on a night safari, you’ll have to stay outside the reserve on a private concession, such as the opulent Khwai River Lodge. A night drive is recommended at least once, if only for the thrill of scanning the darkness for a pair of eyes shining in the spotlight. Moremi Game Reserve and its surrounding concessions are also home to lions, cheetahs, and the critically endangered African wild dog.