True Travel Times
The lion may be king, but the beautiful, graceful and elusive leopard is the crown jewel that everyone wants to see on an African safari.
Secretive, stealthy and a master of camouflage, this magnificent and most alluring big cat is one of the hardest to spot on a big five safari.
Solitary and shy, leopards are nocturnal and are most active in the hours of darkness. Incredibly agile, they can climb, swim and they adapt easily to the different African habitats. But their favourite landscapes are rocky outcrops, treetop vantage points and dense bushes where they can hide unseen and observe their prey.
It’s notoriously difficult to spot a leopard during a safari, so to increase your chances, here are the five best places in Africa where you might just see one, if you’re lucky.
1. SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK, ZAMBIA
South Luangwa National Park in Zambia has one of the highest populations of leopards in Africa. The lagoons, woodlands and river plains of this beautiful wildlife sanctuary are the best places to spot these elegant creatures, as well as other wildlife including lions, wildebeest, giraffes, crocodiles and hippos.
2. MOREMI GAME RESERVE, BOTSWANA
Famed as one of Africa’s best all-year-round safari experiences, the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana is a stunning conservation area with wetlands, floodplains, woodlands and open grasslands. It’s home to large herds of elephant, buffalo, antelope, white rhino, spotted hyena and a massive range of bird species which can be found around its sparkling lagoons.
For leopard sightings, head to the fringes of the Okavango Delta, whose waterways attract thirsty animals searching for water. Their favourite hangout spots are the lagoons and woodlands around the river floodplains.
3. KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH AFRICA
Kruger National Park in South Africa competes against South Luangwa as the region with the highest density of leopards. Kruger certainly has the most diverse range of wildlife on the continent, but if you’re specifically looking for leopards, head to the Londolozi reserve around the Sand River.
The area is ideal for leopards, with lush vegetation to hide in, high-branched trees to climb onto, and an abundance of prey to stalk.
4. SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK, TANZANIA
Many visitors to Tanzania go there to witness the Great Migration. However, where there are herds of prey, there are also predators nearby waiting to pounce. The Seronera Valley is one of the best places to spot the spotty beauties, but don’t forget to look up! They will most likely be lazing among the branches of the yellow bark Acacia trees or Kigelia trees of the region.
5. MASAI MARA, KENYA
The Masai Mara in Kenya is well known for the numerous big cats that are drawn to the sheer numbers of wildebeest and zebras arriving at the northernmost point of their Great Migration journey.
The best place to spot leopards is along the rivers of the Masai Mara, the chosen location for the BBC documentary Big Cat Diaries.
We offer luxury safaris to all the above destinations. For more information on tailor-made safaris, contact our travel experts today.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Start planning your truly bespoke itinerary by contacting one of our destination specialists.
Call +44 (0)203 137 1247