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Best Places to See Leopards in Africa

Jaguar Hunting on a Tree
Jaguar Hunting on a Tree

Welcome to the Best Places to see Leopards in Africa.

Africa, home to the largest living animals and the most vicious predators. It is home to the mighty Leopard; only here can you find the best places to spot Leopards.

By Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa – African leopard, Panthera pardus pardus, near Lake Panic, Kruger National Park, South Africa, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45087287

Follow us on a tour through the continent where humans can see and spot Leopards – Africa!

We also have articles on the best places to see Lynx.

Leopards, the crown jewels of a safari in Africa

Sun going down in one of the Best Places to Spot Leopards in Africa

The lion might be the king, but the beautiful, shy and elusive leopard is the crown jewel everyone wants to see on a safari in Africa. Leopards are nocturnal in many parts of their range.

The loss of habitats, poaching and conflicts with farmers have all contributed to a decline in global numbers.

Seeing a leopard requires a little luck and a little strategy. You need to be in the right place at the right time, but you also need to go where they are plentiful. There are still several excellent places in East Africa and Southern Africa that give you a good chance of a sighting.

Have a look at some of our Best Places to Spot Leopards in Africa!

A master of camouflage

By Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE – Leopard (Panthera pardus) in the bush …, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=126486989

Leopards are considered some of the most elusive animals in Africa and often the last of the Big Five to be crossed off the list.

Even after several game drives, many people leave without seeing them. This is because leopards are usually not out during the day – even if they were out, they are probably eating or sleeping on a tree.

Endangerment of Leopards in Africa

endangered species map for leopards

Leopards have already disappeared from large parts of their original range, especially from North, East and West Africa, as well as the Middle East, East and Southeast Asia. In southern Africa, too, stocks are declining. Although there are many of the best places to see Leopards still in Africa.

Some subtypes are already extinct or stand shortly before the extermination. The main threat is the massive loss of habitat, other problems are the lack of prey, conflicts with humans, legal trophy hunting and illegal hunting.

The leopard is strictly protected by the CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and commercial trade is prohibited internationally.

Leopards are poached both in Africa and Asia because their hides. Teeth and bones are coveted trade objects for ceremonies, status symbols, traditional medicine or souvenirs. In Africa alone, several thousand leopards are killed every year for ritual purposes. In addition, hundreds of animals are killed by international big game hunters.

The most promising places where you can spot Leopards in Africa

By Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE – Leopard (Panthera pardus) male …, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=136325698

As we now know, Leopards are not only hard to find because of their day and night rhythm but also because of their ability to hide. Furthermore, Leopards are decreasing in number.

However, we believe that sharing the love for these animals helps to protect them. After encountering Leopards in their natural habitat, you could only love them. Let us show you the best places to see Leopards.

1. Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands Game and Madikwe, South Africa

Sabi Sand is number one on the list of the Best Places to Spot Leopards in Africa. If you need to see a leopard, go to the place where their populations are the densest in Africa – and that means Sabi Sands, a collection of exclusively used private reserves on the western border of Kruger National Park.

Londolozi, in the Sabi Sand Private Reserve, is one of several areas with a high leopard population – with more than 50 leopards living in an area of 100 square kilometers.

The area is ideal for leopards: lush vegetation to hide in, highly branched trees to climb on and a wealth of prey to stalk. The South African Madikwe Reserve near the Botswana border is another good way to see leopards on a South African safari. It is easily accessible from Johannesburg.

2. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia (Leopard Favorites)

The South Luangwa National Park in eastern Zambia, in the Luangwa Valley. It is the southernmost of Zambia’s three large national parks. The area is also known as the Valley of the Leopard – a suitable name as it has one of the highest leopard populations in Africa.

Its incredible abundance of prey is the perfect snack for the majestic leopard. In South Luangwa National Park, night drives are allowed, making it easier to spot leopards on a Zambia safari as they pursue their prey.

3. Masai Mara and Samburu, Kenya

The Masai Mara is known for the numerous big cats attracted by the sheer number of wildebeests and zebras arriving at the northernmost point of their Great Migration journey. The Masai Mara is undoubtedly one of the best places to see all of Africa’s wildlif. Including leopards, of which there is a large population. Most leopard sightings usually take place along the Mara and Talek rivers. Night cruises are not allowed in the Masai Mara nature reserve. Really one of the best places to spot leopards in Africa!

To catch a glimpse of elusive spotted felines post-sunset, we suggest immersing yourself in the nocturnal realms of a secluded wildlife sanctuary within Kenya’s Masai Mara. Venture off the well-trodden paths to Samburu, a haven known for its exceptional encounters with majestic leopards. Lake Nakuru National Park stands renowned for its kaleidoscopic gatherings of flamingos. Within its bounds, a variety of creatures dwell, including the enigmatic leopards. The park harbors a limited lion population, granting leopards unhindered access to their prey. Remarkably, this sanctuary is a rare haven where leopards engage in daytime escapades. The fever trees bordering Lake Nakuru serve as favored rendezvous spots for these elusive cats.

4. Okonjima, Namibia

For almost guaranteed leopard watching on a Namibian safari, visit the Okonjima Nature Reserve in northern Namibia. The reserve lies at the foot of the Omboroko Mountains and hosts the AfriCat Foundation, which rehabilitates injured predators. The Kalahari Desert is another address where you can observe the leopards. Always good to check the weather before going.

The vast terrain of the Kalahari Desert makes it somewhat easier to spot leopards than in the dense savannah or forests of other parks. The desert also has limited opportunities for the leopards to get water, so they gather through water holes.

By Giles Laurent – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=121086230

5. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Many visit Tanzania to experience the Great Migration. But where there are wildebeests and zebras, there are also predators nearby. The Seronera Valley is one of the best places to discover the beauties, but don’t forget to look up!

Famous leopards like Bella (on the Talek River) can be seen in the northern part of the reserve, towards Musiara/Windmill. Other good areas for leopard sightings on Tanzania Safari are the Keekorok, Sand River, Ol-Kinyei and nature reserves.

6. Savuti, Linyati, Moremi and Chobe National Parks, Botswana (Leopard Country)

In the vast expanse of Botswana, there exist numerous remarkable spots to encounter leopards during a safari. Among them, the most exceptional are situated on the periphery of the Okavango Delta. These encompass the Savuti and Linyati Reserves, strategically positioned between the Okavango and Chobe National Parks. Yet, for those well-versed in the ways of safari, the ultimate destination is the Moremi Game Reserve.

To sum it up, the preferred locales for encountering leopards are the watery expanses and wooded realms surrounding the floodplains. Moremi stands guard over a significant portion of the Okavango Delta, a revered wildlife sanctuary in Botswana.

Summary of the best places to spot Leopards in Africa

YouTube video

In summary, we think Africa offers some of the best places to spot leopards!

Of course every place is very different from the other, so be sure to prepare accordingly and as always all ideas are subjective, so every place can be awesome!

Also have a look at our other Big Cats, Lynx vs. Bobcat or
Caracal Cat
.

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