Stealthy, sleek and powerful, the adaptable Leopard is a phantom, haunting wild places throughout much of Africa and Asia. Whether on the move in search of prey, dragging a kill up into the fork of a tree, or slipping through your headlights in the dark of night – nothing quite thrills and chills like a Leopard sighting. Sometimes we find them lounging in a shady tree, where the dappled light of the sun through the tree’s foliage mostly conceals them, but also reveals how useful their rosetted pattern is for staying hidden during the day.
Centuries ago, the Leopard was believed to be a hybrid between a Lion and Tiger, and its name is a Greek compound of the words for these two cats. The Leopard is part of the Panthera genus, (“roaring cats”), along with Lion, Tiger, Jaguar and Snow Leopard (though the latter does not actually roar). While it is the most widespread big cat in the world, today the Leopard only occupies about 25% of its original range.
Running at up to 36 miles/h (58 km/h), with hearing five times more acute than humans and the ability to leap up to 6 metres in a single bound, Leopards have earned their place on the list of apex predators, and have been documented taking over 100 different species of prey. In Africa, we frequently see them on both our East Africa – Mega Safari and our Northern Tanzania – Ultimate Ngorongoro & Serengeti adventure, where they tend to favour Impala, Greater Kudu, Common Warthog and other mid to large game species. The luckiest among us may even see one with a kill – using every muscle of their frame (weighing up to 190lb / 90kg) to haul their prey into the crook of a tree, where they can feed at leisure, without hyaenas driving them off.
Leopards are typically solitary animals – except when females are with their young, a time that spans up to two years. Interestingly, one of the greatest densities of Leopards in the world is in Mumbai, India, where over 40 individuals are known to inhabit a 40 square mile (102 km²) park. Living in close proximity to many hundreds of thousands of people, these Leopards feed on the abundant feral dogs, and the big cats are credited as having reduced the number of human mortalities from rabid dog bites.
Few animals in the world fascinate us the way big cats do, and the Leopard is perhaps the most breathtaking of them all.
Join a Rockjumper Wildlife adventure today and you will discover more.
East Africa – Mega Safari
02 – 19 May 2019 (18 days)
Tour Price: US$8,550 *€7,530 *£6,590 *ZAR126,830
Northern Tanzania – Ultimate Ngorongoro & Serengeti
01 – 11 Nov 2019 (11 days)
Tour Price: US$5,975 *€5,260 *£4,610 *ZAR88,780
*Alternate currencies are for comparative purposes only