As the most elusive of all the Big Five, we know this will be a sought after list. There are around 35,000 in sub-Saharan Africa, but a master of stealth, the leopard is undoubtedly harder to find. Before we round up the best spots and reserves to pin down this “now you see me, now you don’t” member of the Big Five here are few fun facts!
– Leopards are very diverse in size. Males are about 30% larger than females, weighing 30 to 91 kg (66 to 201 lbs) compared to 23 to 60 kg (51 to 132 lbs) for females. They are renowned for their agility and can run up to 58km/h, leap 6metres horizontally and 3 metres vertically and are extremely strong swimmers.
– The leopard’s underparts are white with black spots. The long tail is also white underneath with rosettes on top. No two leopards have the same markings or color and are as unique as a human finger print.
– Females are capable of breeding at two years and will produce litters of one to three cubs after a pregnancy lasting about 90-105 days. Leopard babies weigh around 500g at birth and their eyes open after a week.
– Leopards are predominantly solitary animals that have large territories. A female leopard on heat attracts males by the smell of her urine. A male and female may stay together for several days during which time they mate repeatedly before going their separate ways.
– A male leopard can drag a carcass three times its own weight – including a small giraffe, six metres up a tree. . They will often leave their prey up in the tree for days, only to return when they are hungry!
Get your leopard print here…
- An excellent leopard sighting landscape, Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve is one of the top places to get a highly prized paparazzi type wildlife shot.
- The riverine woodlands and Acacia forests of the Samburu Game Reserve are both great places to capture the evident skills of this stealth hunter. In the latter vegetation maybe scarce leading the leopard to silently and slowly stalk its prey. While there are never any guarantees this is a must do destination for any safari goer looking to feel some leopard love.
- The Masai Mara is eat your heart out Big Five safari territory and Kenya’s best loved game reserve almost always delivers. When the annual migration is in full swing you’ll almost certainly up your chances of catching sight of one of Africa’s best-loved cats.
- Zimbabwe’s largest prowl of leopards reside in Zimbabwe’s Matobo National Hills National Park. Another reason to book a seat on our new 14-day Mozambique & Zimbabwe Explorer
Written by: Acacia Sales/Marketing team.