Leopards (Pantera Pardus) are by nature elusive and shy creatures. They have evolved over time to blend in.
They are powerful cats that stalk their prey. Therefore camouflage is very important. This is of course why it is so difficult to spot these beautiful large cats. Anyone who sees them is extremely lucky. I was pleasantly surprised in April of this year while doing a Trans African lodge safari.
We were in Etosha National Park in Namibia and we spotted not one but two leopards. The first we found on our morning drive, within minutes of starting our drive, just outside Namutoni camp. It was an adult female. Then later in the afternoon we were searching for lions. We had managed to find a male and female, but they were quite far away, not great for pictures. We were happy though as we had seen them at last. We had however travelled far from camp to find them and would have to get back quickly to make the gate. As fate would have it we would first find another leopard, this time a big confident male. He walked not 10m off the road and parallel to it so we could really see him very well. I was obliged to spend some time with him and everyone managed to get some good shots of him. He seemed to be patrolling and marking his territory, spraying urine on bushes to leave his scent for any other leopards who might be thinking about moving in. Male leopards will have territories ranging in size from 30 square km to 80 square km. Males will not overlap each other’s territories whereas females can be found within the males range. You might find 3/4 females having smaller territories lying within the males larger one. the females will not overlap with each other and will defend their range fiercely. Even to the point of fighting with their own young once it’s time for them to move out and find their own place.
It is a rare treat to find one of these amazing cats, but to find two in one day is priceless.
The Great Trans African Lodge Safari that Chantal mentioned above is a 21 day lodge safari from Victoria Falls to Victoria Falls! This is the ultimate African safari… spend 3 weeks exploring Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, experiencing the wildlife, culture and scenery only Africa can deliver. From your first day marvelling at Victoria Falls to the breath-taking magnitude of Namibia’s dunes and big game interaction. This tour combines the comforts of lodge accommodation with an unforgettable safari experience. For more information please click here: Great Trans Africa Lodge Safari.
Hope to see you soon!