This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu
Leopard
Asset 6

Leopard

Where to see Leopard in South Africa

The leopard is not uncommon. The most numerous of Africa’s big cats, it occurs in all major conservation areas and across most habitats. Nonetheless, its grace and elusiveness make it a unique safari drawcard.


About image

Quick facts about Leopard

Scientific name: Panthera pardus Habitat: Savanna, woodland, forest, mountains
IUCN status: Vulnerable Adult weight: 30–90kg

The leopard is a powerful and versatile predator that varies greatly in size and habitat. It uses stealth and camouflage to ambush prey at close quarters, typically taking small to medium-sized antelopes, though everything from birds to young giraffes may make the menu. Most active at night, leopards are agile climbers and unique among big cats in using trees as ‘larders’ for prey.

Key identification features include a long tail, usually curled at the white tip, and beautiful rosette patterning (unlike a cheetah’s solid spots). Males are around one-third larger than females, with a larger head and more jowly throat. Adults are largely solitary, though cubs may remain with their mothers for 18 months.


64

Range countries worldwide

5,200m

Highest recorded altitude

108cm

Max. tail length

12–17 years

Average lifespan

The top camps for seeing leopard in South Africa

Based on 6 reports by our travellers since Jun 2018, visitors at these camps in South Africa have the best chances of sighting leopard.


Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for leopard

% of travellers who saw leopard

Top 10 camps for leopard

% of travellers who saw leopard

Where to see leopards in Africa

Leopards are widespread but good at hiding. By day, you may spy one in a tree. At dawn and dusk, they become more active on the ground. Night drives can be productive.


Top tips for viewing leopards

Leopards occur everywhere from mountains to rainforests but are best seen in savannah and woodland habitats. Highly territorial, they often show up repeatedly in the same area.

Classic leopard country includes river loops with large trees and rocky kopjes surrounded by open bush. Even if invisible, a leopard’s presence is often betrayed by the alarm calls of prey, such as baboons, impala or even guinea-fowl. Be patient and you might get lucky.

Certain locations, such as Zambia’s Luangwa Valley, are famed for leopard sightings. But all major conservation areas, from the Kalahari to the Maasai Mara, offer a chance, especially where guides know the habitats and whereabouts of individual cats. Night drives increase the chances further. Listen out after dark for the distinctive deep territorial call, which resembles the rasp of a saw.

image

Our best South Africa holidays for leopard sightings

Based on our travellers' reports, these ideas for South Africa safaris are likely to give the best leopard sightings


Itinerary image

Black Wildebeest Self-drive Safari

19 days • 10 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Journey from South Africa’s cosmopolitan Cape Town to central Namibia’s Okonjima Nature Reserve during this self-driven safari. The route passes through a stunning variety of landscapes, offering access to this beautiful continent’s rich diversity.

US$3,680 - US$3,780 per person

Itinerary image

Leopard Safari

13 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town – a classic southern African itinerary combining luxury, wilderness, safari and culture. We can't think of a better way to spend two weeks.

US$8,210 - US$11,170 per person

Itinerary image

The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$12,600 - US$15,220 per person

Itinerary image

Kwandwe Self-drive Safari

3 days • 1 locations
PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

An elegantly stylish lodge that is well suited to families, Kwandwe offers a range of safari activities and the chance to sight all of the Big 5 during exploration of the eastern cape.

US$2,280 - US$3,120 per person

Itinerary image

Cape Genet Self-drive Safari

20 days • 8 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Enjoy fine-dining in Cape Town, whale-watching in Hermanus, and a range of walking and water-based activities throughout De Hoop’s Nature Reserve, the Klein Karoo and Plettenberg. This relaxed self-driven safari concludes with stays in The Winelands and Namaqualand.

US$3,130 - US$3,750 per person

Itinerary image

Ostrich Self-drive Safari

14 days • 9 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Great value self-drive adventure through the epic desert landscapes of southern Namibia and South Africa’s Kalahari, visiting highlights such as Fish River Canyon, the ghost towns of Lüderitz and Sossusvlei’s dunes.

US$2,230 - US$2,820 per person

Itinerary image

Bontebok Self-drive Safari

12 days • 5 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

This well-rounded safari encompasses fine dining, a range of activities and elegant accommodation across some of South Africa’s most stunning locations. Visit Cape Town, the Winelands and sections of the spectacularly diverse Garden Route.

US$1,490 - US$1,660 per person

Itinerary image

Cape Mountain Zebra Self-drive Safari

12 days • 4 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Fine dining, luxurious accommodation and a wide of range of leisurely activities make this a superbly comfortable self-driven safari. Visit the cosmopolitan Cape Town, tranquil coastal retreats, stylish wine farms and spectacularly peaceful nature reserves.

US$3,880 - US$6,540 per person

Itinerary image

Meerkat Self-drive Safari

8 days • 5 locations
UPINGTON AIRPORT TO UPINGTON AIRPORT

Explore the wildly remote Kgaladgai Transfrontier Park from four simple, self-catered bases before concluding with two nights at Augrabies Falls National Park. An exciting safari including varied game and birdlife, well-suited to the autonomous traveller.

US$1,020 - US$1,050 per person

View all holidays to South Africa

More information about leopard in our other destinations

Click here for detailed information about leopard in other countries, including the places for sighting leopard.


Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team