Spotting Leopards


Taken at The Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve, South Africa

I’ve always rathered having leopard sightings where they appear in a surprise visit for my guests but this particular leopard had stayed in the one spot for 2 days (during which time, I had not been driving during) so I couldn’t prevent my volunteers from a fantastic opportunity (especially as now, most of the other lodge vehicles had been and gone from the sighting so it would be much less hectic). She sat chilled on the ground with remnants of impala in a bush about 100m away, not even bothered by our presence (very rare for a leopard). Why she chose not to store the kill in the tree next to her is anyone’s guess but she seemed happy with her choice.

The allure of the leopard is something that captivates many people. Rarely seen, it is often the hardest of the Big 5 for visitors to Africa to “tick off their lists.” Most commonly you’ll see a tail disappearing into bushes or the flash of sandy fur and spots running across the road never to be seen again. To have a leopard relaxed beside your vehicle is rare but, as a guide, to have found it yourself and be able to “hold” the sighting for your fellow guides is an amazing feeling.

–Alex Tweedie

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