Leopard sightings in Kenya : Leopard sightings are among the greatest Kenya safari rewards because they are among the most challenging of the Kenya big five safari and hard to locate in the wilds of Africa. Additionally, this cat is absolutely stunning and the picture of animal beauty.

Leopards are experts at blending in with their surroundings, so many leopards will watch you pass without you even realising they are there. Despite this, these cats are the most tolerant and common in Africa.

Intensely gorgeous leopard coats have become a global fashion accessory, favoured by African strongman leaders as well as high-street fashionistas. Leopards are distinguished by their spots, and if you see one up close, you’ll understand why. In reality, the dots are rosettes, a ring of black spots encircling an orange centre. These colours work well for leopards since they spend a lot of time in trees or dense vegetation where they can blend in with the darkened greenery of trees and grasses. Leopard sightings are extremely rare, however they can occur in some forested areas, such as the Aberdare Mountains in Aberdare National park Kenya.

Male leopards are more muscular and are  not much smaller than female lions. They  can grow to a length of slightly under three metres, including the tail, but two metres is more common. Adult male leopards can weigh up to 90 kg, and they stand between 55 cm and 82 cm tall at the shoulder. Female leopards are smaller than males, with the largest weighing only 42 kg.

Out of the famous  big five mammals, the leopard is the most elusive and difficult to spot as it is an expert at camouflage and stealth. The leopards are primarily found in the various national parks and reserves, with the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Tsavo National Parks, and Amboseli National Park being the most prominent. Leopards are recognised as nocturnal animals since they spend the majority of their time active at night. These excellent climbers are also unique among all other large cats in that they use trees as “larders” for prey.

While the tip of spotting a leopard on a safari in Kenya is the most incredible one because leopards are common but excellent hiders, you can spot one during the day in a tree. However, at dawn and dusk, they become more active on the ground. However, because leopards are nocturnal animals, they are best spotted during the night drive.

In very few parks and reserves, tourists have a very high chance of spotting leopards. For instance, in Kenya, tourists frequently see leopards in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, where they are always given a better chance of doing so because most of the guides are familiar with the habitats and movements of the various cats. But the possibility of tourists spotting leopards in Maasai Mara National Reserve increases with a night game drive.

Leopard’s presence is frequently noticeable by the alarm calls of its prey, such as the impala, baboon, guinea fowl, and others, tourists on a Kenya safari, are always told to try and spot the leopards which are likely to be on top of trees that surround the national parks and reserves. If you’re lucky, your chances of spotting the leopards increases with how keen you are at viewing in almost every tree you see within the park.The majority of leopard sightings occur in the several national parks that have both mountains and rain forests. Despite the fact that these leopards prefer the savannah and forest habitats, they can be extremely territorial and frequently return to the same spot, like in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Tsavo National Parks, and many other places where they have been frequently spotted.

Since leopards are nocturnal animals, tourists who also participate in night game drives while on a safari in Kenya have a greater chance of spotting them. During the night game drives, spotters and guides typically use torches to clearly spot the leopards, giving them the best safari experience in Kenya’s various national parks and reserves.

The black leopard

The black leopard, also called a black panther, is a melanistic variation of the more well-known spotty type of the leopard. This implies that their coats are much darker because they have an excess of black pigmentation. Melanistic leopards still retain spots, however these distinguishing patterns might be more difficult to notice on the darkest of these leopards, giving them the appearance of being completely black. The number of black panthers, which also include melanistic jaguars and melanistic leopards, in the wild is unclear, but sightings have been reported in a number of places, including Sri Lanka, South Africa, Kenya, Nepal, Thailand, Costa Rica, Panama, Paraguay, and a few other nations.

Leopard sightings in Kenya
Leopard sightings in Kenya

Kenya safaris grew tremendously in 2019 after the official confirmation from San Diego Zoo biologists of the first black leopard sighting in Laikipia, Kenya. Leopards, like domestic cats, quickly adapt to their surroundings, thus as time went on, this leopard grew more at ease among people and sightings increased slightly. Award-winning photographer Will Burrard-Lucas spent six months trying to get a shot of this black leopard after this sighting was confirmed, and the region quickly gained popularity once he released his stunning photos.

There are now five black leopards that are known to inhabit the Laikipia region of Kenya. A female who has grown accustomed to human settlement at Laikipia Wilderness Camp has established a home in the area’s rocky outcrops and is frequently spotted or heard there. As these amazing big cats get used to the environment, black leopard sightings are now rising at an extraordinary rate.

Leopard sightings are very uncommon, and black leopard sightings were previously all but unheard of. However, if you want to increase your chances, we advise spending a few nights at Laikipia Wilderness Camp with a private car and guide (exclusive use of a vehicle is essential if you’re committed to your hunt). Located in Laikipia, central Kenya, an hour and a half’s drive from Nanyuki town, Laikipia Wilderness Camp is a family-run, simple bush camp. The six tents have unobstructed views of the surrounding nature, open-air restrooms, and a central communal area with power outlets for charging devices, a comfortable lounge, and an eating area. Laikipia Wilderness is the best place to go if you want a true, off-the-beaten-path Kenya safari experience because there are no off-roading or activity limitations there, and there are experienced guides available.

On top of that, this is the ideal location in Kenya for exploring African wild dog tracking and photography. This experience, together with the possibility of spotting the elusive black leopard, make it an exceptionally uncommon location. There are currently fewer than 6,000 wild African dogs surviving in the world.

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