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How to “spot” leopards of the Serengeti

An Africa visit is incomplete without a trip to the Serengeti Plains. Camping in the Serengeti is an experience of a lifetime: you are close to nature like at no place else!

The safari is an exciting proposition as well. You can spot Leopards, Cheetahs, Lions, Elephants and other animals within no time on a safari. While in the Serengeti, I used a Nikon D90 to take some fantastic photos that you can check out at my Tanzania Flickr set.

What adds mystery to the Serengeti plains are its Leopards. You can find leopards mostly along the tracks built particularly for game-viewing along the riverine. A trick to spot them is to look for their presence in the tall trees rather than on the ground. You would most likely spot a leopard resting among the inclined trunks of the large trees.

Leopard watching the Zebras

If you are lucky you can spot a leopard dragging its prey high into a tree from where lions and hyenas cannot steal it. It is rare to get a classic photo of a leopard with a fresh kill, but I managed to get lucky on this.

Leopard with fresh Kill

Leopard eating fresh Kill

The Serengeti Leopard is particularly known for its robustness and reclusive nature. They are much more heavier and sturdily built than the cheetahs in the region. Most people end up confusing them, yet the spots are different! A Serengeti leopard’s spots are hollow on a tan background while the cheetah has solid and round spots. Also, cheetahs chase their prey while the leopard stalks its prey pouncing upon it suddenly.

Leopard in Tree

The Serengeti Leopard is much stealthier than the Lions and Cheetahs in the area. In fact, because of this nature and their varied diet, the Serengeti Leopard has been able to have a stable population.

Serengeti leopards communicate by roaring a deep throaty roar. The leopards use roaring even to define their territory. It’s so sweet to watch the leopard cubs communicate with their mothers through purrs and meows almost similar to a cat at home. Serengeti Leopards also use scent marking for fellow leopards. It was a treat to spot and view 5 leopards in 3 days in the Serengeti.

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One Response to How to “spot” leopards of the Serengeti

  1. Sandy Salle July 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    Brusca, you provide some excellent tips for spotting leopards! I find that a lot of travelers who visit Africa only look at what’s in front of them and don’t realize that some of the most captivating creatures are flying above, lounging in trees, or cooling off in the crevice of a rock. In order to get the most out of your safari experience, you must look all around you and don’t just look where the obvious animals are.

    Great post!

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