leopard Shanti

What do you want to see when on safari?

People talk about the big five when they go on a safari; they want to see elephants, lion, cape buffalo, rhinoceros and leopard. Apparently the term the ‘Big Five’ was coined as big game hunters thought they were the most difficult to hunt on foot.

I do love seeing elephants over and above lion, buffalo and rhinoceros.

However, the most elegant, the most beautiful, the most adaptable of African animals is the leopard; and having travelled in Africa, Namibia, Kenya and South Africa, I can put my hand on my heart and say that the biggest thrill is seeing a leopard, either when it is hunting – so still, so patient and then so devastating, or when it is simply walking past in such a languid, and yet so sure, way.

Leopards at Okonjima, Namibia
Leopards at Okonjima, Namibia

At Okonjima, home of the AfriCat Foundation, they are rehabilitating leopards back into the wild; within the Okonjima game reserve of 24,000 hectares.

For research purposes they track the leopards with radio collars, this also allows guests, with Okmonjima’s famous guides, to track the leopards and cheetahs. Therefore the chances of seeing a leopard are extremely good at Okonjima.

I have been lucky enough to see leopards on a number of occasions at Okonjima and each time it gives me a huge thrill and another story to tell.

So, I would have to say that leopards and elephants are the two aninmals I love seeing most, and Okonjima is perfectly situated halfway from Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, and Etosha National Park – where you can see elephants and lions.

Mark

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