Is the leopard the most elusive of Addo’s Big Seven? It’s probably a close competition with the quick and evasive great white shark who frequents the marine section of the Addo Elephant National Park in search of a seal or penguin meal. This mysterious shark is one of South Africa’s most popular animals.
Similarly, the leopard tops the bucket list of many an animal-lover. With its striking coat, lazy movements and ability to hide in plain sight, the leopard has eluded many a wildlife enthusiast in their quest to spot the Big Five or the Big Seven. Leopards, as night-time predators and naturally reticent animals, still roam the wild greenbelts of the Eastern Cape from the Garden Route into the Karoo and are sometimes spotted on motion-sensor cameras. Sightings, whether in the day or the night, always create a stir in the Addo region as fans of Africa’s second largest cat scramble to return to the scene of the sighting in hopes of spotting this beautiful animal.
Leopards are strong, agile and adaptable, ranging from coastal areas to elevations of 2000m above sea level. They are phenomenal climbers, known to drag a carcass – sometimes heavier than their own weight – up into the fork of a large tree if there is competition from other predators and can leap up to 6m in the air. As nocturnal hunters, leopards aren’t often spotted during the daylight hours. However, they make for very exciting night-drive safari sightings and cause quite a stir when spotted during the day.
Browse the action sequence below or Meet the rest of the Big Seven