Although there are big cats across Africa, many of the species are notoriously shy - leopard, caracal, and serval for example - so you need to choose your destination carefully to be sure of getting the sightings you want. At Africa Exclusive, we keep a close eye on the latest numbers in each of the major parks, and in many of the lesser-known reserves as well, so we can tell you with confidence where you are most likely to see a specific animal in any given season.
In Kenya’s Masai Mara, for example, we know that the private wildlife reserves are home to large populations of leopard. Seeing a mother playing with her cubs, keeping them safe from predators, is one of life’s great joys, and we want you to be able to enjoy it to the fullest. To this end, we book you into small, exclusive lodges so that when you do go out on safari and chance upon such wonders, you will undoubtedly be the only spectators. You can take as long as you want to soak up the experience, and will get the very best angles for your photographs.
In South Africa, where you can take one of our malaria-free safaris, you’ll find the Big Five, including substantial populations of lion and leopard. The luxurious Singita Lodges are on private reserves neighbouring the Kruger National Park, one of the most famous in Africa, and the Singita Lebombo and Sweni Lodges in particular give you unrivalled access to the incredible four prides of lion living in the vicinity. Females and their young frequently roam close to the lodges, to feed or make use of the watering holes, and you also stand a good chance of seeing cheetah (adult males as well as females with their newborn cubs).
The vast plains of the Serengeti are renowned for the great migrations of wildebeest and zebra, with hundreds of thousands of creatures on the move at any one time, but in Tanzania there are leopard, too. Unlike in some of the more developed parks and reserves, where jeeps are more familiar sights, here the leopards are truly wild, slinking shyly through the undergrowth, but occasionally enticed out into the open when their curiosity gets the better of them. The park rangers and guides of remote Ruaha are some of the most sensitive in Africa, able to intuitively work out where the animals will be hiding, and to position you accordingly to see them.
Last but certainly not least, have you ever thought of taking a safari in Mozambique? The stunning Gorongosa and Nyassa National Parks have recently been reopened, but as yet significant numbers of tourists have not returned: you will have these parks more or less to yourself. In addition to the prides of lion, unfazed by the presence of humans and jeeps, you will also see herds of elephant, and sable. It is possible to explore the parks, and see the wildlife up close, on a walking safari, as well as by jeep or by boat.
With so many opportunities to see Africa’s big cats in the flesh, what are you waiting for? The lion and the leopard, the cheetah too, are waiting for you. Come and listen to them roar.