The interesting leopards of Uganda – Uganda safaris news
One of the most flawless of African Safaris is one that exposes tourists to the big five; the lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros. Much as some of the big five game may be easily seen, the leopards might require a bit more efforts to find. But the search is made simpler if you are searching in the right place and embarking on a Safari and Tour to Uganda would be a wise thing to do if you hope to see this rare feline.
The leopard is similar to the other big cats in appearance but smaller than the lion and tiger and has relatively shorter legs than most of the big cats. The leopard has one of the largest skulls of a cat, it has whiskers and sharp eyes; and was in the past believed to be the crossbreed of a lion and a panther. It will be seen to have an artistic coat which in most leopards consists of pale yellow or golden color rosettes. They have one of the biggest level of adaptability in the cat family; being able to live in the dry savanna areas, montane areas, or in the rain forests.
A Uganda Safari to the National Parks of Murchison Falls, Semuliki, Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo and Kidepo present great chances of encountering this solitary cat. However, during the day it might be very hard to spot the leopard in one of Uganda’s national parks because of the color of its coat that enables it to camouflage behind the brownish and golden environment especially in the savanna national parks and due to its nocturnal nature.
Your Ugandan Tour and Safari guide might recommend that you wake up early in the morning to embark on a game drive at around 6:30am. At this time the leopards are returning to their hideouts and tourists may be lucky enough to see them trailing along the paths with last night’s prey. Alternatively, they can be tracked in a night time game drive when they come out to hunt. Some tourists have in the past been lucky enough to watch the leopard climbing the tree with prey twice its size and weight; exposing their strength in an insurmountable way.
The leopard’s favorite dish is the antelope but they are capable of eating other animals like fish, reptiles, monkeys and birds. Leopards are one of the most skillful hunters and are known for sneaking up on their prey and then deciding to pounce on it at the perfect time. Once the prey is secured, the leopard will drag it up to its resting spot in the tree so that it does not lose its meal to other predators like the lion and the hyena. Guests on Uganda holiday safaris and tours should never embark on a nature walk without the presence of an armed ranger guide lest they will become the leopard’s dinner that day.
One of the clans of Buganda is called “engoo” which means leopard and the members of this clan are not allowed to hunt or even eat the leopard. It was believed in the past that leopards could never hurt members of the engoo clan and on a number of occasions leopards would escort them through the dark paths until they arrived at their homes. This created a fine relationship between the clan members and the leopards. Such beliefs together with other conservation efforts have helped in protecting these incredible cats from going extinct.
Some of the guests who have visited Uganda have exclaimed that they have never seen as many leopards elsewhere but in Uganda, so perhaps you might also be lucky enough to spot a couple of these amazing creatures when you visit Uganda.