Where to see leopards in Uganda

Where to see leopards in Uganda

The leopard is one of the most coveted sightings on an African safari, coming in second only to the lion in terms of popularity among big cats. As a member of the renowned African “Big Five” (along with the lion, rhino, buffalo, and elephant), the leopard holds a special allure for safari-goers. However, among these iconic animals, the leopard is often the most challenging to spot due to its elusive and solitary nature.

Leopards are known for their secretive behavior, unlike lions and hyenas, which live in prides. Leopards prefer a solitary existence, making sightings rare and extraordinary. Most often, leopards are observed resting in trees to avoid other territorial predators on the ground and to keep their kills hidden and safe from scavengers. This arboreal behavior adds an element of luck and thrill to any safari, making a leopard sighting a truly memorable experience.

Where Can I See Leopards In Uganda?


Leopards are present throughout Uganda and are considered the most widespread of the big cats in the country. They inhabit not only protected wildlife reserves but also remote jungles and forested areas within communities. Occasionally, there are reports of leopards preying on livestock, reflecting their ability to thrive even near populated areas. Thanks to their stealth and solitary behavior, leopards often go unnoticed, even in environments close to towns and cities.

Despite their abundance, spotting a leopard can be challenging due to their elusive nature. For safari-goers with leopards at the top of their must-see list, the following national parks offer the best opportunities for sightings, though, as with any wildlife encounter, nothing is guaranteed:

  1. Murchison Falls National Park: Murchison Falls is known for its diverse ecosystems, including woodlands and savannas, making it one of the prime locations for leopard sightings.

  2. Queen Elizabeth National Park: This park is home to a range of habitats, from savannas to forests. The Mweya Peninsula and Ishasha sector, famous for tree-climbing lions, also offer a good chance of encountering leopards.

  3. Lake Mburo National Park: Though smaller than other parks, Lake Mburo has a healthy leopard population. The park’s varied landscapes, including bushland and acacia woodlands, provide ample opportunities for spotting these big cats.

  4. Kidepo Valley National Park: In the remote northeastern part of the country, Kidepo boasts an array of wildlife, including leopards. Its open savannas and rocky landscapes offer a unique backdrop for safari experiences.

To maximize your chances of spotting leopards, plan your safari during early morning or late afternoon hours when leopards are more active. Hiring an experienced guide can also increase your chances, as they are familiar with leopard habitats and behavior. Remember, while seeing a leopard is an incredible experience, it requires patience and sometimes a touch of luck. Enjoy the thrill of the chase and the natural beauty Uganda has to offer, by getting one one of our lifetime safaris.

To Places To See Leopards In Uganda


When it comes to spotting leopards in Uganda, there are three prime locations that offer the best chances of sightings. Though encounters with leopards can never be guaranteed, these parks provide favorable habitats for leopards, increasing the likelihood of an unforgettable experience:

1. Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is renowned for its high likelihood of leopard sightings, making it a prime destination for those interested in spotting these elusive big cats. Despite being smaller in size and less known for traditional safari experiences due to the lack of elephants and significant lion populations, Lake Mburo compensates with its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife, including zebras, antelopes, giraffes, and buffaloes.

Night Safari:

  • One of the best ways to increase your chances of spotting leopards in Lake Mburo is to book a night safari, during which you can search for nocturnal animals, with leopards being the main focus.
  • Leopards are most active at night, hunting during these hours, making the night safari an ideal opportunity to observe them in action.

Short Safari Trips:

  • A two-day safari in Lake Mburo National Park is an excellent option for those looking for a brief yet rewarding experience. This allows you time to explore the park and increase your chances of a leopard sighting.

2. Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is another top destination for leopard sightings. The park is known for its variety of habitats and abundant wildlife, including numerous antelopes that attract predators.

Kasenyi Plains:

  • The Kasenyi plains, a breeding ground for antelopes, is a favorite hunting spot for various predators, including leopards.
  • Take your time to scan the euphorbia and fig trees in the area, as leopards often camouflage themselves while resting in the foliage after a successful hunt.

Mweya Peninsula and Ishasha Sector:

  • In addition to the plains, other sections of the park, such as the Mweya Peninsula and the Ishasha sector, are also known for leopard sightings.

3. Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest national park, offers good opportunities for leopard sightings. The park’s diverse landscapes and abundance of wildlife create a conducive environment for these big cats.

Pakuba Safari Lodge Area:

  • Near Pakuba Safari Lodge, there is an old construction site where leopards often make their home. Although leopards may sometimes be displaced by lions in this area, it remains a key spot to start your search for these majestic predators.

While these parks offer the best opportunities for leopard sightings, patience and perseverance are key. Hiring an experienced guide familiar with the behaviors and preferred habitats of leopards can also increase your chances of spotting them. Enjoy the thrill of the search as you explore the natural beauty of Uganda and its incredible wildlife!

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