Black Leopard Camp
Did you know?
Leopards are South Africa's last remaining Big 5 member occurring in the wild, outside protected areas.
Black Leopard Camp is a family-owned and run luxury lodge, located on a 6 000 hectare farm just outside Lydenburg.
For the past 10 years the Ingwe Leopard Project has used the farm as a research base in its work to save the region's leopards. Like other leopards in South Africa, these animals are under threat from poisoning and trapping by local livestock farmers and hunters supplying the traditional medicine trade.
The farm has become a safe zone for the animals which - normally elusive - are increasingly being spotted within the farm's boundaries. This, combined with the ongoing leopard conservation research and the need to raise the profile of these efforts, saw Black Leopard Camp open its doors in 2010.
The camp is involved in monitoring and tracking leopards on the farm every day, either on foot or via GPS through the high frequency collars located on 3 leopards that visit frequently. Ingwe Leopard Project staff also set camera ‘traps' to get footage of leopards coming onto the farm.
Guests are able to assist professional conservationists in these activities and, once the collared leopards have been located, be taken to the site.
Black Leopard Camp and the Ingwe Leopard Project also host leopard capture experiences at intervals throughout the year. This involves safely capturing the leopards, darting them and gathering data on the animals.
Guests participating in the leopard capture experience are brought in once the animal has been sedated and are able to view the research and collaring process.
Black Leopard Camp has been frequented by at least 3 males and 2 females with cubs. As its name suggests, the camp is also visited by rare black leopards, which is a melanistic (dark pigmented) version of the normal spotted species. The camp is located in a high-density black leopard region, although sightings of these animals are incredibly rare.
In between these activities, visitors can do self-guided and guided bush walks, photographic safaris, bird watching, game drives and archaeological walks, which take in the farm's old mines and petroglyphs.
The camp will also soon house a new trails camp, allowing visitors the opportunity to spend a night out under stars in hammocks around a campfire.