Laikipia Kingdom of a Black Panther

There is a reserve in Africa where a glimpse of a wild black panther (African black leopard) is almost a guaranteed photographic opportunity. Laikipia is a wild haven for a rare black Leopard called Giza set in the highlands of Kenya. The camp is an authentic, traditional safari camp with a focus on adventure based activities. Laikipia is home to one of the highest diversity of mammals in Africa. It is a wild landscape, and so are the animals. The freedom within this private reserve offers its guests a means in which you can discover Africa in a more connected way than just witnessing it out of a moving vehicle. Explore rocky outcrops, walk along the river that carves its way through this part of Laikipia with an experienced guide. Venture through valleys and on top of escarpments with endless views of wilderness. Stop and listen and watch for a while…..sssshhhhh you might just walk into Giza resting in the branch of a tree.

The camp has spacious tents all designed with an African flair, unique and stylish. They are well appointed with comfortable beds, en-suite bathrooms and secluded private verandas to relax and sip morning tea or evenings a cold gin and tonic while offering breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness. The camps common area with a comfortable lounge, bar and dining area where all the guests socialize during their down time. The camp offers a unique and authentic luxury safari experience.  It is not a national park, but a series of private conservancies and ranches and these are largely unfenced. The whole area spans nearly a million acres and Laikipia is beautiful, and very unique. It is also home to threatened species of mammals, and unique mammals only found in Northern Kenya. Grevy’s zebra, Reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, zorilla, striped hyena, aardwolf, wild dog, and even Giza are all some of the unusual species you can find in this corner of Laikipia. There are large permanent herds of elephants all year round, lions, leopards, spotted hyena, common and Grevy’s zebra, warthog, hippo in the river, buffalo, and many different antelope species. Over 350 different species of birds have been recorded and our guides are highly trained in helping you spot and identify them.

The activities on offer are diverse from your normal game drives morning and night, guided walks, birdwatching, swimming in rivers and unique activities like sleeping under the stars. Cultural experiences with visits to neighboring communities and conservation projects. Laikipia works closely with the communities and local projects to support conservation initiatives to promote sustainable tourism.

With the abundance of wildlife in the reserve be sure to knock off many of the animals on your safari drives which include. The camp’s guides are extremely experienced and knowledgeable. They provide their guests with an experience to be remembered with close encounters into the behavior and ecology of the animals you will encounter.


The king of the reserve, not necessarily the Lion, is Giza the black leopard. Also known as a black panther. The reason he is black is due to it having a melanistic color variant of the common African leopard (panthera pardus pardus). Melanism is a genetic condition not a disorder that causes an excessive over production of melanin which results in the leopard having dark black fur. One can still see the normal rosette patterns on Giza which one can see only in certain light conditions. He is very difficult to track in the shadows and the dark night due to his black fur and being primarily a nocturnal hunter. He feeds on a variety of wild animals from rats to large game making him extremely adaptable. He is extremely strong for his size and a master of the ambush with extremely fast bursts of speed. Black leopards, like the common African leopard being solitary animals, keep to themselves only with another when rearing their young or when mating. The black leopard is found in East Africa in the countries Kenya, Tanzani and Ethiopia. In Laikipia it seems to go against the norm as it has become a destination to photograph the usually illusive black leopard, Giza seems to make it easier like a professional model. Seldom does a photographer return without the perfect image of Giza. The black leopard has been an important part of African folklore and mythology. They are depicted in many stories and legends as mysterious powerful beasts that possess magical abilities. Today they are a vulnerable species due to poaching and habitat loss. There are many conservation efforts to manage their population. Black leopards are common in zoos and protected wildlife facilities around the world and unfortunately have been sold in the black market as pets.

There are many wildlife organizations working closely with African black leopards. Black Leopard Camp is a non-profit which we encourage you to follow. There are many more out there to follow and please do support them. The support these magnificent beasts receive due to donations and tourism is important for the future wellbeing of the species. If there is somewhere unique to go where only a small number of Africans have been face to face with a wild panther, then Laikipia has to be somewhere you need to visit. Chat to myself at [email protected] if you would like to visit this amazing safari destination.

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