Leopard spots up close - Photographer: Melanie Van Zyl
< Back to all

Can a leopard change their spots?

Shara Burger | Wildlife

Leopard - Photographer: Melanie Van Zyl

“Can a leopard change its spots?”,  this well-known phrase, which means is it ever possible for anyone to ever change their character, dates back as far as the Old Testament. It was used by the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah who said: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard its spots?”.

Out here in the Timbavati we have learnt that leopards are rather fickle animals and often change their behaviour and territories. They tend to disappear behind bushes or pass through camp like ghosts, keeping us on our toes and begging the question, can leopards actually change their spots?

Leopard at the waterhole - Photographer: Melanie Van Zyl

Here are a few fun facts about leopards:

  • Did you know that leopards can hear five times more sounds than any of us humans?
  • Leopards have truly astonishing navigational powers and an incredibly strong built-in homing device. Although this ability is one of the characteristics that makes this cat unique, it also means leopards are very tricky to relocate when they have become a problem near human dwellings.
  • Of all the cats, pound for pound, leopards are the strongest and can hoist up to 50kg of meat into a tree. However, they are the smallest of all the “big cats”.
  • Leopards can leap up to 6 meters horizontally and 3 meters vertically, now that is pretty impressive, right?
  • Just like domestic cat’s leopards will purr when they are content and growl when they are angry. Their contact calls sound very similar to sawing wood.
  • Of all the big cats, leopards have the widest diversity in habitat and can learn to adapt to any given environment. Their habitats including rainforests, deserts, woodlands, grassland savannas, forests, mountain habitats, coastal scrubs, shrub lands and swampy areas.
  • Their diet can include a wide variety of species such as mammals, birds, fish and reptiles.
  • Leopards often pluck their prey before feeding. Using their incisors, they will remove feathers or fur from their meal before settling down to enjoy the tastier bits of meat.

On another note,  Rudyard Kipling also made use of this saying in his compendium of stories entitled the ‘Just so stories’. This book is full of wonderful tales about animals and how they got their interesting body parts. If you love Africa’s wildlife, you will definitely love this book. It is made for reading out loud at bed time and it’s just as much fun for the person doing the reading.

Leopard in the spotlight on a night drive - Photographer: Melanie Van Zyl

Categories

Authors

View rates & promotions >

Find Us

We’d love to have you join the family.

Sign up for exclusive access to early bird promotions and other exciting offers, news and updates.




Booking Terms & Conditions

Rates are quoted in South African Rand (ZAR) and include VAT. Rates are reviewed quarterly and are subject to change.

PROVISIONAL:

Bookings can be held as provisional for up to 14 days, after which the booking is required to release or confirm. A 20% refundable deposit is required to confirm the booking.

CONFIRMED:

Once confirmed with a 20% deposit, the booking is held on a status of ‘confirmed with refundable deposit’ until any of the following becomes true:

  • The booking is cancelled in writing by the agent.
  • Another request is received with overlapping dates. At such a time, the 20% refundable deposit shall be required to be converted
  • into a 20% non-refundable commitment fee. At this stage, the booking status changes to ‘confirmed with commitment.’ • In such an event, Tanda Tula will contact the client and give them the option to either confirm with the non-refundable
  • commitment fee or reschedule their dates, or, failing that, to release the booking.
  • At 60 days prior to arrival, when the full payment is due, the booking status changes to ‘confirmed with full-payment.’

Final payment is due 60 days prior to arrival. Any outstanding balance on the total reservation value shall be required to be settled at 60 days prior to arrival.

All refundable deposits, commitment fees and full payments are held in a separate call account and do not become part of the operational cash flow until the guest has stayed.

The amount stated on the invoice is what must be received by Tanda Tula nett of bank charges.

CANCELLED

Cancellations must be received and acknowledged by Tanda Tula in writing.

‘Confirmed with refundable deposit’: bookings carry no cancellation fees up to 61 days prior to arrival.

‘Confirmed with commitment’ or ‘Confirmed with full-payment’: in the event of any reservation being cancelled after Tanda Tula has issued a confirmation, for any reason other than a WHO-recognised pandemic that impacts the booking, the following cancellation fees will apply:

  • ‘Confirmed with commitment’: if cancelled more than 60 days prior to arrival, the cancellation fee shall be equal to the 20% non- refundable commitment fee.
  • ‘Confirmed with full-payment’: if cancelled between 60 days prior to arrival, the full reservation value is forfeited.

All cancelled bookings that qualify for a refund, will be refunded less a handling fee valued at 5% of the refund amount.

PANDEMIC DISCLAIMER

Tanda Tula will allow postponement of a booking for up to 12 months, if travel is cancelled with a commitment fee or 60 days or less prior to arrival due to a WHO-recognised pandemic directly impacting the guests’ ability to travel (e.g. lockdown, no flights, guest not allowed to board a flight, guest falls ill due to a pandemic and unable to travel).

In the event of a WHO-recognised pandemic directly impacting the ability of Tanda Tula to meet its obligations with respect to the booking, all monies received, including the commitment fee, will be fully refunded (e.g. lockdown in RSA, government restrictions on trade).

Any refund is given at the discretion of Tanda Tula management and will be charge a handling fee valued at 5% of the refund amount.

All travellers are advised to take out fully comprehensive travel insurance with ‘cancellation for no reason’. This insurance must be able to fully cover cancellation of travel fewer than 60 days prior to arrival.

The Terms and Conditions are subject to change without notice.