Leopard spotting safari in Jawai
Stepping out of a Jawai safari lodge into the early morning stillness, as the sun’s first rays light up the jagged horizon, is an unforgettable moment. The air is heady and crisp, and there’s no doubt that this land belongs to the wild. Head deep into the wilderness with your guide in the hope of spotting the big cats that rule this region: leopards, standing proud against the stark rocks, senses alert, and breathtakingly beautiful...
What to expect in Jawai
India is known as the land of tigers, but there’s a corner of Rajasthan where the leopard is king. Situated between Jodhpur and Udaipur, Jawai is pure Rajasthan wilderness, and has the highest density of leopards in India. The landscape could have been made for them: granite outcrops full of small caves, ideal for staying hidden, and stretches of sparse earth dotted with still lakes, patches of wispy trees and dappled shade.
Staying in a safari lodge puts you right in the heart of the leopards’ habitat. Carefully built using materials that blend into the landscape, the lodges sit discretely within their surroundings. Each individual chalet and luxury tent is a private sanctuary, offering simple comforts and a cosy welcome.
Wake early to the gentle sound of birdsong, and drive out into leopard country on the trail of these enigmatic cats. You’ll be guided by a skilled local naturalist, who knows where to head for the best chance of leopard sightings, and can help you spot them where they lay camouflaged against the land. Though they avoid the camps and the scent of humans, the leopards are never far away.
Sightings are never guaranteed, but most visitors will be lucky enough to spot a few of these lithe, shadow-like cats moving gracefully through their territory. The area’s broad accessibility means visitors are free to search for the leopards both in the mornings and evenings, giving you the best chance of seeing them at their most active. Alongside the leopards, your guide will point out the region’s other wildlife. Cranes and flamingos preen at the edges of lakes where crocodiles lurk beneath the surface, and deer flit soundlessly through the trees.
This is a unique way to see Jawai’s leopards, and learn about their unusual habit of living in close proximity to each other and Jawai’s nomadic tribes. The cherry on the cake? At the end of each day, as the cool night air descends and you share tales of the day’s sights around the campfire, look up and you’ll see a sky bursting with undiluted starlight.
Location: Jawai, India
Duration: 1 - 3 nights
Accommodation: Safari camp, such as Bera Safari Lodge
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Good to know
Though Jawai’s safari camps have great facilities and service for what they are, it’s worth bearing in mind that they are still camps, and the luxury can only go so far! If you’re looking for a tangible experience of Jawai’s wilderness, this experience delivers, but you’ll have to leave the 24/7 WiFi and spa treatments until your next stop.