Although far less endangered than tigers, leopards are extremely elusive. You could pass within a stone’s throw of one dozing in the shadow of an acacia tree and not know it was there – which is why top-notch guides are essential for a successful leopard-spotting trip.

You stand a reasonable chance of sighting one of these beautiful cats at many parks in India. But the only place you’re virtually guaranteed a glimpse is an area of giant granite boulder hills in southern Rajasthan called Jawai. Here, around the shores of a lake speckled with flamingos, the local Rabari herders actually protect the leopards living in the rocks around their millet fields – the consequence of an old hunting ban imposed by the local Maharaja.

You can add this experience to any tailor-made itinerary in Rajasthan. 

Where to stay: Sujan Jawai, Rajasthan

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