Guided butterfly, botanical & birdwatching holidays
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Butterfly Safari in South Africa

 

Dates & Prices

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Dates: April 2018 (Dates TBC)

Price: £2,995 (TBC)

Single Room Supplement: £450 (TBC)

Deposit: £300 per person


Price Includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transport, services of guides, entry fees, printed & bound holiday report and a donation to the Lepidopterists’ Society of Africa (LepSoc)

Not Included: International & internal flights, travel insurance, drinks and any other personal items

Conservation Donation: 10% of profits donated to LepSoc

Leader(s): Steve Woodhall (for LepSoc) & Callan Cohen

Group Size & Travel: Minimum of 4 and a maximum of 12 guests plus 2-3 leaders.

Grade: Generally short walks at a gentle pace and in a variety of terrains, ideally suited for photography

Holiday Highlights


  • Exclusive opportunity to go butterflying with Steve Woodhall, the leading butterfly expert in South Africa
  • Enjoy a good sample (150 or more) from the 660+ species in South Africa
  • Many special species – Emperor Swallowtail, Zulu Shadefly, Forest Queen & King Emperors, Paradise Skipper, Mottled-green Nymph, Fiery Acraea and many more!
  • 23 stunning Emperor (Charaxes) species in South Africa – we’ll see a good number of these!
  • Kruger National Park – see the Big 5 (Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Rhino & Buffalo)!
  • Blyde River Canyon, 3rd largest canyon in the world
  • Relaxed pace ideally suited to photography & full enjoyment of the wildlife & scenery
  • Contribute to butterfly conservation in South Africa with LepSoc

An exclusive butterfly safari led by Steve Woodhall, the leading expert on South African butterflies & the author of numerous associated books and field guides!

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Holiday Guide

Steve Woodhall started butterfly & moth collecting in UK at the age of 5. He made the decision to go to Africa after seeing Born Free & finally made it (to South Africa) in 1980. He dabbled around before joining Lepidopterists’ Society of Africa in 1986. Steve spent the next 30 years running around Africa, collecting with net, traps and cameras. More recently, entirely with cameras since the digital age. Steve has been to nearly every corner of South Africa and lots of places in Zimbabwe, as well as East and West Africa. He has even found time to be the president of LepSoc for last 7 years! In addition, he began publishing with Practical Guide to Butterflies and Moths in Southern Africa as editor and contributor in 1992. He was co-author on Living Butterflies of Southern Africa in 1998 with Henning GA & SF, and John Joannou. In 2005 he published Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa, What’s That Butterfly? in 2000 and The Pocket Guide to Butterflies in South Africa in 2013.

An exclusive butterfly safari led by Steve Woodhall, the leading expert on South African butterflies & the author of numerous associated books and field guides!

Following the success of the last 2 years we’re back in South Africa, for a unique opportunity to go butterflying with leading expert and author on South African butterflies Steve Woodhall! 

When one thinks of South African wildlife perhaps the first animals that spring to mind include iconic lions, elephants, giraffes, zebra, leopards or rhino. But what about the Blotched Leopard or the Beautiful Zebra Blue? South Africa is home to almost 700 species of butterfly! They are as diverse in size and colour as they are in number, from the smallest blues and coppers to the largest swallowtails and emperors. This tour offers the chance to get to grips with both the butterflies and some exciting wildlife.

Our holiday will be based in the northern part of the country, covering the forests, woodlands and grasslands of the Drakensberg range and famous lowveld, which has most of South Africa’s tropical species and some it its largest species. As late summer is the best time of year in this area for butterflies you can be certain of seeing a mouth-watering selection!

What makes this holiday so special and unique is that it is one of the only times Steve Woodhall is available to lead the group. Steve has been studying the butterflies of South Africa for over 30 years and has published 2 field guides; as well as finding time to be the president of The Lepidopterists’ Society of Southern Africa (LepSoc) for the past 8 years. There simply isn’t anyone better to show you the butterflies South Africa has to offer!

Please don’t confuse or compare this with any other similarly named holiday offered by other companies – this is the only holiday being led by a genuine butterfly expert!

Steve will be joined by Callan Cohen, one of South Africa’s top bird experts. Callan has vast experience and has led over 100 bird, flora and other wildlife tours. He has co-authored two birding books and was once the youngest person to have seen a landmark 800 species in southern Africa. Steve and Callan together make up the perfect team for you to have a rewarding and fun experience.

We’ll be based at 3 different sites, each encompassing a different set of habitats. Our first site will be in the rhinoMagoebaskloof, which we will use as a base to explore the mid-altitude forests and grasslands in the area. The list will be long; for a start we’ll seek out the impressive Emperor Swallowtail, the largest butterfly in southern Africa with a wingspan of between 100 – 135mm. Other special species on the menu include Kite & White-barred Swallowtails, Battling Glider, Long-tailed Admiral, Forest Beauty, Fig-tree Blue, Natal Bar, Eastern Blotched Leopard, Mother-of-pearl, and Pirate.

A major feature of this holiday will be the range of stunning Emperor (or Charaxes) butterflies that we’ll encounter.  Steve’s intimate knowledge of the areas will be a huge advantage in helping locate some local and rare species. We should see a good number of the 23 species found in South Africa, including, Forest King, Pearl, White-barred, Silver-barred, Green-veined, Foxy, Satyr, Demon, Blue-spotted, Bushveld and Club-tailed Emperors. All are large and stunning butterflies and we’ll use fruit bait to lure them down from the treetops.

Our next base will be near the awe inspiring Blyde River canyon, the 3rd biggest canyon in the world. Here the mountains meet the lowveld creating a huge number of habitats. We’ll visit the remote Lekgalameeetse Nature Reserve, where some of our most exciting butterflies may be found. Some of the showy ones are the False Acraeas, including Boisduval’s! A few of the specials found in the areas we’ll explore include African Leaf Butterfly, Sabinebird1 Albatross White, Large Vagrant, African Snout, Clouded Mother-of-pearl, and a chance of some very rare lycaenids. Lekgalameetse is also a prime spot for Emperor Swallowtails, and is probably the place to see the most female forms of the Mocker Swallowtail.

We’ll spend the last two nights of the holiday in the world-famous Kruger National Park, where we will broaden our focus to include some of the other spectacular wildlife, including African Elephants, Lion, Leopard, White Rhinoceros, African Buffalo and more. A huge diversity of birds will also be on offer, from Lilac-breasted Rollers to Martial Eagles, and Kori Bustards to Southern Ground Hornbills. We’ll have to spend much of our time in the vehicles here due to the presence of dangerous animals, but there are some safe places where we can get out and search for our last butterflies, before eventually heading back to Johannesburg and home. As the savanna species are quite different to the forest species, there’s a good chance of seeing even more new ones. Kruger National Park is particularly rich in Pieridae, the whites, tips and yellows.

As with all Greenwings holidays 10% of the profits from the holiday will be donated to support conservation in South Africa though LepSoc.

Day 0 (13th April): International travel to South Africa, e.g. from London

Day 1 (14th April): Arrival in Johannesburg & drive to Magoebaskloof

Day 2 (15th April): Magoebaskloof area

Day 3 (16th April): Magoebaskloof area

Day 4 (17th April): Magoebaskloof area

Day 5 (18th April): Blyde River Canyon area

Day 6 (19th April): Blyde River Canyon area

Day 7 (20th April): Blyde River Canyon area

Day 8 (21st April): Kruger National Park

Day 9 (22nd April): Kruger National Park

Day 10 (23rd April): Drive back to Johannesburg for departures

Start of optional 4 day extension – north of Pretoria in bushveld with floodplain)

Day 11 (24th April): Waterberg / Lapalala area. A private nature reserve with a nice mix of habitats – grassland, perennial streams, small vleis, sandstone outcrops (with several Ficus speciesand broad-leaved woodland

Day 12 (25th April): Explore Waterberg / Lapalala area

Day 13 (26th April): Explore Waterberg / Lapalala area

Day 14 (27th April): Morning excursions, then to Johannesburg for departures

Thank you for encouraging me to book the South African Butterfly holiday. I am so glad I did as I had a most wonderful time. The group seemed to get on well and I appreciated Steve’s enthusiasm and expertise and that of Callan too. We were looked after splendidly. I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of my visit and, of course, the butterflies were superb but we were also able to learn about any South African wildlife we saw. Being my first experience of Africa it was all very exciting and I am now home with many happy memories and telling folk about them. Once again thank you for all you did! – Pam

Good trip! Of course Steve’s knowledge was incredible, but Callan was outstanding as a leader, organiser, general naturalist and all-round fixer!! I am looking forward to the report! – Tony

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