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Dates & Prices


Dates: 24 September – 6 October 2020 (TBC)

Price: £TBA

Single Room Supplement: £TBA

Deposit: £400 per person

Price Includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transport, services of guides, entry fees, holiday report & 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 1-2 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 – Hutchinson’s Highflier, Bowker’s Marbled Sapphire, Gaudy Commodore, Pirate, Satyrine Red-banded Widow, Rossouw’s Copper, Patrician Blue, Violescent Blue, Kite Swallowtail,  and many more!
  • 23 Charaxes species in South Africa – we’ll see some including Pearl Charaxes 
  • Kruger National Park – chance to look for the Big 5 (Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Rhino & Buffalo)!
  • 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!


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 even found time to be the president of LepSoc for nearly 10 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, The Pocket Guide to Butterflies in South Africa in 2013, and ‘Gardening for Butterflies’ (with Lindsay Gray) in 2015. He has recently published an App, Butterflies of South Africa, that contains even more information than the books!

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

Join this one off special visit to South Africa in spring, 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.

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 and it is the very first time he has been able to run a tour at this time of year – making it even more special! 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!

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 will drive from Johannesburg to the hills to the north. There we will explore grassland and savanna hilltops in search of some of South Africa’s most spectacular spring Lycaenids, such as Hutchinson’s Highflier Aphnaeus hutchinsonii, Brown-line Sapphire Iolaus alienus, Bowker’s Marbled Sapphire Stugeta bowkeri, Ella’s Bar Cigaritis ella, Russet Protea Capys disjunctus, among others. We should also find iconic Nymphalidae such as Gaudy Commodore Precis octavia, Pirate and Yellow Pansy Junonia hierta.

Then we will move south-east to the central hills of Mpumalanga Province, where there are high altitude grasslands. The Verloren Valei Nature Reserve contains rarities such as the Satyrine Red-banded WidowDingana alticola. In the nearby hills at Dindela there is the recently rediscovered population of Stoffberg WidowDingana fraterna, as well as the bright orange Rossouw’s Copper Aloeides rossouwi. All over these grasslands there are likely to be found beauties like the Patrician Blue Lepidochrysops patricia and the Orange AcraeaTelchinia anacreon. The area is home to many species of blues, coppers, skippers and browns. It’s South Africa’s Alpine grasslands.

Finally we will move to the Mpumalanga Escarpment in the Pilgrim’s Rest area. This is a mosaic of high mountain grasslands and forested gorges and valleys. Some of South Africa’s rarest and most beautiful butterflies are found in this area. Lycaenids such as Irving’s Blue Lepidochrysops irvingiViolescent Blue Orachrysops violescens, Cloud Copper Aloeides nubilusTransvaal Copper Aloeides dryas, Lydenburg Opal Chrysoritis aethon. Another of South Africa’s endemic large Widows, Narrow-Banded WidowDingana angusta flies in several locations here.

In the forests there is a chance of finding the endemic Kite SwallowtailPapilio euphranor, as well as other Swallowtails and the early specimens of Charaxes species such as Pearl Charaxes Charaxes varanes.

We’ll finish the tour off with two nights in the world-famous Kruger National Park, where we’ll supplement our experience with some large mammals, hopefully including lion, elephant, leopard and more, and a diversity of birds including more than 5 species of eagles.


Day 0 (23rd September): International travel to South Africa, e.g. from London

Day 1 (24th September): Pretoria

Day 2 (25th September): Pretoria

Day 3 (26th September): Pretoria

Day 4 (27th September): Dullstroom

Day 5 (28th September): Graskop

Day 6 (29th September): Graskop

Day 7 (30th September): Graskop

Day 8 (1st October): Graskop

Day 9 (2nd October): Graskop

Day 10 (3rd October): Graskop

Day 11 (4th October): Kruger

Day 12 (5th October): Kruger

Day 13 (6th October): Departure

Day 14 (7th October): Arrival back in London

Dave C, 2017…I more than enjoyed the trip. You have an exceptional pairing of guides for this in Steve and Callan both so knowledgeable about all the Natural History of the region and surrounding countries too. Added to that they are so lovely characters helpful and tolerant to a fault. It was a genuine pleasure to travel with them!

Dean & Sally J, 2017…We had been wanting to travel to South Africa for more than 12 years. The fact that we could study butterflies in depth and also learn about the birds and other intriguing creatures of South Africa, plus experience Kruger National Park, made this an ideal trip for us!

Pam…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!

Tony…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!