Butterfly Safari in South Africa

We’re delighted to announce a unique opportunity to go butterflying with the leading expert and author on South African butterflies Steve Woodhall!

C-hebe-Mandawe-Dec-06Think of South African wildlife and the first animals that spring to mind probably include lions, elephants, Leopards and zebras. But what about the Blotched Leopard or the Beautiful Zebra Blue? South Africa is also home to around 700 species of butterfly!

Our holiday is based in the tropical coastal plain of Zululand, extending from Durban northwards to the Mozambique border. It has most of South Africa’s tropical species and some of its largest. Late March is the best time of year in this area for butterflies so you can be certain of seeing a mouth-watering selection!

What makes this holiday so special is that for the first time ever Steve Woodhall is available to lead it. Steve’s been studying the butterflies of South Africa for over 30 years, has published 2 field guides and is the president of The Lepidopterists’ Society of Southern Africa (LepSoc). 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 of its kind 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, has led over 100 tours and co-authored two birding books. Together they’re the perfect team to ensure you have a rewarding and fun experience!

Euphaedra-neophron-male-ups-Manguzi-2-May-15Flame-bordered Emperor female uppersideCharaxes-wakefieldi

We’ll be based at 3 different sites, each encompassing a different set of habitats. Our first stop is Eshowe, from which we’ll explore the areas mid-altitude forests. A highlight will be enjoying butterflies from the tree canopy walkway at Dlinza forest. We’ll seek out the impressive Emperor Swallowtail, the largest butterfly in southern Africa, with a wingspan of between 100 – 135mm. Other targets include Long-tailed Admiral, Natal Buff, Forest Beauty, Eastern Blotched Leopard, Natal Opal, Mother-of-pearl, Zulu Shadefly, Pirate and Buff-tipped Skipper.

The range of stunning and large Emperor (or Charaxes) butterflies that we’ll encounter is a major feature.  Steve’s intimate knowledge of the areas will be a huge advantage in helping locate some localised and rare species. We should see a good number of the 23 species found in South Africa, including, Forest King, Forest Queen, Giant, Flame-bordered, Pearl, White-barred, Green-veined, Giant, Satyr, Demon and Blue-spotted Emperors.

Our next base is along the shores of the vast Lake St Lucia where palm savannah and forest intersect, providing habitat for another range of species. A few of the specials include Gold-banded Forester, Straight-line Sapphire, Spotted Ciliate Blue and Mamba Swallowtail.Graphium-colonna-male-Tembe-5-Jan-07

Our third site is extra special. We’ll stay at Royal Thonga Safari Lodge on the border of Tembe Elephant Park, a 300 square kilometre reserve between Zululand and Mozambique. Here we’ll encounter Mottled-green Nymphs and Flame-bordered Charaxes on the walkways. And we’ll be on the lookout for more specials, such as Fiery Acraea, Paradise Skipper and Veined Skipper. Four-toed Elephant Shrew, Samango Monkey and Red Duiker also occur in the lodge, among many birds such as Pink-throated Twinspot, African Crowned Eagle and African Broadbill. The lodges we stay at are all excellent for butterflies and many species can be seen around the grounds at times of leisure.

The holiday will run between 18th – 29th March 2016. To book your place see here

We hope to see on our African adventure! 

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