Dates & Prices

BOOK HOLIDAY NOW

Dates: 26th April – 9th May 2020 Places available

Price: £3,995

Single Room Supplement: £375

Deposit: £400 per person


Price Includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transport, services of guides, entry fees, holiday report

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, Gold-banded Forester,  Zulu Shadefly, Mamba Swordtail, Forest Queen & King Emperors, Paradise Skipper, Mottled-green Nymph, Fiery Acraea, Black-and Orange Playboy, and many more!
  • 23 stunning Emperor (Charaxes) species in South Africa – we’ll see a good number of these including Flame-bordered, Blue-spotted, Pearl, White-barred, Silver-barred, Green-veined, and Satyr!
  • 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!

BOOK HOLIDAY NOW

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!


Following the success of the last few years we head back in South Africa again in 2020, 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 exclusive is having 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!

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 cover 3 different centres, each with its own special habitats. We’ll start off in the south of Zululand, based at the forest town of Eshowe.  This area is known for its Afrotemperate forest habitats. We’ll visit the Dlinza Forest boardwalk, known for its Charaxes. We should see Forest King, Blue-spotted, Pearl, White-barred, Silver-barred, Green-veined, and Satyr Charaxes there. As well as using fruit bait lures we’ll be able to watch them in their natural forest habitat, with other canopy dwellers such as False Acraeas, Blonde Gliders and Forest Leopards.

Zululand is Steve’s ‘backyard’ and he knows the best localities well. We’ll visit forests at Ongoye and Nkandla as well as the high biodiversity Harold Johnson Nature Reserve at the mouth of the Tugela River. There we will see the showy Boisduval’s False Acraea as well as the Forest Queen and many species of Whites and Tips.

This area has two iconic African ‘hilltops’ at Mandawe Cross near Eshowe, and Fort Pearson at Tugela Mouth, where we can watch for specials like the Eastern Scarlet, Sulphur Orange Tip, Foxy and Pearl-spotted Charaxes, Red-line Sapphire and Natal Bar, and the amazing Queen Purple-tip. Rarities may turn up unexpectedly at these places; even Steve gets a surprise sometimes!

We’ll then move to the Hluhluwe Area where we’ll stay in the middle of the False Bay sand forests. There are many special butterflies here; it’s one of the best places for Gold-banded Forester, as well as rare lycaenids such as the Large Glasswing and Zulu Yellow Buff. This area is home to many Whites, Yellows and Tips as well as Swordtails (including the spectacular Mamba Swordtail) and Swallowtails such as Constantine’s Swallowtail.

Leaving Hluhluwe, we’ll move north towards the Mozambique border where many of Zululand’s most sought-after butterflies are found. Around Tembe Elephant Park, Manguzi Forest, the banks of the Pongola River we will look for more Gold-banded Foresters, the Mottled-green Nymph, as well as the rare Flame-bordered Charaxes and elusive Liodes Hairtail (Steve’s bogey butterfly). The area is also home to the beautiful Dark-webbed Ringlet, and there are many rare lycaenids such as the Black-and Orange Playboy. You may be fortunate enough to see the Fiery and Clear-winged Acraeas, tropical species whose southern limit is Zululand.

As well as butterflies, Zululand is home to some of Africa’s most spectacular moths. Noctuids like the glorious diurnal Peach Moth (which shares a host plant with Forest Queen and Gold-banded Forester), Sphingids such as the Verdant Hawk, and many Emperor Moths, Notodontids, Geometrids etc. We’ll have a moth trap with us for the insomniacs on the holiday.

The whole area is also a birder’s paradise with gorgeous feathery creatures such as Narina Trogon and Emerald Cuckoo on the menu. Ongoye is home to a flock of the endangered Ground Hornbill. And with Callan Cohen on the trip, there’s always a chance of a ‘megatick’!

Contact us now to find out more or reserve places on what we expect to be a very popular tour!

Day 0 (25th April): International travel to South Africa, e.g. from London

Day 1 (26th April): Arrival

Day 2 (27th April): 

Day 3 (28th April):

Day 4 (29th April):

Day 5 (30th April): 

Day 6 (1st May): 

Day 7 (2nd May): 

Day 8 (3rd May): 

Day 9 (4th May): 

Day 10 (5th May): 

Day 11 (6th May):

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Day 13 (8th May):

Day 14 (9th May): Departure

Day 15 (10th May): 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!