Dates & Prices


Dates: 13th – 24th March 2025

Price: £4,295 Places available

Single Room Supplement: £395

Deposit: £500 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 & Callan Cohen

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

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

Holiday Highlights

  • A new improved version of our classic tour
  • Exclusive opportunity to go butterflying with Steve Woodhall, the leading butterfly expert in South Africa
  • 3 full days at South Africa’s butterfly hotspot: Lekgalameetse!
  • 150+ species likely.
  • 10 species of Charaxes possible!
  • Dramatic landscapes from the Blyde River Canyon to the Kruger National Park.
  • 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!

We are excited to be heading back to South Africa again in 2025 with a new itinerary, and 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.

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

Day 1

Arrive at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. Drive to the savanna hills of the Waterberg via wetlands on the Springbok Flats. Here we will see some classic African savanna butterflies like Queen Purple Tip Colotis regina, Topaz Babul Blue Azanus jesous, African Yellow Pansy Junonia hierta cebrene, and White-Cloaked Paradise Skipper Abantis levubu. Spend the night in the Waterberg foothills near Bela-Bela.

Day 2

A day exploring hilltops and wooded savanna in the southern Waterberg foothills. As well as seeing the species we saw on the flats, we hope to see butterflies like Demon Charaxes Eriboea phaeus, Straight-line Sapphire Iolaus silarus, Eastern Scarlet Axiocerses tjoane, and Natal Silverline Cigaritis natalensis. Second night in the Waterberg.

Day 3

Drive to the montane forests of the northern Wolkberg via some savanna localities where rare butterflies fly. We can expect to see Foxy Charaxes Charaxes saturnus, Chequered Ranger Kedestes lepenula, Veined Paradise Skipper Abantis venosa, Bushveld Orange Tip Colotis pallene, and Black-tipped Acraea Stephenia caldarena. Other possibilities are Large Blue Charaxes Charaxes bohemani and Grizzled Bush Brown Bicyclus ena. We will reach the forested eastern foothills by the late afternoon in time to check into our accommodation near Magoesbaskloof.

Day 4

Spend the day in the cool high altitude mist forests of the Wolkberg. Here we will see a different mix of species like Emperor Swallowtail Papilio ophidicephalus, Bush Kite Papilio euphranor, Forest -king Emperor Charaxes xiphares, Silver-barred Emperor Charaxes druceanus, Long-tailed Admiral Antanartia schaeneia, the endemic Bush Beauty Paralethe dendrophilus, and Battling Glider Cymothoë alcimeda. There are Hesperiidae like the Large Flat Apallaga mokeezi, and specialized Pierids like Large Vagrant Nepheronia argia. Return to the forest accommodation.

Day 5

Another day in the Wolkberg foothills, exploring some of the riverine forests and drier areas in the rain shadow of the mountains. Search for more forest species like the two species of Mother-of-Pearl (Common Protogoniomorpha parhassus and Clouded P. nebulosa), White-tipped Hopper Platylesches galesa, and Ant-heap Small White Dixeia pigea. Return to the forest accommodation.

Day 6

Set off for the drive to Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve situated where the Afromontane forests of the Wolkberg meet the wooded savannas of their foothills with a long stretch of riverine forest. We will have time to say a last farewell to the Afromontane forests and visit some specialized riverine bush on the way. Night Lekgalameetse area.

Days 7 – 9

Three full days exploring Lekgalameetse. This area has many trails covering a range of habitats and there’s always a chance of something unexpected and rare appearing. Mud puddles fluttering with aggregations of Swallowtails like the Emperor Papilio ophidicephalus and Mocker Swallowtail P. dardanus, Pierids like Pointed Caper White Pseudanaphaeis gidica, with the occasional African Paradise Skipper Abantis paradisea and many tiny Blues like Pale Babul Blue Azanus mirza. The amazing Cambridge Blue Nepheronia thalassina and Dead Leaf Commodore Precis tugela are regularly seen here as are Danaines like Southern Friar Amauris niavius and Blotched Leopard Lachnoptera ayresi, African Snout Libythea laius, and strange Lycaenidae like the Bushveld Plain Buff Cnodontes penningtoni. Charaxes like Bushveld Charaxes Eriboea achaemenes and Green-veined Emperor Charaxes candiope are often seen feeding on fallen fruit and baboon droppings. There are usually many flowers in bloom with lots of butterflies in attendance with the chance of rarities like Juanita’s Ciliate Blue Anthene crawshayi juanitae. If conditions permit, we can visit the high-altitude peaks above the forest looking for specialist Lycaenidae like Protea Scarlet Capys alpheus.

Day 10

Leave Lekgalameetse and drive to Orpen Gate of the Kruger National Park via more areas of riverine forest where we can look for more specials like Boisduval’s False Acraea Pseudacraea boisduvali and Large Striped Swordtail Graphium antheus.

In the Kruger National Park, we can expect to see charismatic megafauna but also Pieridae like African Small Orange Tip Colotis evagore antigone and Bushveld Purple Tip Colotis ione that are more typical of lowland savanna. Spend the night at Satara Camp.

Day 11

A full day in the Kruger National Park, driving from Satara to Skukuza and visiting various picnic areas and view sites where we may alight from the vehicle and go butterflying in safety. As well as the Pieridae and Nymphalidae we should see in the savanna areas, the view sites offer the chance of hilltoppers like Pearl-spotted Charaxes Eriboea jahlusa and some specialised Satyrinae like Orange Lined Ringlet Coenyropsis natalii. Spend the night at Skukuza Camp.

Day 12

Leave Skukuza and return to OR Tambo International Airport. We may be able to fit in some butterflying in the park on the way.

Please note: The itinerary is subject to change under certain circumstances (e.g. weather conditions or seasonal variation).  We can easily adapt the itinerary as necessary.

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!