African Elephant

The African elephant – (Loxodonta) actually comprises two species; bush elephants (L. africana) also known as savanna elephants are the largest living terrestrial mammals with bulls standing up to 3.96m (13ft) and the smaller forest elephant (L. cyclotis) found in the Congo basin and the humid forests of West Africa is the smallest of the three living elephant species, reaching only 2.4m at the shoulder.  In both African species, the males and the females grow forward curving tusks throughout their adult life and these can reach between 1.5 and 2.4m in length (weighing 23-45kg).

The trunk of an African elephant is more heavily ringed (than the Asiatic), has short tactile hairs and finishes with two distinct fingers to pick up and manipulate objects.  Their ears are larger, shaped like the African landmap and covering their whole shoulder, flapping them allows to them increase heat loss.  Their head is rounded and fuller (single dome), and their lips shorter and rounder.  African elephants mate during the rainy period.

An elephant’s trunk (both African and Asian) is packed with nerve endings and thought to have between 40,000 and 60,000 different muscles.  Elephants have an amazing sense of smell and their trunk is strong enough to lift more than 250kg and dexterous enough to pick up small items.  The trunk can be used as a snorkel when swimming and a vessel to draw litres of water and then spraying this in to their mouth to drink, and to cover their bodies with water and/ or dirt to cool off and protect from the sun.

Elephants have 6 sets of molars in their lifetime, and they are developed from the back and push forward, as one tooth wears down the next pushes forward to replace it.  Their teeth are the largest amongst living creatures.  The appearance of the sixth set at about 30 years old dictates the elephants lifespan of between 45 and 70 years.  The gestation period is up to 22 months, and the young elephants stay with their mothers in the matriarchal herd, suckling for up to 3-4 years.  Young bulls are gradually pushed out from the herd between 10 and 16 years old, and range with all-male groups or alone.

Black Panther wildlife holiday in Kenya

A good friend of Wildlife Trails and superb photographer, Chris Brunskill, has literally just returned from Laikipia wilderness camp, and his amazing images of Giza have been published all around the world. There are many reasons why a beautiful cat like Giza becomes less shy and is seen more regularly by the safari vehicles and of course this can also change rapidly, due to terrotorial fights or other  factors. Ourselves and some of our clients have been lucky enough to see the Black Panther in Nagerhole, India; but now due to the increasing tiger population, sightings are much rarer. So with that in mine, we have booked the entire Laikipia river camp for the first week of September and are putting together a small group led by Allan Blanchard. We do expect this to sell out fast, so please only enquire if you are definitely free to travel for these dates.

Style - Small Group Photographer
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 7
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£4750
Free Full day chimp experience and Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Two lucky clients will get the chance to take advantage of some ‘left over’ chimp habituation permits and gorilla permits from trips which could not take place during the pandemic. You must be able to travel for these specific dates in June, as we have already moved the permits one time before and cannot do so again.

Our tailored gorilla trekking holidays allow you to get under the skin of this wildlife rich and vibrant country, as your driver will not only be your expert naturalist; but also your friend and guide to all things Ugandan. This 10 day Gorilla and Chimp safari takes you from the shores of Lake Victoria in Entebbe to Kibale, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi and Lake Mburo (see detailed map info); as you enjoy both chimp and gorilla treks in this primate focused Uganda wildlife holiday.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 10
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£4250
Best Botswana Camping Safaris 2024

Always dreamed of a ‘real’ Botswana camping experience but worried it would be too basic. Believe me, having taken this exact safari in July 2022, this is as good as it gets for a quality Botswana safari, with the stunning private campsites, superb camping staff and excellent quality ensuite tents ensuring all you have to worry about is charging your camera and taking enough memory cards.

We focus on extended stays in Savuti, Moremi and Khwai with the genuine chance to see lions, leopards and African wild dogs. We were lucky enough to also see African wild cat and Serval in Khwai and expect to be surrounded by Elephants on the Chobe River, as we take you on a private boat safari just before sunset. Interested in our small group Botswana camping safari? Then contact Allan at Africa(at)wildlifetrails.co.uk

Style - Small Group
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 15
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£5500
Botswana Zebra Migration

This is a Botswana safari I have been thinking about designing for years and I am so excited that it has finally come to fruition. The annual Zebra migration through Botswana does not attract as much attention as the famous Wildebeest migration in East Africa, but in its own way it is equally special and also attracts the attention of many of Botswana’s apex predators.

Once the rains end and the salt pans at Makgadikgadi dry up (around April/May), tens of thousands of zebra migrate across the National Park to the banks of the Boteti River valley and remain there until the rains start again in late October/early November.

Our beautiful Botswana wildlife lodge, Leroo La Tau, is located on the banks of the Boteti River Valley so this significant and overwhelming migration arrives on their ‘doorstep’ during April/early May (depending on the years rain) and will remain in that area for the next 6 months or so.

As well as 4 nights at Leroo La Tau to witness the Zebra migration, we will also spend 3 nights at Camp Xakanaxa which is located on the boundary between the Okavango Delta and the world famous Moremi game reserve. It is one of the few camps which allows the perfect balance of water based activities and game drives at the same time. Moremi is one of the best places in Botswana to see lions, leopards and African wildlife dogs.

We will have large well-equipped game vehicles for a maximum group size of 6 people so each guest has a window seat and plenty of room for their camera equipment. This tour will be characterized by maximising time in the field to take advantage of all available wildlife viewing opportunities.

 

Style - Small Group Photographer
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 10
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£5600
Wildebeest migration safari February 2024

The Wildebeest Migration through the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem is one of the largest mass movements on earth. Thousands of wildebeests, zebras and Thompson’s gazelles migrate throughout the year always seeking for fresh grass and water. They follow an annual pattern through both Ecosystems, with broadly predictable timing, however their movement does depend on rain.

Tanzania has two rainy seasons – the ‘long rains’ between March and May and the ‘short rains’ between November and December. After the short rainfalls, the wildebeest migration is expected to arrive from the north in late November / early December on the short-grass plains of the south. These grass plains include southern Serengeti, located in Serengeti National Park; and Ndutu Area, located inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Through January, February and March, the wildebeest migration is expected to stay on these southern plains as the grasses are very nutritious and most wildebeest calves will be born in a coordinated bound of calving during February and into early March. Many regular safari goers to Tanzania consider this the best time to visit Tanzania for wildlife.

Style - Small Group Photographer
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 14
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£7590
Wild Dog Magic in Botswana and South Africa

The chance to see African wild dogs, or African painted dogs as they are sometimes referred to, is high on many wildlife lovers wish list. It is important to remember that this is one of the rarest canids in the world and sadly is on the endangered ‘Red List’ of IUCN. Loss of habitat and human conflict are the main reasons for their decline; so it is more important than ever to conserve and protect the few remaining strong holds of this charismatic species. Over the years, Wildlife Trails have enjoyed considerable success in photographing this species and with this knowledge we have created safari holidays which visit the best places to see wild dogs at the right time of year.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 10
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£6000
Visiting Ruaha, Mikumi & Selous

After a nice nights sleep in a quality hotel in Dar, it’s time to start the adventure with your private naturalist with a visit to the world-famous Selous game reserve – famous for big cats and the chance to see African wild dogs. From Selous, we visit Mikumi and it’s large lion prides, before ending up in a beautiful camp on the Great Ruaha River, where big game regularly walks through the camp to the excitement of all visitors.

Style - Small Group Photographer
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 12
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£4250
Safari in South Luangwa, Zambia

Zambia safaris nearly always deliver a spectacular wildlife experience and it is particularly famous for its night time safaris and the incredibly high number of leopard encounters. Many of these safaris take place in the famous Luangwa valley and we feel the perfect budget Zambia safari combines an extended stay in comfortable chalet accommodation close to the beautiful Luangwa river, with a couple of exhilarating nights at a nearby bush camp. Listen to the roar of Lions and other nocutrnal wildlife as you experience an African safari in the truest sense.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 11
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£4500
Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa Zambia Safari

This bespoke Zambia wildlife holiday focuses on quality long stays at two fabulous safari lodges in two very different and diverse parks. First you will fly from Lusaka to Livingstone and transfer to the Lower Zambezi . There is a lot of wildlife in this park, although the variety isn’t as diverse as in Kafue or South Luangwa. The lower Zambezi is know for its large elephant and buffalo herds and the birding is spectacular. The main apex predators seen here are leopard, spotted hyena and large prides of lion. From here you will fly to Mfuwe, which is the gateway to South Luangwa national park, rightly known as one of the best national parks to see big cats in the whole of Africa. You will be staying at Flatdogs Camp, whose naturalists have won international awards for their quality of guiding. Expect full on action during both the game drives and the night time safaris, as you are allowed to stay inside the park until 20:00.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 8
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£5500
Gorilla Trek and Volcano Climb for Adventure Seekers

For our return to Uganda and Rwanda to celebrate my 40th birthday I was keen to bring an adventerous element to the trip and as well as camping in many of the beautiful national parks, we also included a few more strenous activities on top of the Gorilla Trekking we did in Nkuringo. These included paddling across Lake Mutanda, walking with the Batwa tribals at Magahinga and the absolute highlight of a full day trek up the beautiful Mount Sabinyo, which stands at an impressive 3600M. Not only did this provide us with the elation of achieving our goals, but it also took us away from some of the more mainstream locations on the Uganda wildlife circuit and provided more village life and colour into our Uganda wildlife holiday.

Style - Wildlife Adventurer
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 11
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£4250
Exploring the Botswana Wilderness

Safari through the wilderness of Botswana. Experience the Okavango Delta by traditional dug-outs and the abundant wildlife of Moremi game reserve and Savuti. Explore Chobe NP by boat and enjoy wonderful views of Victoria Falls!

Style - Wild Camping
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 12
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£3700
An Epic Botswana Safari

This exciting 12-day adventure takes in some of Northern Botswana’s most prolific parks, including Moremi, the private Khwai concession and Botswana’s jewel in the crown; Savute. Before finishing on the Chobe Riverfront in Chobe National Park.

All locations offer excellent photographic and wildlife viewing opportunities. Where the predators, including lion, leopard and wild dog are regularly seen. The areas are also a haven for other wildlife, such as elephant, hippo, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, lechwe, kudu and many other iconic African mammals and of course a vast array of bird species.

With a large well-equipped game vehicles for a maximum group size of 6 people there is plenty of room assured for each guest. This tour will be characterized by maximising time in the field to take advantage of all available wildlife viewing opportunities. Fully supported camping ensures long days in the parks enjoying wildlife and a warm and friendly welcome back at camp in the evening.

Best time to visit Botswana on safari?

One of the best times to visit Botswana for wildlife is the dry season which runs approximately from June to October. This is the best time to see the predators in Botswana; as they share the same depleting water resources as their prey and it is at the lagoons and still flowing rivers where the majority of the hunting action takes place. We can also witness large bull elephants in Chobe national park and take a peaceful Mokoro safari looking for Hippo’s, giant crocs and a wonderful diversity of birdlife in the Okavango Delta. Temperatures will climb steadily throughout this period and reach their peak in October, but the game viewing in Botswana will remain vibrant throughout. We will have the chance to see African Wild Dogs in Moremi or Khwai and some large prides of lions in Savuti.

Style - Wild Camping
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 12
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£4900
Big Cats Galore on this Bespoke Zambia Safari

Zikomo Lodge is a real gem and is attracting a lot of interest from film companies like the BBC and Smithsonian channel; due to regular sightings of Wild Dogs, Lion and Leopard. From here we continue our journey through the most famous game reserve in Zambia, staying 4 nights at Flatdogs Camp where we can continue to observe game by both vehicle and high adrenaline walking safaris. The South Luangwa is one of the few parks in Africa to allow night drives, and the Flatdogs guides’ knowledge of animal behaviour really pays off after dark – get ready for action. After our stay at South Luangwa, we fly back to Lusaka and then drive south to Mukambi Lodge; gateway to the beautiful and less visitied Kafue national park. After a night in Mukambi, we can enjoy a morning game drive as we head towards the superbly located Busanga Plains Camp. Busanga Plains Camp is strategically located between the teeming floodplains frequented by several lion prides and the papyrus-edged Busanga Swamps, abundant with birdlife and home of the shy sitatunga. Famed for its tree-climbing lions, Busanga Plains is also known for its endless parade of wildlife and birds – huge herds of lechwe, puku and buffalo, which in turn sustain the top predators, including cheetah and wild dog.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 15
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£6900
Bespoke Gorilla & Chimp Trek in Uganda

Wildlife Trails have pioneered a certain bespoke design of gorilla and chimp safari, that brings together the best mid-range wildlife lodges – all of which we have personally visited – with our hand picked dirver/naturalists and their photographer friendly landcruisers with roof openings. Our tailored gorilla trekking holidays allow you to get under the skin of this wildlife rich and vibrant country, as your driver will not only be your expert naturalist; but also your friend and guide to all things Ugandan. This 10 day Gorilla and Chimp safari takes you from the shores of Lake Victoria in Entebbe to Kibale, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi and Lake Mburo (see detailed map info); as you enjoy both chimp and gorilla treks in this primate focused Uganda wildlife holiday.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 10
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£3990